A More or Less Perfect Union: Inalienable Rights
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A More or Less Perfect Union: Inalienable Rights

“All men are created
equal, endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights.” I think that’s one of the most
important sentences in the English language. And then the next sentence of
the Declaration says, “To secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the
consent of the governed.” And governments either acknowledge
those rights or they fail to acknowledge those rights, but
they never, never confer rights. If they’re given by
government, they can be taken away by government. The view that our rights
antedate government is the view that has made America free and
the place to which people flee, not the place from
which people flee. The Declaration of
Independence set out our national aspirations, as a
people, as a country. The Constitution is the
mechanism that allows that process to happen.

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