Rights are an inherent part of the American psyche, at least as much as the fabled baseball and Mom’s apple pie. More so, as we don’t get nostalgic about rights bestowed upon us by our Creator – they’re just there. Like our right hand, we know it is there and cannot imagine what it would be like if it were missing, and we have little sayings such as “know [it] like the back of my hand”… but how often do you really look at the back of your hand?
There seems to be such a lot of confusion about those rights we all purport to know so well. Call it a normative bias, or just too much TV (when the national conversation is that the Second Amendment only protects hunting, but health care is a human right, you know someone is surely confused about something). The biggest intellectual distortion of them all appears to be the difference between rights and privileges.
Privilege just means “private law”. The utilization of resources perhaps not available to all, in order to bring about beneficial circumstances to you personally. Human rights are natural law, a set of rules under which you are born, and under no circumstance may be taken away. The fabled “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, for example. The difference between rights and privileges is easy to delineate, and yet profound. Even the Founding Fathers missed the mark, although perhaps the Bill of Rights and Constitution were always meant to be a codified wish list. Heinlein explained this quite well.
“Ah, yes, the ‘unalienable rights.’ Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What ‘right’ to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries.
As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is the least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.” ~ Colonel DuBois, Starship Troopers
Health care as a human right is too simple to disprove, the brain cells hardly have to break a sweat. Health care is something which must be provided by others; medicines, testing equipment, the time of people who have exerted themselves to gain knowledge and experience, all things which are necessary to provide “health care” and all things which have value. To require others to give all of this to you without giving them something of equal value in compensation is merely a polite way to describe stealing, and to force another man to offer the effort of his labor for your enrichment, and no benefit to him, is slavery. Advocating common thievery and enslavement in the name of compassion shows how far critical thinking skills have deteriorated in this country.
The human right to health and health care does not exist and never has. A child does not have a natural right endowed by their Creator to be born in perfect health. No man who smokes for thirty years has the natural right to genes unsympathetic to the growth of cancerous lung cells, nor does he have the right to use a gun to force a doctor to cure him of the effects of his thirty-year dissipation. What humans have instead is the right to decide to exert their privileges in order to eat healthy meals, lead active lives, moderate all dangerous or risky consumption/behaviors, and get out in the fresh air from time to time, and to take whatever lumps come their way. That is what a natural right looks like.
Shining a light on the delusion of a natural right to peacefully assemble in public, say, is a bit more difficult. Fortunately, governments have already demonstrably proven this all by their onesies. Tiananmen Square. Kent State. Greece. Americans very recently watched hundreds of cops descend on other Americans peacefully assembling in public; shooting Americans in the head, beating Americans, handcuffing Americans tightly enough to cause long-term damage and leaving Americans in cuffs until they soiled themselves, and finally ordering $10,000 bonds for jaywalking violations. Doesn’t sound like much of an inherent unalienable right, does it?
Right to liberty? NDAA.
Freedom of speech? Watch lists. Warrantless wiretaps. Alphabet agencies with keyword alerts and searches. FBI citizen files.
Freedom to travel for private non-commercial purposes, a perfected right? Checkpoints. Show me your license, insurance, registration. Government-issued identification required.
Freedom of religion? Crosses and prayer banned in public schools.
To wit, those human rights of which Americans are so proud – habeus corpus, mens rea, freedom of speech, the sanctity of private property – are no longer available in America. Rather, we have seen these same inherent human rights be violated time and time again, but we persist in knowing, deep in our heads, that those rights that have been denied to others are still available to us, should we need to use them. We are different than those other Americans. Right?
More fool you. A benevolent Creator may have bestowed upon the created a certain set of inalienable rights, the number depending upon the privilege of country of birth (Rwanda doesn’t seem to have many, but can’t really think of any that are more than marginally better in anything but rhetoric) . That same Creator may also have seen fit to bestow at birth perfect health. What you do to enforce that health and those rights afterward is entirely your business.
Ah, that’s the sticky wicket, eh wot? Enforcement, and whose job that is. The government’s? American government is on a nearly century-long blatant campaign to hem round and limit “inalienable” rights. They’re so terribly inconvenient to government control and bureaucratic power. Your Creator, maybe? Let us know how that works out for you. Other Americans, then. Perhaps we should all wait quietly and safely in our homes whilst others risk all to enforce our inalienable rights. Yeah, that’s a great idea! We’ll just wait for someone else to step up to the plate!
In truth rights once codified were never inalienable – codifying them would have been redundant if they were. Those rights we cherish, once held and hope to have again are privileges, and as all men know privileges are earned. We Americans were fortunate to be descended from men who once earned those rights for us, paid the price in blood and sacrifice and, for many, their lives. Those rights were never bought, however, merely leased. The lease has expired. Further privilege must again be earned – not given by the government, or by your Creator, or by waiting for someone else to make the sacrifice to earn it back.
Start mourning the loss of your comfy little lives, couch-potato existence, coddled push-button middle-class safety now. If it helps, it was always a legal and financial fiction. Hard times are coming. You can pray for easier lives, for the Federal Reserve to kick the economic can, for someone else to make the sacrifice to save American values… or you can pray to be stronger men.
by Jo Newton