Saturday, December 05, 2015

What do Cocke County, Grainger County, Lauderdale County, and Davidson County all have in common ...

.... other than being Tennessee counties?  They are all counties in Tennessee where the Administrators of Elections is not certified. Most counties without a certified Administrator of Elections are lower income than Davidson and more rural. Frankly, it is a little embarrassing that Davidson County, being the county that is the state capital, the Athens of the South, and recognized in ranking after ranking as one of America's best cities, often called the "it" city, can not do better. We can and should.

To obtain certification,  administrators must complete a course of study that covers 40 election law topics and pass a  closed book, written test that can last up to three and a half hours which ask questions based on statutory requirements and range from voter registration to Election Day guidelines.  Secretary of State Tre Hargett is pushing to have all administrators of elections become certified. The fact that Davidson County's Administrator of  Elections is not certified was a source of conflict at the Election Commission back in September. (link)

Since the Election Commission is in Republican hands and the current administrator of elections owes his job due to an appointment by Beth Harwell, I think that Representative Harwell should suggest that the current Administrator of Elections become certified or resign. I also think it would be appropriate for the Metro Council to pass a memorializing resolution asking the current Administrator of Elections to become certified.

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Council resolution asks fair board to reverse gun show vote

The Tennessean - The Metro Council will soon have its say on the fair board’s controversial move to halt gun shows at the Metro-owned Fairgrounds Nashville.

A resolution filed Friday by Councilman Steve Glover would request that the five-member Metro Board of Fair Commissioners overturn its action taken Tuesday to terminate gun shows at the fairgrounds after the completion of existing contracts.(link)

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UT backlash over holiday party recommendations grows

UT backlash over holiday party recommendations grows

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Friday, December 04, 2015

What happended at the Metro Council meeting of 12-1-15? New rules, and praise for U.N Declaration of Human Rights

To get your own copy of the agenda and council staff analysis and my commentary on the agenda follow this link:What's on the Council Agenda for Dec. 1? Not much. Church of Scientology praised.
Council meetings are much more interesting if you know what the Council is voting on. Still, they can be fairly boring and that is why I normally watch them in double speed and only slow down for the good parts.

There were a bunch of mayoral appointees to boards and commissions on the agenda and none are rejected.One was deferred due to a scheduling conflict and the appointee being unable to appear before the committee and the rest were approved without any dissenting votes.

At time stamp 11:23 to 1:15:32 in the video, the Council takes up the adoption of new rules for the Council. Each new Council readopts rules or adopts new rules for how they will operate for the next four years. The big change in these rules is rule 24, a rule that will strengthen the Council committee system by giving the committee the power to kill legislation. Unlike the committee system in the U.S. Congress or the State legislature, a Metro Council committee has not had the authority to kill legislation. A bill could get a negative vote in committee and still be considered by the full Council. There have been instances where the Council passed bills that got a majority negative vote from the Committee. Also, there has been a problem with some council members almost never attending the committee to which they were assigned.

On the one hand, I think the committee system should be strengthened. On the other hand, I am somewhat concerned that this rule change gives an awfully lot of authority to the Vice Mayor. Since the Vice Mayor appoints all committee chairmen and makes all committee appointments, giving more power to the committee's really puts a lot more power in the hands of the vice mayor.

The new rule would not allow absolute defeat of  legislation by a committee, however, but would allow the committee to have the bill deferred indefinitely. Should a committee move to have a bill deferred indefinitely, there is a way the sponsor could still bring the bill to the floor. First the sponsor of the bill could have the bill be on the next agenda to determine if a majority of those present and voting would vote to allow the bill to be heard. Only the sponsor of the bill and the chairman of the committee that voted for the indefinite deferral would  be allowed to speak to the subject of the consideration of the bill. If the sponsor  could get a majority to the members of the Council present and voting to vote to hear the bill, then the bill could be presented at the next council meeting. That is not high a bar for overriding the committee. If a lot of members abstained and only 12 voted in favor of hearing the bill and 11 opposed, the Council could hear the bill at the next council meeting. Also, while such discussion would supposedly be limited to the topic of whether or not the bill could be heard, at least the sponsor would get to explain his bill . It would be hard to separate discussion of the merits of the bill from the merits of being allowed to hear the bill. So, the sponsor may achieve his purpose of bringing attention to an issue even if the bill is not voted upon. 

This same rule would also establish that committees must have a quorum, which is defined as  at least half of the member assigned to that committee being present. In my view, council members should be expected to attend the committee meetings, and if they do not they are not doing their job. In the past, some members have had lousy committee attendance records.

Council member Gilmore makes the point that a bill may be assigned to more than one committee and that some committees have as few as five members and that even if two other committees approved the bill, one committee could have it deferred indefinitely.  She attempts to have rule 24 amended out entirely and keep the existing rule 24. That fails. She then attempts to require that instead of only one committee being able to defer a piece of legislation indefinitely, that a majority of the committees to which the bill is referred vote for indefinite deferral in order the bill to be indefinitely deferred. That also fails

I think this change in rule 24 is an improvement over what the Council has had and if it doesn't work the council can always change it. A different rule  is changed that allows the council to change theie rules if only 21 favor amending the rules instead of 27 members. I think that was a positive change.

I am pleased that so much open and full debate went into the adoption of the rules. I cannot recall the council ever giving so much attention to the adoption of their rules but the rules under which the council operates can be very important. On balance, I think the new rules are an improvement.To read the adopted rules of the council, follow this link.

Bills on public hearing: I find nothing of much interest and there are not any really controversial rezoning bills that generate a lot of public interest on the agenda. Most bills on public hearing  are zoning bills that would interest no one except nearby neighbors and I don't pay much attention to rezoning bills unless they are really controversial are have broader impact than just one neighborhood, so you may want to watch the meeting and read the agenda for yourself. Public hearings start at about time stamp 1:16 and end at 2:26:10.

Resolutions on the Consent Agenda: There are only four resolutions on this agenda and all are on the consent agenda.  If  a resolution on consent passes the committee to which it is assigned unanimously, it stays on consent and all resolutions are passed by a single vote. Any member of the body may ask to have his vote recorded or have an item moved off of consent and heard separately. None of these four are controversial.

All bills on First Reading pass as is customary. There are a few late bills, which to be added to the agenda require an explanation and suspension of the rules. This is an unusually high number apparently caused by some change in procedures at the planning commission. So many bills should not be filed "late." What ever the problem is, needs to be corrected. A late filing should be a rare occurrence.

All bills on Second Reading pass. None of them are controversial.

Bills on Third Reading pass and none of them are of much interest.

There is one memorializing resolution recognizing Human Rights Day. If it had not been for one abstention in the Rules Committee this would have been on the Consent Agenda with other resolutions and the passage of this would have been unanimous. This resolution honors the U. N. Declaration of Human Rights. While I would join Councilman Bedne in saying "human rights are a good thing in this world," I would not support this resolution. The problem with the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights is that it considers both entitlements and liberties to be "rights." A "right" to free speech is a limitation on government; it is a basic right which is innate or something with which people are "endowed by their creator."

A "right" to health care or free education or paid holidays is an entitlement that forces someone else to provide a benefit for you.  The difference between these two kinds of "rights" is clear to me, but I really don't think liberals understand the difference. If you have it and someone else wants it, liberals reason that those without it have a "right" to it.

The resolution passes on a voice vote which means it did not pass unanimously. It means by audible voices in the room, the chairman heard more "yes" and "no." I know it is difficult to take a stand against Human Rights, but I wish a council member would have taken to the Council floor and explained what is wrong with mixing liberties and entitlements and calling them both "rights." That did not occur, but at least the council member who abstained in committee kept this from passing unanimously. A voice vote is a weak endorsement.

To read other news reports on the Council meeting see the following:
Metro Council committees may get more power
Metro Council votes to give committees more power
Metro Council approves settlement, approves new rule package

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Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says of Calilfornia terroist attacks, " we are involved in a war of civilizations."

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey says on Facebook:

Once again we must bow our heads and pray for the victims of Islamic terror. While some in the media avoid naming the politically incorrect threat and the Left blames inanimate objects, most Americans intuitively understand what we face. This is a pattern and it is unavoidable. A group of Christians gathered to celebrate the birth of Christ and a radical Muslim couple took the opportunity to send a horrific message to the West.

Make no mistake: we are involved in a war of civilizations.   The centuries may have ticked by but goal remains the same: a caliphate in the Middle East, the end of Israel and the capitulation of the West. Through death and destruction, they hope to instill fear. But we must remain unafraid. We must never sacrifice liberty for security but our response must be forceful, aggressive and clear.

We must move quickly to secure our border and monitor those who enter our country through legal means. But even that, as the events of San Bernardino make clear, will not be sufficient. Our law enforcement agencies do excellent work and deserve our endless appreciation, but their efforts will never be enough.

We must take steps to protect ourselves and our families.

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Ron Ramsey says entire staff of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion should be dismissed or Chancellor Cheek should resign

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey Facebook post:

Political correctness has been a scourge on American academia for too long. If liberal arts universities in New York and Massachusetts wish to continue the practice that is up to them, but it has no place at institutions of higher learning in Tennessee. The General Assembly was assured that no "practice or policy" would be published without Chancellor Cheek's approval.

If this post was approved by Chancellor Cheek, he should resign. If not, the entire staff of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion should be dismissed. The reputation of Tennessee is at stake here.
If the University of Tennessee cannot keep its house in order the General Assembly must shift funding to the University of Memphis, ETSU or other institutions of higher learning that don't embarrass us nationally on a regular basis.

This is just the latest example of political correctness run amok at the University of Tennessee. While the advisory makes clear it is not university policy, these "suggestions" call into question what purpose university offices of diversity serve. Students attend college to study great thinkers and prepare for an increasingly competitive job market. They don't go to have their values and traditions sidelined and undermined. I can assure you that university offices of diversity will be subject to increased scrutiny during our upcoming legislative session.

My Comment: I am proud of Ron Ramsey and the stand he is taking. 

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UT bans Christmas. Do not disguise a Christmas Party as a "holiday party." Baby Jesus and Santa banned.

This time of the year, UT is probably making their end of year appeals to alumni urging them to support their alma marta. If I were a UT alumni they would not get a dime of my money. Do you really want to contribute to a university that bans Christmas?

UT recently issued a statement from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion which told the UT community to "Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise."  Certainly baby Jesus is not welcome at UT "holiday" parties, but even Ole Saint Nick is not welcome; do not play "Secret Santa," says the memo. Tinsel and egg nog are suspect. UT not only wants of be religious-free zone but also a culture-free zone. Has the world gone mad! Are they nuts!

This follows the attempt a few weeks ago of UT to ban pronouns such as "his" and "hers," in favor of "zirs" and "xyr." (link) Maybe it is time for a new chancellor and new president. Maybe the Board of Trustees need to be replaced. I think it is time for the State legislature to slash the budget of UT by the amount of funding it takes to staff the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. If such nuttiness continues, the legislature should make deeper budget cuts. This is just unacceptable.

Below is  copy of the UT memo:

Best Practices for Inclusive Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace

The university does not have an official policy regarding religious and cultural décor and celebration in the workplace. However, we are fully committed to a diverse, welcoming, and inclusive environment.
In addition to consulting our cultural and religious holidays calendar when selecting a date for your event, we encourage you to implement the following best practices for inclusive holiday celebrations.
  • Holiday parties and celebrations should celebrate and build upon workplace relationships and team morale with no emphasis on religion or culture. Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.
  • Consider having a New Year’s party and include décor and food from multiple religions and cultures. Use it as an opportunity to reinvigorate individuals for the new year’s goals and priorities.
  • Supervisors and managers should not endorse, or be perceived as endorsing, religion generally or a specific religion.
  • If an individual chooses not to participate in a holiday party or celebration, do not pressure the person to participate. Participation should be voluntary.
  • If a potluck-style party or celebration is planned, encourage employees to bring food items that reflect their personal religions, cultures, and celebrations. Use this as an opportunity for individuals to share what they brought and why it is meaningful to them.
  • If sending holiday cards to campus and community partners, send a non-denominational card or token of your gratitude.
  • Holiday parties and celebrations should not play games with religious and cultural themes–for example, “Dreidel” or “Secret Santa.” If you want to exchange gifts, then refer to it in a general way, such as a practical joke gift exchange or secret gift exchange.
  • Décor selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture. Identify specific dates when décor can be put up and when it must come down.
  • Refreshment selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture.
  • Most importantly, celebrate your religious and cultural holidays in ways that are respectful and inclusive of our students, your colleagues, and our university.

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Thursday, December 03, 2015

AEI event: "What alternative is there to the Affordable Care Act?"

American Enterprise Institute brings together some of the brightest minds of our time who are experts in their field to discuss the pressing issues of the day. You do not have to go to Washington to observe these presentations. You can watch the online.

Improving health and health care: An agenda for reform Wednesday, December 9, 2015 | 8:45 – 11:15 AM Health policy experts come together to answer the question, "What alternative is there to the Affordable Care Act?"

Watch Live Online  

Description: American health care policy debates have long been divided between those who support greater governmental regulation and those who favor more reliance on market incentives and consumer choice. Passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 did not end the debate, but it did increase pressure on those who are unsatisfied with the steady march toward more federal control. What is the alternative? Ten health policy experts have come together to provide an answer to that question. Their plan, "Improving Health and Health Care: An Agenda for Reform," will be released and summarized at this public event, with commentary from some of the plan's coauthors and respected national experts.

 Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.

Joseph Antos, AEI
James C. Capretta, AEI
Lanhee Chen, Stanford University
Scott Gottlieb, AEI
Chris Jennings, Jennings Policy Strategies
Thomas P. Miller, AEI
Tom Price, Chairman of the House Budget Committee
Robert Reischauer, Urban Institute
Gail Wilensky, Project HOPE

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TEAM TRUMP MEETING - Williamson County:

From Middle Tennessee for Donald Trump:
We have our kick off meeting to start our ground campaign next Tuesday, December 8th, 6:00 pm at the Williamson County Library in Franklin. The address is: 1314 Columbia Ave. Franklin, TN 37064.  Susan Reny Co-Chair Williamson County TN Trump Campaign. Please let us know if you plan to attend at

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MTRW invites you to our first monthly 2nd Saturday Brunch!

December 12, 2015  8:30am--10am.
The Egg & I, 710 Old Hickory Blvd, Ste 307, Brentwood, TN 37027

Our special guest is Executive Director Jimmy Wheeler, the Director of Security at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. He served nearly 27 years with Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, and was a lieutenant over patrol and a sergeant over School Resource Officers in middle and high schools of Nashville, TN.

Come for a morning of great food, conversation, and a very informative discussion.
Please RSVP to so we know how many can attend. We hope to see you there!

MTRW wants to be involved in the community to spread our conservative values. This is a great way to get started. Watch for more opportunities.

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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Christmas party!

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US-Cuba Engagement: What’s in it for Tennessee?

|Dec 7,  Luncheon December 2, 2015 You Are Invited to a Special Program Organized By The Atlantic Council in association with the Tennessee World Affairs Council US-Cuba Engagement: What's In It For Tennessee? December 7, 2015 | 11:30 a.m. Nashville Renaissance Hotel. For more information follow this link.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Metro halts gun shows at Nashville fairgrounds

The Tennessean - In a win for gun control advocates, Metro took unprecedented action Tuesday to end the Nashville fairgrounds' 35-year tradition of holding gun shows at the city-owned property for now. ....The plan is to later adopt new safety measures and other rules for any future gun shows before deciding whether to allow the events to continue at the fairgrounds.(link

Comment: The next time someone is before the Metro Council seeking confirmation of an appointment to the Fair Board, council members who oppose the banning of gun shows at the fairgrounds should ask the appointee his position of this issue. If the appointee supports it, those council member who do not should vote against that person's confirmation. Given the makeup of the Council, the person would probably win confirmation anyway, but every confirmation does not have to be unanimous.

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What's on the Council Agenda for Dec. 1? Not much. Church of Scientology praised.

This should be a short meeting. There is not much of interest on the agenda. You can get your own copy of the Council agenda at this link and the Council staff analysis at the this link. Council meetings really are more interesting if you know what the council is voting on.

The first order of business is confirmation of mayoral appointees to boards and commission. There are 14 nominees up for confirmation. Citizens who serve on the city's numerous boards and commissions are to be applauded for their service to our city.  They serve many long hours at no pay. Appreciating the service of those who serve our city however does not mean that they should not be carefully scrutinized and that the Council should not take its confirmation duties seriously. The mayor should be granted a certain amount of leeway in making appointments, but the Council should take its roll seriously.

If a member of the Council feels a board or commission is perusing policies with which he disagrees and the appointee says he would continue those policies, that council member should vote against that nominee.  Also, I think we should expect some diversity on these boards and commission. I wish someone would compile a list of all demographic factors and just see how much diversity there is, not that I would want a quota system, but everyone does not need to come from the same zip code and run in the same social circles. That may not be an issue at all or it may be, but I hope someone is looking at that factor in considering appointees.

There are 13 bills on Public Hearing.  I don't even attempt to understand every zoning bill. Sometimes a bill on pubic hearing may be a text change that could have policy implications and I will try to report on that, but most of the time the bills on public hearing are of interest to only people who live near the proposed rezoning.

There are only four resolutions on the agenda. All are on "consent" which means that of instead of being considered individually, they will on be lumped together and passed with a single vote. However, if a bill fails to get unanimous support in the committee to which it is assigned then it comes off of consent. Also, any member from the floor may have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded or he may ask a bill be pulled off consent and considered separately. None of these resolutions are controversial.

There are 14 bills on First Reading. Bills on First Reading are passed as a group and not deliberated by the Council until after they pass First Reading. I don't read them until after they pass First Reading.

There are eight bills on Second Reading and most of them are abandoning right-of-ways or acquiring easements and I see nothing of interest.

There are 13 bills on Third reading and most of them are zoning bills and I see nothing of interest.

There is one memorializing resolution recognizing Human Rights Day. A memorializing resolution does not do anything except express an opinion of the Metro Council. This resolution will be lumped in with the other resolutions on the consent agenda. I would probably abstain on this if I were in the Council or maybe vote "no." 

Most of the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights I wholeheartedly accept with. Certainly I approve of the prohibition against torture and believe in innocent until proven guilty, and the right to property, and free speech. The Declaration of Human rights however mixes in with liberties, entitlements. There is a differences between freedom of speech and freedom to a material benefit which establishes a claim against another.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also establishes a "right" to social security, education, a right to a certain standard of living, and a right to paid holidays. Those are claims against society or entitlement and are not liberties. To read the Declaration of Human Rights follow this link.

One thing interesting in this Resolutions is the following:

WHEREAS, numerous community, civic, religious and non-profit organizations, including the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Metro Human Relations Commission, United Nations Association, Amnesty International, YWCA, Faith and Culture Center, Church of Scientology, Tennessee United for Human Rights, and others work to ensure equal rights and protections for all residents; and 

The Church of Scientology is a weird cult founded by nutty science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, based on crackpot psychology. How did they make the cut of those mentioned in this resolution?

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Monday, November 30, 2015

The Universal Declaration or Human Rights legitimizes the power to plunder

by Richard Stephen, reposted from Foundation for Economic Education - On December 10, 1998, world and national leaders commemorate the birthday of an impostor. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 50 years old on that date. Because Americans know so little about their own Constitution and Bill of Rights, most do not know that the Universal Declaration destroys both the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights. So when President Clinton declares that the documents are equally great statements of human rights, as he did last year, few people will protest.

The Bill of Rights, the true statement of individual rights and limited government, turns 207 on December 15, 1998. Unless Americans actively celebrate Bill of Rights Day that day, the proximity of the two anniversaries permits the Universal Declaration to shine as an international protector of rights while the Bill of Rights is largely ignored.[1] To borrow from Gresham’s Law, “bad rights drive out good.”

Erasing the Bill of Rights

The Universal Declaration does not require any government to respect any particular individual rights. Instead, it provides, according to the preamble, only a “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” Its “standard of achievement,” however, practically obliterates Americans’ constitutional rights.

Of the roughly 34 individual rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the U.N.’s Declaration nominally protects only eight. (See Table I.) Five more rights find only partial support in the U.N. Declaration, including the prohibition of bills of attainder, the protection of citizens’ privileges and immunities while traveling or living in other states, and the protection against “arbitrary interference” with privacy, home, and family. Fully 21 other American individual rights disappear entirely. (See Table II on the next page.)

Table I: American Rights Nominally Protected by the Universal Declaration

Right Universal Declaration Provision
No ex post facto laws Article 11
Habeas corpus (no arbitrary imprisonment) Article 9
Free exercise of religion Article 18
Freedom of speech and press Article 19
Freedom of assembly Article 20(1)
Right to life, liberty and property (“due process”) Articles 3, 7, 11(1), 17(1), 17(2)
Right to public trial in criminal case Article 10
No cruel and unusual punishments Article 5

Table II: American Rights Lost Under the Universal Declaration

Two witnesses required to convict person of treason
No punishment of families of person convicted of treason (corruption of blood)
No established government religion
People’s right to form citizen militias
Individual right to keep and bear arms
Prohibition on peacetime quartering of troops in private residences
Probable cause, oath, and particularity requirements for arrest warrants
Probable cause, oath, and particularity requirements for search warrants
Grand jury requirement
No “double jeopardy”
Government compensation for taking of private property for public use
Right to a speedy trial in a criminal case
Right to a trial by impartial jury in a criminal case
Right to a trial in the location where the crime occurred
Right to confront witnesses at trial
Right to require witnesses to appear in court
Right to a lawyer for defense in a criminal case
Right to a trial by jury in a common law civil case
Right to have a single jury decide a case
No excessive bail in criminal cases
No excessive fines

Universal Power to Plunder

The U.N.’s Declaration not only fails to protect core American individual rights; it also enshrines the power to plunder. Frederic Bastiat, the French economics writer, observed that human beings can satisfy their wants either by “ceaseless labor” or by “seizing the product of others.”[2] Government’s proper job, Bastiat said, is “to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of work.”[3] The Universal Declaration runs directly contrary to any notion of a plunder-free society.

By couching itself in the language of individual rights, the Universal Declaration legitimizes the power to plunder. For example, Article 22 declares that “Everyone . . . has the right to social security.” The only way that “everyone” can have such a right is for government to force workers to pay for non-workers’ welfare and retirement funds.[4] So the declared “right” of “everyone” to social security requires that national governments institute schemes of plunder.

Using the device of granting “rights” to “everyone,” the Universal Declaration mandates many such schemes. The Declaration grants:
the “right to work”
the right to “just and favourable conditions of work”
the right to “protection against unemployment”
the “right to just and favourable remuneration . . . supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection”
the “right to rest and leisure”
the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [the individual and his family], including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services,” as well as health, employment, and disability insurance
the “right to education”
To bestow each of these “rights” on everyone the governments must decide what each citizen is entitled to, how much to spend, what private or business conduct is permitted and prohibited, and then compel the citizens to pay. Massive government intrusion into all facets of human life becomes necessary to implement these “rights” to plunder. After all the systems of compelling and plundering are installed, little can remain of the Universal Declaration’s Article 3 right to liberty and its Article 17 right to own property.
None of these plunder “rights” appears in the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights.

Declaration of Government Rights

Beyond granting rights to plunder, the Universal Declaration gives governments nearly total power to dictate all aspects of human life. Article 28 states that “everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.” In other words, the people must have a large, intrusive government.

In addition, under Article 26, governments must require each citizen to accept the Universal Declaration’s big-government gospel: “Elementary education shall be compulsory [and] shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms . . . and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”

Article 29 then imposes on all people the duty to serve the “community” within the “social order” envisioned by the Universal Declaration: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.” As government defines nearly all of the functions of the community within the social order, including work, leisure, education, and economic decisions, these “duties” are defined by, and owed to, the government.

Devil in the Default

Both the U.N.’s Declaration and the Bill of Rights contain “catchall” provisions. These provisions explain how governments are supposed to analyze questions about rights and powers that cannot be answered directly from the documents themselves. Nothing shows the difference between the two documents better than comparing those provisions.

Amendments 9 and 10 of the Bill of Rights instruct the government to operate within its limited powers and to leave other powers to the people. The Ninth Amendment states: “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The Tenth Amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” These provisions limit federal power and leave any unexpressed powers and rights to the local governments and the people.

The Universal Declaration defaults in favor of government power. Article 29, section 2, states that individual rights and freedoms are limited by “due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.” Government, under the U.N. Declaration, defines morality, public order, and general welfare. The limitations on rights are to be “determined by law”—which in the Declaration means determined by the government. But Article 29, section 3, appears to say that the U.N. may override governments to assure that rights are properly interpreted: “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.”
Article 30 is ominous: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.” This Article destroys the right to actively oppose big-government programs. It abrogates the Bill of Rights’ guarantees of free speech, press, assembly, and petition for redress of grievances. Article 30 guarantees governments the right to stop people from opposing compulsory education, taxation, social security, the minimum wage, compulsory “public service,” and any other government plunder program.

The U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights bears no similarity to the Bill of Rights. Americans should reject the attempts to lump the two documents together in one annual “human rights week.” On December 15 of each year Americans should celebrate Bill of Rights Day by learning more about their rights and teaching others. When Americans understand their precious Bill of Rights, they won’t be impressed by the United Nations’ dangerous substitute.

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