- LA Times
- Dec 17, 2007
It was the great Puritan dissenter John Lilburne who pioneered the notion of inalienable rights through his lifelong campaign for "free born rights" -- privileges that belonged to every person by virtue of birth, not courtesy of any government or other human institution. That these rights included life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was a later iteration of the principle, but these resonant rights have always been as much legal fictions as anything else. Beginning with your right to be born and ending with your right to die (a right that is not even close to absolute throughout the 50 states), the only truly inalienable things you'll ever experience are death and taxes.
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