We have printed several letters recently (and are again this week) from supporters of various forms of government-paid healthcare from before birth (including, presumably, abortion) to last breath, cradle to grave.
I’m struck by their shared insistence that healthcare is a “right” to which every human is entitled. In the U.S.A., that comes down to asserting that the government — meaning everybody who pays taxes — is obligated to pay for it.
I think we can all agree that it is a relatively new, discovered “right” — barely a hundred years old. Where has this “right” been hiding all these years, centuries, millennia?
It might be more accurate to say it is a newly popular notion, that in this country all of us taxpayers — that’s fewer and fewer of us — are supposed to be paying for everybody. Not just for us and our dependents, but for everybody. Everybody. Now that is a relatively new development.
At the risk of boring some on the left, a little history on this elusive notion of “rights.” Those privileged white guys some of us call “the founding fathers” had this 18th century notion that rights pre-exist government, that each human possesses from the womb a set of core rights, “among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” one of them wrote in a document worth your re-reading.
Now what do you think would have happened had you walked up to Ben Franklin, or Thomas Jefferson or James Madison one bright July day in 1776 and presented these august gentlemen with a bill from your doctor for some ointment you had purchased to heal a boil? We smile at the folly of it, but why is the same thing considered reasonable in 2017?
Their most restrained response to your dunning them for your healthcare would have been, “That is none of my business, and it certainly is none of the government’s business. It is your boil, and it is your bill to pay.”
That, basically, has been the government’s (and the people’s) position right up until good old Lyndon Baines Johnson and today’s Democrats.
A letter writer said last week that healthcare should not be an insurance event. And I say, Why not?
Here’s where we hear the liberal chorus: We’re the greatest nation in the world blah, blah, blah; 23 kazillion developed countries pay their citizens’ health bills so why can’t we blah, blah, blah; if we claim to be a moral people, we owe it to all our citizens blah, blah, blah.
You don’t and will not hear one philosophically developed argument about why it’s your right that I should be forced to pay your hospital bill. Ah, the Marxists. They have a very developed philosophy that at its core says, “The rich (or anybody with money) owes it to the ones who don’t have money.” “Why?” you ask. Marxists answer, Universal justice demands it.
Yep, they appeal to an overarching concept of “justice,” expressed as “historical necessity,”devoid of God, but, to them, a holy appeal nevertheless. Often the notion is that supreme justice somehow resides in this thing they call “the people,” without ever really asking all the persons who make up the people what they think.
It’s that concept of some cosmic “justice” that drives progressives from Karl onward to confiscating private money and private property, all in the holy name of “Justice.” Of course the fine print is this: They get to determine what is just and what — and who — is unjust.
Now those are the real elites.
When someone preaches the ethical and moral demand of taking your money to pay for somebody else’s healthcare, groceries, rent, transportation, cable TV, cellphones with unlimited data plans, etc., ask one question: Why?
If you want to talk about rights, what gives you the right to reach into my wallet and take however much you want for you and your notion of “justice”?
Get ready for a load of blah, blah, blah.
[Cal Beverly has been editor and publisher of The Citizen since 1993.]