The Right to Healthcare?

I found the clipping below (for lack of a better word) in my drafts from awhile back. I remember I was looking up something political and came across this post in the comments of whatever the article was that I happened upon (I don't know about you, but I do often enjoy skimming the comments of posts and articles from time to time, to see people's reactions and sometimes even learn something about things the article failed to mention or purposely left out). 

I found this one to be quite interesting though and good "food for thought" on the matter of healthcare.

On an article back in November about Ron Paul, user TheSmallAxe posted this comment:
"No one has a right to health care.  No one has a right to a house.  No one has a right to a car.  No one has a right to food.  No one has a right to clothing.  No one has a right to a cell phone.  No one has a right to a computer. 

No one has a "right" to any good or service that is made or provided by someone else.  Claiming a right to a good or service is saying that whomever makes or provides it MUST give it to you, regardless of whether you do something for them in return or not.  Thus, a right to health care assumes that a doctor is your slave, and that all the various people who work to produce the medicine you need are likewise your slaves.   A right to a house assumes that the builder is your slave, and that the people who produce the 2x4s, nails, pipes, electrical wires, etc. are all your slaves.  A right to a car assumes that everyone who worked to make each of its parts, and everyone who assembled the parts into a an operable machine are all your slaves.  You cannot enter a restaurant and demand a free meal, because the cook is not required to do your bidding; nor are the people who grew the vegetables; nor are the people who raised the animals; nor are the people who transported the food from the farms to the store room in the back.  You cannot enter a department store and demand a shirt or a pair of pants without paying, because the retailer purchased said shirt and pants from the manufacturer, so they belong to him.  The owner of the store did not steal the clothes from the textile mill; he exchanged something of value for them.  Likewise, the owner of the mill did not steal the cotton from the farmer; he purchased it.  Therefore, when you enter the store, and you wish to leave with the shirt or pants, you must first give something of value to the shopkeep.  The same applies to cell phones, and computers, and anything else.  If you want something that another human being had to work to produce, you must give him something in exchange. 

A right is something that cannot be justly taken from you by another person or group of persons.  You have the natural right to your life, your liberty, and your property.  Concurrent with these is the right to defend them against anyone who would seek to violate them.  You own your body, the vessel in which you live.  This is the most essential axiom to understand.  Any and all true rights flow from this source.  You do not own your neighbor's body.  He does not own yours.  The ownership is absolutely exclusive.  You may not harm or destroy that which does not belong to you.  Assault and murder are violations of your right to your body, without which your life on Earth is not possible.  Now, we all know that our flesh and bones are not self-sustaining.  Without food and water, we will die.  Without clothing, our bodies can suffer injury from exposure to the elements.  Without shelter, we risk attack from predators, loss or damage to our belongings, and again, detrimental effects of cold, wind, and rain.  Food, water, clothing, shelter - we must obtain these things if we are to survive for any length of time.  None of them, however, just jumps into our laps.  Humans must work to secure the things our bodies require.  We grow and hunt food, we search for water, we fashion garments, and we find or build shelters.  When a person mixes his labor with useful things he finds in the natural world, the result becomes his property.  Your right to your property is one and the same as your right to your own labor.  Since you must survive by working for what you need, you have the right to keep the fruits of your labor, i.e. the things that you acquire through work.  The right to one's property is essential to the right to one's life.  If this were not so, another person could take from you the things you need to maintain the proper functioning of your body, and thereby deprive you of your life.  The right to liberty is also necessary to your survival.  Liberty is the ability to do as you please with your time, your body, and your property, so long as you do not interfere with the same rights of others.  Without this freedom to pursue your own interests, and spend your time as you see fit, your ability to do those things that sustain and protect your body could be erased.  If another person can force you to do what they want you to do instead of doing the tasks that you deem necessary, that person is basically stealing from you the time that you would otherwise be using productively for your own betterment. 

When you leftist/progressivist/socialist/communist types claim a right to health care, you are actually claiming the "right" to violate the liberty of others.  You are saying that all the people who work to produce medicines and provide analysis of your ailments MUST give you their time.  You are saying that they MUST give you the fruits of their labor, while you give them nothing in return.  There are scant few things you could ever say that could be more selfish and despicable than this.  Now, you can try to argue that you aren't really advocating a situation in which doctors should not be compensated, since what you want is free health INSURANCE, but it's the same thing.  People who are employed in the medical field must be paid for their efforts one way or the other, the same as everyone else.  The money to pay them has to come from somewhere - it does not magically appear from thin air (unless you're talking about the central banking racket known as the Federal Reserve System, but that's another issue entirely).  Well, we can just get the money from government, right?  Hopefully if you have read this far, you should recognize how idiotically naive that is, but in case you still don't get it, let me spell it out for you.  The government is the opposite of the economy.  In the latter, wealth is CREATED through the productivity of all the individuals in the workforce.  In the former (government), wealth is CONSUMED.  Some of the wealth that is consumed is used for valid purposes such as defense against external enemies, law enforcement, justice systems, and various infrastructure projects that are used by all in common.  However, much of what government consumes is used for things that fall well outside the scope of its proper authority.  Either way, every dollar that government spends, it must first collect from taxpayers, who must first produce it in the course of their economic activity.  Thus, the money to pay for health care does not originate from government, but from individuals working to make a living in the private economy.  So, instead of saying that doctors must give you the fruits of their labor in exchange for nothing from you, you are saying that EVERYONE who pays taxes must give you some of what they earned without receiving anything in return.  This THEFT is a violation of the natural human right to property.  It should also be viewed as a violation of liberty, since it allows one person to dictate to the other what he must do with his time (given that money is merely a medium that allows people to easily exchange what is produced with their time/labor).  You do not have the right to command that another human being has to take time and labor that belongs to him and him only, and spend it for your benefit.  That is SLAVERY.  It may work with genies in fairy tales, but in the real world, your wish is not my command.  A need on your part does not constitute a requirement on my part to fulfill it. 

Socialism is the enslavement of every man to his neighbor."

What do you think?

Personally, I think it's a pretty interesting viewpoint, for sure!


  1. Oh dear, I probably shouldn't have read this. "Interesting," sure, as it is enlightening to see what gets some people so furious about helping other people, but it's also kind of maddening.

    First of all, I just have to say that the first long paragraph there is basically a pro-choice argument. He might as well have said, "A right to be born assumes that your mother is your slave." Of course, this is contradicted by the second paragraph which strongly states the right to life, but I guess it's interesting to see that these rights can contradict each other. More on that later…

    About that second paragraph regarding the right to property... How much have you produced all by yourself? If you sprouted out of the ground, then proceeded to lead a solitary life of hunting and gathering in the woods, then OK, his argument could be used to justify your right to all the fish and birds you caught. But that's obviously not the kind of society that we're talking about here. First of all, no one finds success in society without the society existing itself. Second, most of us these days perform a particular kind of labor, take money as payment for that labor, and exchange the money for the property that we need to survive (food, shelter, etc.). This requires a social contract of sorts that involves an economy that values each person's contribution. Two people can labor for the same amount of time, perhaps both performing equally boring/stressful/distasteful actions, but obtain a different amount of food/clothing/other necessities of life for that labor. I'm not advocating communism--I think it's necessary for economies to value different labors differently (whether or not the economies get the values "right" can be an issue...teachers earn too little, sports professionals earn too much, IMO). I'm just saying that things are more complicated than the writer here is making them out to be.

    In response to the last sentence of that second paragraph "If another person can force you to do what they want you to do..." Does he think we have mind control? Is he implying that being told to do something because it's your job is a violation of rights? We don't live in a society of mandatory employment, so you can always quit your job if it requires you to do something you don't want to do (except maybe some cases in the military...not sure how that works). Anyway, without mind control, the writer here sounds like he's overreacting to something that's not clear. (To be continued…)

  2. (…Continued) Third paragraph, we get into the real meat of the writer's argument. The real issue, of course, is that at present, the law requires doctors to treat anyone who comes into a hospital in need of help. If that person ends up not having the money to cover the cost of the healthcare, and doesn't have insurance, then the hospital is at a loss--I'm not sure where that debt goes, but whoever shoulders it shouldn't have to. That's why people advocate universal health insurance. That way, there's always an insurance company to pay and make sure the workers at the hospital are compensated for their labor. Yes, taxpayers are going to end up paying for it. But the alternative--which the writer seems to be advocating--is that we don't treat anyone who is uninsured. We just let them die. THAT is a whole can of worms that his argument is unprepared to defend.

    Say Joe is a janitor, a widower with two kids who doesn't have much money and has no health insurance. He has a heart attack and needs healthcare to survive. So--what--do we just let him die because he can't pay for it? Is that really what the writer is arguing? Joe has no money now, so he probably won't ever make much money in the future, and since the only way a person can benefit other people in society is through making money, I guess we'll all be better off if we just let him die. If the writer really believes that, then sure, he can go ahead and try to change the law to let Joe die. But I'm going to fight it--I'd hate to be robbed and shot, then bleed out in the ER as people tried to identify if I had health insurance or not. Not giving everyone healthcare is moronic, if you ask me. Let someone die only to find out later--oops!--they had the money! Like executing someone for a crime before their guilt is determined...

    The thing is, we live in a society that values Joe's life (well, maybe the writer doesn't), where we would rather see Joe live than die. Some people in that society are willing to pay a small portion of our earnings to see Joe live. If you value life, then you'll feel that the money is well spent. Even if you don't value life, you may end up benefiting, if Joe goes on to contribute to the economy, which he obviously wouldn't have if he were dead.

    This is where the writer runs into another contradiction. Joe has the right to life, but the doctors (and taxpayers, if universal insurance goes into effect) have a right not to be slaves (which he ties to the right to property). EITHER Joe dies (losing his right to life) OR the doctors are made into slaves by having to save him (I swear, he must be pro-choice). The writer seems to choose the right to property over the right to life. THAT is what seems selfish to me.

    I also just want to say that government isn't quite the evil leech that the writer makes it out to be in this rant. I was educated in public schools, and now I'm doing scientific research with funding that comes from government organizations. Am I a leech destroying the nation's wealth? People educated in public schools can go on to create wealth. Even people like me who go on to use up government funds...Science research leads to technology, and where is the U.S.'s money coming from these days? Technology.

    Anyway, the fact of the matter is that universal health insurance--the matter at hand--is designed to save the money lost by uninsured people getting treatment. So unless you'd rather kill those people, this is the best solution. If you think it's slavery to help other people, if you don't think you need society to live happily, then find a desert island somewhere to hunt and gather as you wish.

    Sorry I went on so long...but you asked for thoughts :)


What's your thoughts?