True “human rights” exist simultaneously between people

The following is a repost from March, 2010. The post was not shared on Facebook since we did not have that feature yet, but now I ask you share it via email, Facebook, Twitter or the social media distribution method of your choosing. Onward…

Health care is not a right. There, I said it. Our friend Prof. Walter Williams deserves the credit for pushing me to be blunt today, or maybe it’s just the nice San Antonio weather. Either way, a “right” can not be defined as one that diminishes the rights of another.

We must take steps to stop the abuse of the phrase “human rights.” Recently we’ve been discussing health care, but the same it’s-a-basic-human-right argument has been used to push everything from affordable housing, education, clean water, fresh air, a job that pays a living wage, and yes Internet access … not just dial up mind you, but broadband.

The problem with defining rights this way is each of the above require someone else to loose their own liberty or property. Williams has a great article on this subject today that I encourage you to read, but just for the heck of it, I’ll use my own example.

Let’s say your friends, neighbors and countrymen define a cell phone – with a good number of talk minutes and text messages – as a basic human right. Heck, everyone needs a cell phone for safety reasons, not to mention job hunters who need to be available all the time if an employer calls to offer a job … another human right.

After the legislation is passed, those who already have a cell phone and a few extra dollars in their possession, are each assigned a person in the area who needs a cell phone. Within days, that nice person knocks on your door and demands – nicely – the first of many monthly cash payments to pay for his or her phone service.

How would that plan go over? Not very well I would expect, but laws just like this one are being passed at the federal level on a routine basis. But the government is smart, instead of sending those in need of cell phones to neighbors to collect the cash, your support of programs like this are hidden in state, local and federal taxes, or through government business mandates which result in hidden taxes within product or service pricing.

Williams sums up

To argue that people have a right that imposes obligations on another is an absurd concept. A better term for new-fangled rights to health care, decent housing and food is wishes. If we called them wishes, I would be in agreement with most other Americans for I, too, wish that everyone had adequate health care, decent housing and nutritious meals. However, if we called them human wishes, instead of human rights, there would be confusion and cognitive dissonance. The average American would cringe at the thought of government punishing one person because he refused to be pressed into making someone else’s wish come true.


Addendum, from the Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That’s it folks!

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. JBS on August 14, 2012 at 6:52 am

    The problem is that the Left hijacks the language and controls the narrative through the media. No one reasonably argues that we all do need health care. We all do.
    The question really is, why must government be seen as the answer to all things. My experience is that the government does few things well. Defense is one, but it is no where near done efficiently or economically.
    Here’s a thought: Let businesses offer health care insurance. If it is affordable, policies are written in plain language and are straight forward, more people will buy it. More people voluntarily participating would be better than forcing people to participate.
    The Right has to challenge the Left’s assertions. The Right needs its own media outlet, one that will truly be fair, balanced, non-opinionated and non-editorial.

    • stinkfoot on August 14, 2012 at 10:55 am

      The problem is also the fact that so very many who will vote are either unwilling or unable to discern that the “facts” are being presented in a manner to evoke a reaction that is enabled by a purposefully cultivated class envy and entitlement mentality.? Basically we’re being enlisted in helping them dupe us.

  2. phil on August 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    You mean I don’t have the RIGHT to do a whupass on a liberal?? Oh, shucks!

  3. ricbee on August 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I think Jim said it best when he said,take any bill’s title & it will mean the opposite. The same is true for any term used by a “Liberal”.

    • JBS on August 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

      Lefty’s talk in opposites. It is a code of seemingly plain language. They simply assign their own definition. The Affordable Care Act is a good example. It is? not affordable. While the Act’s intentions may seem to be care, but it really is about revenue raising and extending government control.
      “Human Rights” becomes nearly a brand name the Left tags onto any agenda item it wants to elevate to its version of any narrative.
      “Gun Control” is another widely used Progressive Socialist Democrat term. To them it signals all sorts of legislation, confiscations and an ultimate ban of private ownership of firearms. It is code.
      Liberals’ eyes become dreamy and distant at its mere mention. Mentally, they are instantly transported to a magical place replete with profound sense of contentment, attainment and superiority. Control. However, the moment quickly passes, and they realize, there is something thwarting their ambitions: The United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights. Then, they become angry and hurl invectives.
      Such pesky documents to any Lefty.

    • Lynn on August 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      Yes, it is Orwellian language isn’t it?

  4. JollyRoger on August 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Ironically, the free cell phones are now a right (“provided by other Americans…”) and can be found at! ?Easy come, easy go- unless you’re one of the “other Americans”. ?If so, keep pulling the wagon!!!


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