The Audacity of Calling Healthcare a “Right”

There appears to be a growing number of people in America who either fail to understand, have yet to entertain, or outright despise the American concept of Rights. I was once the same way, so any vitriol you may detect below is partially directed at a younger version of myself in addition to the people who persist in meeting the previous description.

So, what are Rights?

When referring to the usage in phrases like human rights and civil rights, Mirriam-Webster defines rights as “qualities (as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval.” That’s close to what I have in mind, but not quite what I think our Founding Fathers meant.

When the United States claimed Freedom from British rule, the men who instigated the rebellion used the concept of Rights as their main rationale for doing so. The Declaration of Independence, which would be read and studied far more often if I were in charge of public schools, states this explicitly:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

This passage is an atom bomb of America fired upon the impeders of Liberty and despotic societal organizers. It acknowledges that “Rights” (notice the capital R) are not granted by the government, determined by a voting majority, or invented by the Founders themselves, but “endowed” by a “Creator” (notice the capital C). By using the term Creator instead of God, the Founders simultaneously reveal the holiness of Rights and the nondenominational nature of the ambiguous Creator denoted (as mostly Deists themselves, the Founders were not enamored with a particular version of a particular religion, but had the humility to admit that the universe exists in ways beyond our capability of comprehension). The term “self-evident” used to describe the “truths” of our “unalienable Rights” is essential as it bypasses data collection, qualitative analysis, and straw polls to establish the power of the individual to harness his Rights by his own mind and accord.

The second half of this passage, which could easily be commandeered by the Subjectivists and Post-Modernists running rampant in our universities, must be understood as it is intended to be as well. While Socialists, Fascists, and Communists may attempt to usurp the meaning of “it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it [destructive form of government], and to institute new Government,… as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness,” this in no way legitimizes a fundamental revolution or redefinition of Rights imposed by a voting majority. Because the American government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed,” it does not have the Right to take away Rights simply because a Collectivist horde demands it. The power of the government does not exist without “the consent of the governed.” Therefore, if a majority claims it has come to power, it is not so unless the minority it holds power over submits to its will. Laws and regulations enacted by the government must not contradict the Rights of men, and if they do, they are illegitimate and ripe for disobedience. This should be a nonpartisan rallying cry as politicians and voters on both sides of the political spectrum increasingly create unconstitutional and immoral laws.

Rights are bigger than the minds and desires of governments and men. Rights do not need to be proven in a laboratory or granted by a legislature because no sane, honest, good adult could ever disagree that they are innate. Rights are not up for a vote. And while they can be discussed, questioned, expanded, refined, and debated, the Rights of man are nonnegotiable.

I do not imagine that Democratic-Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would agree with this truth. He is often cited for his honesty. But if he is indeed honest, he must also be ignorant, insane, stupid, or evil.

He demonstrates his lack of understanding of the Objectivity of Rights (or his betrayal of the truth) by claiming that healthcare is a Right. I would have agreed with him several years ago, but I was wrong and am relieved to admit it. By looking at several examples of unalienable Rights, it can be seen that the assertion that healthcare is a Right is nonsensical.

The Rights the Founders specified in the Declaration of Independence are a great starting point for understanding the concept of Rights. You have a Right to your Life, and it is the truth. This does not mean that someone else must be forced against his will to protect your Life, but rather that no one may take your Life away. It does not mean that it is impossible for someone to take your Life, but that it is wrong for that someone to do so. Your Life is inherently yours, your neighbors’ lives are inherently theirs, and none of you has a Right to the take or own the Life of the other. You also have a Right to Liberty. This means that you are the executive official and sole arbiter of what you will do with your Life. Since everyone else has a Right to Liberty as well, your Liberty is only limited by the Liberty of others. As American philosopher Zechariah Chaffee once said, “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins,” and that is the truth. Finally, you have the Right to pursue what you define to be Happiness. This does not mean that the government or another individual is tasked with the responsibility of making you happy, as that would be an obvious violation of said person’s Liberty. Instead, it means that you may use your Life and the Liberty that comes with it to attempt to accomplish goals, achieve fulfillment, or whatever else floats your boat.

Another excellent demonstration of your Rights can be found in the Bill of Rights of the American Constitution. The First Amendment explains to the government that men have the Right to speak freely, worship freely, report the news freely, assemble in a peaceful manner freely, and petition the government’s actions and policies freely. Man is forced to do nothing. Only the government is forced, and it is forced to obey the Freedom of man. The Second Amendment, in the same vein, does not demand men take up arms, but forbids the government from infringing upon man’s Right to prepare to defend his Rights from the government or other forces.

Here is a quick, paraphrased run-through of the other 8 Amendments:

3. The government shall not force the people to house soldiers during peacetime, and must follow lawful guidelines during times of war.

4. The government must obtain a warrant based on probable cause before it can engage in search or seizure of property or individuals.

5-8. The government must follow strict guidelines in administering justice through the court system.

9. NOT every Right of the people is explicitly stated in the Constitution, so the government must respect Rights claimed by the people even if they are not mentioned.

10. Every Right of the government IS explicitly stated in the Constitution, so the government must respect the will of the states and the people respectively on matters it has not been overtly deputized to handle.

Each Right mentioned is written either to preserve the innate Liberty of men by restraining the government or to establish strict, humane and reasonable procedures during Life-and-Liberty-threatening situations, the latter being the government’s only truly necessary function.

Can you find any Rights that illustrate what you must do to or for others? Any Rights that illustrate what the government must do to or for you? No? That’s because there could never be any Rights that involve removing the Right to Liberty all men are born with unless they violate another person’s Rights first. Rights are not entitlements to goods and services; they are Freedoms that one can only justifiably lose by unjustifiably trampling on the Rights of others.

Because of this, healthcare can never be a Right. Freedom of Speech is a Right that prevents others from forcing you to conceal your opinions. “Free” healthcare would mean stripping others of their Liberty, and forcing them to become doctors, build hospitals, create medicine and equipment, and take care of you simply because you were born. Rights are meant to be social, polite, and eternal in nature. They make sure we all live freely instead of like animals or slaves. Demanding that others take care of you is anti-social, impolite, and conditional. In fact, that kind of thinking is pure narcissism, and should be shunned by all of us.

This reality in no way suggests that people should refrain from helping one another. Voluntary charity and compassionate discounts for loved ones and strangers alike are uniquely human phenomena, and make Freedom and Liberty all the more wonderful and all the more possible when put into action. No other creature has the capacity to empathize or reason, so we’re special in this regard, and we should teach our children to pay it forward when they can. I would love to see the day when politicians stop taking our money and forcing us to have what the people who will reelect them think is best for us, so we can rediscover the beauty of self-governance, self-determination, personal responsibility, family values, and respect for others once again.

I would propose loosening up on licensures, taxes, and regulations, so we are more able to help each other without Big Brother looking over our shoulders and the tax man knocking on our doors. It might mean a bit of a net loss in security, but the fact that captive animals live longer than wild animals does not persuade me to desire to live in a cage.

Sadly, I think this Age of Enlightenment is choking for its last gasps of air. The Socialists, Theocrats, and language police seem to be winning. But by keeping these ideas alive, we increase the chances of inspiring a new awakening someday down the road. Win or lose in our lifetimes, planting seeds of Liberty is the most altruistic thing we can do.

So, to Bernie Sanders and the Socialists, I have but one request. You want universal healthcare? Fine. But for the sake of dignity and the English language, be honest. Call it a federal mandate, and not a human Right.

The Audacity of Calling Healthcare a “Right”

Conservative Compassion Part III: How Conservatives Hate Science

Conservatives are Climate Change deniers. They are willfully ignorant to the fact that man is causing global warming, and some even deny that it’s happening at all. Evolution and the Big Bang Theory are shunned by Conservatives, and many continue to be anti-vaxxers despite no evidence suggesting vaccines cause developmental problems and plenty of evidence suggesting that a vaccinated community is a healthy community. Why are they so hostile towards science?

They are not.

The key to understanding Conservative skepticism towards many scientific discoveries and practices is to compare them to Liberals in terms of their world views and values. Liberalism and Environmentalism seem to go hand-in-hand in contemporary times. While few Conservatives have ever been accused of being tree-huggers, it’s rare to find a Facebook photo of a Liberal posing with the corpse of a 12-point buck or driving a Chevrolet Kodiak. Liberals believe that it is man’s duty to respect and protect the environment, and that environmental needs come before the economic needs of man. If you think about it, the environment is one of the only things Liberals are extremely Conservative about. They don’t want progress; they want conservation when it comes to the natural world; they want the environment to exist as it currently does forever.

Conservative values are quite different. To be Anthropocentric is to believe that man is the center of the universe while the environment is nothing more than a murderous enemy full of volcanoes, mosquitoes, and cancer whose resources we must procure to survive and make our lives as pleasant as possible. Man is the universe’s only entity that creates music, fine wines and cheeses, advanced technology, high-speed transportation, and love stories. Man is the only creature aware that it is thinking, and the only being that can envision heaven and the future. To Conservatives, informed by the Bible or not, this makes man special, particularly when juxtaposed with the environment. By understanding this point of view, it is easy to see why Conservatives are skeptical about certain scientific theories and ambitions of the scientific community.

Climate Change

Climate Change is considered a global concern. It is not a localized occurrence like a polluted local watering hole which does not affect people outside the immediate area. Climate Change is not something we can easily address as individuals. It would require a massive, cooperative effort between governments across the globe to even be able to dream of having the slightest impact on the average temperature of the Earth.

And herein lies the point of disagreement. As Anthropocentrists, Conservatives correspondingly hold Freedom and Liberty as invaluable. A planetary effort to reverse Climate Change would obviously require a reduction in Freedom and Liberty and a great increase in centralized planning by men in power over the men at their mercy. This is the nightmare that keeps Conservatives attached to their rifles. Relinquishing their Free Will and right to Pursue their own Happiness would negate the importance and value of Life. Should the acceptance of free men in society draw to a close, Conservatives and others who crave Liberty would likely be forced to either violently reclaim the restoration of their rights, die trying, or sulk in the corner like cowards until they drop dead.

Conservatives value autonomy, the right to attempt to make their dreams come true, and the right to procreate without impediments far more than they value attempting to cool the planet. It’s not necessarily that Conservatives deny Climate Change on the whole; it’s that they do not care in a relative sense.

Additionally, Conservatives may not view Climate Change as pessimistically as Liberals do, and often show their compassion for the poor by rejecting a global effort to curb it. When man is presented with challenges, he tends to rise to the occasion. Man invented the refrigerator to keep his food fresh in the summer, the combustion engine to help him travel more quickly and easily, and tampons to prevent him from having to buy his wife a new wardrobe every month. Rather than view Climate Change in such a dystopic and cynical fashion, many Conservatives see it as an opportunity to innovate and enterprise in new and unique ways. If sea levels rise, what (other than governmental regulations) prevents man from creating a mechanism to cull their potential for damage or even harness their power for good use? If the habitat becomes too volatile for a food source in demand, what is stopping man from finding another way to satisfy consumers? The free market incentivizes those of us with a sufficient work ethic to solve these problems in a voluntary and productive way without alienating us from our self-evident rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. To address truly disadvantageous effects of Climate Change, Conservatives would like to see the private sector hit the drawing board. And while I have decided to keep this post free of citations, you can do a little research and learn that they are making progress.

As far as the compassionate facet goes, one must consider the possibility of having to deprive the impoverished of economically-friendly resources that do not meet environmental requirements imposed by government. If the use of fossil fuels or other environmentally-unfriendly resources is regulated, it may mean that a person in need of speedy conveyance will be forced to choose a less efficient mode of transportation to get from point A to point B. And God only knows the potential consequences of that sort of a situation.

Environmental regulations will also put many business out of commission, making finding a job more difficult, and unemployment and poverty more likely in addition to obvious market suffering for all.

Lastly, though many on the left would rather see Climate Change skeptics beheaded than what I am about to mention, there are unanswered questions and scientific evidence that at least counter parts of commonly accepted Climate Change beliefs:

  • The 97% consensus is a bogus statistic
  • There has been no significant warming over the past two decades
  • The planet is literally getting greener thanks to increased CO2 emissions
  • Parts of the world that were once infertile are now being farmed
  • The Antarctic is gaining sea ice
  • The climate has always changed and will continue to change beyond our control
  • It’s theorized that temperature rise precedes CO2 increases while the opposite is widely believed to be true
  • Many past predictions of climatologists have not come to fruition
  • Many scientists believe that man’s impact on Climate Change is grossly exaggerated
  • Wind and Solar power are expensive and inefficient
  • It is hard to imagine a time in which we are not completely dependent on fossil fuels

Fact-check me if you wish.

Vaccines

The anti-vaxxer movement is not a strictly right-wing phenomenon, but I assume it’s far less prevalent on the left. This is so for the same reasons Conservatives are not as bothered by Climate Change as Liberals: Freedom and Liberty. While it may be irrefutably true that a properly vaccinated community is infinitely healthier than one that is not vaccinated, being forced by the government to inject diseases into your children is not something that will ever sit well with a Conservative.

The “Social Contract” of Liberal dogma is not recognized by Conservatives, or certainly not as broadly. Conservatives believe that one man’s freedom, at least in the eyes of the law, ends where another man’s freedom begins. Making a risky business decision is permissible because the only risk incurred is yours, but you do not have the freedom to take another man’s property because he has a right to keep it for himself. Liberals expand the scope of social responsibility so vastly that they claim the profits you earn are not yours, but society’s because other individuals may have given you advice or refrained from murdering you.

It makes perfect sense, then, that Liberals are more aggressive when it comes to something like required vaccinations because they believe less that you are born free and more that you are indebted to the community around you at birth. To earn your right to exist in society, you must conform to the will of the tribe in the eyes of a Liberal.

Conservatives are all about breaking free from the system and the confines of social order outside the family, so it makes sense that vaccines, particularly mandatory ones, make Conservatives wary.

On a side note, it is ignorant of all of us to use the blanket term “vaccines” as if it were one fluid administered in one way. Some vaccines are evidently safe. Others and the times at which they are administered are questionable.

The Flip Side

Conservatives are not alone in being “anti-science” at times; Liberals have their moments too. Conservatives are clearly more concerned with economic prosperity than environmental conservation while Liberals are closer to the opposite. This is why Liberals are on alert when GMOs and fracking are around.

The largest study of GMOs ever conducted concluded that there are no increased health risks associated with consuming GMOs, and studies on fracking have yet to find solid evidence of significant environmental damage caused by the practice. These findings do not appear to be resonating much in the Liberal bubble as Liberals speak of both with negative connotations.

GMOs and fracking are admittedly chilling. Altering the genetic sequence of a vegetable seems like something out of a horror movie, and doing controlled explosions deep within the Earth to harvest natural gas is a bit unsettling. But since we’re focusing on science here, the emotions should be overcome, and the data should be accepted.

Conservatives like GMOs and fracking because they make better and cheaper products, create jobs, and accordingly generate wealth. These facts make GMOs and fracking beneficial for everyone, especially the poorest people in American and in the world.

Liberals are less concerned with people improving their standard of living through market and industrial practices than they are with keeping scary stuff out of their thoughts. This is why Liberals want to legislate more oversight and regulations upon these kinds of industries, and Conservatives want the opposite.

Regardless of which scientific facts are the most factual, nobody blindly accepts every word scientists say. Both sides have their reasons to be skeptical at times, and Conservatives are in no way science-hating knuckle draggers.

Conservative Compassion Part III: How Conservatives Hate Science