Rights and wrongs

(Private note to epador: NS4YS Warning)

It seems that someone told the Boston Globe that the National Level of Stupid had slipped, so they cracked open their Strategic Stupid Reserves today and let loose a fresh supply of dumbness.

It was tough to wade through the torrents and find the most idiotic specimen, but I think I found a good candidate in this column: “Americans Deserve A Right To Housing.”

Yeah, on the surface it all sounds nice and warm and fuzzy and thoughtful. But let’s do something heretical here: let’s take the notion seriously, and see just what it means.

Housing comes in two flavors: private and public. Public housing is owned and operated by the government at some level (local, state, federal). This has been around for a long time, and I don’t think I need to recount the horror stories of just what “public housing” means. I, personally, tend to associate it with its oldest form, prisons.

That’s not entirely fair, as sometimes government housing works out all right. But the vast majority of housing in this country is privately owned — by individuals or businesses.

That means that the housing is private property. The sanctity of private property is one of the foundations of our culture and laws. “A man’s home is his castle.” “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” It’s one of the reasons that the Kelo decision — allowing government to take private property and give it to others for private use — so rankled so many people.

So, just what does this “right to housing” mean here? It means that the government looks at the property owners and tells them “you own that property. You are responsible for maintaining it. You will pay the taxes and all the other expenses in keeping it. But we, ‘the people,’ have rights to use it as we see fit. You will accept that, do as we say, and not complain, lest we charge you with ‘violating the civil rights’ of the people who do not own your property, but have ‘rights’ to it.”

It’s similar to the “right to health care” argument. There, it’s the health-care professionals who are being drafted into involuntary servitude, told what they can and can not do, what they can and can not charge, for their services.

People have certain essential needs. Food, shelter, and health care are among them. But those needs to NOT grant people the right to take from others.

The fundamental concept behind these “rights” is simple: “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.” It’s been tried around the world, and it never works. And at last tally, the body count from these “noble experiments” is around 9 digits — and climbing.

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