AIP column: Rights and wrongs

posted at 9:28 am on August 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

You hear it from ObamaCare advocates incessantly, and the point even gets conceded occasionally by ObamaCare opponents: people have a right to health care.  When people make that argument, it’s designed to change the debate from one of public policy to a neo-Civil Rights movement.  Not surprisingly, the UN has bitten on this canard, too.  However, not only is health care not a right in the American tradition, that argument undermines one of the key principles of American liberty, as I explain in my American Issues Project column today:

Rights cannot be confiscatory in a society that respects the individual right to property. That’s why none of the enumerated rights in the Constitution involve confiscation. Americans have the right to free speech, but they do not have the right to demand publication in a newspaper, nor do they have the right to demand that other people listen when they speak. The right to free expression of religion does not involve occupying someone else’s church and using it to your own ends. You have the right to keep and bear arms, but you do not have the right to demand free or publicly financed weaponry. All of those examples involve confiscating someone else’s property or services, whether done through the government or by force individually.

That brings us to the notion of the “right” to health care. As human beings, we want to see people succeed to the point where they can feed, clothe, and care for themselves independently, as that establishes true personal freedom. However, none of us have the right to confiscate the services of a doctor or nurse without their consent, and without their ability to set a price for their time and expertise. We don’t have the right to walk into a grocery story to demand apples when we’re hungry, either, although we should have access to the market without bias when we can properly compensate its owner for the goods.

Arguing that we have a right to health-care goods and services disconnected from our individual ability to provide that compensation takes us down a much different path than that envisioned by the founders. It owes much more to schools of thought where private property rights have little or no meaning, where the individual gets subsumed by the society in which he lives, and where all property belongs to the people as a whole. We have seen massive experimentation with those systems in the 20th century, and they had several points in common: they resulted in a sharp decline in individual liberty, in production, and in standards of living.

This doesn’t mean we can’t build safety-net programs for those who really need assistance.  We’re a free people, and we can choose to create those programs through our representative democracy, and there are good arguments in either direction on that issue.  However, we need to impose some historical and philosophical reality on the current discussion and get it out of the realm of civil or human rights.  It doesn’t belong there, and the argument that it does leads directly to an attack on private property rights and the underpinnings of true and successful liberty.

Be sure to read the entire column, and while you’re there, catch the other great articles and blogs at AIP.  Cassy Fiano looks at exorbitant government spending — on itself, John Stossel blasts big-business complicity in ObamaCare, and Jimmy Bise actually likes President Obama’s post-office analogy … but not for the reasons Obama liked it.


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Comment pages: 1 2

I’m merely attempting to apply those standards to the issue of corporations to demonstrate that conservatives have no problem awarding “rights” to entities that are not enshrined in the constitution.

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:39 AM

Rights are not really enshrined in the constitution. The powers of the federal government are defined. Some rights are spelled out in the amendments, but like James Madison original thought, most of the bill of rights should not have been adopted IMHO since the consitution never granted the power to the feds to take away rights (e.g., fire arms).

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Well, if health care is to be considered a “right” then certainly food and shelter would come before that. Why isn’t my food provided by the government free of charge to me? Why don’t they make my mortgage payment? Oh! Wait, I guess we do have food stamps and subsidized housing for people who lack the means… like Obama’s aunt in Boston.

CC

CapedConservative on August 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Your rights end where your wallet ends. Any “right” you claim after that is theft.

beatcanvas on August 13, 2009 at 9:38 AM

Inarguably correct

proconstitution on August 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Just to be clear. My point in bringing this up is to demonstrate that conservatives have no problem with declaring certain things “rights” that were not rights in the past when it jives with their overall business model. But when it comes to healthcare then people become “strict constitutionalists.”

Just to be clear, you are an utter moron, and your claim that rights were declared is complete nonsense. Recognizing that a right exists, is not the same thing as creating a right.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Your argument about corporations makes as much sense as saying that there is no freedom of speech on tv or radio, because neither of those technologies were known to the fathers of the constitution.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:46 AM

There’s freedom of speech on the radio and TV? Because I thought you could be fined or penalized for using the banned “swear words” or flashing some boob on network shows. Aren’t there different rules for network, cable, premium and pornography channels in terms of free speech. This is EXACTLY the point, TV shows, not being individuals have less constitutional protections than the rest of us.

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

And you’ve ignored the distinction between an individual owned business, which is no different than an investment or other piece of private property. And a communally owned corporation.

Since no such distinction exists, why are we obligated to recognize it?

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Recognizing that a right exists, is not the same thing as creating a right.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

So then you agree that “recognizing” gay couples right to marry isn’t “creating special rights.” Correct? Also, why do you feel the need to get personally insulting?

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:52 AM

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

You honestly believe that if govt ignores a right, this proves that the right doesn’t exist?

Sheesh, I was too generous when I called you an utter moron.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:53 AM

So then you agree that “recognizing” gay couples right to marry isn’t “creating special rights.” Correct? Also, why do you feel the need to get personally insulting?

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:52 AM

If the right exists, then having govt stop trampling on that right is not the same as creating a right.

I’m sorry if my accurate labeling of mental shortcomings disturbs your happy thoughts.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM

You honestly believe that if govt ignores a right, this proves that the right doesn’t exist?

Sheesh, I was too generous when I called you an utter moron.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:53 AM

And you claim to be a strict constitutionalist? So it’s not that our rights as citizens are defined in the constitution it’s that there are these “universal truths” that define our rights, regardless of what the law says or what the current government says?

Sweet. Then you really can’t be upset with people who claim that there is some “universal” right to healthcare regardless of what’s in the constitution or not. Please keep your stories straight.

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Ed, good article. Probably have the libs wetting their pants. After all, they even want to give rights to trees.

GarandFan on August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

It’s simple:

A right is something that you have that cannot be taken away.

A entitlement is something someone else has that you can demand they give you.

You have no right to health care, no right to food, no right to anything that necessarily involves taking it (or money to pay for it) from someone else.

Mark Jaquith on August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Obviously, there is no right to be gay, since that wasn’t mentioned in the constitution.

/sarc

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Just because you want to do something, doesn’t mean you have a right to do it. Even if you hire govt to do it for you.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Seems like a blurring of rights, powers, and level of governments.

I agree the federal government cannot ban, for example, perimeter fences. A state could since this power is not banned by the federal constitution to the states, and, IF, the state consitution enabled law makers to control peoples property (I would NEVER support this a state level). A township can project this power if (a) the state’s constitution does not ban it and (b) the town people set-up building codes to do so.

In my town houses need to be brick on all sides of the house. Is it legel for my town to do this? I cannot lay a finger on anything in the federal consitution that bans my town from making this law.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 10:57 AM

Sweet. Then you really can’t be upset with people who claim that there is some “universal” right to healthcare regardless of what’s in the constitution or not. Please keep your stories straight.

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

One of these days, you will learn to construct an accurate analogy. Today is obviously not going to be that day.

Trying to teach you, is like trying to teach logic to a stump.

1) If I have rights, then these rights logically flow to those things owned by me.

2) This is not the same as saying that govt can do anything it wants.

Do you understand the difference, or should I assume that the stump has more comprehension than you do.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:58 AM

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

You’re right there isn’t a constitutional right to be gay in the original constitution. But there are protections from discrimination or at least pro-egalitarian notions enshrined in the constitution which can clearly be drawn upon to justify expansions in rights for those who were once made into non-citiznes by the founders.

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 10:58 AM

A state could since this power is not banned by the federal constitution to the states, and, IF, the state consitution enabled law makers to control peoples property (I would NEVER support this a state level).

For this statement to be accurate, one would have to believe that rights do not flow from the federal govt, but instead flow from state govt.

Under this logic, if the constitution permitted the federal govt to ban perimeter fences, then the govt would have that right.

Rights are rights, and power is power. That many govts have the power to trample on the rights of individuals is a fact. That they should have this power, is not.

It doesn’t matter what the level of govt is. They have no right to trample on my rights, but many have the power to do so.

There’s the distinction.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

1) If I have rights, then these rights logically flow to those things owned by me.

Yes, private property exists. Congratulations.

2) This is not the same as saying that govt can do anything it wants.

Yes restrictions on government power exist.

Now, as Americans. Where do our rights come from? Are their universal human rights? Or are our rights defined in our constitution and Bill of Rights? If you believe it’s the former, then you and the liberals you claim to despise really don’t have much to fight about. If you believe it’s the later then you’re hypocritical for supporting revisionism in some instances and not others.

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Levels of govt is an invalid argument.

It doesn’t matter what the level of govt is, none of them have the right to trample on the rights of the people.

The only reason why we have multiple layers of govt is because that is more efficient, and makes govt easier to control. It has nothing to do with what rights the various levels have.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:03 AM

We enjoy your clearheaded writing. Well done, Ed.

July 10 on August 13, 2009 at 11:04 AM

Now, as Americans. Where do our rights come from? Are their universal human rights? Or are our rights defined in our constitution and Bill of Rights? If you believe it’s the former, then you and the liberals you claim to despise really don’t have much to fight about. If you believe it’s the later then you’re hypocritical for supporting revisionism in some instances and not others.

CrankyIndependent on August 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Man, you really do like making an ass of yourself stumpy.

Everybody who doesn’t interpret the constitution in exactly the same insane way that you do, is a liberal.

If you wanted to discredit yourelf, you couldn’t have found a better way that that statement right there.

Our rights come from the fact that we own ourselves.

Everything else flows from that fact.

Because I own myself, I have a right to protect myself.
Because I have a right to defend myself, I have a right to hire someone else to help me protect myself.
Because I own myself, I have a right to the products made with my hands.

I have already explained how my rights naturally extend to the things that I own. Your claim that joint ownership somehow negates this extension may make sense in what passes for your mind, but has no basis in any reality currently recognized by modern physics.

As usual, your inherent lack of independant thought has caused you to allow your class hatred (and you call me a liberal) to try and create a justification for taking what you want, from those to whom it belongs.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:10 AM

It doesn’t matter what the level of govt is. They have no right to trample on my rights, but many have the power to do so.

There’s the distinction.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

There is a distinction. With your complete libretarian thinking, you have trambled on my right, and the other 99 homeowners of my subdivision, to live in a subdivision with no perimeter fences. You have denied me the right to associate with people that live in Frankfort, IL that want only mostly brick houses. If you do not like your town government or homeowners association having that power, you could move to New Lenox (bording town), or move 1/2 south of me into unicorporated areas were you can put up a HAM antenna if that was your hobby.

I like these constituional philosphy discussion most on HA.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 11:12 AM

It doesn’t matter what the level of govt is, none of them have the right to trample on the rights of the people.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Where is this written? I cannot even find the “rights” in the constitution. The word does not show up until the 14th amendment.

The federal constitution, as I stated earlier, defines the powers of the federal government and restrictions on the state powers. I think James Madison understood the federal government was one of enumerated and limites powers. If the power was not prohibited by it to a state, it was the responsibility and duty of the people to re-protect their rights at the state level, county level, etc.

To stir up a hornets nest, I think a state can take away the right to bear arms. I oppose this, but there is nothing in the consitution (pre bill of rights) that prohibits this state power in the federal consitution. It gets muddy once you bring in the bill of rights.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 11:24 AM

We can’t have this lame of a government representing us,(Post office analogy) really? We are The Last Super Power. Talk about embarrassing if you gathered every person who suffered from some emotional malady, and gave them a position in OUR Government, you would have what we have today. Mental/Emotional Cripples, trying to compensate for something? Maybe they just weren’t loved enough as children ;) How many of these folks are say co -dependent so they just fell into Collectivism in the first place, perhaps they are predisposed to act irrationally? The Entitlement Babies.

Maybe the Government could award a grant for a study maybe they could use some of the stimulus money? Finally they would be funding a study of themselves. Public servants think they are entitled to our tax payer dollars. Uh no they’re not.

Dr Evil on August 13, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Exactly! I’ve been trying to tell people for years. I do not have a “right” that takes something (tangible) from YOU in order to give me what I want. Having a desire for something does not give a person a right to it. This is especially significant in this healthcare debate. I DO have a right to live a healthy life, but I do not have a right to utilize other people and their resources to get that. Wouldn’t you think that would be obvious? Apparently not to many on the left. They make the claim about healthcare, housing…

irishlad317 on August 13, 2009 at 11:39 AM

you have trambled on my right, and the other 99 homeowners of my subdivision, to live in a subdivision with no perimeter fences.

No such right exists.
You have a preference for living in a neighborhood without perimeter fences. Preferences do not translate into rights.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Where is this written? I cannot even find the “rights” in the constitution. The word does not show up until the 14th amendment.

Rights do not come from constitutions, or govts.
Rights come from the people. We can grant to govt, the right to excercise our rights (see my comments about self defense above), but we cannot grant to govt rights that we do not ourselves posess.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Preferences do not translate into rights.

Unless they are preferences about your body or your property (that also do not themselves violate anyone else’s rights).

Mark Jaquith on August 13, 2009 at 11:49 AM

You guys need to learn that you can’t use logic with liberals, and they don’t understand individual rights and personal responsibility. As socialist turds this simply doesn’t register.

They cannot comprehend what ‘rights’ are or what the government was put there for. The only time you hear the word “rights” in context coming from their mouths is when they demand something for nothing, they think they have a right to it without being personally responsible for things like the cost….that they just want to charge off to the ‘rich’. You know, those people that make more than minimum wage….

Spiritk9 on August 13, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Now, as Americans. Where do our rights come from? Are their universal human rights? Or are our rights defined in our constitution and Bill of Rights?

Our rights are not defined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. THEY ARE DEFENDED FROM ABUSE BY AUTHORITY.

We as a society could collectively decide to grant to all citizens, the privilege of “universal health care.” That doesn’t make it a Right. And it doesn’t change the fact that a future Congress could change that privilege, or even eliminate it.

Keith_Indy on August 13, 2009 at 11:52 AM

My point is that conservatives claim that there is only ONE way to interpret the constitution. That is in a “strict” “constitutionalist” way that most closely mirrors the “founders intent.”

The only way to interpret the constitution is to say that it means what the people who wrote and ratified it thought it meant. To impute any meaning beyond that is to have no constitution at all.

The tricky part is when it comes to things like the Air Force. There is nothing in the constitution providing for an Air Force, but there is for an Army. Since human flight was the stuff of mythology when the Constitution was written, we have to consider the Air Force to be authorized as if it were another Army. A case could be made that the Constitution demands the two be a single organization (as the AF was originally the “Army Air Corps”) but not that the Constitution doesn’t provide for flying military.

Just to be clear. My point in bringing this up is to demonstrate that conservatives have no problem with declaring certain things “rights” that were not rights in the past when it jives with their overall business model. But when it comes to healthcare then people become “strict constitutionalists.”

Get a dictionary and look up jive. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. Now stop jiving us. The Left has always claimed to be in favor of the little guy against the fat cat. But the corporation is the mechanism by which a bunch of little guys can pool resources to compete against the big guy.

The Monster on August 13, 2009 at 11:52 AM

The Monster on August 13, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Thanks for that link. Looks like a fun little book. I always thought “jibe” came from the sailing reference.

John the Libertarian on August 13, 2009 at 11:58 AM

This is hands down the best article I have read on this issue… this should be mandatory reading for ALL conservatives young and old!

Great job ED!!!

johnnyboy on August 13, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Just to be clear. My point in bringing this up is to demonstrate that conservatives have no problem with declaring certain things “rights” that were not rights in the past when it jives with their overall business model.

Like what exactly?

A woman’s right to vote?
A colored persons right to be treated equally?

Keith_Indy on August 13, 2009 at 12:02 PM

To stir up a hornets nest, I think a state can take away the right to bear arms. I oppose this, but there is nothing in the consitution (pre bill of rights) that prohibits this state power in the federal consitution. It gets muddy once you bring in the bill of rights.
WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 11:24 AM

Your argument is moot. You can’t just decide to not bring in the bill of rights as they are an Amendment to the Constitution. Meaning…THEY ARE THE CONSTITUTION!

Your logic here is bizarre.

BierManVA on August 13, 2009 at 12:07 PM

No such right exists.
You have a preference for living in a neighborhood without perimeter fences. Preferences do not translate into rights.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 11:41 AM

It really seems like you are advocating a position that I cannot enter into a contract with 99 other homeowners to ban fences in a subdivision.

Rights do not come from constitutions, or govts.
Rights come from the people.

I would say the come from our creator (and I say this as a non-religious person). We ceed power to government to secure are God given rights. The federal constitution was the states, not the people, ceeding power to the federal government so the rights of the state and the people can be secured. As you well know, there is next to nothing in the constitution, sans bill of rights, that grants power to the fedral government to infringe on the freedoms of individuals.

There is also next to nothing in federal constitution that prohibits states from excercising power to reduce the freedom of its citizens. I think the only thing we are guaranteed is that all states will have democratically elected representatives. From there it is the state’s citizens responsibility to create a state that only has the power that the people want to ceed to it. I know the Illinois consitution gives it the power to establish public schools and health services. I voluntarily choosen to live in IL, so I have voluntarily ceeded some liberty (my income) to fund public schools and health services…even though I disagree with how my state performs these functions.

Step and repeat to county and lesser governments.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM

One way to transition away from our social welfare state is to make it easier to make deductions to charitable organizations.

18-1 on August 13, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Since the stimulus bill passed every time I get a call from a charity seeking donations I ask the person: “Do you know Barack Obama?” “Yes….” “Well call him, he’s got your money”.

PackerBronco on August 13, 2009 at 12:12 PM

One way to transition away from our social welfare state is to make it easier to make deductions to charitable organizations.

How about we implement the Fair Tax and eliminate the need for deductions?

BierManVA on August 13, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Your argument is moot. You can’t just decide to not bring in the bill of rights as they are an Amendment to the Constitution. Meaning…THEY ARE THE CONSTITUTION!

Your logic here is bizarre.

BierManVA on August 13, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Not really. John Madison was first against the Bill of Rights. His logic was if you spell out what the federal government cannot do, future legislatures would interpret the constitution and say, “Well if it doesn’t say I cannot do it, that must mean I can.” Madison’s view the constitution as strict enumerated powers. If the power is not listed, the federal government does not have the power.

With that, when getting into constitutional discussions, I try to put my self in a James Madison frame of mind, and view the constitution without amendments. I feel that this method provdes for the strictist constructionists reading of the constitution.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:20 PM

“Well if it doesn’t say I cannot do it, that must mean I can.”

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Exactly why we needed the 10th Amendment. Which was TRASHED after the Civil War and has never recovered since.

John the Libertarian on August 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Exactly why we needed the 10th Amendment. Which was TRASHED after the Civil War and has never recovered since.

John the Libertarian on August 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM

The 10th amendment should not be an amendment, the frames should have put this in the original constitution. Almost every contract I read has a clause like the 10th amendment, paraphrasing, if the power is not explicit in the contract, the power does not exist.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM

The arguments against the health takeover such as the “death panels” or federally funded abortion are highly important, but I’m keen to see the main thrust of the argument agianst being the impact on the Constitution and on personal freedoms and responsibilites. Obama and crew are determined to shred the constitution and subject everyone to the control of the federal state. This healt care takeover is a key plank of that strategy, if not THE key plan. It’s a plank we have to put through the shredder.

Blindsummit on August 13, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Exactly why we needed the 10th Amendment. Which was TRASHED after the Civil War and has never recovered since.

John the Libertarian on August 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM

The 10th amendment should not be an amendment, the frames should have put this in the original constitution. Almost every contract I read has a clause like the 10th amendment, paraphrasing, if the power is not explicit in the contract, the power does not exist.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Your point is again moot. Do you even understand what an Amendment is? It modifies the existing document. For all intents and purposes, it doesn’t matter if it was in there to begin with or if it was amended. The outcome is the same.

The framers knew that they might “forget something” and that is why we have the amendment process.

BierManVA on August 13, 2009 at 12:37 PM

Excuse me, health care IS a right.

The left just uses that right as a rhetorical club, because health care has become one of those issues where “right” = “government obligation”. It’s the same with education. Of course you have a right to an education. What good is a 1st amendment right to a free press if I’m not free to learn to read? But some have turned that right into a government obligation to hand you a diploma.

Funny how my right to bear arms hasn’t inspired a socialized gun program…

I DO have a right to health care. I have the right to get as much health care as I can afford.

It’s NOT my right to have someone else pay for it.

Any more than my 1st amendment right requires the government (i.e. you) to pay for a printing press, computer, canvas & paints, guitar, or theater for me to perform my grand rock opera.

Machete_Bug on August 13, 2009 at 12:38 PM

This doesn’t mean we can’t build safety-net programs for those who really need assistance.

On the federal level, it most certainly does!

We’re a free people, and we can choose to create those programs through our representative democracy, and there are good arguments in either direction on that issue.

We do not have a representative democracy. We have a federal constitutional republic. We are bound by the restrictions of the Constitution. Period. We can’t just “choose” to do anything we want. That is the whole point of having a Constitution.

States are where people can vote for their government to do such things as provide safety nets, not the federal government. It is so un-Constitutional for the federal government to get involved in these issues, and to be addressing individual citizens in legislation in this way, that it really boggles the mind. It seems that most Americans don’t even appear to understand the function of our federal government, as opposed to the function of state governments. This is truly sad.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 12:43 PM

BierManVA on August 13, 2009 at 12:37 PM

In my view, the 2nd amendment is redundant. What in the consitution provides the federal government power to restrict or prohibit firearms of its citizens? There is no power. Since the power is not defined, the power does not exist. So why did we need modify the constitution with the 2nd amendment?

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM

How serendipitous – I was just making this point to someone yesterday: health care can’t be a right, because that obliges someone to serve you. And, what are you going to do, force people to become doctors?

I may just start linking people to this article now, as it no doubt makes the point much more coherently. Thanks!

Heresy of Cain on August 13, 2009 at 12:51 PM

It really seems like you are advocating a position that I cannot enter into a contract with 99 other homeowners to ban fences in a subdivision.

You have a right to enter into a contract. And in that contract you can specify that nobody can build a perimeter fence.

That is not the same as saying that you have a right to live in a neighborhood with no perimeter fences.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 12:56 PM

There is also next to nothing in federal constitution that prohibits states from excercising power to reduce the freedom of its citizens.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Are you seriously trying to argue that the states have the right to anything, except what is forbidden by the federal constitution?

If so, then the very notion of personal rights doesn’t exist.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 12:58 PM

The sad part is that so many people are going to come to realize that the only way to really save this nation from these whackjobs is to finally have The Precedent declared Constitutionally ineligible (which is clearly true, via the dual citizen argument) and tossed out of office. It’s just a matter of how long it will take until people fear the riots from having The Precedent thrown out less than the riots that The Precedent is going to intentionally cause in order to bully the population and due to the effects of his tearing our economy to shreds.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM

States are where people can vote for their government to do such things as provide safety nets, not the federal government. It is so un-Constitutional for the federal government to get involved in these issues, and to be addressing individual citizens in legislation in this way, that it really boggles the mind. It seems that most Americans don’t even appear to understand the function of our federal government, as opposed to the function of state governments. This is truly sad.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Just because states may have the power to create social welfare programs, doesn’t mean they have the right to.

The same arguments as to why the federal govt do not have the right to take my money in order to give it to someone else, apply to state, and every other level of govt.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:29 PM

WTF are you talking about? Your confusing contract law w/the 10th amendment. You haven’t clue what James Madison was talking about! I suggets instead of wasting time here you go read the constitution w/ all of it’s articles, amendments and clauses!

xler8bmw on August 13, 2009 at 1:03 PM

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM

WOW! You really have NO IDEA about the constitution do you? If you did you would haven’t even suggested what you did in your post!

xler8bmw on August 13, 2009 at 1:05 PM

There is also next to nothing in federal constitution that prohibits states from excercising power to reduce the freedom of its citizens.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Again, WTF are you talking about? First of all the state constitutions mirror the US Constitution! Second please go educate yourself by taking a simple Civics Class or better yet, enroll yoursel in a Poli Sci cource and Constitution 101!

xler8bmw on August 13, 2009 at 1:08 PM

You have a right to enter into a contract. And in that contract you can specify that nobody can build a perimeter fence.

That is not the same as saying that you have a right to live in a neighborhood with no perimeter fences.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Another difference. Your contract is not binding on anyone who did not sign the contract.

If you and 98 neighbors signed the contract, the one guy who did not, could still build a perimeter fence.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 1:15 PM

Just because states may have the power to create social welfare programs, doesn’t mean they have the right to.

I’m not sure what distinction you are making between “power” and “right”, here.

The same arguments as to why the federal govt do not have the right to take my money in order to give it to someone else, apply to state, and every other level of govt.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM

Not true. The state is the level of government, in our system, that is supposed to interact and address individuals. The state is open to giving itself any of a wide variety of political structures, such as California, which has adopted a nearly insane, almost pure Democracy for itself. The state government has much more leeway in what it can do, since citizens can just get up and move to another state if they don’t like the governmental structure. The only restriction on the state governments is that they be Republican and that they don’t violate any of the federal rights explicitly granted to individuals. Social programs are for the individual states, and have always been such.

It is the competition between the states that is meant to keep their governments in line. That worked well, except that as states’ rights disappeared, that natural means of regulating their individual governments through external competition with the other states has disappeared.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM

First of all the state constitutions mirror the US Constitution!

xler8bmw on August 13, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Untrue.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM

For example, California’s Constitution allows for amending it through a plebiscite, which is dangerously close to a true Democracy and the sort of government that our Founders abhorred – and for very good reason.

Also, Nebraska structured itself to have a uni-cameral legislature.

States were given wide leeway in how they structured their own governments.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Are you seriously trying to argue that the states have the right to anything, except what is forbidden by the federal constitution?

If so, then the very notion of personal rights doesn’t exist.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Yes I am. Citizens of states must protect their freedoms as we have, if the federal constitution was followed, at the state level too. That is what many state constitution almost copy and paste the bill of rights into their constitutions. Here is a clip from MA:

Article XVI. [The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth.] [See Amendments, Art. XLVIII, The Initiative, II, sec. 2.] [Annulled and superseded by Amendments, Art. LXXVII.

Article XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

Here is a clip from AK:

19. Right to Keep and Bear Arms

A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The individual right to keep and bear arms shall not be denied or infringed by the State or a political subdivision of the State. [Amended 1994]

25. Marriage

To be valid or recognized in this State, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman. [Amended 1998]

Why did the citizens do this in their state contitutions? Did that not know the federal constitution protects them? To grant or limit the power the states have over their freedoms.

We must defend our freedoms in writing at each level of government.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 1:24 PM

We must defend our freedoms in writing at each level of government.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 1:24 PM

No. There is no point to states copying and pasting federal Constitutional rights for individuals into them. They are already bound by them and always have been. The whole point of federalism is that different levels of government have some distinctly different tasks.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:27 PM

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Not untrue! The State constitution basically resemble of the US constituion each has it’s own exclusive powers as well as shared powers. If your talking about size then the states are larger. But, intent resembles the US constitution

The U.S. Constitution establishes a government based on “federalism,” or the sharing of power between the national, and state (and local) governments. Our power-sharing form of government is the opposite of “centralized” governments, such as those in England and France, under which national government maintains total power.
While each of the 50 states has its own constitution, all provisions of state constitutions must comply with the U.S. Constitution. For example, a state constitution cannot deny accused criminals the right to a trial by jury, as assured by the U.S. Constitution’s 6th Amendment.

xler8bmw on August 13, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Liking this thread. I think there is a bit of truth to what each of the folks above is saying. In the strictist sense, WashJeff has some strong points. Its not that there are not personal/individual rights and that the States can willy nilly do anything to restrict freedoms. I think that with the founders’ concept of natural law they didn’t really expect the States to trample on their citizens’ liberties. But there was a strong distrust of a centralized federal government. In any event, the State constitutions also have a variety of protections that mirror those in the Bill of Rights. The doctrine of Incorporation was unnecessary; another way to castrate the states and promote centralized government. . .

Firefly_76 on August 13, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Let’s be clear here.

Healthcare certainly falls under life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

If ever a law is passed outlawing private healthcare or destroying private healthcare, I’m there.

Speaking of lobbyist care…

jhffmn on August 13, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Again, WTF are you talking about? First of all the state constitutions mirror the US Constitution! Second please go educate yourself by taking a simple Civics Class or better yet, enroll yoursel in a Poli Sci cource and Constitution 101!

xler8bmw on August 13, 2009 at 1:08 PM

State consitutions only mirror federal constitution if the citizens of the state have created such a constitution. As I posted above, AK and MA have copied many protections from the federal constitution. I just looked at my state of IL, and it has also.

My main argument is do not assume the power of the federal or state government. It needs to be defined in a constitution that must confirm to the laws of the constitution that is “above” it. By this method, the maximum amount of freedom is provided to all citizens of the nation.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 1:33 PM

In my view, the 2nd amendment is redundant. What in the consitution provides the federal government power to restrict or prohibit firearms of its citizens? There is no power. Since the power is not defined, the power does not exist. So why did we need modify the constitution with the 2nd amendment?

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I understand your point. Feel free to go back in time and make these arguments and indeed, they were discussed prior to ratification of the Bill of Rights. But again, you are living in some sort of strange world where you are picking and choosing what you want the Constitution to say.

It does not matter your argument. The Bill of Rights was passed and ratified and part of the Constitution. If you want to repeal any of it, please feel free to lobby. I for one, would lobby to repeal the Interstate Commerce Clause and replace it with more specific wording. It’s abuse is what has lead Congress to seize more and more power over these many years.

BierManVA on August 13, 2009 at 1:40 PM

No. There is no point to states copying and pasting federal Constitutional rights for individuals into them. They are already bound by them and always have been. The whole point of federalism is that different levels of government have some distinctly different tasks.

progressoverpeace on August 13, 2009 at 1:27 PM

I hate when I post a reply and the post fail’s and I have to retype!!!

Then why do so many states copy and paste the bill of rights and other federal constitution clauses into their constitution? I contendit is because the federal constitution only applies to the federal government.

I would venture to guess you have posted a comment on some thread in the past that denouced intrepretation of the 14th amendment. I hate incorporation. People of the states need to protect their freedoms explicitly, including the power the want to grant their state government, via their state constitution. Implied protections via the 14th amendment are dangerous IMHO.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 1:43 PM

If you want to repeal any of it, please feel free to lobby. I for one, would lobby to repeal the Interstate Commerce Clause and replace it with more specific wording. It’s abuse is what has lead Congress to seize more and more power over these many years.

BierManVA on August 13, 2009 at 1:40 PM

The Confederate Constitution fixed the commerce clause :

To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes; but neither this, nor any other clause contained in the Constitution, shall ever be construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce; except for the purpose of furnishing lights, beacons, and buoys, and other aids to navigation upon the coasts, and the improvement of harbors and the removing of obstructions in river navigation; in all which cases such duties shall be laid on the navigation facilitated thereby as may be necessary to pay the costs and expenses thereof.

Regarding the second amendment, it is my opinion that this only further protects that the federal government will make to law to infringe on the right to bear arms. I.e., my position does not change that citizens can grant the power to their state to take away firearms. Fortunately, it seems most states have copied this protection into their constitution.

I think there is an NRA case making its way to the SCOTUS that will bear me out. I think it is NRA v. City of Chicago (or something like that). I expect the SCOTUS to uphold the right to bear arms since the IL state constitution protects that right explcity (i.e., my view will be validated if the SCOTUS opinion cites the IL consitution in its decision).

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 1:50 PM

I think that with the founders’ concept of natural law they didn’t really expect the States to trample on their citizens’ liberties. But there was a strong distrust of a centralized federal government. In any event, the State constitutions also have a variety of protections that mirror those in the Bill of Rights. The doctrine of Incorporation was unnecessary; another way to castrate the states and promote centralized government. . .

Firefly_76 on August 13, 2009 at 1:32 PM

AGREED! The founders were very state focused. Why would a state disarm its citizens, its miltia? I believe people identified with their states first and the newly born nation second back then.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 1:53 PM

Not true. The state is the level of government, in our system, that is supposed to interact and address individuals.

Sorry, but it is true.

Yes, the states are supposed to be the laboratories of democracy, but there are limits to the experimentations allowed.

No state has the right to take the people’s money and spend it on whatever the state feels like. Period.

The only reason govts have any rights, is because we the people first had the rights, and lent them to the govt.

As I state earlier.
Because I have a right to defend myself, I can hire the govt to defend myself.
I do not have a right to steal. Therefore I cannot hire the govt to steal on my behalf.

This rule holds, whether the govt is my local town council, or the federal govt in DC.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 2:09 PM

BOOM! Liberal’s head explodes by logic.

If the tonsils and foot don’t fit, you must amputate!

Dr_Irish on August 13, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Yes I am. Citizens of states must protect their freedoms as we have,

Then you are seriously misinformed regarding from where, govt, any govt gets it’s rights.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Healthcare certainly falls under life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

jhffmn on August 13, 2009 at 1:32 PM

That’s the Declaration of Independance.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 2:13 PM

No state has the right to take the people’s money and spend it on whatever the state feels like. Period.

States do have the power when the people have empowered them via constitutions. Education and health services are explicit powers granted to the state of IL in its constitution.

The only reason govts have any rights, is because we the people first had the rights, and lent them to the govt.

I have wording issues with your statement (rights v. power), but in general I agree.

As I state earlier.
Because I have a right to defend myself, I can hire the govt to defend myself.
I do not have a right to steal. Therefore I cannot hire the govt to steal on my behalf.

Because I have a right to educate myself, I can hire the govt to educate me.
Because I have a right to take care of my health, I can hire the govt to provide health care for me.

I doubt this is were you would go, but, to me, it follows. The citizens just need to empower their state via the constitution to steal peoples incomes and wealth (i.e., tax) and define what services the state government can provide. If the state government is not empowered by the consitution to provide a service (e.g., grow food), it cannot provide it.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 2:22 PM

That’s the Declaration of Independance.

Fine then, I’ll use the language in the 14th amendment “life, liberty, or property”

Anyway, my point was the government cannot prevent us from seeking and providing ourselves with health care as that would fall under life, liberty, or property.

jhffmn on August 13, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Then you are seriously misinformed regarding from where, govt, any govt gets it’s rights.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 2:11 PM

We are having a disconnect on rights and powers. Rights belong to the people. The people create governments and empower them via constitutions to secure those rights. For almost all citizens, we have created two almost nearly separate government entities that are capable of infringing, limiting, or taking away rights. The citizens must, or at least should, explicitly grant powers to both entities as if one does not imply protection from the other.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Anyway, my point was the government cannot prevent us from seeking and providing ourselves with health care as that would fall under life, liberty, or property.

jhffmn on August 13, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Well under the “Domestic Tranquility” clause I want all statists to move to western California so that those of us you love liberty can live in tranquility.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 2:36 PM

In my view, the 2nd amendment is redundant. What in the consitution provides the federal government power to restrict or prohibit firearms of its citizens? There is no power. Since the power is not defined, the power does not exist. So why did we need modify the constitution with the 2nd amendment?

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I think that most of the BOR is redundant to a degree. But think of it is a list of gov’t “Thou Shalt Not’s”. The BOR is essentially the boundaries of the power’s ceded. If at any point in the exercise of the legally ceded power, gov’t comes into conflict with one of those rights, gov’t is explicitly told they have NO authority over that situation.

Using the example of the 2nd. The federal gov’t has the authority to create the “post” roads, and the authority to make laws to govern and control how they operate. If those roads are open for public use (a logical choice), the federal government is expressly forbidden from infringing on the right of an individual to carry a weapon while traveling on the road. They have to come up with another rule if the feds want to stop highway robbery.

Unfortunately, people have gotten lazy and governments are greedy, and they make a lot of ‘reasonable’ arguments that “things are so much safer if….” and you see where this has gone over the last 200 plus years.

Fighton03 on August 13, 2009 at 2:41 PM

No state has the right to take the people’s money and spend it on whatever the state feels like. Period.

MarkTheGreat on August 13, 2009 at 2:09 PM

Could you be more specific? I was under the impression that states have the authority to do just about anything they please as long as they are not infringing on our rights.

If the State of California decides to provide healthcare at the tax payer’s expense, they have every right. The constitution was designed to keep such nonsense at the state level.

jhffmn on August 13, 2009 at 2:49 PM

The only reason govts have any rights, is because we the people first had the rights, and lent them to the govt.

“government” does not have rights beyond the rights of the individuals filling their roles. A person cannot cede a right, however we can delegate or grant authority to infringe upon it.

I am making this point with regard to “human” or “civil” rights. Not legal or property.

Fighton03 on August 13, 2009 at 2:52 PM

I think that most of the BOR is redundant to a degree. But think of it is a list of gov’t “Thou Shalt Not’s”. The BOR is essentially the boundaries of the power’s ceded. If at any point in the exercise of the legally ceded power, gov’t comes into conflict with one of those rights, gov’t is explicitly told they have NO authority over that situation.

Using the example of the 2nd. The federal gov’t has the authority to create the “post” roads, and the authority to make laws to govern and control how they operate. If those roads are open for public use (a logical choice), the federal government is expressly forbidden from infringing on the right of an individual to carry a weapon while traveling on the road. They have to come up with another rule if the feds want to stop highway robbery.

That is probably one of the best reasons I have heard for having a second amendment, though I have not read Jefferson’s letter(s) to Madison urging Madison to support the Bill of Rights. Even if on federal property, the federal government cannot enfringe on the right to bear arms.

Unfortunately, people have gotten lazy and governments are greedy, and they make a lot of ‘reasonable’ arguments that “things are so much safer if….” and you see where this has gone over the last 200 plus years.

Fighton03 on August 13, 2009 at 2:41 PM

From my understanding of history the constitution limits on power were under assualt from the get go. If I were President, ha ha ha (evil laughter), I would veto the first transporation bill and plagerize John Madison’s veto of internal improvement to do it.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 3:12 PM

I was under the impression that states have the authority to do just about anything they please as long as they are not infringing on our rights.

jhffmn on August 13, 2009 at 2:49 PM

States can only do things that the people have empowered them to do. States can obtain such power (e.g., provide health care services) if the people ceed it to their state government via its constitution or amendments.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 3:15 PM

This is my column of the day. It was great to use in a little debate with some socialists over on Facebook. They honestly believe that collectivism should be a part of the Constitution. They were arguing that access to proper healthcare equates with the right to life. Ummm, no.

UnLiberaledWoman on August 13, 2009 at 3:18 PM

They were arguing that access to proper healthcare equates with the right to life. Ummm, no.

UnLiberaledWoman on August 13, 2009 at 3:18 PM

To paraphrase a popular lib expression….”Their right to healthcare ends at the tip of my wallet.”

Fighton03 on August 13, 2009 at 3:28 PM

The U.S. Constitution establishes a government based on “federalism,” or the sharing of power between the national, and state (and local) governments

The US constitution does not speak to the balance of power between a state government and any subdivisions it may create. Counties, municipalities, school districts, etc. may be created by a state, granted such authority as the state may deem appropriate, all subject to unilateral modification by the state at any time.

States are supposed to be sovereign governments.

The Monster on August 13, 2009 at 4:18 PM

If your a supporter of term limits, Thomas Jefferson is on your side. From a letter to James Madison:

The second feature I dislike, and greatly dislike, is the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President. Experience concurs with reason in concluding that the first magistrate will always be re-elected if the Constitution permits it. He is then an officer for life.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 4:33 PM

I would veto the first transporation bill and plagerize John Madison’s veto of internal improvement to do it.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Thanks for that link.

Wow, there was a time when presidents took seriously their oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States instead of passing the buck to the Supreme Court like Bush did when he signed McCain-Feingold while claiming to believe the court would find it unconstitutional.

agmartin on August 13, 2009 at 5:20 PM

when bush signed McCain-Feingold while claiming to believe the court would find it unconstitutional.

agmartin on August 13, 2009 at 5:20 PM

Facepalm. And to think Bush initially supported, if not boldly, raising campaign donation limits to removing caps all together. I assume he also supported open reporting of all donations. Why did he cave to McCain????

In reading letters between Jefferson and Madison during the drafting of the constitution, Jefferson advocated having the SCOTUS having veto rights for bills before becoming law.

and I like the negative given to the Executive with a third of either house, though I should have liked it better had the Judiciary been associated for that purpose, or invested with a similar and separate power.

Another interesting suggestion by Jefferson, waiting one year to sign a bill after it has been offered for review by the legislator.

P. S. The instability of our laws is really an immense evil. I think it would be well to provide in our constitutions that there shall always be a twelve-month between the ingross-ing a bill & passing it: that it should then be offered to it�s passage without changing a word: and that if circum-stances should be thought to require a speedier passage, it should take two thirds of both houses instead

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 5:35 PM

This post-script from Jefferson’s letter is even more salient just now:

P. S. The instability of our laws is really an immense evil. I think it would be well to provide in our constitutions that there shall always be a twelve-month between the ingross-ing a bill & passing it: that it should then be offered to it’s [sic] passage without changing a word: and that if circumstances should be thought to require a speedier passage, it should take two thirds of both houses instead of a bare majority.

I would love to see a similar provision in the Constitution, but I’d add the proviso that the delay be either a calendar year or until the next Congress is seated, whichever is less. Faster passage, as Jefferson suggests, should be 2/3 of each house with the President, and if he vetoes, 3/4 of each house.

President Obama can’t even fulfill his promise that he’ll put a bill up on the Internet for 5 days to allow comment before he signs it.

The Monster on August 13, 2009 at 5:45 PM

O’Reily brought up the same points with Rachel Ray a few days ago. Where does it end after the “rights” to free healthcare?

Sumeet on August 13, 2009 at 6:57 PM

If your a supporter of term limits, Thomas Jefferson is on your side. From a letter to James Madison:

The second feature I dislike, and greatly dislike, is the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President. Experience concurs with reason in concluding that the first magistrate will always be re-elected if the Constitution permits it. He is then an officer for life.

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 4:33 PM

The issue there is that since states reserved the power to choose their representatives and senators. Term limits must be done at the state level or an amendment is required. I believe the power is set up correctly, people need to be more involved in their local politics and not just turn out ’cause black jesus is talkin’.

Fighton03 on August 13, 2009 at 7:41 PM

Rights are not really enshrined in the constitution. The powers of the federal government are defined. Some rights are spelled out in the amendments, but like James Madison original thought, most of the bill of rights should not have been adopted IMHO since the consitution never granted the power to the feds to take away rights (e.g., fire arms).

WashJeff on August 13, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Rights aren’t defined by any governmental institution.

The true source of all rights is God. Those rights are inseparable to you and your humanity.

There are some who said that there can be government with no rights, but there can be no rights without government. This is entirely false. While it is true that there can be no freedom without the law, God has also provided for that statement.

The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence simply define government’s powers, while at the same time affirming the fact that true freedom comes from God.

One should be wary of what one calls ‘a right’. The ‘right’ to healthcare is a false pretense, used as a tool to enslave. False rights are anything but rights. True rights on the other hand actually serve to set someone free (and keep them that way).

Perhaps the best way to look at this, and see the difference between true rights and false ones is to take a page from The Master:

By their fruits ye shall know them

We have seen the implementation of similar systems throughout the world. Has the ‘right’ to healthcare made people free? No. It has bound the people ever closer to the government.
So to take another page from The Master:

Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth agood bfruit; but a ccorrupt tree bringeth forth devil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

The Lord had a thing with trees. Let’s be mindful of the tree he helped us plant here.

Chaz706 on August 14, 2009 at 12:32 AM

I read the whole column at the link; very well done. Unfortunately, it won’t print out correctly on my printer. I’ll have to try again later after a cut and paste job.

I have already linked it to a friend who is on the other side of the debate, but who agrees with me that they would need to change the Constitution first for it to be legal.

Theophile on August 14, 2009 at 4:25 AM

This doesn’t mean we can’t build safety-net programs for those who really need assistance. We’re a free people, and we can choose to create those programs through our representative democracy, and there are good arguments in either direction on that issue.

Doesn’t this undermine your whole argument? If a slim majority of Americans can’t vote for health care for everyone because it involves confiscating goods & services from doctors & nurses, and taxing other people to pay for it, then they cannot vote for safety-net programs either. Those safety-net programs cost money that is confiscated from tax payers. Its the same thing.

Cheesestick on August 15, 2009 at 5:47 AM

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