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Monday, January 29, 20071170105806

The Right to Self Defense (as reserved to the States Respectively, or to the People)

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

"Amendment X" is one of the most important sentences of English ever written. While Amendment IX obviously does not create federally enforcable rights and Amendment XI corrects a Supreme Court powergrab on technical grounds, Amendment X works to directly limit the power of the national government. This passage protects our federal experiment from interest group tyranny, from some powerful sect enacting their morally pure laws throughout our land.

It is in this context I am excited about Eugene Volok's words on the right of (medical) self defense (hat-tip to NRO's Bench Memos):

Volokh's bright but controversial idea--which is soon to be published in the Harvard Law Review and was recently presented at the American Enterprise Institute--is that there is a constitutional right to what he terms "medical self-defense." The basic concept is that the government may not throw substantial obstacles in the path of medical treatments that might protect against death or serious harm. If accepted by the Court, this would mean that the government could not prevent a sick individual from using an experimental drug not yet deemed effective by the Food and Drug Administration. It would also invalidate the federal ban on payments for organ donations. And, of course, it could be applied in any number of other circumstances, limited only by the inventiveness of lawyers and the imagination of judges.

I agree with this completely. But at the same time, such an right to medical self defense should not give judges the right to legislate from the bench. We have states governments to experiment, to try this and that, to come up with the best solutions through an evolutionary process.


This would make for often tricky moral dillemas for doctors, nurses and other practitioners. Perhaps guidelines by states?

Thanks for dicussing this though.

I'm rather embarassed at my limited comprehension of that most sacred of Western documents.

Posted by: Eddie | Monday, January 29, 2007


It's my impression that interpretation would allow one to exercise one's own property in his medical self defense, in the same way one can exercise his own weapon in violent self defense. It doesn't obligate others to help, but allows one to help himself.

This seems to be a case of law catching up to globalization, though, or "the new core setting the new rules." Tom's talked about medical tourism [1,2], including recreational infanticide [3.4] before, and this would allow several States to try their own guidelines free from federal interference.

[1] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001054.html
[2] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002994.html
[3] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002357.html
[4] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002607.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Certainly a challenge to long-held convictions and beliefs in regards to abortion. I think this would also apply to a person's right to use medicinal marijuana.

Posted by: Eddie | Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I definitely agree on medical marijuna. We see eye-to-eye on drugs, I think.

Adam of The Metropolis Times has some good observations about how self-defense and property rights apply to abortion [1].

"a fetus does not have the option to leave the womb. It is a captive. If a trespasser becomes stuck on your property, you don't have the right to kill them and drag their body out. Furthermore, the fetus did not sneak into the woman's womb, but was created there without the fetus having the ability to refuse the invitation... Airlines can't toss passengers out of an airplane, even if they are being extremely unruly or causing trauma to the other passengers. A consistent application of property law would require a person to wait for the natural removal of another person from their body rather than an earlier one, if the earlier removal would result in certain death. "

Thanks for the comment!

[1] http://themetropolistimes.blogspirit.com/archive/2006/08/08/become-more-pro-life.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, February 01, 2007

I say let every person defend themeselves (and do whatever they want for the matter) in any way they choose, insofar as they do not offensively harm anyone else.


Posted by: Scott hugehs | Saturday, February 03, 2007


Your blog is very interesting -- focusing on issues of crime and the importance of self-defense.

What is your view of Florida's "Castle Doctrine" [1], and allowing lethal defense of property?

[1] http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,155303,00.html

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Sunday, February 04, 2007

It's my impression that interpretation would allow one to exercise one's own property in his medical self defense, in the same way one can exercise his own weapon in violent self defense. It doesn't obligate others to help, but allows one to help himself. the above articles is very good self defense and martial arts videos to the following articles is very good information for self defense and martial arts video articles self defense

Posted by: sandeepu | Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sandeepu, say again? The second part of your comment is incomprehensible.

Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Wednesday, March 07, 2007