Harry V. Jaffa wonders “where in the world” I got my ideas about the founding principles. Well, I do not mind saying that I got them from, among others, the Harry V. Jaffa who wrote The Crisis of the House Divided. There he taught me that all the Founders “read the Declaration [of Independence] as an expression of the sentiments of Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government”; that in “Locke’s state of nature” men have rights but only “embryonic [rather than] genuine duties”; which means that “no man . . . is under an obligation to respect any other man’s unalienable rights until that other man is necessary to the security of his own rights”; that this priority of rights over duties gives rise to a political problem for which Jefferson (whose attempted remedy was “vitiated by his Lockean horizon”) had no solution ....
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Berns v. Jaffa
From Commentary Magazine here. A taste: