Daniel H. Fernald has a great think piece today at the American Thinker entitled Natural Law and the "Right" to Health Care. In it, he expounds upon the difference between a true, natural "right" and phony positive rights masquerading as "rights." I have meant to do a post on the topic, so this comes along at a useful point in time.
Natural rights, such as life, liberty, and property, are also called negative rights. Exercising each of these rights requires only that others refrain from taking them. So, for instance, a person is able to enjoy the fruits of his labor so long as nobody else steals it from him. The Governments job is to referee and see that everyone respects the rights of others. Health care, in the spirit of negative rights, would require each person to give the doctor, hospital, or care giver some of his property in exchange for providing that care. We may see that some of our fellow human beings are in need, and choose to respond to that need. Such may be the moral thing to do. But when the Government demands that some of us pay more, and that others of us provide that care at a lower cost, and do so at the point of a gun, they are engaged in legislating morals for all. What then to make of the claim by the Left that the Right was wrong in the past for legislating morals for all?
Here is where Thomas Sowell's conflict of visions comes into play. The Left sees health care (and others for that matter) as positive rights. The Left promises to give you free, unlimited health care at the same quality as the "rich" guy gets. Great! So how are you going to do that? Oh, you plan to tax the so called "rich," so it isn't really free. Hmmm. Oh, you plan to cut payments to doctors and hospitals because they charge too much. Say, wouldn't that cause some very bright people to decide not to go into medicine in the first place? That doesn't sound like a good plan. And wouldn't that cause some hospitals to close their doors? Hmmm. Gee, wouldn't that cause a rationing of services? Can a right be rationed, rationally? Oh, but you say there is not enough to go around. Hmmm, have you thought about taxing those rich guys more? You know, this free, unlimited health care stuff doesn't seem to deliver any of the promises you made. Indeed, all of your program of positive rights seems to founder whenever you run out of other people's money. And you are bound to run out of other people's money when the productive begin to realize that they are being played for chumps and slack off. How does that work, when everybody goes John Galt?
One little nugget I have learned over the past year is the pointlessness of debating anything with a leftist. Unless you can agree on a world view, nothing else can be resolved. Since they often do not really know what their world view is, and educating them is not my job, I do not try anymore to convince.