After House Republicans pulled the health care bill before it could be voted down Friday, failed presidential candidate and self-declared pantsuit aficionado Hillary Clinton Tweeted in celebration. Mid-Tweet, Mrs. Clinton called the bill’s failure a “victory for anyone who believes affordable health care is a human right.” Like so many others of her political bent, Mrs. Clinton holds a rather un-American view of human rights. Her comment begs a brief history lesson which we will gladly provide for her here and now.
There are, theoretically, two kinds of rights — claim rights and liberty rights. Claim rights — also referred to as positive rights — represent claims on some other persons or groups that require action on their part. Any right to health care, for example, would require the work of others and therefore be a claim right. Liberty rights — also referred to as negative rights — are the rights of the individual to live free from interference by other individuals or groups and require no specific action by others. These are the constitutionally protected rights as defined in the Bill of Rights, and a careful consideration of the Declaration of Independence gives a clear understanding of what they guarantee.
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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
That all men are created equal and that their Creator has granted certain unalienable rights — including liberty — were considered self-evident truths by the men who forged this document and this nation. They understood that the sole purpose of government is to secure the liberty of the people. Liberty, or the state of being free from oppressive restrictions and the right to act as one pleases, is simply the legal recognition of the God-given right of free will.
The Constitution protects the rights of individual citizens to exercise free will in any way that does not infringe on the rights of others to do the same. Claim rights, however, require the government to guarantee some goods or services to all citizens regardless of ability to pay for said commodities. Claim rights, such as guaranteed health care, require the government to violate the liberty rights of some — whether by excessive taxation or by forced labor — to provide for others. The only true claim right guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and its Amendments is the people’s claim on the government to take whatever actions necessary to ensure that the liberty of the people not be infringed.
Liberty is the freedom to exercise free will, but it does include the individual responsibility to face the consequences of doing so. It also means that individual security – whether in the form of housing, food, medical care, or protection from malicious attacks – is the responsibility of the individual. Those who surrender their liberty and the ability to defend it themselves are at the mercy of their government. The Americans who have risked – and in many cases lost — their lives to win and defend liberty understood that as the only true fundamental human right, liberty is worth more than the false sense of security Hillary Clinton and her ilk would trade for it.
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