The Declaration of Independence announced for all time for American free men the doctrine of inalienable rights. “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute an new government.”
An inalienable right is one that cannot be given away. It comes to man as a free gift from the Creator. It is an inherent and essential part of living on the earth. Man cannot delegate it to his government nor to any other man. If some of these inalienable rights are taken away from man, then he no longer enjoys free agency, and if all of his inalienable rights are taken from him then life itself must cease, for life is one of these rights.
What is the right to life? Obviously it is to live as a human being upon the earth. But it is more than this. It is the right to live and not have the government, the king, or any person put you to death. It is the right to be free from the assassins bullet and the tyrant’s sword. “Off with his head,” has been a password between despots and their executioners. The Constitution helps to preserve the right to life by guaranteeing every man an impartial trial by a jury of his peers, all twelve of whom must stand unanimous before life can be taken.
The right to liberty goes hand in hand with the right to life. This is the privilege to be free and to be unrestrained in all activity except that which interferes with the equally sacred rights of others. The Ceasars banished their political foes. The right to liberty is the right to be free from banishment. It is the right to be free from arrest except for crime and then, in most cases, only upon a warrant. It is the right to a writ of habeas corpus, and to bail except in capital cases where the proof is evident and the presumption sure. Liberty is a most sacred heritage of free men; most of our wars have been fought to preserve it.
No person shall “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” There is included in this the right to property. It is pure unalloyed capitalism and is wholly repugnant to every principle of communism and of socialism, or fascism and of marxism. It is so sacred to Americans that twice they have amended their Constitution to preserve it unto themselves. The first occasion was in the 5th amendment just quoted, and the second in the 14th amendment which decrees, “No state shall … deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” We cannot do away with the capitalistic system of free enterprise without first doing away with the supreme law of the land, the Constitution of the United States.
The right to law is inherent in our form of government. It is guaranteed in every section and clause of the Constitution. All men are created equal before the law. There is no favoritism. It is the right to equality. both political and economic. It is the right to justice, to due process, to equal protection of the laws. It is the privilege of every man to have his day in court, and to have his rights protected in his own community no matter who the offender may be, whether he is the president, a general, a magistrate, or any government official. no man is above the law, but all men have the right to law.
No inalienable right is more sacred than the right to freedom of conscience and worship. no privilege was more dear to the founders of this nation than the right to be free in the exercise of one’s own religion. Much of the basis for the colonization of America was built upon this cornerstone. No man can be compelled to adopt any religion, or to pay taxes for the support of any church, or be deprived of the opportunity to hold office because of his religious sentiments. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
These rights–to life, to liberty, to property, to law, and to religion–are some of the more sacred inalienable ones. They are the free gifts of God, and rightly belong to all mankind, but all men are not now free to enjoy them. The government of the United States is designed to preserve them for all its municipals. The Constitution was ordained and established by the people to be the guardian of their inalienable rights.
which appeared on the editorial page (page 4) of
The Deseret News, 19 March 1945 through 10 April 1945.