According to the first ten Amendments of the U.S. Constitution (also known as the Bill of Rights), a citizen of the United States has the right to freedom of speech, press , and religion---to keep and bear arms---freedom to assemble---freedom to petition---freedom from search and seizure---freedom from cruel and unusual punishment---freedom from self-incrimination---freedom from the government establishing any religion---freedom from being denied access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness---the right to a speedy and fair trial---and the right to a "grand jury" for any capital or "infamous" crime.
As citizens of the United States, we do not have the "right" to not pay taxes, or drive a car, or go to college, or get an abortion, or eat at Red Lobster, or parachute out of an airplane, or several million other things. We are only "guaranteed" the specific rights I have listed above. So, my question is: Does the government have the right to take away things that we, as citizens, consider to be our "rights"??
For that matter, is the government already engaged in taking away those few rights that we are actually guaranteed?? In America today, do we really have 100 percent freedom of speech, or the press, or religion?? Do we have the right to purchase and keep as many arms as we wish?? Do we have the freedom to petition without the fear of being arrested?? Are we really safe from the threat of unlawful searches and seizures??
And, if the government has actually infringed upon those specific rights which are legitimately guaranteed to us by the Constitution, then what is there to stop them from taking away any rights (that we may think we have) that are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights?? Do we have the "right" to stop the government from taking away our "right" to stop them?? How do we stop them?? It is just as easy for the same government which guarantees us our rights to take away those rights that it is responsible for guaranteeing.
Personally, I have come to think of the whole idea of "having rights" as an illusion. I believe that our government can---and will---do everything and anything it pleases (regardless of what the Constitution does or does not "guarantee" us). I also believe that, if it is advantageous or deemed necessary, the government will not hesitate to trample all over our freedoms and self-perceived rights in order to accomplish its goals.
The "rights" of American citizens are violated every single day. Laws are passed every year that limit or diminish the power of our rights---one thin slice at a time. There is not enough space or time for me to give you example after example after example of how we are losing the token freedoms that we are supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution.
And, when people seem to care more about who won on American Idol or how much a gallon of gas costs than they do about their own freedom slipping through their fingers, it will not be all that long before the government won't have to even be "sneaky" in its attempt to rob us of our Constitutional Rights anymore. It will brazenly and openly steal our freedoms and rights right out from under our noses.