This is an easy one. You don’t have a right to health care. Maybe I should end the blog right now.
Oh well, I’ll see if I can explain it for those who aren’t laughing out loud right now. You see, it all depends on how you define “right.” If by exercising a “right” you violate the “rights” of another….well….then you don’t have the original “right” you thought you had.
If you think you have a “right” to a hernia repair and it ought to be “free”(whatever that means?!) you have neglected to consider the robbery (taxation) of the folks down the street needed to fund the manufacturers of the materials and supplies needed to complete your surgery (kind of a demented version of Bastiat’s “what is not seen!). Or how about the people providing the service? Does an obligation exist for them to provide you this service just by virtue of their having the skill to get it done? Someone’s property rights had to be violated for you to exercise your “right.” With me so far?
How about this one? If the surgeon is performing this surgery (with no benefit to himself) with a gun to his head, do you think he really wants to be there? Do you think he cares about you? Might this possibly affect the care that you receive? DUH!! Trust me….you want your surgeon to care about you!
You don’t violate anyone’s rights when you breathe air. You are not denying anyone’s access to air if you breathe. You don’t violate anyone’s rights when you speak in a public square about poetry. But when you make me provide your anesthetic on terms that I deem not mutually beneficial, you have violated my rights.
We have an obligation to help our fellow man as we can. This is the almost forgotten concept of charity, taxation having almost entirely taken its place due to limited (not infinite) resources. The recipient of our charity doesn’t have a right to our goods or services, but we are all free to bestow whatever gifts we have on the needy and we should. I believe there is a difference, however, between charity and theft. Do you see this distinction?
G. Keith Smith, M.D.