Beyond the Cusp

September 28, 2013

Is Healthcare a Right, and If So, What Else Could be a Right?

President Obama this past week once again in his stump speech referred to healthcare as a right in any advanced industrial nation. President Obama was making the argument that all the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was accomplishing would be to usher the United States into the elite group of advanced industrial nations as finally healthcare would be guaranteed for every citizen by the Federal Government. President Obama has often spoken of his healthcare plan as affording Americans another right which should have been among those guaranteed from the outset as the United States strove to be among the most forward nations. This was also part of President Obama’s criticism of the United States Constitution as it being an improper document because it listed restrictions on what the Federal Government was permitted to do instead of listing those things which the Federal Government had to do, particularly those things the Federal Government was required to provide for the people as justification for its existence. The problem with this line of reasoning is that it steals from the people their dignity, self-worth and responsibilities replacing the latter with so-called rights.

 

The difference between responsibility and rights is very basic and, once understood, quite frightening. Responsibilities are those items which the individual is tasked with providing for themselves and where government is restricted from imposing limitations or obstructions between the people and fulfilling their responsibility to whatever extent they desire. A right is something the government provides and defines exactly what makes up each right, even to the point of denying government’s responsibility, or even forbidding the individual’s right to provide for themselves forcing them to be subservient to government and within those restriction put in place by the government. Obviously, when healthcare is classified as a personal responsibility then each individual is free to provide for themselves and their family as much healthcare as they decide. Often when something is treated as a personal responsibility, the argument goes, there will be those individuals unable to provide for themselves or their family and that is why the government must step up and make it a right so they can receive it from the government. The truth is that without government interference there would be charities which would assist people in need, relatives who would assist in the care of their more needy relatives, and many hospitals, especially those run by religious organizations such as the Catholic Healthcare Systems which provide care at a reasonable cost proportional to a person’s ability to pay while still providing the very best of care. When government supersedes charitable organizations and generosity of the religiously run hospitals and insists on imposing their oversight the level of care is degraded while the cost and time invested in simply documenting and performing to the relevant compliance level the government demands is wasted time which could have otherwise been utilized to treat more patents. When the government replaces the individual’s right to provide for those things which are their responsibility and instead insists that government can accomplish the same level if not a higher level of care than the individual, it will inevitable prove false and result in degraded levels of care across the board with some levels resulting in refusal of care as it would not prove cost effective on the whole to provide everybody with every conceivable level and intensity of care.

 

But let us simply agree that healthcare should be treated as a right which The Federal Government is required to provide, even though all the government will be providing is health insurance coverage initially, what other items in our lives could just as easily be reclassified as rights instead of being our personal responsibility. The people will have been relegated to a judgment of being incapable of deciding or procuring a level of care sufficient to provide them with a decent quality of life.  If we are to believe the argument that healthcare is so important to the individual’s quality of life that it must be attended to by the government in order to guarantee that they receive a minimal level of care adequate to meet government set standards then what else would also meet such standards? It very easily could be argued, especially with the obesity levels in the United States, that food must be regulated and the decisions made by those qualified to make proper nutritional decisions. President Obama could appoint his wife Michelle to be the Nutritional Health Czar heading a new Cabinet level agency responsible for providing every individual with the appropriate calories, nutrients, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and everything else tailored to match their lifestyle and individual requirements. The health benefits of such a system would more than pay for themselves is lower demand upon the government provided healthcare. People could be placed on special diets as recommended by physicians who could work closely with the U.  S. Department of Nutrition and Dietary Health. Every argument given for the need for the government to provide for the people’s healthcare also apply to dietary care and food delivery.

 

Another necessity which in some ways has already attempted to be provided by the Federal Government with varied amounts of epic failure is housing. Despite the absolute disaster that came along with Federal Housing projects, the arguments remain that people require shelter if they are to maintain a level of healthy living and comfort for which the government could easily set as a standard. Furthermore, housing would also be of immeasurable assistance when the government provided the government chosen, prepared and delivered food for each person’s daily consumption. A person must also have a certain level of shelter from the elements of nature in order to maintain the degree of health desired for each citizen by the government. Then there is a personal need for clothing which is fitting for the season, meets the requirements of their occupation, and has a sufficient level of style to impart at a minimum a modicum of pride and self-respect. To be honest there are very likely solid arguments which can be made for the government to assure almost anything or everything in life meets a minimal level for each individual and consider it a right. But by doing so it would remove every ounce of freedom and personal choice. To put it as simply as possible; individual responsibility produces freedom and independence while group rights produces dependence and enslavement. It comes down to which you would prefer to be, a ward of the government or an individual free to make their own life choices. Be careful what you choose as once you surrender your responsibilities over to the government and expect them to be treated as rights they actually become privileges which the government could just as easily take away as they initially claimed they were capable of providing. So, choose either responsibility for one’s self or surrender to the whims and edicts of what will soon become an out of control government. History has proven this as republics devolved into democracies which inevitably lead to fascist oppressions and enslavement to the state.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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June 13, 2013

President Obama and the United States Constitution

President Obama has made his disdain for the United States Constitution well known. He complained before his first term as United States President in an interview on Chicago’s public radio station WBEZ FM in 2001 that the United States “Constitution is a charter of negative liberties” and not of positive liberties. He further explained that the Constitution “says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.” Keep in mind that this interpretation comes from a man who as a Professor taught courses in Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago, so he presumably knew what he was talking about and understood the reasons the Constitution was crafted in the manner of limiting government. Apparently Professor Obama, and we can assume President Obama, vehemently disagree with the founding fathers and their vision of limited government allowing for maximum freedoms and liberties for the people. So, perhaps we should look into the consequences of President Obama’s view of positive liberties against the founder’s ideals of negative liberties, or more accurately compare President Obama’s view of empowering government against the founder’s ideas of empowering the people.

First we will summarize the philosophies behind the founding fathers Constitutional limitations on government and how that impacts the people. The founders were strong believers in the ability of man’s capability for self-rule without having to rely on having to be ruled by their supposed betters. They were also mostly strongly religious and this enhanced their view as mankind as a noble being different from the animals and having a divine spark, a divine spirit. They believed that the Creator gave man life and with life certain rights which could not be denied by government or other men if society was to be free and have maximum liberty. As such they placed mankind above government and judged government as being a necessary evil which was best when kept as powerless as possible. Government was to only be permitted to wield those powers requested and permitted by the people. Even then, the layers of government were to have limited power by making each layer removed from the people dependent on the next closer level for its powers. Thus the people requested and allowed a set of powers to be transferred to government at the most local level which then assumed these powers and would also be tasked with adjudicating differences between contesting individuals. This local level of government would in turn permit some of these powers which were beyond their capabilities to be granted to the next level of government along with the adjudication of differences between any competing local governments. This level of the government then passed along those powers beyond their scope to the next level which also adjudicated any contentions of the lower governments. This continued until the least amount of power would be vested in the Federal Government which also adjudicated between the State Governments. Any adjudication could potentially have a judgment appealed to the next higher authority until reaching the final level of adjudications, the Supreme Court. The founders believed that all power comes from the Creator and the most powerful entity was the individual. This also implied that the individual along with the most freedoms and liberties also carried the most responsibilities. Thus, the higher up the government tree one climbs, the lesser powers relegated to each governmental level until reaching the Federal Government which would have the least power and the greatest restrictions on its powers and responsibilities of adjudication. Thus, under the United States Constitution the people are to be vested with maximum powers being permitted all responsibilities, abilities, powers and decisions with the minimal exception as listed within the Constitution. The best description was probably framed within the Bill of Rights, more specifically the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment reads:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

President Obama does not believe that the government should be limited in its powers but instead believes that the government should dole out limited powers, responsibilities and options to the people while retaining maximum control at the highest levels. President Obama believes that the Constitution should empower government and dictate what it is that the government is required to perform for the people. This results in the government deciding what rights it is willing to remit to the people and what privileges it will grant to the people. As a result, the people only receive the privileges which the government determines they may be allowed and any power thus vested with the people may also be taken back by the government at their slightest whim. In President Obama’s world, the people are only granted the rights and responsibilities which the government determines or believes they are capable of while the remainder of power is retained by the government. Furthermore, the Federal Government also determines what responsibilities and powers the States are permitted who in turn decide the same for local government with the final determination of what the people are allowed granted at the local level. Since government passes down the powers, rights, responsibilities and all functions in life with strict limitations retaining the bulk of available oversights and control with itself at every level, the people are basically power starved.

The difference between the United States Constitution and President Obama’s ideas of governance are stark and somewhat counter-intuitive. When President Obama speaks about his disdain for the limitations of the constitution, he speaks that he believes that people would have more power if instead of limiting government the constitution should insist that government perform expressed function for the people. Despite intuition might have one believing that if government is commanded to provide enumerated functions for the people that the people will have more privileges and rights, the United States Constitution actually grants the people far greater flexibility, rights, powers, liberties, and responsibilities. Where President Obama’s idea of government permitting certain services to the people as demanded does allow for the people not to have to assume many, if any, responsibilities as that remains with the government as they are granting items while retaining the real control. With the Constitution written by the founding fathers begins by leaving all responsibilities with the people and as such also gives all powers, freedoms, liberties, and abilities also with the people and the people decide that which they will permit the government to possess. So, if you desire to be responsible for your own actions and taking care of your own needs and expressing yourself however you please while standing by your words, then the United States Constitution was designed for such as you. But if you wish to have all decisions and consequences taken care of by a greater power that gives you that which it decides is in your best interest and requires minimal responsibilities or efforts from you, then you would love President Obama’s world of unlimited government granting you, the people, what is best for you, well, actually granting you what is best for government.

Beyond the Cusp

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