Friday, March 6, 2009

When Did We Start to Make Stuff Up?

by Smitty

The Blogfather points to Professor Bainbridge, who poses one of those boring but expensive questions: is health care a right? Allow me to up the ante: just when did we start to make stuff up?

Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism made a reference to an FDR speech that sent me to Google to scour the cloudywebs, arriving at this gem:

FDR 1944 State of the Union excerpt:
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights--among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however--as our industrial economy expanded--these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
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.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
Oh, Franklin, Franklin, Franklin. Who needs to amend the Constitution via Article 5 when you can just cook it on the fly? Life sure is easy when you can convince free men to sell their precious liberty for the perception of security.

Even if the intentions were initially noble, the results have been a mixed bag, and the precedent set simply disastrous.

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