With the rioting, threats, and petulant demands by many of the world’s Muslims over cartoons being revisited by South Park this last two weeks, I was put in mind of something I’ve been thinking about for some time. The United States Constitution spells out a set of rights for all people within the United States, and adds that these are not the only ones. (See the Bill Of Rights). Over the years, they have been expanded both explicitly and implicitly, but there are a whole set of so-called “rights” that have been gaining more and more prominence — and they need to be addressed.
1) The right not to be offended.
“Offense” has no absolute meaning. What someone might find offensive, another might find amusing, thought-provoking, or even laudable. The government has absolutely no business deciding what is so offensive to certain people that it will protect them with the full force of law from having their proprieties assailed.
2) The right to a job.
Nobody has a right to get any job, or any specific job. That is strictly a matter between the potential employer and applicant. There are discrimination laws that need to be enforced, but no employer should be forced to hire and keep a worker.
3) The right to come to the United States in a time, place, and manner of your own choosing.
The United States has quite possibly the laxest laws regarding immigration in the world. Whether seeking to visit, work, live, or even obtain citizenship, we are the most welcoming nation on earth. But we do have set rules and policies, and it is our right to demand they be followed — regardless of whether it might make a head of lettuce cost another dime or so, or whether high-school kids will rediscover the joys of earning extra cash mowing lawns.
4) The right to get money from the United States government.
For years and years, it has been the stated policy that no money or assistance would be given to terrorist organizations. Hamas has been pretty high on that list for some time. We stated long before the recent Palestinian elections that our policy would not change, that there would be no exception granted, should Hamas succeed in their attempt to subsume the Palestinian Authority. Now we’re hearing all kinds of whines because we are actually doing that.
5) The right to free health care.
This one especially frosts me. There is no such thing as “free health care.” As the old saying goes, if you think health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free. What these folks are demanding is that someone else pay for their health care. Perhaps they think the doctors should work for free. Perhaps they want the government to pay for it, which means that everyone else pays for it. Or maybe the insurance companies should simply “eat” the costs, right up until they are sued by their stockholders or go out of business entirely. I definitely think that there needs to be a revamping of the financial side of health care, but to “fix” it by putting the government in charge of it is insane.
I’m a bit of a libertarian, and one of the tenets of that philosophy is that if you want to find the most inefficient, most cumbersome, most inept way to achieve a goal, put the government in charge of it. There are certain areas where the government is the only body that can do certain things — national defense is one, along with maintaining the road systems and carrying out our relations with other nations — but by and large, it’s simply the laziest approach to a problem.
And never forget: “the government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.”