Free Market Fundamentalist Opinion

Harry Reid and Government-Given Rights

The Democrat suggests that rights are “given” by the government. Whatever happened to “inalienable rights”?

In response to Republicans’ effort to repeal health-care reform, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada complained on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday that the opposition intends to “take away rights patients already have — rights that,” according to Reid, “are saving lives, saving money and saving Medicare.”

What Republicans refuse to understand — or at least what they hope the people don’t realize — is that in America, we give our citizens rights. We don’t take them away.

This is preposterous. Rights aren’t given to citizens by the government. The stem from human nature. As Ayn Rand wrote in Atlas Shrugged (1957), “The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity.”

Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being.

There is nothing rational or righteous about taking money from some in order to pay for the health care of others. To force citizens to buy insurance of any kind (or anything for that matter) contradicts the very premise of the American experiment.

Not according to Harry Reid. He believes it “inspired this country’s founding.” The notion that government gives rights instead of taking them away “has directed our evolution and it defines our promise,” he added.

A government that “gives” rights simultaneously entitles itself to taking them away. Rights are inherent to human nature, not dependent on legislative action.

In a free society, health care cannot be a right because it requires that others provide it — free of charge, if need be. Granting people a “right” to health care invariably negates the rights of health-care providers.