I wasn’t aware of any disagreement between my peers. I thought that everyone had the same sense of fairness; it was just that some people were jerks or bullies. Even if there may have been some disagreement over what our rights were, I assumed that everyone knew what a “right” was. Then I grew up and was exposed to the world of politics.
To me, there have always been some absolutes. It is fundamentally wrong to take from one person, even if “more good” might be done by doing so to help others. It is fundamentally wrong to punish an entire classroom (or ethnic group) for the crimes of a few simply because the authorities cannot name the guilty parties. People have certain rights that exist independently of any “greater good”, however it is measured.
So I was very confused when some began to claim we had a “right to health care” and that this required state intervention. We have a right to free speech, but that doesn’t mean others must listen or even provide the platforms. We have a right to bear arms, but that doesn’t mean that others must build them for us at no cost. Guns are expensive. Since health care requires health care providers, the right to health care, as it is used today, is really identical to the right to own slaves. It is really identical to the right to violate others’ rights to freedom, and that would be wrong.
After reading around at different blogs, I think I finally got it. My theory is that some people either have no concept of rights as I know them, or else call them by a different name. “Rights” to these people are anything that is good. If they think that universal health care is good, then it becomes a right (even if it means telling private companies how to conduct their business). If they think higher education is good, it becomes a right (even if paying for it bankrupts the rest of us). If they think safety on aircraft is good, it becomes a right (even if it means intrusive searches and detaining people by ethnic group). So long as there is a greater good being done (by their measure), it is “right” to do so.
Of course, some of these things are good, or at least there is good in them, but that doesn’t make them right. I came up with this theory after I heard one of these people claim that it is those of us who are against this that do not understand that there are tradeoffs between the different rights. On the contrary, we are keenly aware of such things. In fact, we assumed that it was the others who did not understand this.
So, what’s your experience? Do you fall in my category, the other category, or some third category I am unaware of?
Of course, this doesn’t explain why others have a different moral sense than I do. Is it a genetic?
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.