Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Obama, FDR and the Second Bill of Rights

Nice bite-size morsel of an opinion as only Bloomberg can deliver it.
Obama, FDR and the Second Bill of Rights

Let's list them here:
  • 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. 
The right to bear arms...just kidding.

Why does the author insist that FDR "had no interest in socialism"?  He did, and good and damn well that he did.  Sorry but "socialism", "liberal" and "progressive" are not dirty words, but perhaps they are to the usual Bloomberg readership.  And think how a conservative or a libertarian would respond to each of these bullet points...Not sure?  Here are some choice comments from a couple of them [I added the emphasis]:

r minty 1 hour ago
Rights, properly understood, are individual and personal (with limited exceptions). They cost others absolutely nothing. My (or your) religious Beliefs and political opinions do not cost some third Party so much as one red cent. My security from State imposition costs nobody.
But Obama conflates THINGS with Rights. When it is claimed that some have a Right to food, housing (decent housing, at that), and free medical, the costs must come from the earnings of others, and are therefore not Rights. A Right to a good paying job? And what if the "employee" is not WORTH the pay? The cost comes from the pockets of others.And when government muddles into the business world, to determine what is "fair" trade (even without the inherent resulting corruption), it will always cost, and the cost is paid by everyone.
Obama, always the clueless "community organizer", and never someone who's earned an honest living or bothered to learn the business end of business.
Dracovert 4 hours ago
The comments herein are instinctively correct, and there are excellent analyses of the problem on a rational level, but there is something missing.  The problem is a failure to understand the psychological factors involved.
Obama is a psychopath just as Hitler was, and Sunstein is a sycophant and enabler just as the German generals were.
[yhk: I was going to paste the whole thing but you get the idea.  Well, maybe a bit more...]
Obama and his sycophants are quite capable of destroying our Republic.  The good news is that
psychopaths always fail.  The bad news is that their failure always costs innocent people their livelihoods and their fortunes, and sometimes their lives.

The previous commentator evidently loves to use the word "psychopath."  Why is the Second Bill of Rights so repulsive to the conservative and right-wing mindset?  Because national policy should not be about equalizing opportunity and wealth?  Do they incite class warfare because they take from the rich and give to the poor?  Are they indicative of state tyranny and demagoguery?  Too close to communism?  They do not reward the Makers and promote the Takers?  Because Ayn Rand was right?  [BTW, check out Paul Krugman's "Makers, Takers, Fakers", slamming Jindal, Romney and Ryan.]

In terms of the current gun control debate, the comment that "Obama conflates THINGS with Rights" is an appropriate one.  How is owning guns a right?  Guns are things, but gun ownership is a right?  Is this comparable to having a right to a home (not necessarily home ownership, mind you)?  Right to defend yourself? Sure.  Owning a gun?  Not a right.  Defending liberty and freedom?  Sure.  Being able to fire off guns of any type?  Not a right.  Pretty simple.  Guns or gun ownership do not equal self-defense or liberty or freedom.

1 comment:

Bob said...

I find myself agreeing with some of r minty's points. The original Bill of Rights really does deal only with a different class of "natural" rights that require no effort to provide. They simply exist unless government tries to take them away. They were also the product of deliberation, consensus and compromise by different parties, formally adopted as law by the legislature, and ratified by the states. I can see why some would consider FDR's PROPOSED second bill of rights to be a bit of a dilution of the concept.

But I also see this as a natural evolution of human society, part of the notion of "three generations of human rights" ( It takes being more open-minded about the meaning of the word "rights". It doesn't mean someone's going to hand these things to you on a platter.

I think of it this way: Freedom is not enough. Every one of us is born completely helpless. Inalienably free, but totally dependent. All of the most fundamental of these "right" -- food, clothing, medical care -- are GIVEN to us until we are able to get them for ourselves. By whom? By our families. And what family we are born into has a tremendous impact on our ability to achieve so many of these other "rights" -- a good education, useful and remunerative jobs, trade in an atmosphere of freedom. Our families set our mental bar for what is possible, even expected, and help us achieve it. This didn't automatically make us all "takers". FDR's vision was a society that functions as such a family, that sets the bar higher for what we expect of each other, and for what we help each other achieve.