by Jon Sanders
Research Editor and Senior Fellow, Regulatory Studies, John Locke Foundation
My latest piece in the American Institute for Economic Research expresses worry about how Pres. Joe Biden is choosing to govern:
Biden is openly asserting an actual right to do things he suspects or knows he has no legal right to do. He dares objectors to seek enforcement by the courts, telling them essentially to bring it on, knowing there are enormous costs in time, money, and hassle for them to do so. If they don’t, Biden has discovered an actual right. It’s a giant game of constitutional chicken, with ramifications that can affect generations by greatly expanding the power of the Executive Branch.
The article delves into the distinction among actual, legal, and moral rights. It’s a key distinction I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
Namely, people can have rights in practice that aren’t theirs in law, and they can also have rights in law that aren’t theirs in practice.
From that, as I conclude,
The lesson here is, if you have moral rights and legal rights, defend them so that they are also your actual rights. As John Stuart Mill observed, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”