Life is the right to live, intact with one’s limbs, eyes, and organs. Any physical damage that cripples or removes a limb, or eyes, or kills one violates this right. This definition was important because according to the common law people had the right to defend themselves with lethal force if they were under threat of losing life or limb.
Liberty is the right to move about freely. Any false imprisonment, clapping into slavery, or kidnapping violates this right. Once again, under the common law people had the right to defend themselves with lethal force if they are under threat of losing their liberty.
Property is the right to keep the fruits of one’s own labor, including items that are improved from their natural state, and to transfer the rights to this property to others as one wishes. If people become wealthy through their hard work, they can trade for the things they like, buy and sell items, and pass property on to charities or family as they wish. This is also known as the Right to the Pursuit of Happiness, because if happiness is brought nearer by a life without hardships, and hard work and the accumulation of property leads to a life without undue hardships, then they are one and the same. Certainly people cannot be happy if they are forced to constantly struggle in abject poverty for food, a bed, and a roof over their head.
Those with nothing to their name, newcomers and the bankrupt can always start building up wealth with their bare hands and their innate inventiveness. Anyone can. Nobody said it was easy to become wealthy, but with property rights it is possible. Without property rights it will never be possible for the poor to rise out of poverty. The best they can hope for without equal property rights is a few pennies thrown their way by their ‘betters’ in the elite classes to make their poverty slightly less miserable, and maybe free beer on holidays so they forget their misery as they also lose their drive to succeed. The question though is whether it is desirable for people to live in poverty and misery, even if it is alleviated by government charity. Shouldn’t they be allowed and encouraged to lift themselves out of poverty instead? Shouldn’t they have property rights allowing them to rise from poverty?
It is as plain as the nose on your face. If you punch your nose with your fist, you will have a nosebleed. It is your responsibility to stop the bleeding. It is your responsibility to clean up the blood after. By the fact of having punched your own nose, you are responsible for the fact of the results. And if you are responsible for an injury, whether to yourself or another, you are responsible for the remedy to it.
As even the most obstinate slaveholders learned in the War Between the States that ended the Peculiar Institution of Slavery, when rights conflict, for instance the right of a slaveholder to his property conflicting with the rights of a human to go where he wants and keep the fruits of his own labor, humans do not have rights to the life, liberty, or property of other humans.
This was never all that controversial. The controversial part was in defining who was human. Eventually all Americans came to the true conclusion that the differences between the different human races were cosmetic. Under the skin we all were, are, and forever will be members of the same human race.
If healthcare were a right, which it is not, what would that mean? First, if Able has a right to healthcare, Dr. Baker must supply his labor to Able (violates Property rights). Second, Dr. Baker cannot move about freely, because he is required to serve Able (violates Liberty rights). And Third, Dr. Baker’s property rights in his medical learning, his medical practice, and his office are seized for Able’s needs (more violations of Property rights). Dr. Baker serves Able, just as all doctors serve patients now, but Dr. Baker no longer has a choice of whether to serve Able. Now he is placed in involuntary service. Another phrase for involuntary service is involuntary servitude. And that is equal to bondage or slavery. Dr. Baker must be a slave if Able has a right to healthcare!
And that is why the right to healthcare is not a right. Because if it is a right then it places all the Dr. Bakers into slavery. No right can place another person into slavery. Such rights are illegitimate.
What is healthcare really? It is a responsibility that goes with being alive. If you are alive, you have the responsibility to stay healthy. There is no argument possible about it. You can exercise. Nobody else can exercise for you. You can eat right. Nobody else can eat for you. You can pay attention to wounds and diseases. Nobody else knows how you feel until you tell them. Nobody has any responsibility for your body other than you. You do.
And that is the underlying reason we are having this discussion. The Christianity-hating progressive movement could not reinvent society following reason alone without acknowledging God, has therefore abandoned reason entirely, and now denies that individuals have responsibility for their selves and their actions.
The Truth is obvious to those who look. Don’t be afraid to see what you see and say so.
This post was inspired by A Well-Reasoned Perspective on the “Right” to Health Care, by Amy Miller and Ryan Kazmierczak. Read here for more on rights and duties.