Cass Sunstein: The Second Bill Of Rights and the Death of “Government By the Consent of the Governed”

Glen Beck and Fox News have been publicizing more information about Cass Sunstein since their success in the ouster of Van Jones. Of course, that had no effect on our elected representatives who voted 57-40 to confirm Sunstein as the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Beck has been concentrating on Sunstein’s stance on Animal Rights and a 2007 call for the banning of hunting. That is only the tip of the iceberg of Sunstein’s progressive, statist agenda.

In 2004 Sunstein authored a book entitled “The Second Bill of Rights: FDR’s Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever”.  The Second Bill of Rights was laid out by FDR in his 11th State of the Union Address in 1944 as a means to “assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” Equal outcomes, or as liberal newspeak has it, “level the playing field.” FDR listed these state guaranteed “rights” as:

“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.”

Each of these is a goal, something to strive for; the original Bill of Rights ensures we are able to strive for them, without the interference of government. Americans were the first people in the history of mankind to recognize that a higher power, our Creator and NOT our government, or our King, has endowed each of us with the liberties necessary to pursue these worthy goals. According to Sunstein, that is where we went wrong:

“…there are no “natural” rights – all rights are the product of government, defined by government, enforced by government, and protected by government. The “right” to ownership of property, for example, which most people think of as a primal right inherent to all who are born into society, is actually a product of law.”

According to Sunstein rights are a product of law, or more correctly, of the government that writes the law. Rather than being “endowed by our Creator” with liberties beyond the reach of government, we are endowed with our rights by our government. Sunstein would have us, to borrow from Thomas Jefferson, endowed by those “favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them [the mass of mankind] legitimately, by the grace of God.” Sunstein has even higher aspirations for his tyrannical theories on the origin of rights.

The Cato Institute’s Tom G. Palmer reviewed the book for National Review and described Sunstein’s constitutional desires for his government granted rights…

“The mere assertion of those rights isn’t enough for Sunstein; he wants to endow them with constitutional status, like the rights that are actually mentioned in the Constitution. He admits that “the founding document does not refer to them, and it is not seriously argued that they are encompassed by anything in the Constitution” — yet on the next page he states that “if the nation becomes committed to certain rights, they may migrate into the Constitution itself”. Later on, he asserts that “at a minimum, the second bill should be seen as part and parcel of America’s constitutive commitments. Roosevelt’s speech proposing the second bill deserves a place among the great documents in the nation’s history. Indeed, it can be seen as occupying a place akin to the Declaration of Independence, or perhaps somewhere between the Declaration and the Constitution.” (emphasis added)

With views like these it is no wonder Cass Sunstein is described as Obama’s close personal friend”, Obama himself describes the Constitution as “too restrictive” and “a charter of negative rights.” This is yet another glimpse of Obama’s goals concerning the Constitution for the United States.

Providing these state guaranteed rights will provide the ultimate power to the Statist government, placing the reins in our mouths and Obama and his radical statist ilk firmly upon our backs. Imagining how the government will meet the requirements entailed in all of these new rights is something straight out of “1984”, “Brave New World” or “Soylent Green”. Sunstein even telegraphs the first things our new, all powerful government will have to take away, for the good of all, of course. Property rights, how will government pay for everyone’s “remunerative” job if you are allowed to retain your money as property? How will the government provide guaranteed “decent homes” if you are allowed to maintain your home as property?

Palmer closed his book review with this:

“The Second Bill of Rights may rest on a logical fallacy, a primitive economic theory, and a silly ethical claim, but it is instructive nonetheless. Sunstein’s treatment of the problem of how to use the judiciary to enforce welfare rights shows what a radical departure they are from the rule of law, how they introduce arbitrariness into government policy, and how, ultimately, the contradictions and incompatibilities generated by welfare rights undermine the very idea of rights itself — for when “rights” conflict, the state must decide whose “rights” are to be respected, but, since it has been stipulated that both of the conflicting parties are in the right, the state’s decisions must be on the basis of something other than right.
Sunstein’s work represents a return to the governmental theories of absolutism — of power, rather than of right. Welfare rights are incompatible, not only with property rights, but with law and with the very concept of rights. Professor Sunstein, meet Louis XIV.”

Once our government, rather than our Creator, is recognized as providing all our rights it will no longer derive it’s just powers from the consent of the governed, rather using its divine powers to provide its “just” consent to the governed for our every action.

Or as Obama will be able to say, “It’s good to be da king.”

Contributor to The Minority Report