Sunday, June 28, 2009

FDR's Second Bill Of Rights

"The Second Bill of Rights was a proposal made by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944 to suggest that the nation had come to recognize, and should now implement, a second bill of rights. Roosevelt did not argue for any change to the United States Constitution; he argued that the second bill of rights was to be implemented politically, not by federal judges. Roosevelt's stated justification was that the "political rights" guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights had "proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness." Roosevelt's remedy was to create an "economic bill of rights" which would guarantee:

Roosevelt stated that having these rights would guarantee American security, and that America's place in the world depended upon how far these and similar rights had been carried into practice."

source: Wikipedia

It is 65 years latter. Isn't about time to do this?

The Republicans say NO! They have been saying "NO" or "Not Yet" since 1953. 55 years of NO! If you believe them, all of these "rights" are un-American. Let us lift up the nearest rock and let them crawl back under it. Then let's undo this mess they have built for us, and that we let them build.

Barack Obama, let us obtain these rights:

"We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, 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.

Among these are:

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.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won (WWII) we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being."

---FDR 1944

Are you with me or aginst me?


TStockmann said...

Agin, sorry to say

drlobojo said...

Which part can you not support?

TStockmann said...

Honestly, DrL - I could hardly get past the first - a "right" to a job, etc. Apart from the general notion that such a right imposes obligations (reduces rights) elsewhere, I have already suffered enough people who had a "right" to a job - as a coworker, as a client. The "right" to make money from a farm, as if producing a common and easily obtained commodity is still the font of sacred democracy rather than just another business. I can argue for programs that have results somewhat simialr to what FDR advocated, but not on the basis of imaginary rights.

drlobojo said...

Your points are well made.
As for rights to a job, that has multiple dimensions. Non-discrimination based on race, sex, etc. which functionally still does not exist. Equal pay for equal work, another fantasy. Welfare to Work, a strange world where you get training to work but can't make a living wage afterwards. I've dealt with same coworkers and people you have. Yet there should be a balance somewhere. As an absolute right, maybe not, as a conceptual right I would say yes.

The "farm" thing is a whole nother can of worms. Times have changed drastically since 1944 in farmworld. They have gotten far more tenuous and dangerous. We are going to need a new "farm" & "food production" National policy if we are to continue to eat well. The shift in the climate belts is already screwing Oklahoma's wheat production over the past three years. When we hit $10 for a loaf of bread and $12 Big Macs people will be ready for a 'SOCIALST' food production policy. That's not really far away. Food production failure is never incremental, it is always a crash.

More thoughts?

Feodor said...

All rights are imaginary; they are born within the extent of our conceptions of the human person.

And, "a right imposes obligations (reduces rights)..." is simply rhetorical trickery and non-logic. Rights-based theory is nothing but construing a set of obligations.

Rights do restrict freedoms. But in social contract reality, it is always the goal to protect the largest terrain of freedom possible given the rights the society wants to ascribe to itself.

A hundred years ago, Maria Montesori wrote that in her work with Italian "slum" children she found that exposure in early childhood to rich experiences with materials, words, group work, set the stage for their being able to achieve the same academic standards as all other Italian children.

Her 1906 book was translated into English in 1914.

How slow we are; how slow we all are.

Rights are nothing if not a marker for the scope of our moral imagination.

Feodor said...

For, and more.

drlobojo said...

"Rights" is a loaded word alright. We have been debating such in the U.S. since before day one. I tend to go with Jefferson's Natural Law when I look for "Rights".

A very popular concept refective of our greed for the past 40 years is the saying, "You Get What You Negotiate, Not What You Deserve."

It might as well read, "You Get What You Can Steal, Not What You Can Earn."

If America is not able to deliver a sembalance of these second bill of rights to the people, then all bets are off as to what happens next.

TStockmann said...

I agree with Feodor that "rights" only exist within social conceptions, though they can be applied to individuals, animals, spirits, groups, whatever. The Founding Father's inborn and inalienable formation reflected a shared and persuasive conception, not something ontological. And of course there are contending rights - a typical example is free speech versus the right to be free of calumny, both socially ordered, with tensions between accepted "rights." I suspect the intersubjective definitions and relative weights placed on each are different in his world than mine, and we've ended up in an impasse even trying to discuss them.

That's a good starting point to use when talking about this "right" to employment. Assuming that "rightness' applied to employment decisions is that thy be made only on the basis of productivity and cost (the nature of the actual activity) than turning down a potential employee in favor of another because they're short, or have acne, or isdiscreetly mention a loathing for the Grateful Dead in their interview - none of those things is "right." the reason we punish racial discrimination is not because it's inherently less fair to make decisions based on race than on height or musical taste (if otherwise irrelevant.) In fact, it's not even permitted even if it makes business sense because of customer preferences. But that has NOTHING to do with an inherent right against unfair discrimination - it's because (like a hate crime) considered to be socially destructive to allow open racial discrimination, as opposed to many other non job-related preferences.

As far as agriculture - not really an issue, i don't think. If we greatly reduced the wasteful and counterproductive (unhealthy) consumption of meat products and over-consumption of much else, i suspect the agricultural footprint would be smaller and cheaper than it currently is. If we don't, then heck, it's just edible tobacco and nobody worries about affording that.

Feodor said...

Well, now, hold on there, hoss.

I didn't say rights weren't ontological. All I said was that they were cognitive conceptions.

To make sense of rights being ontological AND cognitive conceptions is simply to propose that our deeply structured lifeworld shapes our ontology across a few domains among all the domains of human being.

It is to understand ontology as more plastic than common readings of western philosophy usually envision. And it is to take under serious consideration current psychological schools like constructivism and cognitive science.

TStockmann said...

But Feodor - if you redefine ontology to mean something other than the common Western definition, we're no longer talking about the same thing, and what's the point of submerging a semantic argument, especially if the arguing semantics. If you say in the fine tradition of Protagoras and synthetic apriori, that there is no point in describing a reality unstructured by Man, since we are collectively and individually are inevitably Man, that's fine (sort of). If you're arguing that morality has similar bases, that's nice and traditional too, but I've never seen anything convincing that fills the is/ought gap. I'm glad you like your implied utilitarianism, as Rawls likes his and Peter Singer likes his, but you have to realize it's not an definitive refutation of other constructions. The biggest reason you get so shrill and resort to abuse and/or mysticism when we talk about this is that you realize no such argument exists, and a preference is a preference, individually or collectively. This is not to deny that some value sets and practices aren't demonstrably flawed in an instrumental sense - I think we would agree that some things just don't work in relation to posited ends. It pains me to see you use a phrase like "social contract reality" when "social contract bad metaphor" is so much more accurate, and that error makes me wonder if you're just using tag-ends as shibboleths rather than compressing what you're trying to say with a referential shorthand. This isn't just semantics - misdescribing the process makes a hash of figuring out ways to resolve the conflicts to which we both alluded.

drlobojo said...

"Natural law theory eventually gave rise to a concept of "natural rights." John Locke argued that human beings in the state of nature are free and equal, yet insecure in their freedom. When they enter society they surrender only such rights as are necessary for their security and for the common good. Each individual retains fundamental prerogatives drawn from natural law relating to the integrity of person and property (natural rights). This natural rights theory provided a philosophical basis for both the American and French revolutions. Thomas Jefferson used the natural law theory to justify his trinity of "inalienable rights" which were stated in the United States Declaration of Independence."

Call me old fashion, not semantically engaged, what have you, but I take Jefferson's life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness as my basic rights.

When Americans are hungry, homeless, jobless, and sick and not provided for, even for a few weeks or months their natural rights" under our Constitution are being denied.

TStockmann said...

You are a kind soul.

drlobojo said...

"...kind soul?"
Only if I stay on my meds.

Feodor said...

The reason I get shrill is that you, TStockmann, get aphoristic in lieu of proposals. We follow the ones we love, surely.

Or, I should say, aphoristic with me.

With DrLBJ you just get patronizing.

drlobojo said...

"With DrLBJ you just get patronizing."

That's because I'm the President of the John Spruce Society and he is just the VP.