Going back to 19th century movements on forward, the term ‘right’ has been skewed from its original intentions that were tied to liberty, protection, and opportunity, to now one where society and government owe people these things, even if it must commit someone else to pay for tehm. And this can be seen in all its glory in 2015 where millennial campus students are demanding free education as a right, and where Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is offering free… well everything also as a ‘right’.
But the difference between today’s definition of rights and those put into the founding Constitution is that protected rights require nothing from others to allow you to enact them. No one is forced to cede anything for your right to free speech, freedom to worship as you please, and freedom to protest (petition the government). And in fact, none of these require a single dollar from anyone to allow you to exercise them.
But even as George Orwell fictionally portrayed in 1984, the changing of language is how you get people to fall prey to tyrannical government, and in the end, in total reliance of the same. This is why the original definitions of ‘Right’ have been co-opted to now mean obligation instead of the free exercise thereof, and if someone unwillingly chooses not to take their own initiative to practice their rights, then the rest of society or the government should be forced and coerced into paying for, and facilitating these rights for you.
Contrary to popular belief, Social Security is not a right, it is an insurance program. And it is not unlike all other privately conducted insurance programs where you pay premiums (taxes) for a certain amount of time and in return receive proceeds from that insurance at a given age. But unlike privately held life insurance, social security is a forced act upon the people, and is punishable by fine or imprisonment should you refuse to pay into it.
So even what many consider as a right can under certain circumstances lead to a removal of your freedoms if you choose not to exercise it.
The Declaration of Independence cited unequivocally that no person or entity owes you happiness or material goods. It only advocates the opportunity to seek these things, and fundamentally provides a government system that protects your right to do so if someone or something threatens to interfere with your legally bound pursuit of such. But in no way shape or form is this right to pursue construed as being the right to coerce others into assuring that your happiness is achieved at the behest of others.
The second Amendment is a solemn right where all Americans are allowed to bear arms, and this right shall not be infringed. But has anyone ever asked why then does not the government ensure that all Americans have the power to utilize this right by either taxing the populace to purchase firearms, or outright buy guns to distribute to every viable citizen? The answer of course is no, but if people today are demanding the government pay for their education and healthcare because they consider it a right, then the answer then changes to a yes since the right of gun ownership supersedes any legislatively constructed ‘right’ that requires confiscation of money or assets to pay for said rights never reflected in the government’s original powers.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.com, Examiner.com, Roguemoney.net, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.