Who knew that telling people they have rights would be so controversial?

In his nationally televised address Wednesday night, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) reminded Americans that “our rights come from nature and God, not from government.”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went apoplectic. “It’s clear that Paul Ryan was talking to people who think about rights as something…produced by Thomas Jefferson, ignoring the people for whom the rights only came in the 1960s.”

Another MSNBC commentator, Touré Neblett, said the line that rights come from God and nature is “so offensive.” For “black people, Hispanic people, and women, our rights do not come from God or nature. . . They come from the government and from legislation that happens in relatively recent history in America.”

But rights don’t come from government. They can merely be protected by governments.

Natural rights are those inalienable rights which directly result from human nature. Humans possess these rights, including the right to one’s own life and the right to liberty, simply by virtue of being human. This is the only secure grounding for rights.

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