Monday, January 9, 2012

Simple Truth: You have no Right to what Someone Else must Produce.

Illustration: Let's say the US Government established a Right to Cookies.  At any time, you could go to some place that sold cookies and say, "I want a cookie," and they'd have to give you one.  Then, one day, all the cookie shops closed down.  Places would still sell cake, or pie, or brownies, but no more cookies.  What Right would you then have to a cookie?  And what Right did government have to say that cookie bakers had to give away the produce of their labor for free?

Explanation:  When we speak of "Rights" we often confuse Natural (or "Inalienable") Rights with other things.  Life is a Right because you are free, all on your own, to attempt to secure your own life (food, shelter, etc.).  When it comes to the things that secure your life, you may or may not have a right to any given one of them.  Food, for instance, must be grown and harvested, and then processed for eating.  If you can do all of those things yourself, then you have a "right" to food.  You're spending your labor directly to produce food for your family.  Unless you're going to live in a cave somewhere, housing requires that building materials be harvested, that the building be designed, and that the harvested materials be put together in such a way as to produce said building.  Again: if you can do all of these things yourself, then you have a "right" to housing.  You would be spending your labor directly to produce housing for your family.

If you cannot do all of those things for yourself, then you have no right to them.  If someone else has to harvest the material, you have no right to it- whoever harvested it does.  They can then decide (in  a Free society) how best to use that material.  Some they may keep, and some they may sell.  If they are selling some, and you both can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, then, once the bargain is struck, you have a right to whatever materials you purchased.

The reason for this is that I have a right to direct my own labor.  If I choose to live on a farm, and build my own house, and live completely off-the-grid, then I have that option.  However, if I must secure some item or service, I have no right to it.  Because everyone has the right to direct his or her own labor, there is no guarantee that the item or service I need will even exist- or that enough will be available, if it does exist.  I cannot simply will more cookies into existence.  Someone has to grow wheat which will then be ground into flour.  Someone else has to grow and harvest sugar, yet another person harvests vanilla, or salt, or whatever the ingredients in that cookie are.

This is especially true of health care.  Beyond simple first-aid, how many of us can provide ourselves with any health care worth discussing?  Some.  There are some who are capable of providing their own care- at least the basics.  But beyond the basics, how many?  Even a Neurosurgeon can't provide himself with service- it being rather difficult to operate on one's own brain.  He must secure the labor (and expertise) of someone else.  But what if no one else is capable?  Does he have a "right" to brain surgery then?  What if other people exist, but no longer desire to practice medicine?  Does he have a right to impress their service anyway?

We have a word for forced service, and it isn't nice. 

Until we understand, and can articulate, why a whole litany of things are not "rights" (education, health care, and so forth) we cannot begin to roll back the government leviathan.

No comments:

Post a Comment