The answer for the statist is, of course, the statist. The answer grants a license to lawless activism that is arbitrary and subject to rationing by the statist himself. It is the kind of lawless activism of which Justice Marshall boasted when he proclaimed “You do what you think is right and let the law catch up.” It is a different way of saying “I don’t care what the Framers intended. I care only about what I intend.”
President Franklin Roosevelt was among those who believed that the rights our Framers intended to preserve in a Bill of Rights were not enough. Thus, he proposed a Second Bill of Rights, which included the following:
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.
These are, of course, not rights in any sense of the word. This is a promise of Utopia from a Statist president seeking to justify unlimited intrusion upon the right to own property. It is a false promise from a president who fails to understand what separates man from the lower animals.
There is little question that a guaranteed outcome undercuts man’s ability to overcome his weaknesses. The statist fails to realize that by confiscating a man’s property – in service to equality of outcome – he confiscates his incentive to improve his own life by building his own home, growing his own food, and making his own clothes. When the statist confiscates property he also confiscates a man’s ability to improve his life.
The Great Depression made possible the tenure of one statist president whose “solutions” greatly exacerbated our economic woes. Today, we face a similar situation. That is why this discussion must continue in a future column.
Source: Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, by Mark Levin. New York: Simon and Schuster (2009).