Archive for October 9th, 2008

I don’t usually agree with the National Review, but this article is bang on the money.

During the presidential debate Tuesday night, Barack Obama was asked if he thought health care was a “right.”

He said he thought it was a right. Well, if you accept that premise, I think you can ask some logical follow-up questions: Food is more important than health care. You die pretty quickly without food. Do we have a “right” to food in America? What about shelter? Do we have a “right” to housing? And if we do have a right to housing, what standard of housing do we have a right to? And if it is a right, due to all Americans, wouldn’t that mean that no one should have to accept any housing, or health care, which is inferior to anyone else’s… since it’s a right?

Do we have a right to be safe? Do we have a right to be comfortable? Do we have a right to wide-screen televisions? Where does this end?

There are a lot of things that a person needs to live a decent life. However, the word “right” implies something much more fundamental — it means that the government is legally bound to provide you that. It is not a word to be used loosely. In the libertarian worldview, the only fundamental rights are those that protect you from the initiation of force. In other words, it means that you have a birthright to free speech, complete sovereignty on your private properties, the freedom to do whatever you want with your body, the right to associate freely with others and to engage in any consensual activity. The law is bound to treat you equally and to protect these freedoms from other citizens and the government irrespective of your wealth or your status.

In other words, you ought to be able to do anything you want provided you respect the equal liberty of others. The freedoms that stem from this basic principle are the only legitimate rights. It is not a big list. However governments already do a terrible job of safeguarding these. Obama ought to strengthen these constitutional rights before pandering to his audience.

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One of the great tragedies of modern USA, particularly seen in the modern Republican party, is its disdain for intellectualism and love for dumbing down. Do you pronounce foreign words correctly? It’s a liability. Eat aragula? Terrible! Skeptical about the existence of God? Kiss your chances of ever getting elected to office goodbye.

On the other hand, if you believe in creationism and are able to say the phrase “Joe-six-pack” faster than your predecessor can yell “nucular”, you have a good chance of getting nominated for the Vice-Presidency. And wait, you actually don’t give a hoot what researchers think? Congratulations, you are President.

(‘Pock-i-stahn’ Hat Tip: The Agitator)

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