I am thankful to our friend Dan Mahoney for editing Perspectives on Political Science, and publishing my latest article, “Unalienable Rights and Some Libertarians.” I take shots at alot of powerful groups in this article, so I am especially grateful that Perspectives let me stick my neck out and say what I really think in this! Here’s a clip:
In the summer of 2019, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the State Department would establish a new Commission- a Commission on Unalienable Rights, to be chaired by Mary Anne Glendon. This Commission could be seen as similar in many ways to President George W. Bush’s Commission on Bioethics, chaired by Leon Kass. Both commissions were created by Republican Presidents with the intention of clarifying fundamental ethical issues, and both were staffed with academics steeped in the tradition of natural law. And like the George W. Bush Commission on Bioethics, Trump’s Commission on Unalienable Rights came to an abrupt end when a new administration came to power…
…President Biden’s new Secretary of State, John Blinken, scoffed at Trump’s Unalienable Rights Commission during his confirmation hearings and shut the commission down as soon as he was in office. But perhaps Biden and Blinken should think twice about that action. A commitment to unalienable rights is a core element of the American tradition, and it should not be just another political football to be punted away with each new administration. I would argue a Commission on Unalienable Rights, where the United States’ rights rhetoric is carefully considered and debated, ought to be a permanent fixture of the State Department. There should be a commitment from every administration- Democrat or Republican- to the real unalienable rights of our Founding, especially in this confusing libertarian time in our culture.