Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

Is Health Care a “Right”?

IS THERE A “RIGHT” TO MEDICAL CARE?

By Publius Huldah

What is the Source of “Rights”?

Do you have a “right” to medical care? Is medical care free? Does it grow on trees? If you don’t pay for your own medical care, do you have a “right” to get medical care at other peoples’ expense?  Do you have a “right” to have other people forced to pay for your medical care?

Let us walk through this important question to the clear answer.

What are “rights”?  Where do rights come from?  Are rights unalienable gifts from God?  Are rights inherent to our nature as humans?  Is the Bill of Rights (the first 10 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution) or the 14th Amendment the source of our rights?  Or, are “rights” entitlements to stuff which other people are forced to pay for?

Let us examine these four views on the nature of “rights”.

1. Our Declaration of Independence says Rights are unalienable and come from God:

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…

Because our Declaration of Independence, one of our three founding documents, refers to The Creator God as The Grantor of Rights, let us look to The Bible to see what those rights are.  The Bible reveals many rights, such as the right to inherit, earn, and keep property; the right of self-defense; the right to work in one’s chosen trade or profession; the right and duty to demand that the “king” adhere to the Covenant of civil government; the right to travel; the right to speak; the right to marry and raise children free from interference; the right to worship God; and so forth. The distinguishing characteristic of all these God-given rights is that each and every one of them may be held and enjoyed at NO expense or loss to any other person.

2. The Philosopher Ayn Rand saw rights as inherent to the nature of man; but thought God had nothing to with it.   John Galt said in Atlas Shrugged:

The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival.  If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work.  If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational.  Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts to negate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.

Thus, Ayn Rand also saw “rights” as attributes which may be held and enjoyed at no expense or loss to any other person.

3. Others say our rights come from the Bill of Rights, or from the 14th Amendment. But these are grievous and pernicious errors.

For one thing, Art. III,  Sec. 2,  clause 1,  says, “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases…arising under this Constitution…”.   This means that if a “right” is seen to “arise under the Constitution”, then federal judges have judicial power over it!  Do you see that when judges have power over YOUR rights,  that your rights are no longer unalienable?  You now hold them only at the pleasure of five judges on the US Supreme Court!

Also, to say that the Bill of Rights “confers” our rights; or to discuss “the full scope” of any of the First Ten Amendments, constitutes a restriction on, and reduction of, the rights given by God. To say that the Bill of Rights is the source of our rights, diminishes them from their hallowed status as unalienable gifts from God, and transforms them into revocable privileges which we hold, or not, according to whether they are recognized in a document written by men; and according to the interpretations of judges!

Furthermore, Alexander Hamilton opposed adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution. He said they were unnecessary and dangerous because they contain exceptions to powers which are not granted.  They thus afford – to those disposed to usurp – a pretext to regulate those rights (The Federalist No. 84, 9th Para).  Well, our Hamilton was a prophet as well as a genius in political philosophy, for it has been demonstrated elsewhere how judges on the U.S. Supreme Court exploited the First Amendment’s promise of “free speech” and “free exercise of religion” to actually ban religious speech in the public square!

Equally pernicious is this: Judges on that same Court have asserted that the source of our “rights” is the Constitution, as such “rights” are defined and discovered, from time to time, BY THEM! It has been explained elsewhere how judges on that Court evaded the constitutional limitations on their power to hear cases [the cases they may hear are enumerated at Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 1]  by fabricating  individual  “constitutional rights”. In this manner, a handful of judges “discovered” “constitutional privacy rights” to engage in practices (abortion and sodomy) which had been outlawed by the States!

When we substitute the Constitution for God as the source of our rights, the entire concept of “rights” becomes perverted.  Literally.

Furthermore, The Constitution is about the Powers which We the People delegated to the three Branches of the Federal Government. It is NOT about Our Rights, which come from God, are unalienable, & predate the Constitution! We created the Constitution & the federal government!  Why would the creator of The Constitution (that’s us) grant to our “creature” (the federal courts), the power to determine, “discover” and define OUR Rights?

4. The statists and their dupes assert that rights come from “the government”. The statists are not concerned with protecting Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness! They love death: abortion, infanticide!, assisted suicide, euthanasia, and government “death panels” who decide who gets medical care and who does not – who lives and who dies. They hate private property.  They hate Liberty (as it has traditionally been defined in western civilization).  Productive men exist, not to pursue their own Happiness or to serve God; but to be plundered by civil government.

To statists, a “right” is a claim for stuff produced by, or paid for, by somebody else:  The “right” to medical care, the “right” to a public school education; the “right” to housing; the “right” to food stamps; etc.  But it is a contradiction in terms  – it is a perversion – to speak of  “rights” to stuff that is produced by, or paid for, by others!  To hold that people who produce exist to be plundered by civil government for the ostensible benefit of others is slavery.  Just as no one has the right to own another human being; so no one has the right to own the fruits of another man’s labors.

Folks! We need to face Reality and acknowledge that statists are not people with “good intentions”.

As stated in Our Declaration of Independence, we must insist that our rights come from God, are unalienable, and pre-date and pre-exist Our Constitution. PH

October 11, 2009; revised July 24, 2010.

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October 11, 2009 - Posted by | Health Care, obamacare, Rights

15 Comments »

  1. […] etc.   Non-theists, such as the brilliant philosopher, Ayn Rand, saw Rights as inherent to the nature of man.  Either way, one comes up with essentially […]

    Pingback by Declaration Of Independence: Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, or Congress? | July 4, 2013 | Reply

  2. […] physics, economics, logic, morality,  etc.   Non-theists, such as the brilliant philosopher, Ayn Rand, saw Rights as inherent to the nature of man.  Either way, one comes up with essentially the same […]

    Pingback by Declaration Of Independence: Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, or Congress? | | July 4, 2013 | Reply

  3. [...] economics,  logic,  morality,  etc.   Non-theists, such as the brilliant philosopher, Ayn Rand,  saw Rights as inherent to the nature of man.  Either way, one comes up with essentially the [...]

    Pingback by What is the source of your rights? « 3rd Circle | January 14, 2011 | Reply

  4. [...] economics,  logic,  morality,  etc.   Non-theists, such as the brilliant philosopher, Ayn Rand,  saw Rights as inherent to the nature of man.  Either way, one comes up with essentially the [...]

    Pingback by Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, or Congress? | Conservative Caller | December 18, 2010 | Reply

  5. [...] laws of physics, economics, logic, morality, etc.  Non-theists, such as the brilliant philosopher, Ayn Rand, saw Rights as inherent to the nature of man.  Either way, one comes up with essentially the same [...]

    Pingback by Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, or Congress? | November 5, 2010 | Reply

  6. [...] economics,  logic,  morality,  etc.   Non-theists, such as the brilliant philosopher, Ayn Rand,  saw Rights as inherent to the nature of man.  Either way, one comes up with essentially the [...]

    Pingback by Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, or Congress? « Publius-Huldah's Blog | October 31, 2010 | Reply

  7. I submit that there is a higher authority than the constitution. It is my opinion that given the opportunity to enumerate human rights that higher authority would include health care.

    Here I am again stirring the pot old friend…

    Just jousting for the sake of jousting…never have wanted to change anyone’s mind…just broaden the discussion.

    Roy

    Comment by Roy Fouts | March 29, 2010 | Reply

    • WHAT is the “higher authority”? And how do you know what that “higher authority” mandates?

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | March 30, 2010 | Reply

  8. If healthcare is not a right, then I for one suggest we make the taxes that support national grants for medical research optional for all. We can’t have it both ways, tax those that can’t afford healthcare, and exacerbate their problem by making them pay to fund research they can’t afford to take advantage of.

    Is that acceptable? Can’t have it both ways and still claim to be fair…..unless that doesn’t morally bother anyone.

    Comment by Bill | March 25, 2010 | Reply

    • You are right, Bill. Ours is a Constitution of “enumerated powers” only, and “funding medical research” is NOT one of the enumerated powers of Congress. Thus, all federal funding of medical research is completely UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I applaud your logical consistency.

      The powers delegated to Congress (and to the other two branches as well)are very limited! See, “Congress’ Enumerated Powers”.

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | March 25, 2010 | Reply

      • That being said, imagine the logistical and financial mess that would be created if we left medical innovation to the individual states. My point here was simple – there are some things best left to the “economy of scale”. The only objection I have is requiring insurance vs. making it available to those that want it.

        Comment by Bill | March 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Bill, Why not leave medical research in private hands? Look at what the relatively unfettered private electronics industry has accomplished: Miracle technology which advances at dizzying speed, and prices which drop so fast one postpones electronics purchases to take advantages of the lower prices which will be in effect in a few months!

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  9. Publius, I truly enjoy reading your thoughts. I saw the topic and felt compelled to offer this quote:

    “Now our only rights, the American viewpoint continues, are the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s all. According to the Founding Fathers, we are not born with a right to a trip to Disneyland, or a meal at Mcdonald’s, or a kidney dialysis (nor with the 18th-century equivalent of these things). We have certain specific rights — and only these.”

    The complete text of this speech from 1993 is available here: …

    Comment by Tony | November 15, 2009 | Reply

  10. Very well put, as usual.

    Comment by Kate | October 14, 2009 | Reply

  11. [...] Is Medical Care a “Right”? « Publius-Huldah's Blog [...]

    Pingback by Tomllewis – Obama is About One Or Two More Gaffes Away From a … « Grumpy Ant | October 11, 2009 | Reply


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