- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation
Comment: Notice the specific types of employment that FDR had in mind when he mentioned an economic right to a job. It was not just any job. And it wasn’t necessarily a job you (necessarily) wanted. Rather, it was limited to “industries[,] shops[,] farms[,] [and] mines.” These jobs, when we reflect on them, are typically: manual-labor intensive (depending on the industry/shop but typically across the board for farms and mines), involve long hours (beyond the standard 8-hour workday that is commonplace today), offer little pay (in comparison to, say, jobs in the technology industry), etc. Suffice it to say that part of the problem with this first economic right, as it is initially proposed by FDR, is that it is no longer in-tune with the contemporary economic landscape. That is to say, we have fewer farms, mines, and even shops than we used to (all things considered). Instead, we have increasingly flexible and immaterial economic structures in place (e.g. the ‘gig’ economy). This right needs to drop the second half of the clause and redefine what it means by ‘useful and remunerative.’
Category Archives: Social and Political Philosophy
FDR’s Bill of Economic Rights
Criticisms of the Use of the Evolving Standard of Decency (ESD) Doctrine in Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008)
The most commonly raised criticism against the national consensus test of the ESD doctrine is that it constitutes an ongoing saga of judicial activism. Judicial activism occurs when a judge/justice upholds his or her own political, legal, religious, economic, or other beliefs contra society, thereby substituting the objectivity of existing laws for the subjectivity of personal preferences. Some may not feel that judicial activism is all that subversive. But judicial activism not only forces the judge/justice’s will on the people, but also it can greatly limit the legislative branch’s ability to function. The blurring of judicial and legislative lines can result in political stalemate, voter apathy, and a general distrust of government. Kimberly Bliss comments that under a democratic system “legislatures, not courts, are constituted to respond to the will and consequently the moral values of the people” since the former has more contact with the people and has, in theory, been elected by the voters (1334).
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Conscientious Objection: Some Thoughts
What I think I find most problematic about Conscientious Objection, or at least what lays the groundwork of my distaste for it, is its unique context. To put it more straightforwardly, Conscientious Objection can, but does not always, involve genuine cases of life and death.
Rather than considering one-off examples, let’s try a cluster approach.
i. A woman is in dire medical need of an abortion; if she does not receive an abortion, she will inevitably die during childbirth. If she lives, the fetus will die and vice versa.
ii. A woman is in significant medical need of an abortion; if she does not receive an abortion, she will inevitably suffer permanent physiological damage. If the fetus lives, she will live but in immense pain for the rest of her life. If she lives (i.e. has an abortion), the fetus will die.
iii. A woman is not in any medical need of an abortion; she elects to abort the fetus within the federally and state regulated timelines allowed to do so.
An Overview of Albert Camus and the ‘Absurd’
The Absurd (at least on Camus’s view) emphasizes “a fundamental disharmony” or “tragic incompatibility” in our finite existence. Camus ultimately argues that the Absurd is the product of a head-on collision between our seemingly universal human desire for objective order, meaning, and purpose in life and the bleak, indifferent, perhaps even soul-crushing “silence of the universe.” “The absurd is not in man nor in the world,” Camus writes, “but in their presence together…it is the only bond uniting them.”