The Oxford dictionary defines a “right” as “a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something.”
The same book defines an “entitlement” as “a government scheme that provides benefits to any individual meeting certain eligibility requirements.”
I think our society has had confusion in the separation of these two words. Too many times I have had discussions with people who have believed that our natural rights have come from government. On the opposite side of that coin, I’ve conversed with people who believe that entitlements are natural rights.
First and foremost, I will remind some, and make others aware for the first time, that the rights defined in the United States Constitution are natural rights endowed by our Creator, whether you believe in God or mother nature (evolution). The point of the Bill of Rights is to ensure that those natural rights are not violated by the government that we, the people, have created and are allowing to govern us.
An entitlement is something that we have made into law or designed, a program allowing the government to provide those services to fellow citizens. During the ongoing health care debate, many leftists and socialists have decried that they have a right to healthcare. In some way, they are correct that they have a right to seek that healthcare, but it is not a guaranteed right that it will be provided to them for free. Rand Paul once stated that if free healthcare was a right, then doctors would be required to give that service to you. That would be a condition which would put those doctors into servitude, or slavery.
For those who do not understand what makes a right a natural right, let me explain. If you were living free of borders, governments, and any type of restriction, a right is anything you could do that didn’t affect others.
You could say whatever you wanted.
You could worship whoever and however you wanted.
You could carry whatever you needed to defend yourself.
No one would be able to take what is yours or enter your dwelling.
You could print anything you wanted.
You could meet anyone and gather in large groups.
You don’t have to buy anything you do not want.
In the same situation, unless someone else was willing to give the following things to you :
You would have to pay for your own healthcare.
You would have to gather your own food or work for it.
You would have to build your own house or find one that you could afford.
You would have to pay your own tuition or find a free educator.
The next time you have a discussion, before you start freely throwing around the term “it’s my right,” think about whether someone else has to pay for it or not. If so, it’s an entitlement and it’s not guaranteed. Your fellow citizens do have a right to approve of paying for it, or not. That also depends on the integrity of the people we elect to represent us.
Right now, as they ignore the electorate call to repeal Obamacare, that integrity is failing.
John Cylc is an eight year U.S. Army veteran. He is also a contributor to LifeZette. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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