End of the Republic

The American Republic is in decline. The decline is self-inflicted, a sort of suicide by choice. Why are people deciding to follow the "Road to Serfdom" over the "Road to Freedom"?

Location: Chesapeake Beach, MARYLAND, United States

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

An introduction to positive vs. negative rights

"How can we live in freedom and maintain that we are entitled to *anything* that we can't get without the labor of others? Remember, if we are entitled to the labor of others, that makes slaves of those others." [Marilyn vos Savant, Parade Magazine, 12/31/95 ([Marilyn vos Savant is listed in "The Guiness Book of World Records" Hall of Fame for the "Highest IQ".)]"

The logic of the above quote is clear. If humans are "entitled" to any produced good, then the workers who produce that good are required to do so. They have no choice in the matter. Illustrations of this are the so-called "rights" to an education, housing, a minimum standard of living, and health care. Of course, the teachers, construction workers, and doctors would be paid, they would not be "slaves" in the tradition sense. On the other hand, they would have little freedom in their jobs. Their jobs would be controlled by a regulatory bureaucracy established to ensure that the public's rights are not being violated. For instance, those workers would find that they are limited with respect to pay, mobility, and the ability to make individual decisions along with their clients. The workers in those fields may not be allowed to strike. In Belgium, many doctors quit or left the country to practice elsewhere to protest the strict conditions imposed upon them by the bureaucrats. Instead of asking the doctors and patients what could be done to improve things, the Belgian goverment simply drafted all doctors into military service. Essentially, the lives of the doctors in Belgium became property of the state.

The "new rights" are called "Positive Rights". The name refers to the fact that these "rights" require a positive action on behalf of another agent in order not to have them violated. A doctor must be present and he must exercise his ability for us to receive our "right to health care". A teacher must exist and must use his skills for us to receive a "right to an education". They must do their job, and do it correctly, or someone's "right" will be violated.

The "old rights", freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and property rights are called "Negative Rights". These rights are "negative" because they only require that others do nothing. I can speak freely on this blog, but no-one has to read it. I can worship freely as long as no one takes an action to prevent me from doing so. Essentially, negative rights impose no obligations. If you agree with the concept that everyone has the right to freedom of speach, what do you have to do? You do not have to listen to them, but you cannot stop them from talking.

"Positive rights" create a society of slaves and masters.

How can we apply this to our country's policies today? Anything that people think of as a "entitlement" could be considered a "positive right". What have people done to EARN these things they are "entitled" to. Merely existing does not guaruntee a person a healthy life. Being born does not provide one with a claim check on the efforts of others. Any policy in this country that non-voluntarily brings people together and imposes an obligation on one to be paid to the other brings us one step closer to slavery.

Our Republic cannot last with slavery as one of its key philosophies.



Blogger mhouston said...

I weep for the future

November 11, 2008 at 9:46 PM  

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