Monday, September 28, 2009

Prop 4 & the Notion of "Rights"

Here's an argument against Prop 4 that I saw on a blog. It's an argument I hadn't even thought of before:

"The Bill of Rights declares that persons have 'rights' to 'affordable' health care, housing, energy, to be paid a certain wage, and various other goodies on every leftist’s wish list. The trouble here, of course, is that all these goodies must be provided by other persons — health care providers, builders, energy producers, employers, *et al*. So a claim to a 'right' to such things entails a claim to the services of other people — to their time, talents, energy, and the fruits of their labor.

No one can have a 'right' to goods and services others must provide or produce. The notion turns the very concept of rights on its head: *rights* is the concept which protects each person in the possession, use and enjoyment of that which is his own — his time, his talents, his person, and the products of his labor, i.e., to those things he has acquired without inflicting loss or injury on others."

It's a very interesting and valid argument, and likely one I will add to all my other arguments against it. Just one more reason to VOTE NO ON PROP 4.

For more information about the fight against Prop 4, visit SaveOurSpokane and SpokaneJobs2009.


  1. I dislike when writers feel a need to pigeon hole a point of view as "leftist" or "right wing." I consider myself very liberal, but agree completely with the writer's definition of rights. The other things that a government may or may not provide citizens in the form of services or guarantees should be debated in view of whether or not they deliver a net benefit to society as a whole. For example, public schools, transportation systems, and other infrastructure allow commerce to flourish to everyone's potential benefit. For that matter, universal health care might create efficiencies that would move patients out of high cost care (ER, etc.) and into a more efficient delivery model. It still has to be paid for, but if it's a net/net benefit, it's a good idea.

  2. Good idea on the idea of rights!!! As a "right-wing" (far right may I add), it is not everyone else's (society's) responsibility to provide everything for those who choose to not work at providing it for themselves. We already provide their food, a big portion (if not all of their rent), spending money, etc. to many people who are more than capable of working their way through life but choose not to. What now? Oh yeah! universal health care! Universal health care is just another way to allow people to escape yet one more responsibility in life. If you can't afford health services out-right and you fail to provide yourself (and your family if applicable) insurance then why is that the rest of our job to pick up your tab?? Common good is a BS excuse and besides that is not common good! ER visits as a way to see a doctor should be banned as well and if you can't pay or show insurance why should services be donated? They shouldn't. They are expecting people to "donate" their time, talent,education, etc. in exchange for only their laziness and lack of responsibility. People need to be made to stand on their own two feet and if they fail to do so (beyond some short-term crisis help) then so be it. They will have to handle the results of their actions and sometimes those results are not pretty. But, either they will learn their lesson and make appropriate changes or continue to waste way their life.

  3. The Bill of Rights does not declare that citizens have the "right" to health care, a decent wage, housing, energy, or any other service. That is NOT what the Bill of Rights is about.

    Bill of Rights

    1. Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition
    2. Right to keep and bear arms
    3. Conditions for quarters for soldiers
    4. Right of search and seizure regulated
    5. Provisions concerning prosecution
    6. Right to a speedy trial, witnesses, etc.
    7. Right to a trial by jury
    8. Excessive bail, cruel punishment
    9. Rule of construction of the Constitution
    10. Rights of states under the Constitution

    The PURPOSE of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was to LIMIT federal government involvement in the lives of the citizens of the United States.

    Thinking people of all stripes need to learn the TRUTH regarding the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Read the darn things yourself and draw your own conclusions to how you feel about them. Get the media and government bureaucrats out of your head and take responsibility for YOUR OWN LIFE.

    The older I get, the more Libertarian I get. Go ahead, look it up if you don't know what it means.

    Remember, if the government can take it away from you, then it is NOT a right.

  4. Anonymous ~

    I'm not sure if you are inferring that Prop 4's so-called "bill of rights" is asinine and shouldn't even be called a "bill of rights," or if I just wasn't clear that I was referring to Prop 4's "bill of rights" in the original post.

    The gentleman I quoted was referring to the "rights" outlined in Proposition 4, which has been add to the City of Spokane's November ballot. It has NOTHING to do with the Constitution or the Bill of Rights established by the Federal Government.

    It is a ridiculous proposition that would harm quality of life and business for the citizens of Spokane because of the fact that it is not well-thought out and there is no realistic action plan behind it.

    To read more about Prop 4, check out my previous blog post:

    Thanks for your input!