The Corner

Change of Subject

The Obama campaign had their guy Cass Sunstein out doing the damage control on the redistribution/constitution stuff yesterday. Powerline’s Scott Johnson discusses this in the context of Prof Sunstein’s book on FDR’s Second Bill of Rights — from his 1944 State of the Union:

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 family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health…

It all sounds very nice. In practice — as even the Supreme Court of Canada has noticed — “the right to medical care” boils down to the right to have your name placed on a two-year waiting list for a government-scheduled operation.

But even in theory (as promoted by Sunstein and many others) it inverts the great idea of America as a republic whose government is restrained and limited by the natural rights of the individual and replaces it with a conventionally European view in which all “rights” are granted by the Sovereign and devolved down to his grateful subjects. As I say somewhere in America Alone, the difference between the US constitution and the proposed EU constitution is that the latter boils down to: “We the people agree to leave it to you the people who know better than the people.”

The Obama view of “social justice” — in which the state’s role is to “redistribute” between competing identity groups — comes very close to that. And Barney Frank & Co are even more open about it. An Obama-Pelosi-Frank-Reid supermajority would not be Clinton II.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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