Rights vs Privileges

For the vast majority of Americans, there is a fundamental misunderstanding between what is a “right” and what is a “privilege.” 

Rights, in the U.S. Constitutional sense of the word are things which are fundamentally given to you by God or nature. As the U.S. Constitution points out, 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.”

These are referred to as “unalienable” rights and the key here is “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The original statement was written as, “Life, Liberty, and Property” or “Life, Liberty, and Estate” and this is taken directly from John Locke’s Two Treatise’s of Government  whereby Locke, and the Founders as well, was believed man was first given life, then given freedom, and then granted the ability to pursue whatever creative endeavors he desired. Property here is important because it is fundamental that man create something and than fundamentally own that which he creates. As everyone should already be aware, property rights are codified and protected within the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as the Founders believed property rights must be ensured in order to maintain an individuals freedom. 

Privileges; however, are things granted by the state or society but which can be taken away. The state granting a specific political person immunity is a “privilege” afforded to that person by being in that political position. Their freedom; however, is a right which is God-given or provided for by nature. 

The larger misunderstanding most of the American population has is when we start saying certain commodities are rights. The most obvious example of this is having a “right” to “healthcare.” The fundamental issue with having a right to healthcare means that you have to force Doctors or Physicians to provide healthcare services to others. This contradicts the U.S. Constitution because you are now demanding Doctors or Physicians, who have a right to liberty/freedom, to perform services not of their choosing. 

But wait! There’s more!

The popular opinion in America today is to grant or make everything a “right” regardless of whether or not it is possible for the Government to secure that right or whether it makes any sense at all.

“Right to a living wage”
“Right to healthcare”
“Right to birth control (aka abortion)”
“Right to clean air”
Etc.

These are often referred as “human rights” and regardless of whether or not the US Government declares them a right, there’s two important points you need to take a look at.

First, would granting or making one of these specific items a right make the United States better, and second, at what cost.

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