Buttle's World

7 March, 2009

Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege?

Filed under: Posts — clgood @ 11:57

Wrong question.

Think Progress is blasting Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) for saying that health care is a privilege rather than a right. The privilege/right dichotomy is certainly inept politics, but its also inapt legally and constitutionally. The real distinction is between negative and positive rights.

As societal decision making norms, private property and freedom of contract do more than just promote economic growth. These economic liberties have almost always gone hand in hand with other personal liberties. Private property and freedom of contract, moreover, have been a major factor in destroying arbitrary class distinctions by enhancing personal and social mobility. When we infringe on private property and freedom of contract in the name of creating positive rights, we thus infringe on the very engine of democracy. As Russell Kirk observed, “freedom and property are closely linked: separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all.”

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