July 3, 2012
Copyright © 2012 by LewRockwell.com (Link to article)
In order to maintain a peaceful, civilized society, it is necessary to assume that human beings have rights. Among such rights are the right of each human being as an individual to self-ownership and the right to liberty, and the right to be free from others’ aggression.
Your right to own your own life is really the basis of not being enslaved by others. And part of your right to self-ownership includes every aspect of your life, including your own private health and medical matters.
As Wendy McElroy noted this week in her article, Your Identity Is Yours, “The right to privacy rests largely on a presumption of innocence. It assumes that — in the absence of evidence of wrongdoing — an individual has a right to shut his front door and tell other people (including government) to mind their own business.”
And these rights are negative rights in that we have them inherently as human beings, as Judge Napolitano reminds us many times.
However, some people believe that human beings have positive rights, that is, a right to have something provided to one by society, by the community, such as medical treatment, an education, etc. But this implies that one has a right to demand others to provide such things.
If you have a right to medical treatment, then, obviously your neighbors are obligated to provide it to you.
But what if Dr. Johnson doesn’t want to treat Mr. Jones? And what if Mr. Smith doesn’t want to contribute to Mr. Jones’s medical treatment? In the view of the artificial positive rights crowd, Mr. Jones has a right to demand that Mr. Smith contribute to Mr. Jones’s health care and demand that Dr. Johnson treats him.
But what if Mr. Jones smokes like a chimney and drinks like a fish? Should he still have a right to use the armed power of the State to order Mr. Smith to contribute to his medical treatment, and order Dr. Johnson to treat him?
You see, these artificial positive rights actually contradict our negative, natural rights. With the individual’s natural right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, one has a right to seek medical treatment, and engage in voluntary associations with others, doctors, nutritionists, etc. It also includes the right to not associate with others with whom one does not want to associate.
The individual’s right to self-ownership, the right to own one’s own life, includes the right to not be violated or enslaved by others. That includes the right to live one’s life and not be ordered by others to participate in some group medical or insurance scheme against one’s will.
Of course, the Constitution and its Bill of Rights do not specifically mention such rights, because the Bill of Rights could not possibly enumerate all the rights to do with our own lives as we wish – that list would never end. That is why the Ninth Amendment reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
The individual has a natural, inherent right to not be ordered by others to buy health insurance. The individual has a right to not be ordered by others to have to visit a doctor, or a government-approved doctor, or to report one’s private medical matters to anyone. Sure, if an individual establishes a contract with an insurer voluntarily, part of the agreement of which includes a provision that the individual provide such information, then that is the individual’s right to choose if one wants to do that.
If someone chooses to be a medical doctor, devotes hours and hours every day and years of intensive study and labor toward training to become a medical doctor, then who is it that owns such efforts, labor, energy and the actual career itself? That doctor? One’s neighbors? The government? Alas, many on the progressive “liberal” Left believe that the community and the State have such ownership rights.
Sorry, progressives. Of course that doctor is the sole owner of one’s work, and it is that doctor’s right to trade one’s skills with employers’ compensation or with patients’ fees.
It is also that doctor’s right to treat for free those who are in financial need, as Dr. Ron Paul has done in his medical practice.
Such a practitioner has a self-ownership right to voluntarily associate with and establish contracts with others, or to not do so with others, and a right to not be ordered by government bureaucrats to treat anyone that the doctor does not want to treat. Such an individual has a right to arrange one’s practice in such a way not that government bureaucrats order it to be, but in a way that the doctor believes it should be.
And the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship is such that when an individual voluntarily goes to a doctor and establishes an association or contract with that doctor, then it is the patient and doctor who have the sole right of contract to decide on and control the terms of that contract, not some non-productive government bureaucrat!
Individuals also have a right to refuse a doctor’s prescription or a vaccine, if the individual has determined that alternatives might be better, or especially if information on specific drugs shows that they might actually be harmful.
And that reminds me, why are Barack Obama, Willard Romney and others so obsessed with ordering people that they must have health insurance, but rarely if ever encourage people to act preventatively?
Sorry, but calling for more BMI screening or outright banning certain foods or drinks, or mandating certain things is not preventative medicine. We do not seem to hear these people encouraging personal responsibility, or that people take vitamins and supplements that are shown to be much better for daily health maintenance than the things these government people are constantly suggesting.
Now, if someone wants to suggest that the individual does not own one’s own life, one’s private matters, one’s diet and nutritional decisions, and one’s own private business or medical practice, then you might be suggesting that such parts of an individual’s life are really owned by one’s community. In that case, the community has the right to make demands on the individual, and the right to use the individual and one’s person and labor however the community desires.
It is this very health care debate in which the “liberals” and progressives have shown their true motivations.
The “health care” schemers want to force people to report their private medical matters to the government, or otherwise compel people to do something that might go against their better judgment. So if the individual does not obey orders, the Left activists want to fine (i.e. steal from) that individual, or, if one doesn’t pay the fine, the Left activists would have him arrested and jailed by IRS goons.
Not a very caring, compassionate or peaceful way to show your “liberal” concern for others, in my opinion.
For these reasons, more rational people need to view the schemers’ motivations as suspicious. They seem more motivated to just have control over others, at the expense of liberty and even at the expense of others’ good health.
And the “health care” schemers’ attitude toward doctors really reflects the Left’s general resentment and envy toward those who work hard and develop special skills, and become successful at not only helping others but making a good living at it.
“I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but ‘to serve.’ That a man’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”
The way it used to be, the government and its police left people alone to pursue their interests, including medical practitioners whose careers naturally helped those in need.
But now, Washington’s Politburo intellectuals, bureaucrats and fascists are obsessed with ordering people around and enslaving the working class.
So to conclude, when it comes to health care, here are some of your real rights that bureaucrats have been usurping away from you:
You have a right to see a doctor if you want to.
You have a right to not see a doctor if you don’t want to.
You have a right to buy insurance.
You have a right to not buy insurance.
You have a right to not participate in a government-controlled medical scheme.
You have a right to not be vaccinated.
You have a right to not take prescription drugs.
You have a right to exercise your own ways of preventative medicine.
You have a right to take vitamins and nutritional supplements.
You have a right to access your vitamins and nutritional supplements. And a right to be free of the Big Pharma-FDA revolving door attempting to shut down supplement makers for the sake of Big Pharma profits.
You have a right to drink raw milk.
You have a right to farm and grow your own food on your own property, and a right to share it with your neighbors, and it’s none of government bureaucrats’ business!
You have a right to be free from sniveling, cowardly, control-freak bureaucrats who don’t like your independence sending S.W.A.T. teams to your property to terrorize (or murder) you for providing for yourself and your family.
You have a right to refuse a government bureaucrat’s order to buy health insurance.
And you have a right to tell the government to stick it.