A New “Right” du Jour
Has anyone noticed how much our society now talks about their “rights”? President Obama just signed a massive bill, clocking in at well over 2500 pages (between the original bill and the reconciliation), which creates huge new deficits, another gargantuan bureaucracy, and allows the government ever more power to intrude into the private lives of its sovereign citizens. This was all done under the guise of a newly found “right” to health care.
In 1973, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Warren Burger, discovered a “right” to privacy that had managed to elude the Founding Fathers and all of the subsequent legislatures and courts for almost 200 years, and under this right America has callously witnessed the extermination of over 50 million of its most vulnerable; the unborn.
This week it was announced that the public transit system of a south Atlanta metro county was bankrupt and services were discontinued. As I watched the news coverage I listened to a young man tell me that the transit system, plagued with corruption and mismanagement, should be made to continue running (no mention on who gets to pay the bill to make sure that it keeps operating) because public transportation is a “basic human right”? Really? Public transportation is a right?
With the advent of political correctness, many people discovered a “right” not to be offended, which to me seems to be in direct contradiction to the right to freedom of speech. No matter what anyone says there will be someone else who is offended. Want to display the Ten Commandments in public? Tough, non-Christians will be offended. Same with Christmas…don’t want to offend Muslims, Jews, atheists, agnostics, etc. That’s also the reason why prayers have been banned from high school football games, and why even the mention of God or Jesus Christ has been banned from valedictory speeches. Or why a cross in the middle of the Mojave Desert that has stood for decades is now covered with plywood.
On the other hand, we now live in a society where protected free speech includes stripping (sorry…”exotic dancing”), pornography, and displays of a crucifix in a glass of urine or the Virgin Mary covered in feces. What is not covered? Advertisements critical of a political candidate within 60-days of an election (thanks John McCain!). Illegal immigrants have marched by the thousands as they demand amnesty and proclaim a “right” to be on American soil regardless of their citizenship status.
Each new day seems to bring a newly discovered “right”. Yet for all of this talk about “rights”, what we hear far too little of is about corresponding responsibilities. We have a right to free speech, but we have a corresponding responsibility (a moral if not a legal obligation) to have that speech be intelligent, reasoned and respectful as much as possible. The Burger court gave us a “right” to privacy regarding private sexual conduct, yet it seemed to free us of the responsibility of confining sexual behavior within the parameters of monogamous, married relationships which we as a society once expected. Now we are free to be as sexually irresponsible as we’d like, knowing that there are “alternatives” to being “burdened” with a child, as Obama once noted (unfortunately, the court did not recognize a privacy right for the unborn).
The new health care law gives us a “right” to medical care, and forces taxpayers to pony up to pay for that “right”? No longer can a person be denied on pre-existing conditions, and no longer can insurance companies base premium rates on behavior and lifestyle. In application, that means that insurance companies can no longer charge a lower rate for the person that eats a healthy diet, exercises, does not smoke or do drugs. Nope. The guy that lives off fast food, beer and cigarettes and watched TV or plays video games twelve hours per day gets the same rate as the healthy person.
America was once a country where hard work was rewarded, where entrepreneurs and businessmen were rewarded and not vilified, where we valued our independence and accepted our responsibilities as citizens. Now, we live in a nation where we demand “rights”, where we feel comfortable taking from those that have earned simply because it is not fair that someone else should have something we don’t. Obama talks about wealth redistribution and the evil rich people, stirring up class warfare like the populist pimp that he is. Charity is a divine attribute, but forced wealth redistribution is a bastardization of charity. The Census Bureau runs commercials imploring us to fill out the forms and send them back so that we can get our “fair share” of government funds. It is all morally, ethically and spiritually debilitating.
Hard work gives us a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Living off the work of others breeds laziness, self-loathing and contempt. I was raised to understand that we are owed nothing in this life, and that we should work for everything we have. I was raised to believe that since God grants me all that I have, I would be nothing without Him and therefore it is my responsibility to help my fellow man, not the government’s.
I guess I am just tired. Tired of the polarization of political discourse. Tired of being told that I am greedy if I don’t want more of my earnings taken in taxes to fund a myriad of government programs that have failed miserably and yet get increased budgets. Tired of being told I am a racist, a hatemonger, a bigot, a sexist, a homophobe, that I am un-Christian or a hypocrite, all because I do not believe that all the good that needs to be done needs to be done by a massive government bureaucracy.
Maybe I just need a good night’s sleep.