The Face of the ACA. Houston Chronicle. ($$$)
While we believe providing adequate health care is an ethical obligation, the financial argument is also a powerful one. All of us pay for the uninsured through higher hospital costs, higher insurance premiums and higher property taxes. The Legislature's hyperpartisan stonewalling on the ACA and Medicaid expansion isn't saving any money for Texas taxpayers, and it certainly isn't saving lives. Mark worked hard. He raised his family. He paid his taxes. He should not have died from a disease that could be treated. He deserved better. We all deserve better.
Adequate health care is now a right. Safe spaces and never, ever being offended (ever) is a right. A living wage is a right. We're rapidly reaching the point where anything we want is cast as a right.
High-speed internet? You have a right to it.
Fair-Trade, Organic fruit? Right.
A Cellphone? Right.
Guns and Free speech? Get the hell out of here with your rights.
Property? Other people might have a right to it (i.e. the State) but not you.
The problem with all of this thinking is that we have substituted the concept of actual "rights" (Think, Life, Liberty, the pursuit (but not attainment) of Happiness) with the mistaken belief that having "stuff" is a right. We've done that because our political system is designed not to govern, but to dole out patronage and buy votes in the greatest incumbent protection scam of all time.
We've even gone so far as to grant the State "rights" which is ridiculous on its face because States don't have "rights" they have "powers". The United State's Government does not have a right to exist, it's been empowered to exist by force of arms and the consent of its citizenry. Ideally, a government exists to provide for the security of its citizens, not to try and provide, or grant them, rights.
But we now have this backwards in America, instead of being empowered the government is a de-facto deity that grants rights. It is because of this, mistaken, belief that we have the ACA, #FightFor15, a welfare system that does not require attempts at self-betterment to receive benefits. Because we have decided that anything we want, anything we aspire to or hope to become, is our right and should be given to us absent the pain of failure and strife.
There are many reasons for this, too numerous to mention here, but part of it is because of our worship of celebrity and our belief that the people we elect are seriously concerned about our well-being.
Celebrity is a sham. A group of pre-packaged, polished empty vessels that say and do whatever the cultural zeitgeist tells them. Politicians are, in almost every case, concerned with obtaining, consolidating and keeping power. One of the best ways to do this is to convince people that they have rights.
Juvenal called it "bread and circuses", and I (less talented of a thinker obviously) have called it trinket governance. It could also be called the right of privilege because that is what we're doing.
You don't have a right to drive a car. You have the privilege of driving because you follow the agreed upon rules of polite society and pay a fee to do so on the nation's roads. You don't have an absolute right to vote. You are given the privilege of voting provided (except in Virginia, where power grabs are afoot) you meet the criteria. You don't have a right to "quality healthcare" but you do live in a society where you still, just, have the ability to work hard and obtain healthcare for your and yours.
I say just because there's little doubt, or argument, among thinking people that the legacy of corruption, patronage and heavy-handed regulation has stifled mobility in the system which kept people content since it's founding. The government, and the corporations who plea for patronage, have stifled this mobility to the point that Mssrs. Trump and Sanders are gaining a large share of the vote.
Through anger, and the realization that the residents of Sealy Texas don't want to be forced to leave their hometown, relocate their families and put in the work to learn a new skill and get a new job. They want to have their 1950's era, low-skill manufacturing jobs back and they want the government to give it to them. Kevin D. Williamson has written brilliantly on this in his articles that deal with Garbutt, NY. Instead of taking a listen to Mr. Williamson the rights class threw a fit, suggesting, wrongly, that he wanted to kill the blue-collar working class when instead he wanted them to get off their increasingly drug and alcohol addled asses and get on with the business of self-improvement. If Garbutt has to die in this process?
Remember, Garbutt NY, Sealy, TX, the States of Texas, New York, California and even the United States of America don't have a right to exist. They are empowered to exist. Only when people truly understand what that means will change come. Of course, by then it will probably be too late and we'll all be bitter people living in Garbutt and Sealy wondering when the next shipment of bread will be delivered.
Of course, you won't be able to wonder that out loud because free speech isn't a right to the privileged class, it's an annoyance.