“Locke argued that individuals should be free to make choices about how to conduct their own lives as long as they do not interfere with the liberty of others. Locke therefore believed liberty should be far-reaching.
By “property,” Locke meant more than land and goods that could be sold, given away, or even confiscated by the government under certain circumstances. Property also referred to ownership of one’s self, which included a right to personal well being. Jefferson, however, substituted the phrase, “pursuit of happiness,” which Locke and others had used to describe freedom of opportunity as well as the duty to help those in want.
The purpose of government, Locke wrote, is to secure and protect the God-given inalienable natural rights of the people. For their part, the people must obey the laws of their rulers. Thus, a sort of contract exists between the rulers and the ruled. But, Locke concluded, if a government persecutes its people with “a long train of abuses” over an extended period, the people have the right to resist that government, alter or abolish it, and create a new political system.”
We do not hold that natural rights are limited to protection of life, liberty, happiness, and property, but extend to trade, too. The personal right to our labors’ purchase of goods and services, or barter between each other and amongst ourselves. And perhaps the one most oft overlooked, yet most important of all, equality under the law.
Natural rights don’t stop there.
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
– 9th Amendment
“Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.”
― Benjamin Rush