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By Gary Starr for the Neville Awards
Sept. 6, 2009
Cass R. Sunstein is a Harvard Law School professor. He has also taught law at the Univ. of Chicago Law School (1981-2008). He is considered a legal scholar who, from his insulated and privileged Ivory Tower, has authored many books on 1st Amendment rights, animal rights and the behavioral sciences. Now he gets to put his "ideas" into practice.
Let's have a look…
Sunstein is known for advancing a field called "law and behavioral economics" that seeks to shape law and policy around the way research shows people actually behave. This is a field that seeks legislation designed to control people through behavior modification. Sunstein co-authored Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008) with economist Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago. Nudge discusses how public and private organizations can help people make better choices in their daily lives.
Cass on the 1st Amendment:
In his book Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech (1995) Sunstein says there is a need to rethink First Amendment law. He thinks that the current law, based on Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' conception of the marketplace of free speech "disserves the aspirations of those who wrote America's founding document." Sunstein would"reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation, by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views." and thinks that in "light of astonishing economic and technological changes, we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving democratic goals." He proposes a "New Deal for speech [that] would draw on Justice Brandeis' insistence on the role of free speech in promoting political deliberation and citizenship."
In other words, only Sunstein's approved speech would be allowed.
Sunstein is also concerned about choices…your choices. In his 2002 book, Republic.com, he laments that unlimited choice on the Internet allows a"situation in which like-minded people speak or listen mostly to one another," and to opinions that merely fortify their own views. Sunstein has as advocated for government regulation of the internet requiring sites to link to opposing views. Would that apply to MoveOn.org or just sites like the Heritage Foundation? He later came to realize it was a "bad idea."
As editor of the 2004 book, Animal Rights : Current Debates and New Directions", Sunstein suggested that animals ought to be able to bring suit, with private citizens acting on their behalf, to ensure that animals are not treated in a way that violates current law. The book stated "we could even grant animals a right to bring suit" and that it is possible that "that before long, Congress will grant standing to animals to protect their own rights and interests."
This all stems from his claim that "animals, species as such, and perhaps even natural objects warrant respect for their own sake, and quite apart from their interactions with human beings."
I can just see the PETA fanatics salivating at the chance to clog up the courts with these kinds of frivolous lawsuits.
In a 2007 speech at Harvard University, he argued in favor of "eliminating current practices such as … meat eating. We ought to ban hunting, I suggest, if there isn't a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It's time now."
Sunstein also endorses some frightening opinions about human life as well.
In a NY Times article entitled Why We Must Ration Health Care Sunstein wrote:
Saving the life of a teenager is equivalent to saving the lives of fourteen 85-yearolds.
Sunstein is also a devout disciple of Professor Peter Singer.
Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, is a leader in the animal rights movement. He has also argued that abortion should be permissible because unborn babies as old as 18 weeks cannot feel pain or satisfaction.
In 1993, Singer said infants lack "rationality, autonomy and self-consciousness."
"Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings…"killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."
Picking up where Singer left off in June of 2003:
Because every old person was once young an emphasis on life-years does not discriminate against anyone…the very people who lose when older also gained when younger in producing regulatory impact analysis…agencies should inquire into life-years and take into account of that inquiry in deciding what to do.
What can one say to such insanity except that this typifies elitist, statist Ivy League School mentality. He would have been right at home in Europe in the 1930's.
Sunstein also has some rather peculiar ideas about your money and your property rights.
Cass on your money:
Sunstein feels that "we should celebrate tax day." He claims that the very concepts of property and society are based on government and taxes:
In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully 'ours'? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without the support of bank regulators? Could we spend it if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live?... Without taxes there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. [It is] a dim fiction that some people enjoy and exercise their rights without placing any burden whatsoever on the public fisc. … There is no liberty without dependency.
Mark Levin, in his book Liberty and Tyranny found this gem from Sunstein's 2004 book The Second Bill of Rights: FDR's Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need it More than Ever:
[I]f some people have a lot and others little, law and legal coercion is a large part of the reason. Of course many people work hard and many others do not. But the distribution of wealth is not simply a product of hard work; it depends on a coercive network of legal rights and obligations. The realists complained that we ignore the extent to which we have what we have and do what we do because of the law. They contended that people tend to see as "voluntary" and "free" interactions that are shot through with public force. In their view, the laws of property, contract and tort are social creations that allocate certain rights to some people and deny them to others. These forms of law represent large-scale government "interventions" into the economy. They are coercive to the extent that they prohibit people from engaging in desired activities. If homeless people lack a place to live, it is not because of God's will or nature. It is because the rules of property are invoked and enforced to evict them, if necessary by force. If employees have to work long hours and make little money, it is because of the prevailing rules of property and contract. The realists believe that private property is fine, even good, but they denied that the rules of property could be identified with liberty. Sometimes those rules disserve liberty."
For those of you not in the know Roosevelt's 1944 State of the Union address detailed a second list of guarantees which has been dubbed by the socialists as "the Second Bill of Rights." Close inspection of the Communist Manifesto reveals remarkable similarities:
FDR's January 11, 1944 message to Congress on the State of the Union:
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all-regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are:
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
- The right of every family to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
- The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.
Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither -Benjamin Franklin
Sunstein would sacrifice your liberty to advance his idea of conformity and security. He is a control freak who wants regulatory control over your property, your money, free speech and your mind and body. To Cass I say 'you first'. I doubt whether he would willingly comply. His rules are for the little people.
Sunstein is a modern day fascist and a truly damaged individual. He is also an academic fraud.