Is food a right?

Joseph Farah© 2011 You may have missed.

It wasn't a big story.

But recently Mexico began a move to amend its constitution to declare adequate food as a natural right.

Last year Brazil made a similar move.

The United Nations is applauding this great breakthrough for mankind.

"This is a great step forward for Mexico," said Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. special rapporteur on the right to food. "With this reform, Mexico joins a select group of countries around the world that have enshrined the right to food in their constitutions."

I can assure you that this will not be an isolated case. Watch for this move to become a hallmark of the Wall Street Occupation, the Democratic Party and other community activists across the U.S.

It raises several questions – or should:

•Is food a natural right? •If so, how did the American Founding Fathers miss this one? •Is it a good idea for governments to make such proclamations? •Does this kind of action by government actually help provide people with the food they need, or is it counterproductive? •Is this just another way for government – and even supra-government entities – to meddle in the affairs of individuals and empower themselves at the same time? "Rights" descend from God, not government. It's government's job to protect those inalienable rights, not to create them out of whole cloth. Because what government can bestow upon people as "privileges" can be taken away as quickly as they were granted.

That's the meaning of "rights," as our founders understood them – and as we should today.

Furthermore, if you read the preamble to the Bill of Rights, the words that explain why the founders added the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, it's clear they had one thing in mind – providing further restrictions on the scope and power of government. They weren't attempting to create rights. They were attempting to ensure that the rights all men were granted by God were not trampled upon by government.

What a difference from what goes on today.

Today, the advocates of unlimited government power, with essentially no checks and balances and no accountability to God's laws and will, seek more and more empowerment to act like gods. They may seem like they're giving away free food out of nothing more than beneficence, but they are actually selling the chains of tyranny.

Neither is it productive to encourage people to depend on government or to believe that they can be slothful and still have their basic needs met.

The Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3 suggests this was happening even among the first-century believers, who, in many cases, were living communally. It was a problem then – and he scolded those who were taking advantage of others by not being diligent:

"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." (2 Thessalonians 3:10-15)

No, just as the right to freedom of speech does not suggest you have the privilege of owning a TV network, neither does the fact that men should not be deprived of partaking of the fruits of their own labors suggest food must be provided to those who don't work. And it certainly does not suggest that the wealth of others should be forcibly confiscated by government to redistribute as it sees fit.