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Aug 24, 1991

Douglas Rasmussen on Rights, Law, and Morality

Douglas Rasmussen is a professor of philosophy at St. John’s University and co-author (along with Douglas J. Den Uyl) of several books on ethics and political philosophy including Liberty and Nature: An Aristotelian Defense of Liberal Order (1991), Liberalism Defended: The Challenge of Post-Modernity (1997), and Norms of Liberty: A Perfectionist Basis for Non-Perfectionist Politics (2005).

In this video from a 1991 conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty, Rasmussen gives a lecture on rights and the law and their relationship with morality. Citing Bastiat, he argues that “separating morality from the moral agent destroys morality” while simultaneously perverting the law. Rasmussen believes that while human well-being requires certain values, goods, and services, to lead a moral life the aforementioned are to be actualized by individuals, not distributed by authorities.