Civil Liberties Versus Human Rights

Bigger text (+)Smaller text (-)

Civil liberties versus human rights

This discussion is suffering from the use of fuzzy terms. It is not going to be productive unless or until some precision is adopted.

As I discuss in Social Contract and Constitutional Republics, the "rights" recognized in the U.S. Constitution form a hierarchy, deriving from four "constitutions":

  1. The constitution of nature -- comprised of all those principles called the laws of nature, including the ways living beings, by their nature, tend to behave, usually as a survival strategy for their genes;

  2. The constitution of society -- comprised of the natural rules according to which social groups tend to make decisions, before they establish formal structures of government. These include such principles as decision by conventions called by public notice and conducted according to customary rules of parliamentary procedure, perhaps combined with public referendum;

  3. The constitution of the state -- the society in exclusive possession of a territory, which defines things like fair representation based on location.

  4. The constitution of government -- probably written, as a fundamental law adopted as a legislative act under the constitution of the state.

Each of these constitutions is subject to the ones before it. So a statute is unconstitutional if it violates any of the above constitutions, of government, state, society, or nature. A provision of a written constitution of government is unconstitutional if if violates the natural, social, or state constitutions, and a practice under the social or state constitution is unconstitutional if it violates the natural constitution.

Different rights originate from different levels of constitution, as discussed above. Some of the main ones are:

Limb (right not be be physically injured or tortured, or have one's health or comfort threatened)
Acquisition, retention, and use of means to secure above rights (part of property right)
Right not to be required to do the impossible or scientifically irrational
Property equity (right to reclaim property to which one has title, or the value thereof, beyond mere possession)
Due process (includes due notice and fair hearing, both substantive and procedural, and all rights associated with juries)
Common law trust rights
Public decision by convention called by public notice and conducted by established rules of procedure
Denizenship (right to remain on or return to one's domicile)
Fair representation of different parts of the territory
Citizenship (privilege to vote and hold office, access to voting and fair counts)
Presumption of nonauthority
Means to remove misbehaving officials or suspend their actions, such as quo warranto and other prerogative writs
Getting reports on the activities and expenditures of officials
Compensation for taking of property (part of property right)

Thus, the property right is actually a bundle of rights, part of which are natural, and part social, in origin. It can also be governmental in origin, as with things like intellectual property, that is established by statute.

Distinction between rights, privileges, and immunities

The U.S. Constitution uses the term "right", but as Madison explained in some of his later writings, the natural, social, and state rights, as broken out above, are rights against the actions of government, for which the term "immunity" is more accurate. Under this understanding, every immunity is a restriction on the delegated powers of government, and every delegated power a restriction on immunities. Together, they partition the space of public action, with immunities and powers being complements of each other. The rights created under the Constitution are then more accurately referred to as "privileges". All of these are public rights, to distinguished from the private rights that arise from things like contracts. The use of the phrase "privileges and immunities", used in the 14th Amendment, is therefore to be understood as a more precise way to express the legal concepts involved.

The use of the term "right" for a sufficiency of scarce resources is a misuse of the term

The U.S. Constitution recognizes a right of "due process", which would seem to be sufficiency of a scarce resource, but it is not. If an official initiates an action against an individual, he is expending a scarce resource, but "due process" only obligates that the resources be allocated in a way that is fair to all parties. It does not, and cannot, obligate anyone to expend any resources at all. The law cannot command the impossible, and therefore it may not command sufficiency of a scarce resource, only the fair distribution of it.

The notion of "human rights" as it has emerged in the 20th century is essentially a socialistic aspiration of providing a sufficiency of scarce resources to everyone fairly. It contemplates entrenching entitlements into law, or even into constitutions, as though it were possible to go to court and have the judge order into existence enough for everybody. The deification of judges and courts might flatter the egos of some on the bench, but natural law (that first constitution) is not sympathetic, and most judges would deny that is within their jurisdiction or competence. The Universe is not organized for our comfort and convenience. We are lucky that it even permits a few of us to exist in misery, but less wallow in comfort, with a million entertainments.

So let's stop using the term "right" for something we can't get from a court of competent jurisdiction. By all means let us try to manage human affairs to maximize sustainable liberty, prosperity and justice, but as the current meltdown should inform us, what is sustainable may be far less than most of us would like to admit, at least for as many people as now live on the planet, living off the land and the sea.

Constitution Society, 2900 W. Anderson Lane C-200-322, Austin, Texas 78757

VIDEO: The American Form of Government - The United States is a  REPUBLIC not a democracy!

Are We a Democracy or a Republic? Are We a  Democracy or a Republic?

Living democracy  Living democracy

Democracy versus Republic CLICK HERE

People's rights vs citizen's rights CLICK HERE

Are We A Democracy Or A Republic Are We A  Democracy Or A Republic?


An Investigation Into The Meaning Of The Term ‘UNITED STATES’

NOTICE: Neither Jon Roland nor the Constitution Society is affiliated with Freedom School.
NOTICE: If anything in this presentation is found to be in error a good faith effort will be made to correct it in timely fashion upon notification.
       Specialty Areas

All the powers in the universe seem to favor the person who has confidence.

More & Other Information - Resource Pages
Admiralty related itemsBelligerent Claimant
BondsAttention Signing the Constitution Away
Citizenship / nationality related itemsEducation
Jerry KirkAware
JurisdictionLaw related items
Lewis MohrLuis Ewing
MoneyOath related items
Reading MaterialReading Room
StuffTax matters
Travel related
NOTICE: The information on this page was brought to you by people who paid this website forward so that someone such as you might also profit by having access to it. If you care to do so also please feel encouraged to KEEP THIS SITE GOING by making a donation today. Thank you. Make donation with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!

Freedom School is not affiliated with the links on this page - unless otherwise stated.

Freedom School information served for educational purposes only, no liability assumed for use.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.
Freedom School does not consent to unlawful action.
Freedom School advocates and encourages one and all to adhere to, support and defend all law which is particularly applicable.
Information is intended for those men and women who are not "US CITIZENS" or "TAXPAYERS" - continued use, reference or citing indicates voluntary and informed compliance.

Freedom School is a free speech site and operation as there is no charge for things presented
this site relys on this memorandum and others in support of this philosophy and operation.
The noteworthy failure of the government or any alleged agency thereof to at any time rebut anything appearing on this website constitutes a legal admission of the fidelity and accuracy of the materials presented, which are offered in good faith and prepared as such by Freedom School and third parties affiliated or otherwise. If the government wants to assert that any of the religious and/or political statements that are not factual appearing on this website are in error, then they as the moving party have the burden of proof, and they must responsively meet that burden of proof under the Administrative Procedures Act 5 U.S.C. §556(d) and under the due process clauses found in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendments to the national Constitution BEFORE there will be response to any summons, questions, or unsubstantiated and slanderous accusations. Attempts at calling presented claims "frivolous" without specifically rebutting the particular claim, or claims, deemed "frivolous" will be in deed be "frivolous" and prima facie evidence that shall be used accordingly. Hey guys, if anything on this site is found to be in error a good faith effort will be made to correct it in timely fashion upon notification. site, the DVD issue, microSDHC card issue, or work computers´ DMCA Policy

the site, the DVD issue, microSDHC card issue, and/or work computers, make effort to be in compliance with 17 U.S.C. § 512 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA"). It is our policy to respond to any infringement notices and take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") and other applicable intellectual property laws.

If your copyrighted material has been posted on the site, the DVD issue, microSDHC card issue, or work computers, in other than fair use capacity or if links to your copyrighted material are returned through our search engine and you want the material removed, you must provide a written communication that details the information listed in the following section. Please be aware that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys´ fees) if you misrepresent information listed on the site that is allegedly infringing on your alleged copyrights. We suggest that you may want to first contact competent legal assistance on this matter.

The following elements must be included in your copyright infringement claim:

* Provide evidence of the authorized person to act on behalf of the fully disclosed alleged owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. Please notice that we generally do not deal with third parties.
* Provide sufficient contact information so that we may contact you. You must also include a valid email address.
* You must identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed and including at least one search term under which the material appears in search results.
* A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
* A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
* Must be signed by the authorized person to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly being infringed. (Proper ratification of commencement.)

Send the infringement notice via email to the postmaster at

Please allow 1-3 business days for an email response. Note that emailing your complaint to other parties such as our Internet Service Provider (ISP) or server host(s) will not expedite your request and may result in a delayed response due the complaint not being properly being filed.

Presentation Copyright© 2007, 2023
All Rights Reserved