The Question of Rights Inflation (part two)


In part one, I wrote about the inflationary effect that creating new rights has on our core individual rights.  In particular, I looked at the problem of singling out one group or another by creating redundant rights in an attempt to atone for past wrongs.  In part two, let’s look at a more dangerous problem.  Creating new rights that cannot be granted to one without infringing on the rights of others.

First let’s reset the premise of our unalienable rights.  The United States was founded on the principal that human beings are born with certain basic rights.  These liberties are ours not because they were granted by a government, monarch or society but because of our nature as human beings.  In the words of the founding fathers,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Whether you believe the “Creator” is God, Allah, Buddha, Mother Earth or science, the statement is clear; we have these rights because we are human beings.  They are a consequence of our nature and they cannot be taken away by an individual,  a mob or, most importantly, the state.

Let me recap what I believe the Founders meant in that statement.  As human beings, we have the right to live our lives as we see fit in pursuit of our self-defined version of happiness.  The only restriction on those rights is that we cannot, in exercising them, infringe on another individual’s right to those same unalienable rights.  It is the basis of the only possible moral and peaceful society of men.

Consider the meaning of happiness. What makes you happy is most likely very different than what makes me happy?  But what causes happiness is universal.  Happiness is created by living your life by and in pursuit of your values. In order to exercise your right to pursue happiness you must be free to live by your values and in pursuit of those things you value.

What is your life?  It’s the sum of your years, days, hours and minutes and  how you use them.  And your money and property?  If you have traded a portion of your life and talents for a paycheck, then that money or what you buy with it is the physical representation of that portion of your life that you used to earn it.

Finally, to the point of right’s inflation.  Your wealth represents a portion of your life, so you are the only person that has a moral right to determine how to use it in the pursuit of your happiness based on your values.  When the state begins defining new rights, such as the right to health care, we have to ask, at what cost to whom?

Health care does not exist in nature.  It is created by individuals who use their life, energy and talents to create the goods and services that make up what we call health care.  If the state creates a right to health care, then they are saying you have a greater right to a portion of another person’s life than they do themselves.  That is unconstitutional and immoral. It enslaves one group to another.

If we don’t steal those goods and services from those creating them, how can the right be guaranteed?  After all, a right is something that is yours, you don’t have to earn it.  I know, we will use tax dollars to pay for those services.  But wait, we run into the same contradiction.  If the state takes your money, by force, to use for the benefit of someone else, they are giving that person a greater claim on your life than you.  If they claim that you benefit from this because you have access to health care as well, they substite their values (or those of the majority) for your  values.  They are forcing you to pay for a product you may not value.  Either way the state is violating your fundamental liberty by stealing your life or violating your ability to pursue happiness by supplanting your values.

What are some of the rights our government has attempted to grant to you?  Here’s a quick list from the 1960 Democratic Party Platform.

  • The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation
  • The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation
  • The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living
  • The right of every family to a decent home
  • The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health
  • The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accidents, and unemployment
  • The right to a good education

Many of these look familiar, no? Seriously, the right to recreation? Every one of these rights requires all of us to incrementally relinquish our real rights, those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Just as in money policy where printing more money leads to inflation by devaluing our currency, printing new rights devalues out true liberties and leads to rights inflation.  What is the cost? Ultimately, all of our individual liberties will be rescinded in favor of the states illegitimate power to determine what’s best for all.

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About Larry Downes

Son, brother, husband, father, boss, mentor & friend. Believer in unfettered personal liberty. Occasional host on 93.1 WIBC in Indianapolis.

2 Responses to “The Question of Rights Inflation (part two)”

  1. Larry you are right on a lot of points. What happened to our country? We have people in office that are wasting our tax dollars. Obama is creating debts that are kids and grandkids will have to face up to.
    The stimulis was a joke they had all of these planned street projects in New mexico but I don’t see much progress.
    Honest Hard working americans have to take back what is ours. The outsourcing of good paying american jobs has to stop.
    That is my two cents, I enjoyed your article.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read it Todd and thanks for your comments as well. As to your question, “What happened to our country?” Our representatives have acted as “vote whores” for decades. In payment for the votes of looters (corporate welfare) and moochers (social welfare) our politicians have eroded our rights to the point that our liberty is close to an illusion.

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