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What is a right? Not health care.

September 1, 2009

Health care is not a right.

The topic came up again last night on Hannity. Hannity had a very interesting Great American Panel last night. Bob Beckel, Redstate’s own Erick Erickson, and singer/Playboy model Aubrey O’Day were the guests. After discussing a program that U.S. tax dollars are funding in Africa that provides sex education to 5-year olds, the talked turned to health care. O’Day maintained that health care is a right, even calling it a “basic civil right”. She also declared that people have a civil right to affordable housing, food, and medication (which I think included contraception). It’s not the first time liberals have made that claim. Obama said health care is a right, too. The Nation makes the same argument.

Let me repeat. Health care is not a right. Maybe it will help to look at the definition of a civl right:

Webster’s says: : the nonpolitical rights of a citizen; especially : the rights of personal liberty guaranteed to United States citizens by the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution and by acts of Congress

Got that? Rights are the product of personal liberty. They are not guarantees of a lifestyle. Rights derive from natural rights, which are universal in nature. Universal means they’re not limited by time, place, or culture. Slavery provides a compelling example of the meaning of universal rights. Even though American culture and custom accepted the idea of enslaving certain people, blacks had the right to be free, just as all people everywhere have that right.

Now, let’s apply that standard to health care. Does everyone have a right to an MRI? Clearly, the Greeks did not have that right. In a state of nature, nobody had that right. People have a right to pursue healthiness. But not a right to the services of a doctor. If health care is a right, then doctors are breaking your rights any time they don’t provide service to someone who needs it.

Let’s look at the “right to affordable housing”. Does everyone have a right to a house? Many cultures don’t use permanent housing, and in fact housing would destroy their culture. Further, the very term “affordable housing” is a misnomer. If it’s affordable, then you can purchase it. We should use the term “welfare housing” because it more accurately describes the service of government giving people property.

Any time property is redistributed, someone’s rights are being violated. The Revolutionary War was fought over the right to own property, and the Constitution liimited the ability of government to seize private property. On a fundamental level, any time the government gives property to an individual for private use, another citizen’s rights are being violated. Here’s why. If you take a dollar from me and give it to my neighbor, you prevent me from spending it on myself. You have deprived me of the ability to use property that I created by my own labors. Further, the idea that people have rights to a certain set of goods ignores reality. There are often fewer goods than there are people. How can everyone have a right to something, if there is a limited supply of that thing? This is the difference between the right to bear arms and the right to a Government-supplied Colt .45.

Conservatives lose the argument whenever they concede the point about the right to health care. Health care is no more a right than Xboxes are right, or Corvettes are a right, or microwaves People have the right to amass their OWN property, and use it as they see fit. But people have no right to have property GIVEN to them by the government.

Michael Steele needs to learn this lesson. He’s currently calling for a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights.” Seniors have no right to health care, any more than anyone else does. It’s easy to see why there is confusion, as seniors have paid into government programs for decades. But welfare programs are not savings accounts, and seniors don’t check the balance before they spend money from Medicare

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