Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Constitution

He believes the following should be in the Constitution:

  • The right to a home.
  • The right to medical care.
  • The right to a decent education.

One wonders how that works. If you have a right to this things that means other people are obligated to provide it for you, and if I have an obligation against my will to provide you with something, I would be what you’d call, at least in some part, a slave.

11 thoughts on “Jesse Jackson Jr.’s Constitution”

  1. Since the constitution already holds that gun ownership is a right, when is the government going to provide me with a gun?

  2. One only needs to look over here at NJ to find the answer. We have the rights to a “thorough and efficient education” and “affordable housing”. I guess that’s why people are flocking here in droves…

  3. Negative rights are limits on governmental power; positive rights are obligations of the government to provide you with stuff. The Soviet Union had a lot of positive rights; the U.S., for a long time, had the negative view. Guess which worked better to alleviate suffering and poverty?

  4. @David:

    The second amendment doesn’t guarantee you a government issued gun, it prevents the government from forcibly preventing you from owning one; it’s a negative rather than positive right, as Clayton Cramer said. If this is what mr. Jackson meant with his proposed rights, I suspect we’d have no problem, as nobody wants the government prohibiting people from buying homes, educating their children, or purchasing medical care for their needs

    The problem arises when such a right is taken to mean that the government must provide people with those things, because it requires the confiscation of somebody else’s stuff to provide it. The more of such “rights” exist, the more the people who do not benefit from them (e.g. Healthy young adults living with their parents, under Jackson’s system) suffer because their wealth is taken to provide someone else with stuff.

  5. @Nathaniel

    I know, it was a satirical question to the notion that housing, health care, and jobs are rights that the gov’t should provide.

    It’s Friday, I try not to be so serious.

  6. So perhaps Rep. Jackson would support
    * The right to a home: No property taxes by any local, state or federal government.
    * The right to medical care: No federal control of health care, as that always lead to worse care on average, and horrid care in particular.
    * The right to a decent education: No unions for teachers, to avoid worker’s collective bargaining harming the education of our children.

    Think he will go for it?

  7. I’m willing to sponsor a camp with mud huts and a witch doctor for anyone who wants to sign up for Jesse’s programs.

  8. The “right” to a decent education is far more a duty than a right: we could sit a child in a classroom with state-of-the-art textbooks and equipment, and have three excellent teachers for that one child, but if that child refuses to learn, he’s not getting a decent education!

    On the other hand, put a bright and determined student in the worst school imaginable (say, Washington, D.C.), and that child will do what it takes to learn, even with teachers and parents actively attempting to sabotage his efforts, by confiscating books and long detentions full of busy work.

    Or rather, at least, I’d like to think a bright child could: even the brightest and toughest among us can eventually have our spirits broken. :-(

  9. I believe that Americans have these rights already. However, just like the right to own a gun, you are required to buy them yourself.

    I suspect what J.J. jr. really means is the right to a “free” home, “free” medical care, and a “free” education. I don’t thnk that is anything other than really really dumb.

  10. Actually, the right to an education is already written into many state constitutions, and is one of the bigger budget items in most state budgets as a result. It’s one of the few public expenses that state governments have been obligated to provide for most of our nation’s history. In most cases, constitutions don’t say how to provide this–public schools vs. vouchers, etc.–but it is pretty clear it must be provided. These constitutions can of course be amended if sufficient numbers of people believe that compelling taxes from people to provide a minimum level of universal access to education is no longer something they wish to do. A major source of friction is that when funding for schools is local, poor neighborhoods have less money for schools but better off people resent having their tax money sent away to educate other people’s children. I think calling that resentment slavery is an exaggeration, but there’s no doubt the friction and resentment are genuine.

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