Not all Constitutional guarantees are spelled out
In response to the “Parents should pay” letter, I’ll not argue for or against parental responsibility, but one particular item needs addressing. That’s the idea “the Constitution … does not guarantee anyone the right to have children.” Quite right.
Neither does it not guarantee it.
Beneath this simple premise lies an ocean of confusion that betrays an unfortunate misconception of constitutional doctrine waxing in popular American culture. Invoking the Constitution to refute rights not specifically enumerated (it doesn’t say we have the right to eat Pop-Tarts, it doesn’t say we have the right to bad toupees …) is a travesty of logic undermining the principal thrust of the text itself.
To suggest, even tacitly, that people are somehow breaking constitutional law by adopting conduct not properly defined in the text is not only deeply flawed, it’s completely backwards.
Our Constitution assumes binding legality by securing negative rights for the people. That is, the bulk of its content aims to protect citizen’s rights against infringement. (The State shall not deprive us of …, The State has no authority to …, Your right to “X” shall not be infringed … That sort of thing.)
The Constitution is anything but a list of governmentally proscribed behaviors.
The point is, despite my or Ms. Gardiner’s stone tablets of shoulds and shouldn’ts, people do enjoy rights not specifically enumerated. Tyranny begins the moment we forget this.
If these rights then become a burden on taxpayers, then maybe it’s finally time we address our unconstitutional system of wealth distribution.
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