Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rights? Whoa Nellie!

Okay, just as I was dosing off during all the pandering answers of the debate last night, a question was posed that jerked me to attention. The question asked by Tom Brokaw was, "is health care a privilege, a right, or a responsibility?"

Now, the last time I checked, there were three rights listed in the Declaration of Independence: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Additionally, the Bill of Rights in the Constitution lists 10 more. Not one of these lists health care as a Constitutional right of U.S. citizens. I'm not saying that it's not a good thing to provide health care but let's not put the cart before the horse. We do have, after all, a constitution which is the supreme law of the land.

So, John McCain provided probably the most correct answer in that he said it is a responsibility. A compassionate society will find a way to take care of it's citizens. Or, better yet, an employer will take care of his or her valuable employees by providing health care benefits. Barack Obama, on the other hand, said it is a right.

Again, I ask: where is it listed as a right?

Of course, the undecided voters, as measured by the weird lines on the graph below the picture, agreed completely with Mr. Obama.

Perhaps education should be at the top of our "to do" list. And at the top of education, let's teach people about the Constitution. What it is. What's its purpose. Why it's important.

The populist crowd is storming forward. "Let them eat cake!" seems to be the rally cry. Perhaps this was what Joseph Smith saw when he said that the constitution would hang by a thread.

If we have antiquated 20th century banking laws surely our 18th century constitution is antiquated.

Beware. As the 10th amendment states, "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."


David Gibby said...

I, Ronald David Gibby, your radical, left-winged brother feel compelled to comment. While the Declaration of Independence is a great, historical document containing philosophical truths, the basis of our government and its purposes are contained in the Constitution. The Preamble to the Constitution states, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." As basic premise of the Constitution, as stated in the Preamble, is "promote the general Welfare". I believe that it is a Constitutional obligation of the government to address those issues associated with the "general Welfare", such as food, shelter, and health. This even seems the intention in the Declaration of Independence language where all men have the right to "life". In my mind, health care is associated with life and quality of life in our day and age. While I agree that we should have compassion, to relegate the health and well-being of citizens of this country to either wealth or compassion is a form of segregation. Compassion implies that it can be delivered based on the determined need of those doling out the compassion. Those with wealth can simply purchase what they need (in other words, health or "welfare" becomes a commodity and not a right as stated by the Constitution). This thought process is based on a skewed view of life where those with means have greater worth than those without. All that we have has come from this great planet through the blessing of a benevolent God. We are all born onto this planet and all leave it through death. The resources found herein are not owned by the few, but belong to the earth (and ultimately the God who created it). Ensuring that citizens of this great country have access to health care does not constitute in my mind anything close to a Constitutional crisis (however, the torture, imprisonment and erosion of civil rights during the Bush tenure have certainly pulled at the very core of the Constitution).

Kimberly said...

That still begs the question: right or responsibility?

But I'm going to end there because politics makes me crazy, and I cannot WAIT for the election to be over. Life will go on with Obama or McCain. I personally don't expect much change to my life--I've never been personally affected (so far) by anything a president has or hasn't done. Perhaps I'm one of those disenchanted voters.

Kenny G said...

Okay, I don't know what torture, imprisonment and erosion of civil rights of which you speak, unless it is the Iraqi prisoners of whom most liberals want our Constitution to protect (although I find it ironic that these same defenders of evil dictators of Iraq don't value the liberation and freedoms brought to the Iraqi people.)
But I don't want to respond to that. John Locke (the philosopher, not the "Lost" survivor) wrote Two Treatises of Government. The second, an essay on the true original extent and end of civil government became a framework for the authors of the constitution. Mr. Locke addresses the rights of Life, Liberty and Property and the purpose of government to protect these rights. However, we may falsely interpret this role as the guarantour or provider of these rights.
Rather, Mr. Locke suggests that civil government is to restrain men from invading these rights. These rights are given by God. Further, Mr. Locke states, "creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an udoubted right to dominion and sovereignty."
And while we believe that all men are created equal, this equality is in the form of species and faculties. As Christ taught in the parable of the talents, to one was given five another two and another one. In the end the master did not take from the first and give to the last; rather, he took the one away from he who had but one and gave it to the first. A hard lesson, but one that teaches us that we will not all be equal as to the things of this earth. But, "the earth is full and there is enough and to spare." And while it may seem unfair that some succeed financially more than others, we cannot impose a government that exercises dominion over its people and their sovereignty.
Am I happy to provide for those who are born with physical and/or mental disabilities? Of course. But I will never buy into the philosophy of "From each according to his abilities to each according to his need" unless God is the administrator of the program.
As for health care, unless free markets are eliminated the wealthy will always buy better care. You cannot impose price fixing on doctors and so you will have the best doctors offering the best care to the wealthiest. The worst doctors will be hired by the government which goes with the lowest bidder. The whole premise that Americans will enjoy the same health care as politicians is bogus. It's more likely that national health care will be like military health care. While it's true that they get coverage for life, it's some of the worst care I've ever seen (my wife's family is military.) My father-in-law has to wait months to see a doctor, travel long distances to a facility, and have all procedures approved by the military beaurocrats (government issued hearing aids and eyeglasses).
No, health care does not constitute a constitutional crisis. But increased government control over life, liberty and property does infringe on a persons rights and sovereignty.