"We, the People of this country, have no unalienable rights...
all our rights are subject to modification...
the Constitution of the United States of America
is nothing more than a piece of paper and...
our government should not be restrained by the Constitution
because our government can do good things for people."
by:
Alan Dershowitz
(1938- ) Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
Source:
supposedly during televised debate with Alan Keyes at Franklin and Marshall College (9/27/00) however not found in the transcipt or video:
http://archives.alankeyes.com/transcript.php?id=147
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Reader comments about this quote:
Is he just playing the devil's advocate here in this debate with Keyes? This mindset is way too common among today's legislators.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I've also heard him say in effect, that it is the collective that gives government the inherent right to do what ever it feels like doing at the time it sees to do it (once established, the government takes on an inherent right of its own). When you consider government is only a small group of people, does that ultra minority of people, that holds the most fire power, truly have the right to abuse others; by way of example: compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, governmental larceny with impunity, torture for information, etc.? What and where is the lawful nexus that magically takes away from an individual sovereign his authority, power, rights, privileges, etc and gives such to (not shares or transfers) a tyrannical abstract called government? What lawful nexus converts a servant to an omnipotent god? Is it ignorance and the desire to be a slave? NO, there is none!!! Ignorance and the desire to be a slave only supports the unlawful usurpation of de jure government.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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     -- Logan, Memphis, TN      
    that's why this man is a Penultimate Moron. I'd like him to give me all his property - just cuz I say so.
     -- Dougmcr8, Springfield, VA     
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    Alan Dershowitz: Communist
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    OFF WITH HIS HEAD !!!
     -- Me Again, Your Town,USA.     
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    Someone once said that no mans life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. That about sums it up.
     -- jim k, austin     
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     -- G. T., va      
     -- warren, olathe      
    However, private and free citizens can do better things. (Perfect score Al! Good on'ya!)
     -- Bob, Eugene OR     
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    We have a government totally independent of taxation that can do ANYTHING with us, for us, TO US or to others as long as the majority in this unconstitutional, God-forbidden democracy will ridicule and punish the few who want God's laws and our Constitution upheld. You must under-stand that revenue agents CANNOT get money from us when all that we have in banks is numbers and that they have no need for money when all of us will risk or even lose our lives for more numbers. You risk your life just driving to work or even walking is a risk for some. A cure for cancer has been suppressed for 75 years. www.morpix.biz/rife This historic fact shows we have had no change in government for 75 years! "My people perish for lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6 www.morpix.biz/x4
     -- Dave Wilbur, St. Louis     
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    wow! I agree with you all - well done! THERE MUST BE INALIENABLE RIGHTS
     -- RobertSRQ     
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    This Dersh-bag thinks might makes right. That is the law of the jungle, not the law of free men.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Alan Dershowitz, unfortunately thanks to the liberal media he has become a high profile attorney, and this traitor is a teacher at one of our most respected universities. Hopefully his students will see right through him.
     -- Bill J Spence, Memphis     
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    Bill Spence, I am afraid students at Harvard won't see through this nonsense because that is exactly what is being taught there. I know, my step-father was a Harvard Law School Magna Cum Laude graduate, and this mirrors his belief exactly. He does not believe in truth -- he says the truth is whatever we say it is. His specialty is 'civil rights law' -- but with the state being the sovereign, not the individual. As long as lawyers remain true to this 'anything goes' doctrine, justice has little chance. Lawyers are probably the most deluded folks on the planet for they have trained themselves to twist words to their favor to such a degree they cannot tell when they are lying to themselves. The money makes it all OK and as long as they don't challenge the American Bar Association they are well protected from their own predatory class. Lawyers today do not produce anything except ideas -- and for that, they take 30%-50% of whatever the winnings are. They do not study the Constitution -- it is a waste of time -- they sue people based on the twisting of the word 'liability' and all clients are treated as wards of the state. They know nothing of responsibility. I will say that my step-father has stopped practicing law after becoming fed up with the corrupt justice system -- he hasn't changed his views, though, but there may be hope for him yet. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    While I do not agree with most of what Alan Dershowitz believes. A quick search for the text of this debate will show that he is no say any part of the quote. There is a complete transcript, video, and MP3 online. I am sorry to pop up rage bubble. But check your sources. I have found many misquotes to false quotes here at liberty tree. I enjoy quotations as much as the next person. I am a constitutional liberal. But fighting ignorance with lies is counterproductive.
     -- E Vill, DFW     
  •  
    Thanks, E Vill. Actually, here at Liberty Tree we encourage the identification of false quotes -- if you have more, please let us know. I have reviewed the transcript of the debate with Keyes and have indeed confirmed that the above quote is not in the transcript. However, Dershowitz does say:
    "Rights are not self-evident. They're not unalienable. They are subject to modification just like anything else."
    http://archives.alankeyes.com/transcript.php?id=147
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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    I can see how that was probably just totally taken outta context---he was probably mocking people.
     -- ashley, saginaw     
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    I watched the debate, read the transcript, and Dershowitz never said this. He does say things that get people upset, so why not comment on his real quotes? I'm a Christian that believes in not bearing false witness.
     -- JJ, Dayton     
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    The unalienable right of freedom of choice was that exercised by the Founders in the first place. It is referred to obliquely in the 9th Amendment inserted by James Mason: "The enumeration of rights in the Constitution shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." In essence, the people are sovereign.
     -- Garry Davis, South Burlington, VT     
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    There are only two possible economic systems; barter and slavery, God commanded a barter system with: "Thou shalt not steal." The Constitution mandates a barter system of gold and silver coins, Art.1. Sec.10 and this section proscribes legal tender laws that permit our misleadrs to take everything without paying for anything: "No state shall pass any law impairing the oblibations of contracts." This section also prohibits license laws, zoning laws and rent controls. If you contract with me to perform brain surgery on you, the state has no right to demand licensing which would impair my freedom of cvontract. If you contract with me to sell your house, the state has no right to demand licensing. If you believe surgery or any other acts should be licensed, you should promote amendments to the U.S. Constitution that authorize licensing for each act that you want licensed. You never see anything in the press about this vital section of the Constitution, You may as often as once a month see comments on 19th century slavery which leaves many believing that we are not slaves es-pecially if we are very comfortable white people. You can be a millionare but if you do anything solely to avoid punishment for not performing, you are a slave to whomever threatens punishment, There is no other reason for most people to waive their rights on tax returns or applications for licences. Horace Greeley was Linclon's contemporary who commented on Lincoln's legal tender acts to which he said "are no less cruel than the old system of chatel slavery." Greeley was the publisher noted for saying, "Go west, young man, go west!: For clarity see: www.morpix.biz/dc In spite of the persistant and pernicous prevaricating of the press, very few are required to file tax returns, When a Florida lawyer was prosecuted for not filing tax returns, the judge said he knew of no law that required the lawwyer to file tax returns. For details, see www.morpix.biz/notreq I do not encourage anyone to fight the illusions known as taxes except as jurors because you can be jailed and your home siezed as called for in Marx's 4th plank with the first three planks giving us the illusions known as real estate, income and inheritance taxes, Taxes cannot be real when the Fed has said your bank deposits "are merely book entries", page 3, Modern Money Mechanics
     -- Uben Hadagin, Nowhere, Nevada     
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    Government cannot be our servants unless all in public office are dependent on being paid with something the people produce. The Constitution limits this to gold and silver coins. When we became dependent on strips of paper that those in public office print with no restraint, the rolls of master and servant were reversed. Beware the fools who insists that Congress should do what the Fed is doing to us and with us, they only want to change our masters rasther than to end our slavery.
     -- Dave Wilber, Sunset Hills     
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