Hitherto we have spoken only (and that but in part) of the natural rights of man. We have now to consider the civil rights of man, and to show how the one originates from the other. Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundations of all his civil rights. But in order to pursue this distinction with more precision, it will be necessary to mark the different qualities of natural and civil rights.
A few words will explain this. Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rights of others. Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation, some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to the enjoyment of which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are those which relate to security and protection.
From this short review, it will be easy to distinguish between that class of natural rights which man retains after entering society and those he throws into the common stock as a member of society.
The natural rights which he retains, are all those in which the power to execute is as perfect in the individual as the right itself. Among this class, as is before mentioned, are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind: consequently, religion is one of those rights. The natural rights which is not retained, are all those in which, though the right is perfect in the individual, the power to execute them is defective. They answer not his purpose. A man, by natural right, has a right to judge in his own cause; and so far as the right of mind is concerned, he never surrenders it: But what availeth it to judge, if he has not power to redress? He therefore deposits this right in the common stock of society, and takes the arm of society, of which he is a part, in preference and in addition to his own. Society grants him nothing. Every man is a proprietor in society, and draws on the capital as a matter of right.
From these premises, two or three certain conclusions will follow.
First, That every civil right grows out of natural right; or, in other words, is a natural right exchanged.
Secondly, That civil power, properly considered as such, is made up of the aggregate of that class of the natural rights of man, which becomes defective in the individual in the point of power, and answers not his purpose; but when collected to a focus, becomes competent to the purpose of every one.Thirdly, That the power produced from the aggregate of natural rights, imperfect in power in the individual, cannot be applied to invade the natural rights which are retained in the individual, and in which the power to execute is as perfect as the right itself.The Rights of Man 1791 by Thomas Paine.
“Instead of elementary instruction in the "three R's," which should be so familiar to all hon. Members, or the provision, for which Wordsworth pleaded when he wrote of the State as:"Binding herself by statute to secureFor all the children whom her soil maintainsThe rudiments of letters, and informThe mind with moral and religious truth."we substitute a new Clause 34 which says:“It shall be the duty of the parent of every child of compulsory school age to cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.” ”
With this new legal duty the Blakes would have found their freedom to make the same choices that they made for their children, in the first instance, intact. William Blake, who hated scarce smiles and loved laughing, would still have been educated otherwise.
In 1944 we really were at war and if you compare Clause 34 of the 1944 Education Act (which enshrines, in law, freedoms) with the draconian erosion of civil liberties being proposed by the Badman Review it seems irrational to the point of being disturbing. Humans, as a species, are bound together by our actions: so what other people do, only illustrates what we are all capable of. So the horrors of World War II are, I think, a shared burden, in the same way that the horrors of the slave trade and Rwanda are. People, who are in all other respects decent, can do awful things. We, the British, did not win World War II, the Russians did. None the less, Britain with people from all over the world made huge sacrifices and many brave men and women lost their lives. In the very same year, 1944, the free world landed on the beaches of Normandy at the cost of 10,000 casualties; 20,000 slave workers died making the V2 rocket that was also used (in 1944) to bomb Paris, Antwerp and London. Three million Germans went to concentration camps or prison for their opposition to the Nazis. We are told that these sacrifices should never be forgotten and in the aftermath of the war it was British lawyers who were instrumental in drawing up the European Convention on Human Rights. So it can only be wrong for the English government to be signing away this important freedom in such a treacherous manner. Hitler had banned home education in 1938 and we chose to protect it, by law, at time when we were fighting for our lives. As my Swedish correspondent noted – Hitler himself is quoted saying: - "My greatest resource is people's ability to forget."
The symbolism should not be lost on Parliament here: - ancient British freedoms secured at great cost or a redundant Nazi ban working its way through the back door?
The sentimentalist is he who would enjoy without incurring the immense debtorship for a thing done.
Ulysses - James Joyce