Rights and Privileges

I’m going to have to thank my facebook friend. She has given another gem of factually incorrect information to rant about.


There is one little problem with the statement in that sentence. There are two words missing. “Access to” should be in front of the whole mess. Access to health care is a right. Health care itself? Privilege.  I do not have a right to someone else’s property, be it physical property, or intellectual property.

Doctors spend an inordinate amount of time to become who they are. There is a doctor in my family, and I have no idea how she does what she does. I don’t think she has slept in the past twelve years. And her job is one of the “less challenging” ones. She is an Ob-Gyn. I thought that, as doctor’s go, that was a cushy job. I was sorely mistaken. So what gives me the right to take her intellectual property? What gives me the right to demand anything of her, or any doctor, that they are not willing to give, and be compensated for in some manner? Nothing. I don’t have a right to it. Access to it, however, I do have a right to. I can ask, and I can offer compensation, but I cannot demand anything of any doctor. The statement in the little box up there is patently wrong.

“Dude, this is a gun blog…”

Yeah, it is. Let’s talk about rights and privileges in the gun world.

I have a right to protect myself. There is nothing, and no one, that can take that right away from me. You may limit my means to protect myself, but if you are trying to kill me, why would I not try to kill you back? It is the most basic of animal instincts, and we all have it. The instinct for self preservation is present in every animal. If you want to test it out, go ahead and head on down to your local zoo, jump into the pit with some of the large cats, and start making faces at them. I guarantee you two things will happen. #1. Those cats, that are clearly larger and more powerful than you are going to defend themselves from you. Probably violently, using the weapons that nature gave them. #2, you are going to defend yourself from that attack in the best way you know how. You are going to try and kill that lion, cheetah, jaguar, whatever, before it kills you. You’ll wish you had a gun. (You’ll also wish that you hadn’t been stupid enough to listen to my suggestion.)

Now lets walk up to the top of the food chain, to the only animal with a demonstrated ability to predict consequences longer than a few minutes into the future (Hint, that’s us). We have developed a very effective tool for self defense against predators. It goes bang. It is just as effective for defense as it is for attack. It is capable of stopping an attack in the an extremely short amount of time. I have a right to defend myself. I will use the best tools available to me to do so. The best tool available to me is a gun.

I think my friend needs to seriously understand what the difference is between a right, and a privilege.

I even had this conversation with my son recently, trying to explain it to him.

Q: Is driving a car a privilege, or a right?

A: Privilege. I have a right to own a car. I can buy as many as I want. Driving a car however, is a privilege, that requires a license.

Q: Is education a privilege, or a right?

A: Privilege. Access to an education is a right, but I must still provide for it by some means. In most cases, this means I get taxed to death to send my kid into a shit public school system. (don’t tell me your public school system is great, they are all shit, but that’s a rant for another day.)

Q: Is having a job a privilege, or a right?

A: Privilege. No one has to hire me. No one has to pay me. I do not have a right to someone else’s money, property, or livelihood. I offer a service, and get compensated for that service. Our current employment situation is just a long term evolution of trade and barter. If I don’t like my job, I can quit. If my employer doesn’t like the work I do, they can fire me. I offer a service that my employer feels is worth a significant amount of money. No one owes me anything. I earn it.

Q: Is having a house a privilege or a right?

A: Privilege. Access to buy housing, might be considered a right. But that’s just the ability to buy. I still have to pay for it. This falls under goods and services, just like the previous question. I do not have the right to the fruit of someone else’s labor. But I can offer a trade.

So let’s try that sentence that set me off in that picture above again, shall we?

“Access to Health Care is a right for all, not just a privilege for the elite few.”

That one doesn’t roll off the tongue as well, but it is factually more accurate.

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