How our rights are destroyed
By Richard E. Ralston
The most effective means of destroying the rights of individual Americans is by replacing those rights with new powers for the government. Then, instead of the right to the pursuit of happiness, the political class declares that everyone has the right to be supplied with happiness by the government, which must then be granted new power to define, seize, control, regulate and provide us with whatever happiness it decides we should want. Thus the clear intent of the founders and writers of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights is reversed and thwarted.
At the moment this ideological corruption is most blatant in the claim that health care is a right. Advocates of such a right actually mean that no one has the right to any health care at all unless they get it from the government or on terms completely controlled by the government. Citizens then lose all right to decide for themselves how to pursue and utilize the best health care they can find. That becomes entirely the prerogative of government.
The U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were created for the express purpose of limiting the powers of government. "Congress shall make no law" is the key phrase, not "citizens are not allowed" or "first get permission from Congress."
Freedom of speech means that you can say what you want. It does not mean that you have a "right" to be given something to say or a "right" to be supplied with an audience. At least not yet, although we may not be far from the point when political "correctness" or a "fairness" doctrine in broadcasting will instruct us about who can speak to whom and where, and what they will be allowed to say. The speech police will then undoubtedly tell us that their powers are based on providing us with our right to speak.
Freedom of the press means that individuals have the right to write what they want and read what they want. It does not mean that we all have a "right" to be supplied with newspapers or Web sites. Those who would supply us with either would undoubtedly want to regulate exactly what we read and see. That is what the "right" to be given media would soon mean.
Nor does freedom of the press mean that we have a "right" to be published, or that the government must force others to print or broadcast what we say. That obviously would be the destruction of freedom of the press.
The right to keep and bear arms means that individual citizens have the right to defend themselves. It does not mean that they have a "right" to a gun from the government. It does not mean that the government has a "right" to draft us to defend others overseas who may not even know or care what freedom means. That would destroy our ability to defend ourselves.
The function and purpose of rights is to protect individuals from the encroachment of government in their lives. If new powers, spending, controls, administrators and authorized use of force enable government to take things from some people to supply to others with a "right" to them, then no real rights are left to us.
When someone tells you that you have a right to health care, deny it at once if you care about your health. Instead, defend your freedom to pursue the best health care options you can find and to decide which of them you want. Fight to protect the rights of your physicians and other medical providers to manage their practices as they see fit—without the approval of government regulations and "protocols." Demand the return of your private electronic medical records that were placed in the custody of the government by the Stimulus Act. Resolutely and persistently reject the claims of a government that acts like it owns your body because it pays for it with the taxes you provide. Never give up your freedom to pursue the best possible medical care to politicians in return for their promise to take care of you. That would leave you with neither a right nor a privilege, but a nightmare.
Richard E. Ralston is Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California.Copyright © 2009 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.
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