Progressivism vs. Conservatism:  "The New Bill of Rights"

FDR’s New Bill of Rights Articulated in his 1944 State of the Union Address

Barack Obama Wants a New Progressive, Liberal Bill of Rights

The need for a "Second Bill of Rights" has been championed by Obama ally and advisor, Cass Sunstein, Law Professor at the University of Chicago, in a book entitled "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More than Ever." Obama surrogate Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D) Ohio recently demanded the implementation of a "Second Bill of Rights" at an Obama campaign rally.

The revival of the concept of a "Second Bill of Rights" puts a new face on Barack Obama's seven-year-old musings about the Constitution. The Constitution suggests that human beings have rights granted to them by God (or nature if one prefers) that governments cannot take away. The government cannot take away ones right to speak or own fire arms, jail someone without just cause, take property without just compensation, and so on. These are "negative rights" according to Barack Obama.

But the "Second Bill of Rights" are "positive rights," things that the government must give one. Jobs, education, health care, housing, and so on are not things that people have the right to acquire by their own effort. Government must give people these things. There are two problems with Barack Obama and "The Second Bill of Rights":

First, jobs, education, health care, housing, and so on cost money. Governments, by their nature, cannot create wealth necessary to provide such things. To get the money necessary, governments must take it away from other people which it deems to have too much of it. In other words, redistribution or "spreading" the wealth.  And no one has the right to keep their wealth if the government wants to use it for its own purpose.

Second, as Tom Palmer, who reviewed Professor Sunstein's book suggested, the very idea of a "Second Bill of Rights" means that there are no God-given or natural rights, but simply rights that the government grants or takes away according to its own convenience and whim.

Thus the implementation of a "Second Bill of Rights" implies a complete reversal of the founding philosophy of the United States, that government should be limited and have only those powers that the people are willing to grant it. Instead, government and not the people is all powerful and people only have the rights that government wills to grant them. That is the future that we face should Barack Obama become President with huge majorities in the House and Senate.

So what we have is this:

The Post Civil War Progressive & Liberal Idea is Collective Freedom

Government grants rights (entitlements & “civil liberties”) to the society in order that the people be free from the limits Imposed by nature and necessity.  The Liberal aim is the “Equality of Results”.

The American Founder & Conservative Idea is Individual Freedom

God and nature have granted unalienable rights (life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, etc.) demanding that the people be free from government confiscation of these rights, thus enabling  the Individual to pursue happiness.  The Conservative aim is the “Equality of Opportunity”.

Fred Arbogast

Arnold, CA

June 14, 2009