As Grim noted, the "negative-/positive- rights" debate about the Constitution has been ongoing for a while. Today, PowerLine provides more historical notes.
...Professor Sunstein was actually the right man to call on to explain Obama's remarks. They derive directly from Sunstein's advocacy of Roosevelt's so-called second Bill of Rights.
Roosevelt set forth his "second Bill of Rights" in his January 1944 State of the Union Address:
"In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all--regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
--The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
--The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
--The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
--The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
--The right of every family to a decent home;
--The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
--The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
--The right to a good education."
Well, that's a lot of "rights."
PowerLine then quotes Tom Palmer's analysis of FDR's manifesto:
You owe your life -- and everything else -- to the sovereign. The rights of subjects are not natural rights, but merely grants from the sovereign. There is no right even to complain about the actions of the sovereign, except insofar as the sovereign allows the subject to complain. These are the principles of unlimited, arbitrary, and absolute power, the principles of such rulers as Louis XIV. Intellectuals have assiduously promoted them; think of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes
In the FDR/Obama worldview, "rights" begin with positive law--that law made by the sovereign, or the Legislature.
In the view of the Founders, "rights" originate from God, thus are "natural." BIG difference.
Several millennia of experience with Sovereign Law have demonstrated that it doesn't work out exactly as its proponents would have you believe. Recent applications were instituted by Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro.
I don't think we need another example to emerge on this land.
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Post a Comment