A Quick Philosophical Point on Rights
Something resonated oddly for me, the other day, and it occurred to me that there’s an important philosophical point to be made in response:
“What we can be proud of in Europe is the ground rules, that everyone has the right to health care,” said Jose Martin-Moreno, a health expert at the University of Valencia in Spain. “But the implementation has been difficult and one size does not fit all.”
We’ve gotten a bit too free, in the West, with the “rights” language over the past few decades, to the point that it’s easy to slide within the same word choices from nice privileges that we’d like to provide in an ideal world to irreducible allowances that governments simply cannot take away. That’s truly a detriment to language and a loss to social discourse.
So plainly put: Is there a right to healthcare? Well, compare it with other rights:
- With the right to free speech, we have a right to speak, but not to be heard.
- With the right to bear arms, we have a right to own and operate guns, but not to be given guns for free.
In these terms, we would have the right to procure healthcare, but not to have it provided to us, to an extent of our own or somebody else’s determination.