Opinion

The more accurate definition of a ‘right’ | Angie Vogt

I’ve been trying to find out whatever happened to the push (a year or so ago) for civics education in Washington public schools.

I know that Federal Way Judge Dave Larson (when he served on the school board), as well as State Rep. Skip Priest, were advocating high school course requirements that involved learning about our U.S. and state constitutions, our republican form of government, citizen activism and civic participation. (As an aside, a recent study demonstrated our need for better civics instruction when it revealed that the majority of Americans think that our form of government is a democracy, rather than a republic). There are important distinctions between these two forms, but that’s for another column.

Given the difficult legislative session we had last winter in Olympia, and now listening to the national media discuss all the particulars of health care reform and the behemoth cap-and-tax legislation that made it through the House of Representatives, it’s apparent that the national media and many in elected office are in dire need of civics education. For starters, let’s discuss what a “right” is, with reference to our constitutional rights. After all, our system of government was designed around these rights. Its paramount duty is to protect them and to ensure that the three branches of government serve as checks and balances against one another to prevent unchecked power.

Recent studies demonstrate that we are in danger of losing our rights by the mere fact that Americans, in their pursuit of guaranteed outcomes that requires increased government control over the private sector, seem unaware that the constitution was written to protect rights given “by our Creator,” namely those rights involving our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Or, as one astute writer for “The American Thinker” recently put it: “What defines something as a right is whether the government can or cannot prohibit you from doing it.”

Therefore, the government can require citizens to serve for the defense of the country (the draft), because it has the duty to provide for the national defense, but it cannot require that we get a driver’s license, and in fact, can revoke our right to one. It has the duty to protect our right to worship and cannot prohibit us from worship, but it is not responsible for building our churches for us. It doesn’t guarantee an outcome that all Americans will worship. It must protect our right to pursue our own prosperity, but it cannot guarantee each citizen such prosperity. The word “responsibility” must come into play somewhere, lest we require the government to buy our groceries, pay our electric bill and, in general, keep us as dependent infants.

The danger is that our media and many in office have twisted the understanding of a right, which is to be protected, into a guaranteed outcome. But, as we know from other ill-informed government programs, in order to guarantee an outcome, we must deny someone else their rights in order to artificially prop up someone else. In order to make me look smarter on an IQ test, someone else’s actual score must be diminished.

Governor Christine Gregoire, in her attempts at expanding government guarantees of health care coverage (which is not a right), robbed some citizens of purchasing their own insurance in order to guarantee coverage to others, whom she claimed could not afford to purchase their own. Never mind that our state’s policies are what made such coverage impossible to purchase in the first place, by making Washington state one of the most hostile states for insurers to do business with, making insurance more expensive and prohibitive in our state than others.

This is how organized crime works. The local mob requires that merchants purchase their services by threatening and running competition out of town. It’s necessary to squash competition in order to keep power. So now you know what’s really behind the maniacal focus on what liberals call “health care reform,” but what really amounts to the destruction of our health care system for the purpose of taking over a bigger slice of the American economy.

It’s kind of interesting (or predicatble) that the biggest proponents of universal health care are Hollywood celebrity activists and left-leaning politicians. Congress and federal employees are exempt from the health care plan, as is noted in the actual bill floating in the House. Federal employees enjoy private insurance at taxpayer expense, with no restrictions or limitations. The wealthy (such as the East Coast elites and Hollywood celebs) will be able to afford private insurance, which will be even costlier than it is now.

They will be insulated from the negative, unintended consequences of government health care. When their 90-year-old grandma needs a pacemaker, they will simply purchase one from the private system. We, in the middle class, however, will be told that grandma’s life isn’t worth taking up one of the precious few pacemakers they have left. We will be at the mercy of the government.

After all, for those who insist that health care is a “right,” the naive notion that the government can guarantee good health as an outcome, comes from the same people who believed that the War on Poverty would actually work and that Social Security would guarantee that elders would not die in poverty. It appears they failed on at least these two accounts. I suppose it’s their right to fail, as long as we keep paying for it.

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