From the Right



Taking Rights Seriously

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion,

and only one person were of the contrary opinion,

Mankind would be no more justified

In silencing that one person,

Than he, if he had the power,

Would be justified in silencing mankind."

-- John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)

The world is filled with self-evident truths -- truisms -- that ...Read more

Holes In the Constitution

In his famous dissent in Olmstead v. United States, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in 1928 called the right to be left alone the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men. He was referring to the right to be left alone from the government -- a right that today we call privacy.

Olmstead was involved in ...Read more

Twilight's Last Gleaming

When a presidential debate devolves into an argument over golf scores and afterward the public argues about the candidates' mental acuity or personal honesty, when the question for voters is who is the sharper debater rather than who would be more faithful to the Constitution, when both major party candidates support mass surveillance, ...Read more

Julian Assange Is Free!

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude."

-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

It wasn't until 1969 that the Supreme Court's modern First Amendment jurisprudence made it clear that whenever there is a clash between the government and a person over the constitutionality of the person's speech, the courts will give every ...Read more

What If It's Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong?

What if the government is a myth? What if it doesn't produce what we pay it for? What if it fails to safeguard our lives, liberties and property from its own agents? What if nothing changes after these failures and after elections? What if we're stuck with it?

What if the National Security Agency -- the federal government's 60,000-person strong...Read more

War and the Constitution

Can the president fight any war he wishes? Can Congress fund any war it chooses? Are there constitutional and legal requirements that must first be met before war is waged? Can the United States legally attack an ally?

These questions should be front and center in a debate over the U.S. involvement in Ukraine. Sadly, there has been no great ...Read more

War and Indifference

Which is more destructive to personal liberty, a government that engages in secret wars or a public and news media that are indifferent to it? In the current American toxic stew of anti-Russian hatred and beating of war drums -- in President Joe Biden's America -- we have both.

Here is the backstory.

The current hostilities in Ukraine are now ...Read more

American Caesar and Constitutional Indifference

A recent column in The Economist magazine asking if America is dictator-proof got me to thinking if our constitutional guarantees are secure. Stated differently: Can the custodians of our constitutional norms be trusted to restrain a deliberate attempt to ignore, diminish or evade the Constitution? The short answer is: NO.

The history of what I...Read more

The Tyranny of the Majority

"Which is better - to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?"

-- Rev. Mather Byles (1706-1788)

Does it really matter if the instrument curtailing liberty is a monarch or a popularly elected legislature? This conundrum, along with the witty version of it put to a Boston crowd in 1775 ...Read more

Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

Can an idea be dangerous? Can a dangerous idea be expressed? Can the government punish ideas it deems to be dangerous?

These are not questions one regularly asks in America because of our rich tradition of protecting the freedom of speech from infringement by the government. Yet, we appear to be on the cusp of the mass suppression of public ...Read more

Is Your Car Spying on You?

"I predict future happiness for Americans,

if they can prevent the government from

wasting the labors of the people under

the pretense of taking care of them."

-- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Last week, Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Edward Markey of Massachusetts revealed that automobiles sold in the United States with a GPS or ...Read more

Our Government is Using Force to Suppress Freedom!

When James Madison was a member of Congress in 1791 and charged with drafting the Bill of Rights, he made two grammatical demands. One was that the word "the" precede "freedom of speech" in the First Amendment, and the other was a command in the Ninth Amendment that the "rights retained by the people," rights too numerous to enumerate, "shall ...Read more

Killing the Constitution

In the last days of East Germany, when government officials detected that their power was unraveling, they ratcheted up enforcement of the nation's reporting laws. The reporting laws made it a felony to know of a crime and fail to report it. It was also a crime to tell the person of whose crime you learned that you had done so. There was no ...Read more



Chip Bok Dick Wright A.F. Branco Clay Bennett Jack Ohman Gary Markstein