Tuesday, October 2, 2007

On Rights

I've been thinking a lot about rights lately, and how misconstrued the idea of rights seems to be these days.

Rights are not dispensed by the government. Government does not create rights, rights exist independent of any legislative body. Failure to understand that is failure to understand liberty.

Rights include: the right to life; right to property; right to be free; right to pursue happiness; among others.

Rights do not extend to "the right to not be offended." Rights do not include anything that takes from somebody else. Health care is a great example of a misunderstood non-right. Resources for producing health care services are finite, and desire for health care is infinite. Giving some health care to Roy leaves less for Bob. Prices remedy this conundrum.

This post is probably a little unclear because I've got "Bones" on in the background. I didn't know this show was a CSI clone.

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Zhwazi said...

Typically in libertarian circles the terms "positive liberty" and "negative liberty" are used to describe the distinction, with a positive understanding of rights being illegitimate.

The "right to free healthcare" as a positive right is theft or slavery (if the distinction even matters), whereas the "right not to be forcefully prevented from receiving healthcare from a donor at no charge" is a negative understanding of the same right.

Sapphire Eyes said...

True, but the way you phrased the "negative" right actually changes it, by brining in the donor. A donor has a choice. A taxpayer doesn't.

Zhwazi said...

That's why the distinction exists. Negative rights are always valid, positive rights are never valid.