12:31 AM — Government Obligations?
The question of whether our government is obligated to provide food and water for those suffering in New Orleans was recently brought up in my blogging blog
. One person commented that it is not stated in the Constitution, and anything not permitted should be forbidden.
Liberal atheist though I may be, I agree with the late Pope John Paul II that food and water are basic rights that every living human behing deserves. (I happen to disagree with him on what is "food" and what is "medicine," and what constitutes a "living human being," as the Schiavo case showed, but that's a different argument.)
The Constitution does not state that we should save dying people because it is obvious. Specifically, it was already covered by the Declaration of Independence, and even that statement said that it was obvious:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
(Declaration of Independence)
In other words, "It's obvious to everyone that everyone deserves life, etc., and governments are created with the sole purpose to provide that, and if they don't, we should abolish that government and install another one." Maybe the Declaration of Independence doesn't hold the same legal weight as the Constitution, but whenever we talk about the intent of the founding fathers, I think it's a good place to look, and it very clearly says those people dehydrating in New Orleans deserve water from the government, and if the gov't fails in that we should get rid of it and put another government in place. And now for something completely different,Vote Stewart/Springer '08!