Free Markets, Free People


Health care is still not a “right”

Yesterday, as the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted for the 30th time to repeal ObamaCare, Nancy Pelosi said:

“We put forth a vision for the middle class to make health care a right, not a privilege for all Americans. Today, as they have done more than 30 times this Congress, Republicans will vote to take away that right.”

Pelosi, among many of our legislators and politicians in general, displays a level of ignorance about rights and privileges that seems pretty basic to me.  Governments don’t grant rights, they grant privileges no matter how hard they try to characterize what they do as a “right”.

A right, to be a right, must be inherent.  It is something you have even before government shows up.  The right to life.  The right to liberty.  As our founders identified these rights, they’re “inalienable”.

The best government can do, and the true foundation of a just government, is the acknowledge and protect our inherent rights. I.e government should exist to protect those rights.

Real rights are passive. They don’t require the assets, time, labor or commitment of others to enable their execution.    Health care, of course, is a perfect example of a pseudo“right” which requires all of that.

Anything that government can give you (remember, we had the inherent rights I talk about before government existed and we formed the government to acknowledge and protect them – see founding documents) is not a “right.”  And when government has to use it’s coercive power to “enable” these pseudo “rights” as it has in this health insurance debacle, it isn’t a right.

There is no right to health care. Period.  There never has been.  You have no inherent right to demand someone else use their skills, time and assets to service your health.  You certainly have the right to negotiate and reach a voluntary agreement (see liberty) with health care providers based on a mutual exchange of value (see property).  But “right” – no.

And besides, what Pelosi et al really cranked out was a requirement to buy health insurance via the coercive taxing authority of government.  It no more guarantees health care as a right than the previous system.  You still have to find a health care provider to accept your insurance and agree to treat you.  In fact, it’s even tough to characterize the ObamaCare monstrosity as a government granted “privilege”.

Back to the point – this fundamental ignorance about rights and privileges, however, is at the root of many of our problems.  For decades we’ve allowed government to get away with calling things it grants “rights” to the point that the concept of rights is so muddled that most people don’t understand them at all and have fallen for the government line.

Falling for that line helps enable horrific legislation like ObamaCare because it gives it cover, a veneer of "good” the proponents use to push their agenda.  Who wouldn’t be for something that’s a “right”?

My point:  Don’t let them misuse the word.  Call people and politicians who do this out.  Make them substantiate their claim of a right and when they can’t point out what is really going on.  They’re talking about a privilege established by government coercion.  That’s not freedom.  That’s not liberty, two things you have a right to expect and something these privileges usually curtail.

It’s time to take back the political language.  And there’s no better place to start with the understanding that government’s don’t and can’t grant rights.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print
  • Google Bookmarks

73 Responses to Health care is still not a “right”

  • Something they teach in law schools is that a right in you sets up an obligation in me, which is generally true and obvious.  You have a right to be safe in your person, and I have an obligation not to do you harm.
    Hence, a “right to health care” in one sets up obligations in others…quite a few of them, too.
    Another angle is this: if health care is a “right”, I can demand all I need of it to assure my health.  My demand could approach infinite, especially when combined with others exercising their “rights”, because a “right” contemplates a free good in this case.  I don’t simply have a right to X dollars worth of health care.  If my health care is a right, where is it restricted, and under what possible construction of the term “rights”?

  • You’d fail a political philosophy class with a claim that rights “must be inherent.”  That is one theory, but not a dominant one, and certainly one that cannot be proven.   Remember, even the concept of “rights” is a human linguistic construct, one that is rather recent!  We can and do make things rights which we want to make rights — that’s the real world.  Arguing about whether rights are “inherent” is angels dancing on a head of a pin belly gazing.  You’ve got a marginal ideology and since the world doesn’t adhere to your arbitrary view on rights, you simply call everyone else ignorant?   You are a smart guy, but ideology is clouding your ability to clearly understand reality.

    • “but not a dominant one”
      J H C.  – We founded a country based on that premise – people came from all over the world because of that premise but in your peanut sized understanding of your country “it’s not a dominant one”.

      Geeze Erb, MOVE to some ‘freedom loving’ country like, say, Russia, that fits your damn ideals, you’re stinking mine up with your bull shit.
      “angels dancing…belly gazing”
      Philosophies are the basis for what we do when no one is watching us.  You…when you’re alone, you’re either dreaming of wearing chains, or dreaming of putting them on others.

    • “You are a smart guy, but ideology is clouding your ability to clearly understand reality.”

      And you’re NOT a smart guy if you can’t see that what you’re advocating as permissible and acceptable is a system where I can demand YOU do things for me that you don’t want to do and I can get the government to enforce it and call it a ‘right’.  It’s that kind of thinking that has continuously allowed men to put other humans under the yoke and treat them like animals and call it acceptable.   We fought a war that destroyed slavery as a ‘right’ in this country and you prattle on about how rights are whatever we say they are.

      Are those cookies ready yet, idiot?

    • “That is one theory, but not a dominant one, and certainly one that cannot be proven.”

      On the contrary, it is only natural rights that, by being grounded in immutable reality, has any proof going for it.  Why stop at a right to the private good of free medical care?  Why no right to mansions and yachts?  Those are also private goods that people would enjoy.  Sure, they take materials and labor, but so does medical attention.

      Why not? Because it would blow-up in your face much faster than would a “right” to medical care, which takes a generation or two for the hospital murders to manifest like they have in Europe.

    • “You’d fail a political philosophy class…”

      Only if a leftist imbecile was teaching it.

      • One who could easily dismiss, again and again, massive contradictions, and call that “logic and reason”.
        J.U.S.T. P.L.A.I.N. N.U.T.S!!!

    • That is one theory, but not a dominant one, and certainly one that cannot be proven.

      It isn’t a “theory”, it’s an argument based upon a particular definition of the word.  Notice that the word also can be used to describe the opposite direction as “left” or “correct” (as opposed to “incorrect”).  It is utterly ridiculous to toss about words like “theory” and “proven”when the disagreement is over the definition.
      You claim the particular definition is “not a dominant one”, which begs the question: dominant among whom?  Among “liberal” college professors who dominate the field of those teaching political philosophy classes?  Sure.  But who cares?  That’s like citing J. Evans Pritchard (from the textbook in “Dead Poets Society”) as an authority on poetry, or taking a survey of professors in theological colleges in an attempt to refute the arguments of an atheist.  It’s a biased selection of people not representative of the rest of the population, whose insulated positions make appeals to authority the stuff of hearty laughs and ridicule of the Ott Scerb variety.
      Now, your choice of definition of the word is self-serving, as it obfuscates discussions and, without close inspection, lends the appearance of a rational basis for justifying the act of arbitrarily and capriciously deciding what is right and wrong.  But you know by now that in a forum such as this, which tends to be libertarian in nature, the use of the word “rights” is going to be what is sometimes called a “negative right” or a “natural right”, with no heed to what is “dominant” among the typically anti-libertarian small subset of professors who “teach this stuff” as a way of indoctrination, rather than enlightenment.
      So, once again, you attempt to sabotage discussions by murdering the language, ignoring the obvious context in which the definition of the word is clearly nothing like what you wish it would be.  But until you’re willing to acknowledge the clear intention of the author, you’re just a vandal offering no constructive information to the discussion.
      Since you and your ilk think that you can declare anything you like to be a “right” (i.e., a “positive right” which imposes an obligation on others, meaning that to enact such a privilege, you must steal from others to pay for it), my deepest wish is that you will suffer the worst consequence of such an arrangement, either when the party from whom you wish to steal holds you accountable in the way that thieves have been punished for millennia, or when you are subject to having your values plundered by people who decide (arbitrarily and capriciously, as you have done) that their notion of a privilege supersedes your personal judgment.  The latter, of course, is problematic in that I would only wish that upon those of you who push for it to be inflicted on others, not on innocent bystanders.
      So, imagining you face down in the gutter like some punk with a knife who tried to mug a woman carrying a gun will probably be the better option.  And, before you whine that I’m wishing violence on you, I am only wishing that you be held accountable for what you do, that anyone who uses force against you do so in justifiable defense of your aggressive attempts to steal what they worked to obtain to serve your greedy ends.

    • “certainly one that cannot be proven”

      Show us a theory in political philosophy that can be “proven”. Including what you just said. Also, define “prove”.

    • ” Arguing about whether rights are “inherent” is angels dancing on a head of a pin belly gazing.”

      Either way Pelosi’s argument is just as bad. If a ‘right’ can be granted or taken away by act of Congress the word is meaningless.

      • The practical meaning of “right” in the US is whether of not the entitlement is guaranteed by the US Constitution.

        • Which is a good example of why “practical” is useless as a moral gauge.  Also, that would be a chance to cite Spooner concerning the Constitution of No Authority, or to reenact Garrison’s burning of the document while declaring, “So perish all compromise with tyranny!”  Toss in a bit of Thoreau:

          Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice.

    • Out from the rock I see!

    • You’d fail a political philosophy class with a claim that rights “must be inherent.”  That is one theory, but not a dominant one,

      Of course, the dominate school is post-modern, which is indistinguishable from schizophrenia.
      http://www.amazon.com/Madness-Modernism-Insanity-Literature-Thought/dp/0674541375/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1342111018&sr=8-1&keywords=modernism+and+madness
      Or http://tinyurl.com/7gxrlk6
      Thanks for playing, sparky!

  • You’d fail a political philosophy class with a claim that rights “must be inherent.”  That is one theory, but not a dominant one, and certainly one that cannot be proven.

    Huh?  So, your “passing” grade would depend on my toeing YOUR “dominant line”.  Phuc you.  You can’t “prove” any theory of rights, you moron!

    You’ve got a marginal ideology and since the world doesn’t adhere to your arbitrary view on rights, you simply call everyone else ignorant?

    Again, without the least awareness of self-parody!  LOVE that!

     

    • Leave it to the guy who teaches the “political dark arts” to cloud up the concept.

      • That’s precisely his intent.
        He knows that Bruce McQuain uses the word as defined as a “negative right” or “natural right” and never the “positive right” definition.  He’s dishonestly trying to ignore the intent of the author to obfuscate and derail the discussion.

        • What? Do you mean that ‘negative rights’ and ‘natural rights’ are terms taught in political philosophy? Not, evidently, in any class Erp was near. I guess it all depends on your definition of ” a political philosophy class” .

    • “Phuc you.”

      AGAIN with the racism! I demand an apology and for your penance a thousand word essay on the wonderfullness of Vietnamese culture.

    • Really; you just can’t make this shit up!

  • If this was a right, they would have just gone to federal court and sued.

    • Thing is, Neo, according to Nutty Pelosi, “rights” can just be legislated into existence.  Even Erp would have to allow that is a new wrinkle.
      In the case of a “right” to abortion, that was at least THEORICALLY derivative of actual rights under the Constitution.
      I see no way to derive a right to health care, or even to heath “insurance” (which ObamaCare is NOT really) from any right under our charter.

      • Why is it so easy for people to clearly see when a 5-year-old patently “makes stuff up”, but not Pelosi?  Is it because they’re engaging in “make believe” along with her?

      • Baron Munchausen was more sane that faux Catholic faux legislator faux states-one faux legal-eagle Nancy Pelosi.
        She can call her vagina a penis, but it really doesn’t matter when she will screw you anyway.

    • If this was a right, they would have just gone to federal court and sued.

      Good point.  Why didn’t people march in the streets in 1790 demanding that the government uphold their “right” to health care?  For that matter, why wasn’t it mentioned in the Magna Carta, or in the writings of Enlightenment thinkers like Locke?
      A “positive right” to health care imposes an obligation on doctors, staff, hospitals, medical equipment manufacturers, pharmacists, and (most obviously) on those chosen (arbitrarily) by the ‘authorities” as the ones to pay for those who can’t afford to pay the doctor or pharmacist.  Anyone who rationally thinks about this for a few minutes can see that such a “positive right” is always going to be arbitrary and never justifiable as a fundamental moral tenet.
      Using Scott’s argument, the men in Muslim countries have a “right” to beat their wives, mutilate their daughters’ genitals, and murder Jews and apostates.  Because the prevailing public opinion in those countries sometimes supports such harsh laws, one could argue that it’s reality that those people can and do construct such “rights” as they see fit.  Hoisted on his own petard.

      • “Using Scott’s argument, the men in Muslim countries have a “right” to beat their wives, mutilate their daughters’ genitals, and murder Jews and apostates.  Because the prevailing public opinion in those countries sometimes supports such harsh laws”

        That is precisely his reasoning.  It’s clear Scott really doesn’t understand there is any difference between ‘rights’ and ‘laws’, furthermore this proves, yet again, he thinks they are one and the same.  Subsequently we can pretty much ignore anything he has to say on the subject of rights.  I only pity the students he’s mis-informing as a result of his poor ability to reason.

        • “Good and necessary”…
          Ah, I will NEVER get tired of that one…  NEVER…!!!

          • You beat me to it.
            Scott’s “rights” change depending upon where/when/who he is.
            Arbitrary and capricious.
            It’s ridiculous that he tosses around terms like “theory” and “prove” as though he had a rational basis for anything he says about rights.

          • Adults understand the reality often is that unjust laws are enacted and men are stripped of their rights by other men.  Scott is of the opinion that we should accept this and accept that the caprices of the general voting population are ‘reality’.   It’s a sad philosophy since it aspires to nothing greater than acknowledgement that the whim of the current ruling mob defines what will be rights and there are no rights greater than those the milling mob allows.  He thinks this makes him wise , rather than merely an excellent candidate for enslavement.

      • The closest anyone can get to a right with health care is the right to trade for it as part and parcel of man’s natural right to engage in voluntary trade and commerce.  The provider has a property right in his own labor, which must be respected.  Denying a person his property rights in his own labor is the very essence of slavery.  So politicians who claim health care to be a “right” are really effectively saying that doctors, nurses, technicians and others who work in health care are nothing more than slaves to be exploited without limit by the rest of the population.  And those who claim education is a “right” are effectively saying that teachers are just slaves to be exploited by the part of the population who has children.  And so on.  REAL rights have already been well-defined, and are NEVER in conflict with anyone else’s real rights.

  • Erp obviously studied political philosophy under the legendary Prof. Doc. Humpty von Dumpty.

    “When I use a word, it means exactly what I mean it to mean, no more and no less.”

    Later sages have added the time dimension to this, i.e., ‘At the particular instant I say it’. Thus, the meaning can change from minute to minute, or however quickly the word can be repeated. A significant advancement of the sophistic arts.

  • If I have a right to healthcare, it follows I have a right to pay for none of it, since it is my right. That means no tax, mandate or penalty. Just free health care, as much as I can use. It is my “right” and therefore any even minor infringement upon my use or ability to use at my discretion is illegal. I also have a right to my choice of treatments, from acupuncture to holistic to experimental to new age, and since it is my right, my choice may not be denied since that is discrimination. I also then have the right to seek multiple opinions and shop for the doc and treatment venue I like, so it is my right to use Walter Reed’s VIP wing instead of the serf wards they’d crowd us into. If this is my right, then I have to get the exact same treatment as a Senator, or POTUS, or the well connected. To do otherwise would violate equal protection clause. If this is my right I want all this and more, as befits my right. It’s mine, so give me.

    • Dude, it’s shocking and horrible that people starve, are cold and have no shelter.   Advanced nations have systems in place for this, it’s clear you have a right to be fed, housed and clothed.  Fulfilling your rights has been assigned to the Erb family of Moosescatset Maine.  They will be responsible for feeding, clothing, and housing you once we relocate you.

      • His family shall be crammed into one bedroom–and not the “master bedroom” since this is clearly an evil holdover from slavery.  Homeless people will be taken off the streets and housed in the other rooms of the building which the Erb family formerly used so greedily.  Cars, food, clothes, computers, televisions, and all other amenities shall be divided, with a preference for those who have a history of being deprived of the right to such items historically.
        Scott will continue to be expected to pay the mortgage, car payments, grocery bills, utility bills, etc. as a feature of his freedom (which includes his duty to his fellow residents) since he has historically been allowed the unfair advantage of having such things when others were deprived.  To accommodate the increased demand due to increase occupancy, Scott will be required to work weekends delivering pizzas and the money that he greedily put aside for his children’s college shall be re-appropriated to ensure the rights of the new tenants.
        Let freedom ring!

        • Looking good, I assume we’re exempt from this quartering law, but make sure you put that in, that we’re exempt, and our families are exempt, in perpetuity.   We can’t be expected to have people traipsing in and out of our houses raiding the fridge and sleeping on the couch at all hours while we’re off creating rights and saving the country.  Nor should we be burdened with this in retirement after all the heavy lifting we did during our legislative tenure.

    • You must engage in doublethink to appreciate that your “right” to health care is exactly what Pelosi, Sebelius, Obama, et al. decide it is.
      Scott is down with the meshing of clearly contradictory ideas.  He’s got faith in his Dear Leaders to bring us moon ponies as promised.

      • I keep looking for the new Slime-0-Drive at the local car dealerships…
        Nothing yet.

  • And besides, what Pelosi et al really cranked out was a requirement to buy health insurance via the coercive taxing authority of government.  It no more guarantees health care as a right than the previous system.  You still have to find a health care provider to accept your insurance and agree to treat you.  In fact, it’s even tough to characterize the ObamaCare monstrosity as a government granted ‘privilege’.

    The ethical arguments against this law are a slam dunk, regardless of the inanities of the Roberts majority or some cheap amalgam of appeals to authority, appeals to popularity, might makes right, etc. that wankers like Scott weakly offer up.
    But I’m surprised that those invested in elections and punditry who oppose ObamaPelosiCareTax have not emphasized that the law does not do what they claim it does, or what the people who bought into it expect it will do.  The Republican/”conservative” media have seized upon a few idiots who made public statements in interviews indicating that they expected that all of their doctor bills would be paid by the government now, that medicine would be free–or, more hilariously, who expected such and were now asking when that pie-in-the-sky system of “free” health care was going to kick in.  (We all remember the fool who celebrated the 2008 election by announcing to the camera that she would no longer need to worry about paying for gas or her mortgage.  Everyone laughed because they imagined what would be going through her pea brain when the filling station kept charging her for gasoline and the mortgage company kept sending her bills, with no change whatsoever.)
    If I were a Republican intending to influence elections, I would constantly highlight the stark contrast between promises/expectations and reality.  Day in and day out, I would show a clip of Obama, Pelosi, or some pundit touting the benefits of the law or attacking the opponents as wanting to take away something, then lay out the cold, hard facts that the law fails to carry through on those promises and does not provide the thing they insist that opponents want to take away.  Get into specifics.  When Democrats and their media whores put up sob stories of people affected by the law, who would face calamity if it were overturned or repealed, show cases of people for whom insurance is too costly, who will be taxed/penalized and will thus be unable to pay their bills.  Find some doctor-owned hospitals and parade the patients helped before the cameras, then show how the law prohibits these hospitals from expanding.  Get the crocodile tears in close-up view and have the little children with bald heads and sickly eyes asking Nancy Pelosi why she made it illegal to add a pediatric cancer ward to the only hospital within 100 miles from their home.
    The fact that Republicans are not doing this, day in and day out, makes me question their competence at winning elections and changing public opinion.  I remain an outsider to the democratic process, opposed to it on basic principle, but I’m astounded at the sheer incompetence of the only people with a chance of stopping this madness.

    • ” Everyone laughed because they imagined what would be going through her pea brain when the filling station kept charging her for gasoline and the mortgage company kept sending her bills, with no change whatsoever.)”
      http://www.snopes.com/fraud/identity/utilitybill.asp

      Nah, they STILL believe.

    • Reality will do that soon enough. Then I get the small consolation of laughing in the face of the complainers who are late to the party

  • It’s also instructive to review the list of real rights liberals are willing to trample on in order to present you with shiny, new faux “rights.”

  • In so many words: “Nancy Pelosi is clueless.”

  • Of course the concept of natural rights cannot be proven, which is besides the point. Their effects can be felt. Those few nations whom have founded their system on a Lockean idea of natural rights give their citizens more freedom than those with a concept inherited from Rousseau. For an example. The United states has an almost absolute right to freedom of expression.  Other western nations will and have fined people and silenced them for merely expressing negative opinions about certain groups such as Islamic ‘s.
    Asserting that rights are merely any damn thing that 51% of the voters will allow is a pretty bad way to guarantee the freedom of the public.

    • Of course the concept of natural rights cannot be proven…

      Proven to whom?
      To Nazis or Islamists or garden-variety sociopaths, no amount of reasoned arguments will move them to admit that it is morally wrong to murder a Jewish person.  To pedophiles, no amount of arguments will make them accept that it is wrong to mess with children.
      Decent people should not be required to prove to others that a given right exists–which is just another way of saying that violating said right is morally wrong, i.e. that theft, assault, slavery, kidnapping, and murder are wrong.  If a mugger points a knife at you, demanding your wallet, you have no burden of proof to convince him that he is doing wrong, that you have a right to your property, as well as your life (which he threatens with the weapon).  In fact, the very threat of aggressive, deadly violence is sufficient justification to use deadly force in self-defense.  Instead of a formal proof of your rights, the mugger gets a bullet.
      So why should anyone be expected to prove they have inherent rights when someone who seeks to violate them through a political process (by proxy, of course) claims to be “unconvinced” of these rights and demands that the person claiming the rights prove they exist?  Such demands are simply an example of shifting the burden of proof.  If my response to the mugger is a bullet, rather than a proof, then why would my response to someone who seeks to violate my rights by wielding the power of government deserve anything better, besides the obvious fact that a government has more power than a lone mugger?
      Persuasion is for fellow rational human beings.  If you are my next-door neighbor, we can dispute where I can build something.  We can pull out survey maps and deeds, we can make arguments about water runoff or other types of negative affects, we can negotiate compromises.  If you are a reasonable, honest person and I show you documentation, you would probably accept that as proof.  But if you’re dishonest or a thug, reason is useless.
      Someone like Scott, who is a disingenuous fraud who consistently makes an effort to violate the rights of his neighbors through the power of government by championing political actions which accomplish this goal, doesn’t deserve the consideration that a rational, honest person might get.  His false claims of being “unconvinced” are just a stall tactic and his demands for “proof” are an attempt to throw you off balance, to trick you into begging for what is already yours, when the burden is completely his to prove otherwise.  As a voter, an educator, and an ineffectual Internet pundit, Scott’s culpability in any given act of government violation of rights would be difficult to quantify, so I wouldn’t say that he necessarily deserves what a street punk might.  But he definitely deserves no civility.  You wouldn’t try to have a conversation with some loudmouth who was a bystander to a mugging who shouted encouragement at the thief and derision at the victim.  Such a person is not civilized and doesn’t deserve to be treated with any respect.

  • There was a time—particularly in slave economies—where freedom (liberty) was not a right, but a privilege afforded by the government or god.   The criterion for ‘rights’ changes over time and with the evolution of civilization.  During the 18th century, for example, natural rights were stressed.  But in the 19th and 20th centuries, especially among scientific and free-thought circles, such assumptions came to be considered lacking in evidence, and on a par with religious statements.  In many sectors, adequate health care is considered as a subset of the ideas about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.  Right now we’re in a conflict with many reactionary ideas—such as anti-abortion, anti-LGBT, and anti-voting rights—but hopefully we may come out this melee with more freedom for all people.

    • Another who has no concept of a right. Freedom was never a privilege under the institution of slavery, it was just denied by those who violated the rights of the slaves. To say otherwise is to support and condone slavery.

    • Right now we’re in a conflict with many reactionary ideas…

      And you, you Collectivist, are the one championing them.

    • reactionary ideas – anti abortion…..

      Ah, yes, a fundamental yes/no question that is concerned with when is a human a human, and not a puppy or a blob of cells is a “reactionary idea”.   For people who foolishly believe in a supreme being, and a soul, and there are many who do, this is sort of an important question, and not at all ‘reactionary’.    I find it interesting that a rational person can convince themselves that something that is ‘human’ when it takes it’s first breath has been, up until the instant before, something NOT human.

      but since you have made up your mind, the rest must follow eh?  Because YOU believe in freedom and justice and fairness, right Tad?  Clearly, it’s reactionary to question the idea that women are really carrying parasites around in their wombs for many months until they become humans at birth.

    • There was a time…where freedom (liberty) was not a right…

      BZZZT!
      Bruce is using the word “right” to denote a concept which differs from what you or Scott want the word to mean.  You don’t get to replace his definition with your own to try to change the meaning of what he wrote.  You also don’t get to dispute the validity of his concept by pretending he wasn’t referring to it, but was referring to your definition (such as it is).
      A natural or “negative right” is inalienable to all human beings.  As Bruce clarifies in his follow-up to you, being enslaved didn’t mean the person did not have the right to freedom.  It meant that the slave holder violated that person’s right to freedom.  Thus, no matter what the political, cultural, or temporal context, all human beings have the same rights, inherently.  That history is replete with examples of oppression and atrocities simply means that some human beings have done terrible things, by which they violated the rights of others.
      If you have difficulty understanding what a “right” is, simply rearrange a statement about rights to be a statement that it is morally wrong to violate said right.  That you have a right to life means it is morally wrong to murder you. That you have a right to freedom means it is morally wrong to kidnap or enslave you.  That you have a right to your justly acquired property means it is morally wrong to steal from you.
      The claim that you have a “right” to health care would mean that it is morally wrong for others not to pay for your doctor bills and medicine.  Note, that is entirely different than asserting your right to arrange mutual, consensual exchanges with doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, etc..  The ObamaPelosiCareTax does not protect you from some straw man evil Republican who would prevent you from seeing a doctor, if the doctor and you both had agreed to the treatment.  In fact, it actually makes certain private arrangements illegal or subject to penalties/taxes.  It makes it illegal for doctors and nurses to do certain things they used to do, at the whim of Sebelius.  For example, doctors can no longer build hospitals that they own.  Nor can they even expand existing hospitals that they own.
      Thus, if you live in an area where the only hospital within 50 miles is a doctor-owned hospital and that hospital was going to add a cancer ward, now they can’t and your right to get treatment from the doctor of your choosing has been violated.
      Only by playing word games and substituting your own perverse definition of “rights” for a reasonable one do you get to make the Orwellian argument that stopping doctors and patients from engaging in mutual, consensual activity is protecting or “expanding” a “right” to health care.  Those people are screwing us over in a pure power grab.  Everything will cost more for most people and the quality of service will go down.  Doctors and people considering becoming doctors are abandoning their plans due to the added costs and penalties.
      You get to thank Obama and Pelosi for that horror show.

  • Wow, this is not the direction I would have guessed that this discussion would have gone.
    I would have argued that healthcare was made a right back in 1986 when Ronald Reagan signed the EMTALA law into effect, which The avowed purpose of the statute is to prevent hospitals from rejecting patients, refusing to treat them, or transferring them to “charity hospitals” or “county hospitals” because they are unable to pay or are covered under the Medicare or Medicaid programs.
    Now that would certainly have made it a right as McQ describes a right, since it could be taken away through the same process it was granted.

    So under McQ’s definition, which I have no problem accepting, it’s nothing remotely similar to a “natural right”. But we as a people, long ago determined that we are not the kind of people that can tell a sick person with no ability to pay for healthcare, “tough luck pal, go die”.

    Once we made that decision, and codified into law, healthcare became whatever synonym you wish to use, how about custom?

    • I would have argued that healthcare was made a right back in 1986 when Ronald Reagan signed the EMTALA law into effect, which The avowed purpose of the statute is to prevent hospitals from rejecting patients, refusing to treat them, or transferring them to “charity hospitals” or “county hospitals” because they are unable to pay or are covered under the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

      Now that would certainly NOT {including correction} have made it a right as McQ describes a right, since it could be taken away through the same process it was granted.

      We have a word for that, and, as you noted, it’s not a “right” in the sense that McQ used (or the way “right” has normally been used in American history). It’s an “entitlement”. An entitlement is granted by law or contract, which opens the possibility that it can be removed by changes to the law or contract.

      I’m happy to see that you understand that distinction. Our confused political science professor clearly doesn’t.

      • I went with custom, but I won’t argue that entitlement doesn’t fit.
        I do have an issue with calling SS and Medicare entitlements because the people who receive these benefits were not granted these benefits as a gift, they have paying for them for their whole lives.
        That is not not an argument that these programs are well designed, but ask a 70 year old man if his monthly check is an entitlemennt and see how that works out.

        • Oh, I completely understand that the full name of Social Security is Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance. With the emphasis on insurance. That’s the way it was sold.

          In doing this, the term “insurance” was redefined. Insurance means you pay someone a certain amount to offload some risk. If something is certain to happen, no one will sell you insurance for it because it’s not risk anymore – it’s certainty.

          However, it’s still a law. And the law can be changed.

          Senior citizens have a mental model that they’ve paid into a system and thereby deserve their benefits as a consequence. Politicians even say that in speeches. But the legal linkage isn’t nearly as strong as they think.

          First, for most of the history of Social Security, recipients have received far more than the net present value of what they paid in. Second, their “payments” back when they were young went to pay the old people around at that time – they were not kept in a bank somewhere, and the ridiculous rhetoric back in the 1990s about a “lockbox” doesn’t change that.

          Third, the law can be changed to reduce their benefits, and they have no legal recourse, as they would if it were really insurance defined by a contract. That’s what makes it an entitlement, no matter how they think about it.

          So, yes, it’s convenient for politicians that senior citizens and other members of society hold this erroneous mental model of Social Security and Medicare. But eventually it will disastrous when those programs can no longer be finagled into solvency.

        • It’s an entitlement after he’s burned through what he put in and could reasonably expect to have profited on had he not spent it.   As it is, we did spend it, in spades, unto the many generations.  They lied to us about the lock box.

          The fact that people don’t agree with what you call it doesn’t change what it is.

    • But we as a people, long ago determined that we are not the kind of people that can tell a sick person with no ability to pay for healthcare, ‘tough luck pal, go die’.

      Once we made that decision, and codified into law, healthcare became whatever synonym you wish to use, how about custom?

      Fallacy of the collective.  “We” did no such thing.  Only a handful of self-serving politicians and their paymasters (who stood to gain from the law) decided to write these rules.
      If there were no such law and the government didn’t bleed us dry through taxes, then I expect that those people who don’t think sick people who are poor should be left to die could demonstrate such conviction by donating to the local hospital to pay for charity cases.  Otherwise, decent people don’t shove a gun in the face of their neighbors and demand that they go pay the doctor bills for every indigent person who ends up in the ER.  If you want to make declarations about what “we” ought to do, by custom, how about starting with that bit of decency?  No gun in the face of your neighbor.
      If you are moved by the plight of the sickly poor, then appeal to the good graces of your neighbor.  Persuade him to help.  And, if he decides that he doesn’t want to, then shut up and go on to the next house.
       

    • That is an entitlement not a right.  Access to health care is a right, The health care itself cannot every be a right because rights are those things which by their exercise do not diminish someone else.

      In other words my freedom of speech in no way effects you negatively.  However if we say someone has a right to a real good or service, then someone has to pay for it.  If the recipient cannot pay, then someone else must be diminished by this cost.

  • Correction:

    Now that would certainly NOT have made it a right as McQ describes a right, since it could be taken away through the same process it was granted.

    • “custom” works – civilized custom.  because trust me, if we weren’t civilized we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      There are innumerable things that as a civilization we don’t want to have happen to you.  We don’t want you to starve, or die of exposure, but that doesn’t mean you have a ‘right’ to our food, or our houses, it doesn’t mean you have a ‘right’ to use our bank account for your own purposes.   The casual use of the word ‘right’ matters.  ‘Rights’ are not casual things.

  • No one can have the right to the goods and services of others without their volition. The definition for that is slavery.

    • Pro Government people like to think of as ‘freedom’, but it’s indentured servitude and the indenture period starts at your birth and ends when you die and your master is government.

    • “No one can have the right to the goods and services of others without their volition. The definition for that is slavery.”
      If this is so, then either the “social contract” is real, and we voluntarily pay mandatory taxes with the understanding that we are free to leave if we don’t want to pay, but as long as we stay, we are accepting the social contract.
      Otherwise, everyone who pays taxes is a slave.

      • Or we simple defy the slavers in place.
        I know you don’t understand that.

      • “Otherwise, everyone who pays taxes is a slave.”
        Slave is such a harsh word, that’s why we have another word for something similar, we have the word serf.

        Do you own your house?  I mean, you and the bank?  or does the city you live in own it?

        If you think you own it, try not paying your property tax this year.  In most cities in the US, you’re a Serf.

        • Disagree by degrees…
          To the extent we pay taxes for things we all want, we are consumers.
          To the extent we pay to be yoked to others who are “needy” we are serfs.
          We would help others voluntarily, which is what free people do…Americans especially.

          • I was talking serf in the property sense here – specifically property taxation.

            Leftists tend
            1) not to voluntarily donate, and
            2) ignore the statistics showing Americans do that more than any other country in the world.

            Which is why we’re constantly accused of not paying our fair share I guess (not that I’m anywhere near to being in the range that Obama thinks isn’t coughing up the proper amount in taxes).

  • ” That is one theory, but not a dominant one,”
    Who better to refute this crap than the folks who created the country where Erp was allegedly educated.
    “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,…”
     

    • Tim, he thinks those guys were a bunch of cranks.   At best they were naive or ignorant and had no benefit of wise pragmatic leftist philosophy to help them see the truth of the matter.

  • Self-evident rights, i.e. natural rights, are analytical, in the sense that “the life I am living is my own.” “My life is mine to defend.” “My life is mine to pursue.” Valid civil rights attend to the natural rights, such that a trial by jury or representation by counsel provide that liberty cannot just be nullified without process by the state; it is something you can only forfeit on the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard to your peers. Health care is not a right, nor is there a right to any kind of charity, including a public defender paid for by the taxpayers. But in that latter case you have the state/the people being required to balance their accusation and the force they put behind it.
    And, Erb, you’re still an idiot.