Friday, May 16, 2008

"Rights" and wrongs

"I do believe that healthcare is a right, in the sense that free speech is a right; no one can take that right away from you."
- Michael Novak


I know that Novak doesn't mean that in the way that it comes out, because he goes on to suggest that no one need build you an auditorium in which to exercise your free speech. But I am unwilling to even go as far as he has done and even accept that premise and terminology. Sometimes it is important to be very clear in the way you use the language, and this is an issue on which a lot of people are willing to misuse it. Once framed as a "right," the supporters of socialized medicine have not only moral support, but moral obligation in their quest to impose a government universal "health care" system on the citizens of the US. So let me say this clearly.

No one has the "right" to health care.

And let me say that again - no one has the "right" to health care.

People have the right to pursue health care. Some people may exercise the right to learn how to provide health care, while others exercise the right to pursue some other occupation which will enable them to acquire health care from those who learn how to provide it, but no one has the right to health care. Health care exists only as the result of human labor, energy expended by one man's mind or body, and no one has a moral claim, a "right," to the fruits of those labors. If my neighbor is a landscaper, I have no "right" to have him cut my lawn. If he's a barber, I have no "right" to have him cut my hair. But if he's a doctor, somehow some people think that I have a "right" to his time and expertise. If he's a scientist at a pharmaceutical company, some think that somehow I have the "right" to the products that his labor have created. It does not work that way. His time and expertise are his to sell, and I have no more "right" to them than I have to the food that his neighbor the chef prepares.

In a society of free people, no man has the "right" to another's labor. Conceding the language at the beginning of the debate is just the first step in losing the debate. And losing the freedoms "to which the Laws of Nature, and of Nature's God entitle[s] [us]" is the inevitable result.

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