Monday, January 11, 2010

The Crucial Question

I feel a little like the man from the Ayn Rand Institute who was on Glenn Beck.  Not that I'm an Objectivist by any stretch.  But I feel like the whole debate regarding health care reform misses the point.  The debate here is no debate at all.  Conservatives rail against a government takeover of health care.  Liberals claim that every person deserves health care.  But the roots of this problem go back to basic questions of political philosophy.  And the debate reveals the generally homogenous philosophies of our politicians. 

As the man from ARI rightly pointed out, the real debate here should be about whether or not government has the right to take your money and give it to someone else.  And this debate rests on whether or not we agree with our Founders that rights come from God and that if government has the right to define our rights, then our rights are never safe.  But we are actively trying to create new rights.  No longer do you have the right to life, liberty, and property.  You now have the right to health care.  Not only do you have the right to health care, but you MUST have health care.  Regardless of whether or not you want it. 

Few Republicans would worry about natural rights principles (Ron Paul, and perhaps Bachmann, Demint, and Coburn.  Perhaps.).  But this is the critical issue at play here.  Because when government tells you that you must do something, inevitably, someone has to pay for it.  Which means that property rights suffer.  When government creates rights, other rights suffer.  This is the question, and where we should be focused.  Until entitlements are dealt with, nothing will be solved.  And until we once again embrace principles of natural rights, entitlements will never die.


  1. Great article. Its unfortunate that the healthcare debate is reduced to the partisan bickering cover that we see so often nowadays, but thats how they get things to pass anyway...maybe someday people will realize what goes on behind the curtain, but until then I think we are doomed to lose more freedoms and have more government intervention in our lives. There's gotta be a breaking point somewhere, and I think we're getting ever closer to that.

  2. What is disgusting about health care reform is that all the trouble with health care springs out of government regulations and laws. So to solve the problems??? More government regulations and laws.
    You know what? There's still going to be trouble and how will we solve the trouble???
    One guess.

  3. "And until we once again embrace principles of natural rights, entitlements will never die."

    As an Objectivist for decades reading this by a "not by any stretch" Objectivist I wonder how deeply you, the man from ARI, and I are in agreement. I am not well versed in all of the variant understandings of the term "natural rights," because I embraced the Objectivist ethics and politics before it entered my field of consideration and no explanation I have encountered since came close to being so thorough and consistent as Rand's.

    Take agreement with the Founders, for instance. If one understands that, as some of them did no doubt, as a direct endowment of a God believed in only on faith, then those rights are not natural, but supernatural. It is precisely such a concept of rights that has no anchor in fact and is subject to perpetual redefinition by governments run by people of varying faiths.

    If, on the other hand, one understands that, as the deists among them could have, as coming from God indirectly, by way of identifying the nature of the human beings He created and not just His will, then they would be as natural as their identification is accurate and the rights are consistent with it. They would also be much more likely to coincide with Rand's entirely fact based derivation.

    Anchored unequivocally in the facts of man's nature and requiring demonstrable consistency with them, her philosophy of man's rights is the only one that inherently precludes the creation of rights.