Guarantees are human constructs, not divine. If we do not provide and protect our beliefs, they are simply alienable rights.
The Power of Poetry & Myth
The words at right are taken from the Declaration of Independence. They represent lovely poetry, and are part of the mythos of the United States. And as is often true with poetry and myth, they represent few hard facts.
All people are not created equal. No two grains of sand are equal; so obviously, no two people are equal. And rights are human constructs; the only guarantees attached to them are those that a group of people guarantee one another. So ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness’ are, most definitely, alienable rights.
And so clearly, no Creator granted them to us.
The Declaration of Independence declares grand goals, but those goals are certainly not self-evident. In fact, in these lofty phrases, we can already see the dishonesty of politics beaming through, that through clever legerdemot,1)‘Léger de mot‘, ‘light of word’; a take-off of legerdemain, ‘light of hand’, a magician’s trick. one can distract the public and sell them on an agenda, even a worthwhile agenda
If there is equality, it is a human creation; only we can transform alienable rights into unalienable ones. And even there, we can only do so much: the only equality we can provide is an equality of freedom. Equality of freedom, in fact, describes our fundamental rights in a nutshell.
Education and Healthcare
So when someone tries to argue that education is a right, or healthcare is a right, they are mistaken. And they are correct. If the democracy disagrees, those are alienable rights; if the democracy agrees, they become rights, but they nevertheless remain alienable rights, because they can be removed at a future time. Our rights exists only so long as the group says they are rights, and protects those rights, and provides the services that constitute the rights.
So let me offer a different viewpoint on education and healthcare. Businesses are in competition, but so are communities, states, and nations. Those that are the most efficient and productive will out-compete those which are less so.
Wide-spread education among many or all people is a source of wealth and power, for the entire group. There have been many historical, economic theories on the sources of wealth, but the ultimate measure is the number of workers; their efficiency and productivity; and as the world progresses, their mental/innovative abilities. Education promotes these latter two dramatically.
As for the number of workers, and their productivity, healthcare elevates both. The political party currently working to undermine education and universal healthcare also claims to be the party of business. The business concepts in their approach to both of these are unfortunately lacking, however.
When people drop from the workforce from illness or death, even menial laborers, we lose experience, we lose capacity, we lose competitiveness. Worse, as long as those people are alive but unable to work, they are a great drain on the system. They divert time, money, and other resources from their families and communities that would otherwise grow industry, government and community. Continue reading below…
And if they have no insurance, they save us no money; in fact, they cost us even more in healthcare expenses. If they are moderately sick, they will still be provided healthcare from public hospitals, which are often more expensive than private hospitals; if they cannot pay, the rest of us pick up the tab. And as the public hospitals become backlogged, the ill will cost us even more money: when their diseases worsen because of the lack of more economical basic care, they will show up in private ERs and be admitted to private hospitals, where they incur dramatically elevated costs. Those costs do not simply evaporate: hospitals pass their expenses on to the rest of us through increased costs.
So if the governing party would act like good businesspeople and put pencil to paper, they would realize they are weakening the USA, not making us stronger.
Graphic assembled by the author from scans of the Declaration of Independence.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||‘Léger de mot‘, ‘light of word’; a take-off of legerdemain, ‘light of hand’, a magician’s trick.|