Thursday, October 8, 2009

When Driving is a "Privilege" and Health Care is a "Right"

It is bad enough that the average citizen has no clear idea as to the meaning of the concept "rights". It is even worse when a judge is equally clueless. For example, in a letter to the Chronicle, County Criminal Court Jay Karahan writes:
Driving is a privilege, not a right, and there is a legal duty for each driver to give his or her best efforts to do so safely.

While a large segment of the American people think that health care is a right, another segment believes that driving is not a right. These views are simply flip sides of the same coin.

A right is, as Ayn Rand identified, a sanction to freedom of action in a social setting. Rights pertain only to action, not the consequences of action. Rights provide a sanction to act according to one's own judgment, free from coercion or interference from others, so long as you respect the mutual rights of others.

Those who view health care as a right seek to limit the freedom of doctors, patients, and insurance companies. Under the proposed health care "reforms" doctors will be force to accept payments as specified by the government and provide treatments dictated by bureaucrats. Patients will receive only those treatments allowed by government, while insurance companies will be compelled to insure pre-existing conditions and receive government approval for the policies they offer. No matter who you are, your freedom to act according to your own judgment will be restricted and controlled by government.

Having expanded the concept of "rights" into a meaningless term, statists can then declare that legitimate rights are merely privileges bestowed by the state. The state "allows" you to drive, so long as you meet whatever terms it demands. To the judge (and those who share his view) individuals may act only with the permission of government.

This perversion has profound implications. If legitimate rights are "privileges" and mere desires are "rights", every human action becomes subject to government scrutiny and control. If the freedom to act is only a privilege, government may revoke its permission at will. If the desire of one individual is a claim on the actions of another, each individual's life becomes subject to the whims of others.

The fact is, driving is a right. Individuals have a moral right to take the actions necessary to sustain and enjoy their lives. This includes the right to move about freely if one possess the means and desire to do so. (One does not have a right to be provided transportation--such as light rail or bus service--by others.) To declare otherwise is to claim that individuals do not have a right to their own life.

This is the meaning of "health care is a right" and "driving is a privilege". Those who advocate such ideas do not view individuals as independent, autonomous entities who may act for their own benefit. They view individuals as disposable "cells" in the organism of society and each must act for the "common good". Those who refuse to do so "voluntarily" may properly be forced to follow the demands and dictates of government.

While statists are aiming their regulations and controls at our actions, their real goal is to control our minds. They want to render the judgment of doctors and patients moot--we will not be allowed to act on our judgment without government approval. They dislike the choices made by some individuals--whether the developers of the Ashby High Rise, or "greedy" insurance companies, or "unscrupulous" doctors, or distracted drivers--and they want to eliminate everyone's ability to choose. Which means, they want to paralyze our minds, and destroy everything a thinking, rational mind makes possible.

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