Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Thank You Tim Sandefur...

...for the wonderful news of a new Randy Barnett response to Kurt Lash in their exchanges on the original meaning of the Ninth Amendment.

I read Lash's latest last year, and while I'm not up to speed on the details compared to others, the one thing I never understood from his work (and perhaps the works of others) is how one gets from the concept of individual rights (a la Locke or the Declaration of Independence) to the concept of collective rights (the theme throughout Akhil Reed Amar's The Bill of Rights, where he speaks of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments in the collective sense).

If the idea that we are endowed with natural rights by our Creator and those rights are inalienable, then are they not (without some exceptions) beyond the reach of positive law, whether such a decree comes from a monarch or a democratic majority?

Of course, I admit that I may be straddling a philosophical argument and a more formal legal argument and that those who believe that our principles have support in the natural rights philosophy are a relatively small number of classical liberals and libertarians.

Nonetheless, the articles written by both of them have interested me and I am grateful that there are people out there having these debates, whether I agree with them or not.

Tim's Blog Here

1 comment:

Roland Hulme said...

Awesome post! And I totally agree with you. Inalienable rights are just that - they shouldn't be messed with.

Say what you want about the Patiot Act messing with the constitution - but you can't amend the Bill of Rights.