Leftists keep arguing during the healthcare debate that healthcare is a “right.” The problem with this un-American line of thinking is that if there is a right, there is also a corresponding duty falling on someone else to provide it. (Cop arrests you, cop must Mirandize you. You have a right to vote so government must give you a means of voting, and so on.)
A right to healthcare imposes a duty to provide it on someone else and so a right to healthcare is a claim on the property of others. I get sick and you or someone else must pay to make me well. No ifs, ands, or buts. Hand over your wallet or else.
Where did these poor misguided souls get this preposterous idea from?
Maybe from one of America’s worst presidents, Franklin Roosevelt, who said in a famous speech that Americans had all sorts of “rights” that really aren’t rights at all:
We have accepted, so to speak, a Second Bill of Rights … the right to a useful and remunerative job in the industry … the right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation; the right of farmers to raise and sell their products at a return which will give them and their families a decent living; the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies … the right of every family to a decent home; the right to adequate medical care … the right to adequate protection from the economic fears … and finally, the right to a good education.
These arguments are being echoed not only by advocates in the healthcare battle, but also by President Obama’s regulatory czar Cass Sunstein.
The radical legal theorist argues that the “Second Bill of Rights” FDR rhapsodized about is alive and well in socialist Europe, which under normal circumstances is economically sclerotic compared to the U.S. This imagined charter is “one of the best American exports,” he says. “ So in Europe, and even in Iraq now, the constitutional understandings often include a right to a decent chance at economic well being.”
Glenn Beck said on his TV show that he can’t understand leftists’ “love affair with socialist Europe.” (Come to think of it, the alleged conservative Bruce Bartlett thinks highly of socialist Europe too, according to a dingbat column he wrote earlier this year. We can take up a collection to buy you a one-way ticket to Europe if you want, Bruce.)
Europe sucks, Beck argues: France suffered a record economic downturn this year, which has led to strikes and riots. Ireland has a 24.6% chance of going bankrupt within five years. Greece got downgraded to a lousy triple-B credit rating.
Beck said America, unlike Europe, has been a model of stability:
In more than 200 years since ratification, we’ve had one Constitution and one government in the United States. France has had fifteen. Russia had six constitutions in the last 100 years. Spain, Great Britain [sic], Poland, Italy — does anyone remember Yugoslavia? I think we all envy those accomplishments. Need we even mention, Germany?
All of Europe has undergone massive and repeated upheavals in their forms of government. Why do progressives so dearly covet the European example of chaos, tyranny and instability? America is the only nation on Earth with the kind of stability, longevity, prosperity and freedom we’ve enjoyed for over two centuries. And we’ve accomplished it all with just the original Bill of Rights in our original Constitution.
He’s right. We don’t need a new Bill of Rights. Maybe it’s time we started discovering the one we already have.
Incidentally, Sunstein has many other strange ideas. He has argued that:
- your money doesn’t really belong to you because the government laid the foundations for your success;
- Internet censorship is a good idea;
- animals should be allowed to sue people;
- the names of carbon dioxide emitters should be compiled as part of a “greenhouse gas inventory” and publicized to shame those emitters into changing their behavior; and
- Americans’ support for property rights and freedom of contract is an “incoherent” form “of so-called individualism.”
Sunstein sucks too.