Oct 252008

Nick Provenzo of Rule of Reason writes:

A short op-ed I wrote for Fox News’ Fox Forum on the threat either a McCain or Obama presidency poses to freedom is the featured commentary for the weekend. I argued that both Obama and McCain are “equally dangerous for economic freedom in America” and that “on every question, both men share the same corrupt moral premise, differing only in degree and their particular focus.”

I encourage you to leave a comment there adding your own thoughts. The URL is:


I also encourage you to write a comment! You can also give it a “thumbs up” via StumbleUpon. Here’s Paul’s comment:

Thank you, Nick, for a well-argued essay!

Dr. Malcom G refers to a superb lecture by Leonard Peikoff entitled, “Health Care Is Not A Right” from 1993.

There’s an updated (2007) version of his talk available at the website for Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine at:

“Health Care Is Not A Right”

To add to Nick’s point, the biggest problem in modern American politics is the failure to recognize what individual rights are.

Rights are freedoms of actions (such as the right to free speech), not automatic claims on goods and services that must be produced by others. Individuals are legitimately entitled to services such as health care that they purchase with their own money, are promised by prior contractual agreements, or are given to them via voluntary charity.

Otherwise, government programs to guarantee health care as a “right” must necessarily violate someone’s actual rights – either the rights of those compelled to provide medical care or the rights of those compelled to pay for it. Such programs then become just another form of state-sanctioned slavery or theft.

Both McCain and Obama suffer from this faulty understanding of individual rights. Both would use the power of government to trample on legitimate rights (such as the right to free speech) as well as to attempt to guarantee false entitlement “rights”.

Unless Americans reaffirm the proper conception of rights as freedoms of actions (and concomitant limitations on government powers), then we’ll continue our current downhill slide. A civilization will collapse if citizens decide that they can vote each other goodies from the government trough, at the expense of those who produce such goods.

The Romans learned this lesson the hard way. The big question is whether Americans will also learn this lesson before it’s too late.

Paul Hsieh, MD
Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM)

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