Rights Are Not Gifts From Government

As the festivities come to an end and I look forward to the new year, I’ve been reflecting on all that has happened in 2019. As a nation we’ve witnessed terrorist attacks, violence in our capital city and other places, the arrest and solitary confinement of journalist Julian Assange for daring to report on the misdeeds of governments, attacks on free speech, more rights infringing legislation against the law abiding, the continued Parliamentary coup against the voice of the people, the betrayal of the referendum vote by MPs in the commons holding their own negotiations with the EU, the final overthrow of the anti-Brexit majority at Westminster aided by a bidding war on spending between the two biggest parties, and the rejection of an increasingly public communist streak in Labour in favour of an unknown quantity Tory party living on borrowed time until the next election.

Speaking as a Libertarian, and Chairman of the Libertarian Party, all of the betrayal, failure and harm generated by the state seems to boil down to one thing. We, the people, have forgotten from whom power legitimately flows. The Brexit referendum brought with it a great awakening and we, the people, began to see an opportunity to finally be heard. Parliament’s response since our vote showed, more prominently than at any other time in recent history, the disregard and contempt with which the political elite held our voice. To them it was something to be batted aside, ignored, trampled, and certainly not heeded. But I fear, following the general election that appears to have secured Brexit, that we who have awoken may be convinced to return again to slumber – that we may give up our voice again, and instead accept the pig-in-a-poke that Parliament is sovereign – not you and not me.

I urge all instead to remain awake, to recognise the logical and natural truth, that government draws its power and legitimacy from us, not the other way around. I urge you to accept the reality that your rights are not and cannot be granted to you as gifts from the government, but instead reside in you by virtue of your humanity as a member of the human race. With this perspective we cannot forget that the government works for us, that government is the servant and we are each master, and as such the government owes its reports and accounting to us, not the other way around. We can remain a free people on no other understanding.

For 2020 it is my wish that we would each hold the government to account for its actions, its failures, its illegal activities, its unjust wars in foreign lands, its breach of our privacy, its overreaching regulation, and every other abuse of our rights – which are ours as people, not as dispensations granted at the whim of government. I urge you to be peaceful but vocal in 2020, to accept no further encroachment on our liberties, and to speak out in defense of others.

In 2016 we got our voice back, let 2020 be the year we decide to be peaceful, but to never be silenced ever again.

Dan Liddicott
Libertarian Party Chairman