Alan Dershowitz’s book “America Declares Independence” has some flashes of brilliance but is seriously flawed in his source of Rights. Dershowitz wrongly claims Rights are “Man-Made”. They are not. RIGHTS are INTRINSIC with the NATURE OF EACH INDIVIDUAL PERSON. They are not “self evident” nor are they the result of anyone deciding to grant them. They can be oppressed but they cannot be separated or taken away from an Individual. Rights are Individualistic meaning they are not Collective. Rights are an intrinsic property or attribute. They exist, like gravity, even when the individual is unaware of them. They are similiar to the so called Laws of the Universe which are not laws in the usual sense but rather Facts of Existence.
Dershowitz runs all over the place trying to show Rights are words that have changing meanings. His rubber definition of words, a definition used by Humpty Dumpty, (Dershowitz quotes him), will make every word useless over time. Dersh wants the words of the Consitution to be flexible. That’s bad thinking and Dershknows it because he doesn’t like Dumpty defining words as meaning whatever Dumpty want’s them to mean but Dersh condemns Justice Scalia for Scalia’s judgment that the Constitution is a series of fixed, unchangeable words. Dersh wants words to have some meanings becuse of course if words don’t mean what they say they can have any meaning or no meaning at all. Some easy thought on the ideas of Individual Rights as part of the individual should show that the location of any right, if it is to be used first must be discovered.
The existence of Rights does not depend on any human contrivance. Dershowitz seems to suspect that because he identifies the attributes of nature as existing whether discovered or not. Gravity to use one of his examples as he came to explain, existed and operated before it was discovered and would exist and operate whether anyone discovered it or not. It’s the same for Rights. The Right to Liberty is part of the nature of the individual.
Liberty can be oppressed, as it is today in certain cultures, but it manifests itself as oppression when some dictator or culture prevents individuals from operating freely.
See Ayn Rands brilliant discovery of the source and the nature of rights in her monograph “Man’s Rights” at http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=arc_ayn_rand_man_rights Rand is far ahead of Dershowitz. He needs to grasp her fundamentals on RIGHTS and when he does he will correct and re-publish his book.