At the time of the American Founding, the words “the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” were considered seriously. As owners of our their lives, the citizens of a newly minted America were at liberty to make our their own choices and choose their own path as they each saw fit. This imposed no obligation on others. This was the essence of freedom; absence of coercion from others.
Rights originally were a sanction of free action. You may do whatever you please so long as you do not harm others. No obligation is imposed. Times have changed. We now have a “right” to healthcare implying that we have a claim on the property and labor of others. Doesn’t this abrogate their rights? The “right” to health care is akin to the fabled unicorn because neither actually exists.
The Founding was based upon the sanctity of the individual. As owners of our own lives, we made our own non-coerced choices. The state is increasingly imposing choices upon us rather than allowing us to make our own choices. The implication is that we are not the owners of our lives but that the state owns us. Ownership of another’s life is slavery and yet slavery is generally considered abhorrent, as it should be. If owning the entirety of an individual’s life is abhorrent and a war to emancipate the slaves was justified, then why is owning a part of another’s life okay?
The justification of Obamacare is the “right” to healthcare just as the justification for communism was the “right” to food, clothing and shelter. Violent revolutions were fought laying claims to these “rights” under communism. Despite their sincerity in attempting to guarantee these rights they became the most impoverished societies. The collectivist Soviet Union collapsed whilst the free United States prospered. The paradox is that by forcing the issue of a “right” to some good or service, the likelihood of obtaining that good or service dwindles. Witness my native land of Canada where health care is deemed a “right”. The average wait time for a specialist consultation is eighteen weeks (this excludes the time to see a primary care physician to get a mandatory referral to visit a specialist and the subsequent wait for diagnostic tests or surgery). Sixteen percent of the population cannot access a primary care physician despite government-issue “insurance” that actually ensures very little.
Some may consider it hyperbole to equate seemingly benevolent health care reform with Communism. The ultimate political question is, “who makes the choices in our lives?” Should it be us or some other entity, usually government? This is the question that should be asked by the people as government expands is role over our health care choices just as communism usurped individual freedom for collectivism.
The United States was founded upon the principle of individual autonomy with no guarantees of success for the individual’s chosen path. Wisely the Founders did not structure a government that attempted to ensure happiness but the freedom to pursue it whatever the endeavor may be. This hands off approach lead to a nation of abundance, innovation and wealth. In fact, liberty lead to the most prosperous nation on earth.
Prior to the New Deal, Americans based their country on freedom and abundance followed. The character of America is changing from valuing freedom to demanding handouts at the expense of others while controlling the actions of others to obtain our goals. True freedom is the absence of coercion from others. “Freedom from want” is absurd. It confuses the biological needs that we all have for food and shelter with the political concept of freedom.
As government funds more and more of health care, there will be a relentless drive for the government to control it. In Canada, government health care started merely as a payment scheme. Unable to limit the demand for “free” health care, government has taken over its delivery. Once Americans move away from rugged individualism to an entitlement mentality where the people are comfortable with government determining the type, quality and amount of health care that they are permitted to have, the values of the American Revolution will have been lost. The citizenry will have acquiesced their individual autonomy and allowed themselves to become wards of the state. The greatest nation to ever exist will have lost its way. Saving the character of America depends on the repeal of Obamacare.
Lee Kurisko MD FRCPC is a diagnostic radiologist from Canada working in Minnesota and is Chief Medical Officer of Medibid. www.medibid.com is an online portal for buying and selling medical goods and services without the intrusion of third parties. He is also author of “Health Reform – The End of the American Revolution?”