Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is healthcare a “right?”

While the terms of the congressional goat rope surrounding proposed health care “reform'” have changed after the special election this week, there’s no denying that proponents of the idea have grounded their arguments on the premise that health care is a “right.” In the words of a friend of mine, “there is no more fundamental human right than health care.”

Claiming something is a “right” is one of the great intimidators; one of the icy conversation stoppers used to disable and demonize opponents. “You mean you’re against basic human rights?”  “How could you!!”

I come from the point of view that there is no more fundamental  human right than liberty, and that it is the foundation of all the blessings we enjoy in this marvelous American “experiment.” 

Lincoln warned us that there is more than one view of “liberty:”

We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word many mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny.

Rather than blather further on my own, I’m going to get to the point of this post, which is to refer you to a very insightful dissertation on the title of this post.  Surprisingly, it dates to 1993, close to 20 years ago!, when the Clinton health plan was the big news.

You can find it here.  It is, for me, a discussion of great clarity on the matter, and I commend it to you highly.

I’ll give you just a bit of a sample:

You are entitled to something, the politicians say, simply because it exists and you want or need it -- period. You are entitled to be given it by the government. Where does the government get it from? What does the government have to do to private citizens -- to their individual rights -- to their real rights -- in order to carry out the promise of showering free services on the people?


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