By Tibor Machan: Syndicated Columnist
Earlier this month, the media marked the 60th anniversary of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inglorious death. He died from ailments largely hidden from the public in a pattern of deception that has now become all too closely associated with America’s political leadership.
But that’s nothing compared to the deception perpetrated upon the American people via Roosevelt’s list of phony rights, a list that forever corrupted the ideas of the American Founders.
Roosevelt unhesitatingly referred to this list as “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.” Here is a look at the list, which simply cannot be upheld as true or as a list of rights that make good sense:
• “The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation.” Well, if we do have such a right, then others must be forced to employ us, thus subjecting them all to involuntary servitude.
• “The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.” Once gained, such a right would require it of government, which the Founders identified as having been instituted so as to “secure” our “unalienable rights to life, liberty, etc.,” to violate those very rights. Instead of leaving us be free, having such rights means government must coerce us into laboring for others.
• “The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living.” This, too, means the farmer must be provided with customers, willing or unwilling. But that means the customers are not free to choose what they will buy for themselves but must do the bidding of the farmers.
• “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.” By claiming a right to “unfair competition,” FDR insisted on a cadre of market supervisors, a squad of police state officers empowered to decide for people in the market what is or is not fair, which is simply an impossible task and gives those police state officers vast arbitrary powers over other people.
• “The right of every family to a decent home.” OK, so this decent home, if it is everyone’s right, will have to be secured on the backs of other people who may have other projects they choose to pursue instead of providing decent homes for the rest of us. Free men and women ought never to be made to produce goods or services for other people, unless that is what they choose to do. That is their own task, however difficult it may be.
• “The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.” No way to do this without enslaving a great many of us to serve other people, to do so against our own free will, thus once again violating our right to liberty.
• “The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident and unemployment.” This, too, is something all of us ought to provide for ourselves, not extract at the point of the gun from others. Our right to liberty is, in part, to be respected and protected so that we may all strive to provide for ourselves and if we are unable to do so, to seek help from others, not by forcible but peaceful means.
• “The right to a good education.” It is our parents, who chose to bring us into this world, who should be securing our education, and after that we ourselves by either paying for or investing in our education or by convincing, not coercing, others to do this for us if we cannot. Yes, Virginia, public education is itself a forcible transfer program of resources and services unbecoming of free men and women.
The plain truth is that all these phony rights of FDR and his supporters, many of them going very strong today in law schools and political philosophy departments, indeed all over the world via the UN’s adoption of the list, have helped to systematically abrogate our genuine, bona fide unalienable rights, rights that are the conditions of our freedom and of a free society.
No, Roosevelt’s phony rights must be given up for what they are, a nightmare of political privileges that made it OK for government to grow into the Leviathan it now is.
Tibor Machan advises Freedom Communications, parent company of this newspaper. E-mail him at: Machan@chapman.edu