Sunday, March 7, 2010

Unalienable Rights or Social Rights?

Those of Us Who Oppose Government Benefits as “rights” believe that only “unalienable rights” should be the provenance of government.

Because Services Such as “National Defense” and “universal healthcare” can be taken away or withheld by government, these cannot be unalienable “rights” in the sense that those of us—generally considered “conservative”—think of rights. Thus, Conservatives oppose any form of national healthcare.

Founding Father James Madison Believed in what he called “social rights.” Many of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights constitute social rights.

Those of Us Who Support a Social “Right” to universal healthcare and national defense—generally considered “liberal”—use the term in the Madisonian sense. Liberals believe that the social contract includes national healthcare. This is what they mean when they say that national healthcare is a right.

Both of These Positions Have Validity. Our national discussion—including the healthcare debate—might go better, and the government might get more done, if we addressed the topic directly, instead of trying to redefine “rights” on a continual ad hoc basis—to suit our various political agendas.

But Then, “Outrage Is Easy,” as the saying goes. It’s easier to shout out our anger and frustration, while learning little about economics and politics, than to study it directly ourselves, or to trust our elected representatives to get the job done well.


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