We are not a Democracy, we are a Republic
This is as succinct, and as masterful a description of the relationship between the rights of man, and the government of a free state, as I have yet seen.
“I cannot, and will not, consent that the majority of any republican State may, in any way, rightfully restrict the humblest citizen of the United States in the free exercise of any one of his natural rights,” which are “those rights common to all men, and to protect which, not to confer, all good governments are instituted.”
John A. Bingham (Judge, Congressman, and the principal author of the 14th amendment)
As quoted in the Appellants brief in McDonald v. City of Chicago(my emphasis added).
All too often one hears men say ‘the constitution gives us the right” or even “the government gives us the right”.
This is simply false. Governments cannot confer rights on someone. Rights are those things that are common to all men. Those things that we have, and which cannot be taken away from us but by force, fraud, or willing consent.
Governments exist, for the sole purpose of protecting and furthering those rights; and no other.