Many people believe that the Constitution of the United States of America grants rights to citizens. This is not true. The U.S. Constitution does not grant any rights to anyone. It does establish a form of government and defines the responsibilities of the government.

The German constitution is an example of one that does grant rights to the people.

All constitutions except the Constitution of the United States are a numeration of rights granted to the people by the government. Why is the U.S. Constitution different? The Constitution of the United States does not stand alone nor does it grant rights to the people. The constitution limits the power of government to restrict individual unalienable rights, and it is dependent on the Declaration of Independence for partial definition of the rights of the people. The Declaration of Independence states the source of unalienable rights: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Rights of the citizen are not granted by the government. Our rights are natural, i.e., we are born with them and they are embodied in history and common law.

This broad idea establishes that life is the first right and it is not granted by government. Whether or not one believes in a creator, the individual right to life is undeniable and all other rights flow from it. This is the natural state of existence; and from the right to life; the natural state of human beings is intended to be free and to be able to pursue a state of being that makes them secure and happy.

The Declaration of Independence identified and codified the principle of natural rights and common law that have been evolving since the time of Aristotle and Cicero. Even with this declaration, natural rights and common law written on a piece of paper are meaningless unless they are secured. The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution were established to put restraint on the federal, state and local governments from infringing on rights that were and are understood to exist for every citizen. The 13th and 14th amendments affirm the natural rights and common law for everyone. Are all the natural rights and common law secured now for every United States citizen? Certainly not, it is a work in progress. How do the people secure and protect their unalienable rights? What is the people’s protection against tyranny?

American citizens’ rights are being assaulted by federal, state and local governments. The rights of free speech, religion, search and seizure, secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects and other rights are being attacked. Most of the assaults are perpetuated by bureaucracies at all levels and the bureaucracies are not accountable directly to the people. The legislative branches at all levels of government have abdicated their responsibility and power to the executive of the government and the bureaucrats. More and more the bureaucracies are developing military capabilities to enforce regulations that are in many cases arbitrary and violate both the natural rights and common law of the people. Fellow citizens seek to silence those who believe the Constitution is not a “living document,” but it is a foundation that is the same as the founders created it to be. It is the guardian of our unalienable rights. Those rights have not changed in 225 years. Many of the wrongs that King George III was committing in 1776 are being repeated in 2014. How do we the people defend against such an assault on our rights and freedom?

I was prepared to sponsor an essay contest on the second, 13th, and 14th amendments to the Constitution. I was going to open it to eighth through 12th grades with a prize of $500. As part of the essay contest students were going to be required to read the book: “That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right” by Stephen Halbrook. This idea is on hold.

I have been advised that this simple act of free speech would put me and loved ones at risk on many levels. It has been suggested that sponsoring an essay contest on the foundation of our liberty would be too controversial, and we would be subjected to all sorts of reactions, lawsuits, demonstrations, threats, and yes, even put on a government watch list.

What do you think? Contact me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Myron Martwick is an Oak Grove resident.

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