There is a fierce battle taking place across this country that, if not resolved and walked back, will ultimately destroy the nation—if it has not done so already. Today, we are seeing the battle on full display in the halls of Congress, in front of statehouses, and in courtrooms across the country. In its most basic form, the battle is really over the concept of Rights.
Since the Battle of Wisconsin began, there have been tens of thousands of protesters bused into Madison and other statehouses to clamor for public-sector unions' "right" to collective bargaining. While it has been correctly pointed out that there is no right to collective bargaining in the public sector, the entire argument (on both sides) is lost without a proper reexamination of the concept of rights.
You see, it is the concept of rights that has been bastardized to the point that sycophantic statists now lay claim to other people's property, their labor, and their money. Moreover, when collectivists don't get their way, they boycott, they protest, they storm statehouses, and they threaten to kill those who would otherwise disagree.
To union thugs, village idiots, and other collectivists, there is mistaken belief that there is a right to: a job, a house, subsidized transportation, "free" abortions, "free" health care, high-speed internet, collective bargaining for public unions, and [insert wanton desire here: ______].
There have been many who have debated the subject of Rights for centuries. However, this definition may be the clearest explanation of "rights" as it relates to action and inaction, or the difference between freedom and slavery:
The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.
Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
There is a simple litmus test, based on the above, which is to ask a single question when being told that something is a right: At whose expense?
If you demand something as a right, ask yourself if someone else has to pay for it. If the answer is 'yes,' it is not a right. If it is granted to you voluntarily, that is charity. If you give something of value for the desired value, then that is trade by mutual consent.
However, if at any time, you press your demands as a right to have something that requires the confiscation of another person's property (be it his actual property or the fruits of his labor, his money), that is not a right—that is theft and, if you use government to obtain it, you are no better than a parasitic leech. Today, our society is being consumed by parasitic leeches at all levels, from Wall St. and Washington to Wisconsin and elsewhere.
Insofar as public-sector unions are concerned, their ability to exert pressure upon politicians whom they put into office to provide unsustainable compensation packages, which then forces taxpayers the assume debt (or pay higher taxes) as a result, that is not a right, that is corruption—moral and fiscal corruption.
Today, our nation has been corrupted down to its core by collectivists—from politicians, to union thugs and other village idiots—who believe that it is their right to enslave their fellow citizens. Until such time that we, as a society, recognize that there is no right to another's life (or livelihood), our nation will continue to devolve into civil strife of the kind we are seeing played out across the country.
It's time to tell the union thugs, the village idiots and other collectivists once and for all: What you seek is not a right. No matter how much you protest, whine and gnash your teeth, it is still not a right.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776