- Your Rights -
to hear a lot about "rights". Gary Popkin, who
lives in NYC, wrote this wonderfully succinct explanation
of how the meaning of "right" has been interpreted
to the opposite of its real meaning.
A "right" as envisioned by the Founders meant that the government
was not permitted to interfere with your pursuit of them, i.e., your
pursuit of happiness was to be unhindered by government.
The "right" of free speech means that
government cannot interfere with your free speech. The "right" of
gun ownership means that the government cannot infringe your gun ownership.
What does "right" to health care mean? It means that the government
cannot stand in the way of your pursuit of health care, or impede
your obtaining health care. The "right" to an attorney means that
the government cannot prevent you obtaining an attorney to represent you.
Of course, "right" has incorrectly come to mean that someone must
supply you with something. If your "right" to housing means that some
slave must supply you with housing, and your "right" to health care
means that some slave must supply you with health care, and your "right"
to an attorney means that some slave must supply you with an attorney,
does your "right" to free speech mean that some slave must supply you
with a loudspeaker, or TV air time? Does your "right" to own guns mean
that some slave must supply you with guns?
Under this new meaning of
"right", if someone is said to have a
right to happiness, must I supply happiness? Should
anyone have the right to expect other people to supply
their welfare? If so, would welfare recipients not be
modern day aristocrats? To the degree I must supply
others with happiness and welfare, is my own pursuit
of happiness and welfare not hindered?