Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Redifining of a Right

I promised you more on the issue of the Affordable Care Act, something that continues to be a debate in our society. I have found that it is not even so much "Obamacare" itself, but the premise behind it, that is alarming in our society.

       There is a great misunderstanding that has permeated our society, and much of our world as a whole. It is bankrupting our government, tearing down our healthcare system, destroying individual lives, and allowing those with a malevolent agenda behind it to have their way. This problem is so simple that it can be overlooked, yet can be made so complex behind the rhetoric of morals, equality, and “haves and have-nots”. This issue can be summed up in one sentence.
 People don’t know what the definition of a right is.
       “Come again?”
       “You mean to say the entire issue with the failure” (and any half-observant person would call it a current failure) “of the Affordable Care Act is because a word was defined incorrectly?”
       Well, the Affordable Care Act was going to be a failure. I knew it as a high school kid. But the reason it was passed in the first place was this reason, yes.  But this goes far beyond the issue of healthcare, though that is the hot topic of today, in no small part due to the 5 million people that have lost their insurance, contrary to President Obama’s promise. The federal government of the United States has begun to buy into this redefining of a right, and it is growing the size of government tremendously. A better term would be “has been”, as this “I-deserve-this” mentality has been catered to since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. “But that was for the Great Depression.” Yes, and the programs still continued- and were added to. And as the government began to provide more and more services, its budget began to increase and increase, until finally there is a woman on government housing with government supplied utilities eating government supplied food soon to get government insurance (if the website ever gets fixed) bragging about her government supplied cell phone on television.
       Of course, we can debate this issue all we want. The mandated insurance is against a person’s right to make their own choices apart from their government. If no one can be denied based on preexisting conditions, what will keep me from waiting until I am sick to get insurance? This bankrupts the insurance industry. “But you have to have insurance.” It is cheaper to pay fines than sign up for “Obamacare”, as the fully partisan bill is regularly called. Whenever the government gets ahold of anything, it gets messed up. The United States Postal Service is so far in the red it is looking for any way to cut costs. Just look at Amtrak as one example of an unfortunate business the federal government has put its magic touch on. When the government attempts to subsidize, costs are driven up. The more money it has poured into loans and aid for college tuition, the more the cost has gone up. When Medicare and Medicaid came into practice, the rate of inflation in the healthcare industry began to far outpace the rate of inflation in the overall economy (over a 2% difference over 50 years). When the government realizes it has messed up, it usually involves itself deeper. Our nation was founded on a principle of not trusting our government. The founding fathers did not trust England, and they did not want to trust the new republic. Hence the checks and balances. Hence the 2nd amendment. “If you do not trust your government, why did you create it?”, I was once asked. First, I did not create it. Second, anarchy is never a good option (i.e. Somalia), instead, as Winston Churchill put it, we need the “worst government except for all the rest”. This is democracy. But most important, we ought not to trust our government to keep it in check. Did not Germany trust its government in the 1930s?
We must keep it honest, and be honest about its shortcomings in business endeavors (and a plethora of other areas).
       But before I digress too far, this gives a springboard into the heart of my argument. Where the United States has gone wrong in its policy, and where quite clearly a good part of Europe along with Canada have even further ventured astray, is that the policymakers no longer have a correct understanding of what rights are. Part of this comes from the almighty and America-discriminating institution, the United Nations. The UN Declaration of Human Rights, an ever-growing list, gives dozens of things that it sees all people as being entitled to. Indeed, this is now the norm for what a right is- an entitlement. “I need healthcare, so give it to me. I need somewhere to live, so let the government provide it for me. Throw in food too- don’t even limit it to items that will sustain me, let me buy lobster and steak and soda.” It is the entitlement definition of rights that fuels the entitlement mentality of the masses. (It does not help either when a mentor of president-to-be Barack Obama, Van Jones, stands up at a rally and yells, “Give them the wealth!”) Many in our nation truly believe they are entitled to health care, as they are entitled to other things. But before we get to this dangerous line of thinking, let us, for all the progressive thinkers who have slowly redefined rights, define what a right truly is.
       When the founding fathers declared our independence from mother England, they did so under the rights, endowed by our Creator, of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (based off of John Locke’s life, liberty, and property). These rights are inalienable- they cannot be taken from or given away by the possessor. Whether we agree that healthcare can be taken from an individual or not, an individual can give it away by their choice if they no longer wish to have insurance or treatment. Hence, health care is not an inalienable right. But what about a right at all? In the Bill of Rights, the rights of American citizens are outlined, with the 9th Amendment stating (paraphrasing) that the list is not exhaustive. It is not important to debate what else is included through this important amendment. What is important is the nature of rights.
 The founding fathers set up rights to be negative. No, not as in bad. A negative right (also known as simply a right) is one in which the citizen has protection from government. This is contrary to a positive right that progressives have created in which government owes a service to us. With a negative right, the government is not to infringe upon that right nor allow others to infringe upon its citizens’ right. Any example can be used from the Bill of Rights. American citizens have the right to bear arms (which was created out of a mistrust for government and which some cities, states, and entities have chosen to go against the Constitution on, but that is another topic in its entirety). This means that citizens have the opportunity, if they are able, to own and carry weapons, and the government nor others can prevent them from doing this. What that does not mean is that the government has to provide every citizen a weapon. (That would be a positive right.) Every citizen can speak freely (even against the government), and no one, not the government nor other citizens, can infringe upon that right. (Yes, the Supreme Court has ruled on certain instances, but overall free speech is strongly protected.) That does not mean that the government provides a public forum on a website that everyone must post their thoughts on (not only a positive right, but a forced burden). You may claim those are ridiculous examples, but is not the same thing being done with the Affordable Care Act?
       The correct answer is yes. There is a mandate that all must purchase insurance or pay a fine. Employers must provide it at their expense, including Christians paying for birth control and even abortions against their beliefs. A website that doesn’t work has been created to allow people to purchase government health care. Five million have been dropped from their health insurance and will face fines after they were told they could keep their insurer if they liked them (the president blamed insurance companies and more recently Republicans). Those who have kept their insurance have seen premiums increase substantially. All of this because some are under the impression that a right means that you are entitled to something. Hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare offices and insurance companies will go under due to the additional costs. Doctors and nurses who have spent thousands on years of education will be forced into a type of slavery. “Okay, now you’ve gone crazy.” Really? We claim our “right” to healthcare, but where are the rights of the many in the healthcare profession? Those going into the healthcare profession? Healthcare producers have the right to provide healthcare on their own terms to whomever they want. They are professionals as much as anyone else. What right do we have to tell them that they have to provide their services to everyone for a fixed price? Forget your self-interest and look at the perspective of these professionals.
       If you cannot forget self-interest, then think of this. Soon enough, under the Affordable Care Act, we will all feel the long waiting lines for emergency rooms and longer waiting lists for operations. Such horror stories as those heard in Canada and England will be right here in America as doctors begin to go on strike or leave the industry due to their profits being limited by a growing government and as millions are added onto a public insurance (if the website ever works). Are we willing to see patients die in emergency room waiting rooms because we can conveniently adjust the definition of what rights are to cater to our costs? Just as long as we don’t know them, perhaps?
       Lest I leave you, misled: we think it doesn’t cost us. The government already foots over half of the money of medical bills in the U.S. The goal with the Affordable Care Act is to raise that number. Where do you think that money comes from? The government just prints the money it needs? (Indirectly.) The huge majority of that money comes from taxes- income taxes. You are paying for your own health care, and many others’ health care. If you are thinking, “I don’t pay income taxes, so what does it matter to me,” shame on you. America has always been about self-reliance, why do we expect others to pay for services we get? This system will have a certain number paying for the healthcare of all of America. THAT system is unfair. Where are the rights of the people who do not want to pay for a stranger’s treatments? Or birth control? Or abortion?
       Drawing to a close, we see the important distinction between what progressives and socialists would have us believe rights are and what rights truly are. “A right is not is not something someone gives you- it’s something that no one can take away.” –FreedomWorks. It is dangerous for our own sakes to believe that rights are given to us, and that they are not natural and unable to be taken away. This gives us a dependence on our government instead of a rule over it. Knowing the true definition of a right, we can now say that medical care could be considered a right under the 9th Amendment, and even to all people. However, one must be careful with this view, as the UN, progressives, or socialists might take you as part of their movement to redefine this simple term, and by doing so restructure an entire sector of a nation.

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