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Bogus rights
Feb 8, 2006
by Walter E. Williams

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Do people have a right to medical treatment whether or not they can pay? What about a right to food or decent housing? Would a U.S. Supreme Court justice hold that these are rights just like those enumerated in our Bill of Rights? In order to have any hope of coherently answering these questions, we have to decide what is a right. The way our Constitution's framers used the term, a right is something that exists simultaneously among people and imposes no obligation on another. For example, the right to free speech, or freedom to travel, is something we all simultaneously possess. My right to free speech or freedom to travel imposes no obligation upon another except that of non-interference. In other words, my exercising my right to speech or travel requires absolutely nothing from you and in no way diminishes any of your rights.

Contrast that vision of a right to so-called rights to medical care, food or decent housing, independent of whether a person can pay. Those are not rights in the sense that free speech and freedom of travel are rights. If it is said that a person has rights to medical care, food and housing, and has no means of paying, how does he enjoy them? There's no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy who provides them. You say, "The Congress provides for those rights." Not quite. Congress does not have any resources of its very own. The only way Congress can give one American something is to first, through the use of intimidation, threats and coercion, take it from another American. So-called rights to medical care, food and decent housing impose an obligation on some other American who, through the tax code, must be denied his right to his earnings. In other words, when Congress gives one American a right to something he didn't earn, it takes away the right of another American to something he did earn.

If this bogus concept of rights were applied to free speech rights and freedom to travel, my free speech rights would impose financial obligations on others to provide me with an auditorium and microphone. My right to travel freely would require that the government take the earnings of others to provide me with airplane tickets and hotel accommodations.

Philosopher John Locke's vision of natural law guided the founders of our nation. Our Declaration of Independence expresses that vision, declaring, "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." Government is necessary, but the only rights we can delegate to government are the ones we possess. For example, we all have a natural right to defend ourselves against predators. Since we possess that right, we can delegate authority to government to defend us. By contrast, we don't have a natural right to take the property of one person to give to another; therefore, we cannot legitimately delegate such authority to government.

Three-fifths to two-thirds of the federal budget consists of taking property from one American and giving it to another. Were a private person to do the same thing, we'd call it theft. When government does it, we euphemistically call it income redistribution, but that's exactly what thieves do -- redistribute income. Income redistribution not only betrays the founders' vision, it's a sin in the eyes of God. I'm guessing that when God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," I'm sure he didn't mean "thou shalt not steal unless there was a majority vote in Congress."

The real tragedy for our nation is that any politician who holds the values of liberty that our founders held would be soundly defeated in today's political arena.

Since 1980, Dr. Williams has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics.
 

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Wow! So now trying to provide healthcare is "a sin in the eyes of God"? Who knew?

By the way, 100% of the Federal budget takes money and "gives" it to someone else and every financial transaction is a redistribution of wealth.

I'm admittedly at a loss concerning what rational discussion we are supposed to have regarding such a simplified argument from a Distinguished Professor of Economics.
 

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I like the idea but not the way he explained it.

Shit if I make $500 in over time $300 of just the overtime goes to taxes plus the taxes I pay on my base sal.

we should either go socialized health care like canadia, or say no job that provides it, no insurance.

its a dog eat dog world, I fend for myself and I hate when jackasses feed off the system.

another thing in an unrelated topic, why do married folk get a tax break.

my married friends pay about 75% per person of the taxes I pay, yet they have 2 people paying for their house, splitting groceries between two people, half the utilitie bills. I think since it is no longer a one income household world, that married folk should be subject to the same tax brackets I am.

That or maybe I will just get a convienence marriage.
 

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jim schmidt said:
The Selfish Pussies got to love that one. This guy never "distinguished" himself at George Mason, as I recall. If I'm remembering correctly, his claim to fame is the occasional wacky commentary every few years. He may actually have been fired, although I don't remember exactly.
I just think what the point of capitolism, if our goal is to make everyone in the same class. I worked my way up from living in my ford ranger, to having a fairly decent lifestyle. And Ill be damned if I sit by idoly to watch other people have the same income and benefits with out earning it. The more I watch this the more I want to go work in a tax free zone.

Old Version

The ant works hard, in the withering heat, all summer long. He builds
his house and stores supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks that the ant is a fool. He laughs, dances and
plays the summer away, preparing nothing for the coming winter.

Winter comes. the ant is safe and warm . the grasshopper has no food or
shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

The moral to the story being:

BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF!






****************




HERE IS THE NEW VERSION which I have just received!

The ant works hard, in the withering heat, all summer long. He builds
his house and stores supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks that the ant is a fool. He laughs, dances and
plays the summer away, preparing nothing for the coming winter.

Winter comes. the ant is safe and warm. but here is where the story
changes.

The shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know
why the ant should be allowed to be warm and fed, while others are cold
and starving!

CBS, NBC, ABC & CNN show up to provide pictures of shivering
grasshoppers, next to a video of an ant in his comfortable home, with a
table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast! How can this be, that in a
country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer this
way?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah, with the grasshopper. Everyone cries
when they sing "It's Not Easy Being Green".

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house, where
the news stations film the group singing "We Shall Overcome".

Jesse then has the group pray to God, for the grasshopper's sake, and
reminds the group to contribute to his group, so that he can "continue
the fight" for grasshoppers, everywhere!

Ted Kennedy & John Kerry exclaim, in an interview with Tom Brokaw, that
the ant has gotten rich, off the back of the poor grasshopper! Both call
for an immediate tax hike, to make the ant pay "his fair share"!

Finally, the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity For Grasshoppers Act",
retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The ant is fined for failing
to hire the proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left
to pay his retroactive taxes, his house is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper, in a
defamation suit against the ant. The case is tried before a panel of
federal judges, appointed her man, when he was President, from a list of
single-parent welfare recipients.

Surprise! The ant loses the case!

The story ends, as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of
the ant's food, while the government house he lives in (which happens to
be the ant's old house) crumbles around him, due to lack of maintenance!

The ant has disappeared in the snow. The grasshopper is found, dead, in
a drug-related incident. The house, now abandoned, is taken over by a
gang of spiders, who terrorize this once-peaceful neighborhood.

THE END!
 

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Where is the vaunted charity that conservatives have in spades?

What happened to helping your fellow man?

In my home town where the auto industry is laying off thousands weekly we very rarely get talk like that.

If anyone speaks up with such insensitive crap I remind them of the unemployment benefits afforded to all who fall on bad times.

Maybe its because of where I live that I can understand that even with hard work and dedication sometimes people fall down because of no fault of their own, and without this charity some would not might not be able to get up.

The mark of great society is when they help those within their own ranks up when fallen. This type of selfishness goes away from everthing America claims to be.
 

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BigBadBoom said:
Where is the vaunted charity that conservatives have in spades?

What happened to helping your fellow man?

In my home town where the auto industry is laying off thousands weekly we very rarely get talk like that.

If anyone speaks up with such insensitive crap I remind them of the unemployment benefits afforded to all who fall on bad times.

Maybe its because of where I live that I can understand that even with hard work and dedication sometimes people fall down because of no fault of their own, and without this charity some would not might not be able to get up.

The mark of great society is when they help those within their own ranks up when fallen. This type of selfishness goes away from everthing America claims to be.
IF you are talking to me, I grew up in Bay City, most of my family and friends are laid off, and yes the auto market is a statewide possibly nationalwide crisis caused by bad governing.

and there are differences, single mother who has no baby daddy to pay child support, old people who DIDNT PLAN for retirement, and RECENTLY laid off folks should receive benefits.

and I beleive in socialized health care.

what I dont beleive in is those milking welfare for more than 9-12 months

I have never been unemployeed for more than a combined 1.5 months since I was 13, never fileed for unemployment (even though I qualed), because I know how to get off my ass find a job even if it involves McDonalds or moving.
 

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I agree that healthcare is not a right...I don't have a right to a kidney or heart transplant, or open heart surgery, or to Cancer treatments just because I want or need them. I also don't have a right to receive whatever medicines I require to stay healthy just because I want them...unless, I can arrange payment for them.
 

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You guys talk about rights like they are some kind of natural law or something. In a society, rights are determined collectively. Whatever is agreed is a right is a right. And if the time comes when oreo cookies are elected to the status of a right, they will then be a Right. Until that time, everyone who thinks they should be will disagree with everyone who thinks they shouldn't be. It is specious to discuss rights in any other context.

In the case of healthcare, universal health care advocates aren't falling into the same rhetorical trap you guys are. They are saying that healthcare ought to be a right. On this, I happen to agree with them.

When and if it becomes a right, however, feel free not to use it. In fact, I encourage you...
 

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jim schmidt said:
When and if it becomes a right, however, feel free not to use it. In fact, I encourage you...
If and when that happens we weill running a system similar to canadia, which I think, the only downfall is a large number of their good doctors move down here, because privatized healthcare pays them more.

because concurrantly they posses an in-demand skill that not everyone has and should get paid for it. You dont here me bitching because I dont make the same $ as a doctor. if you think that everyone should be on the same playing field than go to china where you can make 16 cents/hour just like everyone else.

that goes for all you min wage advocates as well, everytime min wage goes up its the middle class that takes the hit, when the price of goods goes up 3-6 months later like it did last year. It doesnt hurt the rich and it makes the lower class btter off for the lesser part of a year.

EDIT - only the first para was directed at jim.
 

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Jiggly said:
IF you are talking to me, I grew up in Bay City, most of my family and friends are laid off, and yes the auto market is a statewide possibly nationalwide crisis caused by bad governing.
If I was directing a statement to you I would have quoted you directly like I just did.
 

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Jiggly said:
I have never been unemployeed for more than a combined 1.5 months since I was 13, never fileed for unemployment (even though I qualed), because I know how to get off my ass find a job even if it involves McDonalds or moving.
:popcorn
 

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Jiggly said:
I have never been unemployeed for more than a combined 1.5 months since I was 13, never fileed for unemployment (even though I qualed), because I know how to get off my ass find a job even if it involves McDonalds or moving.
So you paid for insurance -- every paycheck -- but decided not to use the insurance you paid for? You feel the same way about your car insurance, health insurance, and homeowner's insurance?
 

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jim schmidt said:
So you paid for insurance -- every paycheck -- but decided not to use the insurance you paid for? You feel the same way about your car insurance, health insurance, and homeowner's insurance?
Jimmy, don't take chew away at any false sense of pride, the next layer of it involves more sophisticated aspects of identity.
 

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jim schmidt said:
So you paid for insurance -- every paycheck -- but decided not to use the insurance you paid for? You feel the same way about your car insurance, health insurance, and homeowner's insurance?
I dont agree with the insurance and only pay it out of it being a federal requirement. I will not take advantage of a system I do not beleive in. And yes my car insurance I have bought my own windshields even though glass coverage is included in my Liability coverage. I will not pay for full coverage insurance on a car because unless it is financed it usually isnt worth it. I save my money put it in a bank and than pay cash, marvolous conecpt isnt it. As far as being sick I usually dont go to the doctor unless I have been sick over a month or get injured, Used that twice in my life. And renters insurance I made one claim which I only made $160 out of the $1100 value that was stolen, most likely by some little trustfund brat from Cali whose parents wouldn't buy him one.

and L2I since when should one be ashamed of not being in debt, and working for everything they own. I am sorry but my parents were poor, I didnt have every oppurtunity, I worked 40 hours a week from age 13 in the family business, plus played a varsity sport on top of that. By 16 had enough money to pay cash for my first car. I came home from college every weekend and helped my dad build a small rental house business from scratch and now has 16 rental units, enough to cover his retirement. I worked my way out of 20k in debt from student loans and college credit cards in under a year without claiming bankruptcy. Throught this I still had time for friends and games.

if making it on your own in the world is not something to be proud of than I do not know what is. Granted I do not know your situation but I imagine daddy is a lawyer paid for all your college you hate your parents, you can't have a successfull relationship with a female because you have too many issues with your mom. You have never struggled to eat in your life judging by the naked belly in your profile


You just hit a personal spot with that one. Fuck you for not knowing what the real world is like.
 
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