For those who don’t know (or can’t tell from the links on the page), I’m a libertarian and I have a deep respect for the Constitution. Our system of government was brilliantly constructed to protect our rights.
The key word there is “protect”. The Constitution does not grant rights. The philosophy of the founders was one of natural rights – you are entitled to rights because you are human, not because a government has been nice enough to cede a privilege or two. You can see this clearly in the Declaration of Independence (emphasis mine):
…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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…
This is what America is built on. Our rights belong to us – we aren’t borrowing them from a government that is perfectly justified in taking them away if it thinks that’s best. That’s why stories like this one are so troubling.
When rights are left up to the will of the majority, or the government, or whoever happens to be in charge, they cease to be “rights”. If we are only being benevolently gifted a limited amount of freedom, what makes us think we can complain when that freedom is taken away? As long as the majority voted on it, that’s what has to be.
This is why democracy is a nightmare – and why the founders wisely gave us a republic with a Constitution.