One of my biggest pet peeves among the progressives is their misunderstanding of what a “right” is.
Right now we have social justice warriors all over the country bleating about the “rights” they’re not getting. To hear the leftists tell it, a “right” is anything they want, particularly if it’s free (for them). All Americans should have a “right” to food, water, housing, education, medical care and the use of whatever bathroom they want. Oh, and don’t forget the “right” to abortion, birth control, the Internet, smartphones, a minimum wage of $15/hour and three weeks’ vacation time per year.
It doesn’t matter that they haven’t earned these things. It doesn’t matter if the “right” they want flies in the face of biology, tradition and even reality. And it doesn’t matter if a supposed “right” tramples all over your (legitimate and true) Rights. They just want what they want; therefore they should have them. Naturally these “rights” are provided to them at the point of a gun by you and me, the overburdened taxpayer.
The basis of many of these “rights” is either greed or envy. It’s not fair if someone else lives in a mansion and educates their children privately. It’s not fair someone else earns a huge paycheck and has a corner office. I want those things, too; therefore you should give them to me. It’s my right. I want I want I want.
You’ll notice our wise Founding Fathers did not put such necessities as food, clothing, housing, or education into the Bill of Rights. Was this just an oversight? Were they being cruel or dim-witted? Of course not. These necessities were deliberately excluded for a very good reason. They knew it was no one else’s responsibility to provide those things for people. They knew Rights are from God, not the government. Rights are from our Creator, not the taxpayer. They are the inherent rights of the individual, not the collective. There is no such thing as a collective “right.”
In other words, my “rights” end when I demand that you pay for what I want. And yes, that includes food, housing and abortion.
Now you may wonder what kind of heartless monster I am that denies people the “right” to food, water, housing, or bathroom facilities. In arguably the richest and most powerful nation on earth, how could we deny people these “rights”?
This is where people misunderstand what a Right (notice the capital “R”) is. Remember this clear and easy definition of what constitutes a Right: Rights don’t cost anyone anything. They are not achieved by picking someone else’s pocket. They are not granted by government largesse through entitlement programs.
Manufactured “rights” never end. That’s why true Rights were so carefully delineated in our founding documents. But when someone starts demanding special “rights” from the government, what they’re saying is they can’t or won’t supply those things for themselves, and want someone else to do so.
This is why early American politicians struggled with the notion of government-sponsored charity. The Founding Fathers weren’t heartless; but they recognized the evil inside Pandora’s box once it was opened. Read this article for a comprehensive analysis of assistance for the poor in early America, with particular emphasis on those unable to care for themselves (elderly, disabled, etc.).
The Founding Fathers were justifiably concerned about the slippery slope of providing relief for every misfortune, discomfort, inequity, or unfairness. They understood government involvement would lead to demands for additional entitlements and a reluctance to strive for personal improvement. It’s just human nature. Take away personal drive and incentive through government largesse, and the results are disastrous.
But over the past few decades, the government has eagerly embraced “charity” and “rights” (including, critically, education) in every possible guise for one excellent reason: recipients are controllable. They’ll vote for whoever promises continuation of their “rights.” They’ve been bought. Remember, if something costs taxpayers money, it is not a Right. It is an unconstitutional entitlement.
False “rights” work by forcibly removing money and resources from one segment of the population and distributing to another. This enslaves the first segment by not allowing them to keep the rewards of their hard work; and it enslaves the second into eternal dependency.
True Rights derive from God, and those Rights grant us the freedom and liberty to pursue our needs free from government interference and restrictions (within the bounds of the founding documents). False “rights” mean we point guns at people and force them to provide us with food, housing, medical care, education, employment, birth control, abortion, etc., at their expense.
Naturally, this doesn’t mean there won’t be dumb people who do dumb things. Someone will always shoot themselves in the foot (literally). In the past when citizens knew their Rights, our response was “Well, he was an idiot to shoot himself in the foot. Maybe he learned a lesson.” Now we say, “Well, he was an idiot to shoot himself in the foot. We should remove the Right of self-defense for everyone so no one else ever shoots himself in the foot.”
In other words, in an effort to protect citizens from the occasional idiot, we legislate everyone. We allow emotionalism to become policy. The government loves that. It wants to protect us. It wants to grant us the “rights” of food, medical care and education. But make no mistake – the only reason the government is such an enthusiastic provider of “rights” is so it can become our master.
As government ascends in importance, the need for God retreats. We no longer beseech the Almighty for help in achieving our goals. Instead, we turn to Congress to provide us with whatever we don’t want to bother achieving on our own.
Americans have come to believe everything should be “fair” and all playing fields should be level. But of course when government tries to impose fairness on us, it results in a profoundly unfair redistribution of our labor, resources and income. (“Spreading the wealth” is the current term.)
And because we’ve allowed emotionalism to become policy, we’ve become a nation of victims. It’s much easier to whine about our “rights” and claim that others are responsible for providing us with the things we “deserve” than it is to work for those things ourselves.
Remember, if something costs taxpayers money, IT IS NOT A RIGHT. It is an unconstitutional entitlement.
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