About the Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights refers to the first ten Constitutional amendments drafted and ratified by the United States Congress in 1789, two years after the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified. Congress determined that, "in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of [the Constitution's] powers...further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added." You can read the complete text of the Bill of Rights here.
Most importantly, the Bill of Rights establishes a concept known as natural or inalienable (i.e. unalienable) rights. This philosophy says that our rights are ours because we exist - not because of whomever controls our government at any moment in time. Natural rights are something all humans possess, even those who do not recognize or respect their own rights.
If Rights Belong to Everyone, Can't Anyone Just Decide to Immigrate Whenenver (and Wherever) They Want?
A recurring theme found in modern globalism - both neoconservatism, and progressivism - is that our inalienable rights extend to conditional civil liberties, like citizenship and residency. Remember, inalienable rights can't depend on anyone else to be exercised. Citizenship is not an inlienable right - it requires the preexistence of a nation which can grant citizenship, along with the consent of the nation in question to permit the same.
Every human has a right to exist, but demanding your existence be within some sovereign nation is not a right. The common libertarian position is that the individual's rights must always trump the collective's rights (or needs). Thus, there's no such thing as "illegal immigration," because all humans on Earth possess an inalienable right to live wherever they please, irrespective of sovereign borders.
America's founders didn't create a government and Constitution because they recognized the concept of natural, inalienable rights. They created our nation because they realized nobody else respected those rights. The Constitution protects rights that exist philosophically because you exist, but exist in practical reality because you live in a nation which, as its most basic precept, recognizes your inalienable rights.
There are more than few entities on our planet who want nothing more than to conquer the United States, seize its land and resources, and enslave its people. That's just the simple reality of a nation which rejects tyranny in favor of liberty. If the United States were to fall - through civil war, natural disaster, or whatever scenario you can possibly imagine - our rights will fall with it. After all, who will be left to actually protect us and serve as a firewall between the rest of the world and our people's natural love of liberty?
What does this all mean? Your rights must always be tempered with the need to maintain and protect the health of the Republic. There is no true "every man for himself" ideology which can survive on its own. The reality is that we live in a world of conquerors, and if we wish to remain free - that is, unconquered - we have no choice but to maintain a defensive position against the conquerors around us.
What Does This Mean for Immigration?
How do you protect your property? You lock your car at night, or keep it in a secure garage. You lock your doors when you leave your home, or when your defenses will be down (like at night). You secure your digital information with passwords, and sometimes with more advanced technology. We don't do these things because we assume everyone around us is necessarily a criminal; we do these things as simple measures we can take to avoid becoming the obvious targets of criminal behavior.
America's international borders are no different - we have an obligation to our citizens' safety, security, and liberty to protect our borders. Irrespective of the "nation of immigrants" trope which is frequently used to persuade people that immigration to America is a necessity, immigration is not a right. In fact, immigration is better considered a privilege - it's something that is offered out of the charitable kindness of the American people, which means that the offer can be revoked at any time, and we, the American people, don't have any obligation to defend doing so.
Every human on Earth has certain inalienable rights, including the right to exist. The right to exist extends to your own native homeland and no further. That means that America cannot infringe on other nations' right to exist in their own sovereign lands, and it means America cannot tolerate other nations infringing on its right to exist in its own sovereign land.
Is the Bill of Rights Racist?
Contrary to modern popular belief, the Bill of Rights is neither racist nor oppressive. It is a framework on which our entire nation's culture and tradition is built. The founders of our nation recognized that the threat of tyranny is always lurking in the shadows, waiting to swallow the people into a hellscape of perpetual dictatorial control. They crafted the Constitution and its first ten amendments - the Bill of Rights - as an inoculation against this ever-present threat.
The Constitution exists not to grant rights to the people, but to restrict the government from infringing on rights that exist purely naturally. What this means is that your rights exist because you exist. As a free-willed human, you are entitled to these rights, and you are entitled to protect them and demand that your government - and your fellow countrymen - respect these rights.
The rights outlined in our Constitution belong to all humans on Earth. All that is required is that you recognize the existence of your own rights, and remain vigilant about protecting them from the destructive forces of tyrannical government - and tyrannical people. This explicitly means that these rights are not exclusive to white people. That our founders didn't correctly recognize the need to afford the rights they delinated to African slaves, for example, is an artifact of the era in which the Constitution was written. It is not ever to be taken as an implict assumption that inalienable rights only exist for one race of people.
Doesn't the Bill of Rights Assume I'm a Christian?
Many politically conservative Americans happen to also be religiously Christian, and might argue that the United States was founded on Christian values, including a belief in the Christian (Abrahamic) god. However, if we look at the text of the Declaration of Independence, it says no such thing:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
There is no assumption that your Creator is the Abrahamic god. There are no assumptions at all about your Creator - who (or what) created you, why you were created, or what your Creator wants from you. The message is far simpler: your existence is deliberate rather than accidental, and the nature of a deliberate existence endows you with rights that are granted by no man or government - they are rights granted by virtue of your deliberate existence.
To understand more about creation and the philosophy that drives the idea we are created rather than the product of accident or chaos, check out the section on folk religion.
Why Should Non-Government Entities Respect the Bill of Rights?
Another common modern assumption is that the Constitution only restricts the actions of the government, therefore only the government is practically and realistically obliged to respect the rights therein. This is a fallacy. The Bill of Rights is the foundation of our culture, as well as our governance. If we are to truly believe that our rights are inalienable and therefore ours to possess alone, we must demand that our society as a whole respect these rights. Otherwise, what's the point? The federal government in 2021 has happily exploited the fact that many Americans believe the Constitution only applies to the government. Our political establishment and federal bureaucracy has discovered it can simply use the power of corporations to circumvent the Constitution. After all, if a business infringes on your rights, that's totally acceptable, right?
Do we truly possess the right to free speech if we are unable to exercise that right in any context other than what the government cannot prohibit? What happens when private corporations have more influence and power over how we express ourselves than the government? If the public square - historically the actual center of town, a physical space that is collectively owned by the people and therefore public - is digital, and that digital public square is controlled by private businesses, what excuse do we have to claim that digital public square shouldn't be subject to the same restrictions as the government, when it comes to infringing on our rights?
What about when the government - either publicly or behind closed doors - starts negotiating with these private corporations to silence dissent and all forms of Constitutionally-protected speech? Now it's not just private enterprise which is infringing on your rights; it is the government by proxy (meaning working through another entity).
A Real-World Example
Do we truly possess the right to self-defense if every bank and financial institution and payment processor in the country refuses to allow gun shops to conduct lawful business transactions with lawful customers? President Trump's appointed head of the OCC (The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency) added a rule January 14, 2021 that would prohibit banks from doing just that - but since it's an executive agency rule rather than a ratified federal law, another President could simply demand that rule be nullified. In fact, on January 28, only two weeks later and under President Biden's administration, the OCC paused the Fair Access Rule "to review the final rule and the public comments the OCC received." Now what? The top fifteen banks in the country hold about 52% of the nation's deposited cash.
The Big Four national banks - Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo - collectively hold about 35% of the nation's deposited cash. That's a lot of influence. Recently, three of the Big Four banks have started imposing restrictions on lawful firearms businesses - both retailers and manufacturers - on ideological grounds. Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase have all taken action in the last several years to financially restrict the firearms industry. When only three entities enjoy such widespread influence over business, is it right to stand by and say nothing?
Your rights exist always. Your rights exist because you exist. This is the foundation of the United States of America. That we have lost our way and forgotten this crucial truth, once thought to be self-evident (that is, obvious to society as a whole), does not mean we cannot reclaim this truth for ourselves, our fellow countrymen, and the future inheritors of our great nation.
Doesn't This Mean Businesses Must Never Discriminate (Bake the Cake)?
In 2012, a Christian cake artist found himself in hot water over a request to design a wedding cake for a gay couple. While he was willing to sell his wares to the couple, he was unwilling to design a wedding cake, as doing so conflicted with his personal religious convictions. The couple in question chose to take him to court rather than find a different artist, and it turned into a national story.
So, where is the line when it comes to your rights? Is there a black-and-white rule that can be applied to all situations and all businesses uniformly? While dualistic, absolute morality makes life easier, it rarely accommodates the nuances of reality. This is no different. If a small business declines to do business with you, you have the freedom to take your business elsewhere. If an entire industry is colluding and coordinating to restrict your rights, however, that is a different can of worms.
Can't You Just "Take Your Business Elsewhere" Online, Too?
Massive national and multinational corporations have far more influence and power over our daily existence than a single small business. The rules we apply to these corporations are necessarily different than the rules we apply to individuals, and individual small businesses. "Big Tech" - that is, multinational tech companies which are deeply embedded in our lives through social media sites, search engines, and cloud services - must be corralled, because it is these large companies which are weaponized by our government to infringe on our rights, and it is these companies which work together to grossly restrict the rights of both individuals and entire classes of people.
Masterpiece Cake Shop is not the only business in the United States or the state of Colorado providing custom cake design services. It is not even the only business in the Denver area offering these services, and it never attempted to persuade its competitors to refuse service to gay couples looking for a custom wedding cake. It's a very different scenario from, say, Twitter and Facebook working in concert to censor opinions that are considered unacceptable by the prevailing progressive orthodoxy.
In 2017, the United States Supreme Court ruled that social media is effectively an avenue for exercising your right to freedom of expression and free speech. This set an important precedent with regards to the nature of social media. Currently, in 2021, a very small handful of companies control the large majority of online public discourse. This means that these companies effectively serve as "the digital public square," and as such, are obliged to respect your Constitutional, inalienable rights. It only requires that we, the people, demand and fight for our rights to force these tech companies to respect us and our rights.
Respecting Yourself Means Respecting Your Rights
We hear a lot in pop culture about respecting ourselves. Positive thinking and the "positive psychology" movement are rooted in the idea that our individual wellbeing starts with respecting ourselves. As we deepen our understanding of what it means to possess inalienable, natural rights, it's important to recognize that self-respect includes respecting our own rights. As self-respect leads you to respect others, respecting your own rights leads you to respect the rights of others. After all, do your rights matter if you really believe that you're the only person entitled to them, or that your tribe or ideological group are the only people who should have these rights?
If we do not observe and respect our rights as a society, do our rights really exist? If the government is the only entity expected to respect your rights, they're not really rights - they're privileges granted by the government. If you want others in the world around you to respect and honor your rights, you have an obligation to indiscriminately afford the same to every person you encounter.
This doesn't mean that the United States has an obligation to enforce the ideology of natural rights on unwilling populations across the planet. It doesn't give us free license to "spread democracy and freedom" by invading sovereign nations and imposing our worldview on everyone else. It does, however, mean that as a sovereign nation, the United States is obliged to respect these rights in its own actions and policy decisions. It means that if we are to expect other nations to respect our national rights - like our right to exist as a sovereign nation - we must respect those same rights in other nations.
About That Pesky Second Amendment
This section is coming soon - stay tuned!