By Walter Berns
For greater than part a century, Walter Berns has been a number one authority at the structure. This quantity collects lots of his most vital essays on undying constitutional and political questions.
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Additional resources for Democracy and the Constitution: Essays by Walter Berns (Landmarks of Contemporary Political Thought)
Be that as it may, does Roman Catholicism recognize freedom of conscience? 14 This amounts to saying that the principles of the First Amendment are not those of John Locke who, in his “Letter Concerning Toleration,” said that “the care of . . ”15 Murray’s question, and ours, comes to this: To understand the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” do we turn to Thomas Aquinas or John Locke? Murray acknowledges the difference between Thomas’s “natural law” (or, as he sometimes writes, “law of nature”), and Locke’s law of nature; the last chapter of his book is devoted to explaining it.
Madison, and the Federalists generally, did not disagree with the principle, but, as Herbert Storing has demonstrated in his definitive study of the origins of the Bill of Rights, Madison especially was determined that a statement of that principle not be given a prominent place in the Constitution. “Recurrence to first principles,” Storing writes, does not substitute for well-constituted and effective government. In some cases, it may interfere. Does a constant emphasis on unalienable natural rights foster good government or a sense of community?
This is the view popularized by Ronald Dworkin, one of Bork’s principal opponents. ”7 One might protest that a Constitution that secures the rights of man— the equal rights of man—is not lacking in moral principle. But consider Madison’s statement in Federalist 10, to the effect that the first object of government is the protection of different and unequal faculties, including the different and unequal faculty of acquiring property. Protecting the equal rights of unequally endowed men can only lead to inequality, not of Madisonian rights, but of wealth, position, rank.