The Right to Health

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The Declaration of Independence, the greatest document written by man on the subject of individual rights, says in part, “…man is endowed by his Creator with certain inalienable rights…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The important thing to note in the Declaration of Independence is that the rights that we have are those given to us by a higher power and in the case of the above statement, that higher power is our Creator. Historically, government has recognized that it is but an instrument in the Hand of our Creator not the power in and of itself. Granted, often governments were confused as to where the Hand of our Creator ended and they, as the instrument, began and in extreme cases monarchs assumed the position of Deity, but the founders of our country had safeguards against that problem. The point is the right to life is given to us by God our Creator. The objective of government is to protect those rights. No one has the right to take your life and we have the severest of penalties for those who deny that right in others, even to the forfeiture of their own life. The right to liberty or freedom is also given to us. In fact, everyone is created with a mind where they are free to think their innermost thoughts in private. No one can force us to think a certain way. In this country we are even free to express our thoughts and exercise our freedom, so long as we do not deny someone else their liberty. Lastly, we are afforded the freedom to pursue those actions and activities that we believe will bring us happiness. Note, we are not given the right to happiness, just the right to pursue it. That makes sense because happiness may be different for different people. The important thing is that we must pursue it; it is not given to us.

Some people believe that they are owed happiness. They are not. They are given by their Creator the right to pursue it. We fought a war in the middle of the nineteenth century over that issue, so that everyone had the right and freedom to pursue their dreams, their goals and what they believed would bring them happiness. Some people believe that we should redistribute the wealth in this country to satisfy the people who believe they are owed happiness. Yet the countries that have embraced that idea have never contributed one bit to the happiness of their citizens. In fact, they have pretty much made all of the inhabitants of the land miserable. To accomplish the happiness goal, they have forced people to give up their life and liberty.

So where does health fit into this? There are some who believe that health is a right and that our government owes us universal health care. First, that does not appear in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Even stretching the “happiness” provision, we are only entitled to pursue it. The government cannot give you a right that is not theirs to give. The purpose of government, as our forefathers saw it, was to protect the rights given to us by our Creator. The moment the government attempts to do more than that it becomes tyrannical. If we say health is a right that government bestows, then it only logically follows that they must decide what health is. Even the thought of that is pretty scary. If they cannot decide when life begins, how can they decide what health is? Will they outlaw quaterpounders with cheese? Will they force everyone to see their chiropractor weekly? Will they outlaw cigarettes, alcohol, automobiles, chocolate, vitamins, most medicine, skateboards and motorcycles? Frankly, I would not want to live in a country that told me what health is and forced me to pursue their model of it. I do not even like the idea of paying the cost of someone pursuing their idea of happiness, especially when I disagree with that idea. Are surgeries and vaccinations a part of health? Some people may think so. Others may think not. Others may think some forms of surgery and some vaccinations are. Who is going to decide? And am I going to be forced to live under that decision? If I am, there goes my God-given right to life and liberty and my idea of the pursuit of happiness.

Some people have no interest in health. You have seen them. They ignore their health and their eating habits, they do no exercise or get sufficient rest and rarely see their chiropractor. They actually do all the things that are bad for their health, most in the pursuit of their idea of happiness. Still, we have people in government who want to institute an economy-destroying program to create a health care system that they may not even know much about to help people, at least some of whom have no idea what health is, and will not pursue it even if they did!

The first thing we need to do is teach people what health is, what it is not and allow people to embrace those ideas. If we do, those who want health will be able to and will choose to pursue it and those who do not will be free to pursue whatever it is they want from life. In this manner, the government need not to be involved and the rest of us will not be forced to pay for someone else’s idea of health or the pursuit of it. V24n1

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