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June 25, 2009


To the editor:

NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous, in his commencement address to the University’s law students, exhorted the graduating students to find “rights” to be added to the U.S. Constitution (University Times May 28).

What Mr. Jealous fails to comprehend is that a right, properly understood, can only imply a negative obligation on others (e.g. the right to free speech, the right to property, etc.). There can be no right to a car, an education or health care because the only way those “rights” can be provided is by the violation of the rights of others to their property and wealth.

When a “right” involves government confiscation of another citizen’s wealth, it is not a “right” — it is looting. What Mr. Jealous has advocated is for lawyers to desecrate the Constitution and legalize the robbery of those who have earned to create “rights” for those who have not earned, or, in Karl Marx’s famous words, he has advocated wealth redistribution “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

Amesh A. Adalja
Division of Infectious Diseases
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


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