“First come rights, then comes Government”
What the Declaration of Independence really claimed, Lawprof Randy Barnett says adding 4 bullet points:
• The rights of individuals do not originate with any government, but pre-exist its formation.
• The protection of these rights is both the purpose and first duty of government.
• Even after government is formed, these rights provide a standard by which its performance is measured and, in extreme cases, its systemic failure to protect rights—or its systematic violation of rights—can justify its alteration or abolition.
• At least some of these rights are so fundamental that they are “inalienable,” meaning they are so intimately connected to one’s nature as a human being that they cannot be transferred to another even if one consents to do so.