Monday, October 13, 2008

What's in a Right?

After sitting through the snoozefest abomination of the McCain/The Marxist (Obama) "debate", I threw up some uninspired but entertaining thoughts on the debacle. But in the comments section (unlike the pseudo-debate), we got into actual discussions on a whole lot of things, including redistribution of wealth, bailout bullshit, and universal healthcare. And one thing that all of these things share (other than government getting it wrong) is that they all involve the loss of someone's rights.

Thge subject of rights was brought up as well, because there's an assumption among many that there is a "right" to health care among other things. So it would be best here to define a right: Thankfully, fellow blogger Soapboxgod (no link due to sabbatical from his blog) came up with one better than what I found:
Rights define freedom of action; an action which is without compulsion, coercion, or intimidation by other men. [Therefore] you have a right to PURSUE healthcare but, you do not have a right to actually have it. Because, in order for healthcare to be perceived as a right, you must essentially force men to provide it.
The nature of rights was set forth most famously in the Declaration of independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...
The important points here, in case you missed them, were that rights are derived from a deity, that the government's role is to secure them and not create them, and that the rights of one man end at the rights of another.

If you look through the Amendments to the Constitution, they are designed to limit government, not the individual. This reinforces the role of the government.

The problem, though (and the reason for the shitty choices for President), is that far too many people lack the understanding of rights. Far too many people are swayed when politicians of both parties being to attach the word "right" to that which is a privilege or a benefit. And the list of "rights" continues to grow.

We now have a "right" to: an education (which sucks), healthcare (which is the reason we can't afford it), affordable housing (thus the bailout), clean air and water and healthy environment, roads, a car, a driver's license, voting for the assface or The Marxist (it's not an individual right, look it up), healthy food, a family, abortion (or sucking babies into a sink), financial security, a safe job, a"living wage," TV (I even have a link (and my government-subsidized converter boxes) for that "right"), a name, food, water, sex, and on, and on, and on (I'd continue, but then I'd just get ridiculous). Hell, even animals have "rights" now.

The problem with everything here is that while most of the preceding things can be justified in some way or another, almost everything I have listed requires the government to take away the rights of someone else to give it to us. So the only way to delineate rights without requiring interpretation is to limit rights to those things that one can exercise without taking from another.

Another point I thought of: Governments don't have rights, only powers. The reason the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution the way they did was because they recognized that a free people must have a government that is constrained and limited, and not a government that constrains and limits its people. To give the government the power to appropriate wealth, the freedom to limit freedom for the sake of the government, and the mandate to invent "rights" for the sake of pacifying a populace is to lose much of the freedom so many have died to preserve.

Maybe it's just my libertarian streak talking here, but how free would we be to pursue our desires and goals in life were we free to exercise our rights without the "benevolent" hand of government in our way?

32 comments:

Toad734 said...

“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” - Jesus

Ok, so obviously Jesus agrees with paying taxes. So you can't say that a Deity handed down rights which don't include paying taxes. Paying taxes is not the loss of a god given right...which pretty much makes this argument moot.

Whether or not you think it’s the government’s job to secure our right to life or not, we all agree that it is there job to make it possible for us to pursue healthcare. But if only the richest 5% of the country can afford healthcare, due to laws and lax regulations put forth by our government (thanks Nixon and HMOs), then at some point it either becomes their obligation to provide it outright or at least make it affordable. And again, you guys are all up in arms about the right to "life" for clump of cells with no nervous system or higher brain functions than you are a 50 year old woman dying of breast cancer. At what point does your "culture of life" extend to poor people, criminals, uninsured, insured, etc.? If you think it's absurd that an animal has a right to not be tortured and forced to maul each other at a humans amusement but not absurd that someone on their death bed has to argue with an insurance company to pay for a procedure that keeps them alive, after paying thousands of dollars to that company over their life time, then you can no longer call yourselves pro-life or compassionate conservative or even Christians for that matter.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

I'm not the richest 5% and I can afford healthcare so you can stop with the aggrandizing.

Patrick M said...

Toad: Take it up with Thomas Jefferson, then. It's his document (subject to revisions) that states we derive our rights from a divine source.

Let me clarify. Rights are not absolute, as an equal society will not allow the rights of one person to trump another's.

When we do give up some rights, by allowing the government to exercise its power, it should only be to the necessary amount to make a functioning society.

Now we may decide, as a people, to protect certain segments of society by providing health care, welfare, and all the other benefits. We may decide to make it illegal to run dogfighting rings, piss on city streets, and have your favorite standby, "man ass sex," in the park, but doing so does not magically confer a right. All you've proven is that you don't understand the definition of a right.

I'm not saying we can't have all the things you listed. I'm just saying none of them are rights.

...you can no longer call yourselves pro-life or compassionate conservative or even Christians for that matter.

Thankfully, those aren't labels I live by, so nice try. I'm only philosophically pro-life, a libertarian conservative, and a lapsed Catholic, which if you ask some of the faith fascists, isn't a Christian.

Soap-not-a-Dope: Toad's rant is an example of commenting on something he didn't really read. He read enough to assemble his standard talking points, then failed to comprehend.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

A right is the sanction of independent action. A right is that which can be exercised without anyone’s permission.

If you exist only because society permits you to exist—you have no right to your own life. A permission can be revoked at any time.

If, before undertaking some action, you must obtain the permission of society—you are not free, whether such permission is granted to you or not. Only a slave acts on permission. A permission is not a right.

Do not make the mistake, at this point, of thinking that a worker is a slave and that he holds his job by his employer’s permission. He does not hold it by permission—but by contract, that is, by a voluntary mutual agreement. A worker can quit his job. A slave cannot.

And:

There is no such thing as “a right to a job”—there is only the right of free trade, that is: a man’s right to take a job if another man chooses to hire him. There is no “right to a home,” only the right of free trade: the right to build a home or to buy it. There are no “rights to a ‘fair’ wage or a ‘fair’ price” if no one chooses to pay it, to hire a man or to buy his product. There are no “rights of consumers” to milk, shoes, movies or champagne if no producers choose to manufacture such items (there is only the right to manufacture them oneself). There are no “rights” of special groups, there are no “rights of farmers, of workers, of businessmen, of employees, of employers, of the old, of the young, of the unborn.” There are only the Rights of Man—rights possessed by every individual man and by all men as individuals.

Toad734 said...

Soapbox:

Wait until you get Cancer and come back to me with that statement. I am not the Richest 5% either and sure, I can afford to get my prescription filled when I get an allergy attack. That isn't what I am talking about.

"If you exist only because society permits you to exist—you have no right to your own life. A permission can be revoked at any time."

I take this to mean you would have agreed with Schiavos husband when he pulled the plug?

"There are no “rights to a ‘fair’ wage or a ‘fair’ price” if no one chooses to pay it, to hire a man or to buy his product."

So you are for illegal immigration?


Patrick:

Apparently there was a bunch of southerners who thought they understood what a right was but as it turns out, they were wrong. So, maybe you are wrong too but the political times are as to such where you sound like the mainstream. Its at least something to consider.

I did read it. And what you were saying that it isn't ok for me to demand a liver transplant even after paying the insurance company to provide me with that service in the circumstance should arrise that I need one but someone it is the right of the Insurance Company to take my money for 30 years and tell me to kiss their ass when I need their services because it's a free market. I don't get how you are always giving away your rights to the government and multibillion dollar corporations. Why are you always bestowing them the right to rip people off but you give yourself no rights to fight back? I just don't get why you would think that way because with that kind of thinking, it will never change and when your kid lay in the hospital one day and you realize you have just thrown away thousands of dollars on medical insurance only to find out they they will never provide you with the services they promised, I think you will be singing a different tune.

Patrick M said...

Toad: I'm assuming you're talking about secession. Personally, I almost think they should have been allowed to secede. However, if you're talking about slavery, they were completely wrong, although to be fair, they didn't view the black man as human. If they did, then he was deserving of equal rights.

And what you were saying that it isn't ok for me to demand a liver transplant even after paying the insurance company to provide me with that service in the circumstance should arrise that I need one but someone it is the right of the Insurance Company to take my money for 30 years and tell me to kiss their ass when I need their services because it's a free market.

What you've described is something that the law was created for. In this, two parties have entered into a contract, and one party appears to have not fulfilled its end of the agreement. That's a matter of theft if it is determined that the party promised something and didn't follow through.

Theft is a violation of another's rights, therefore we agree on that.

But health care in and of itself is not a right. You had the right to spend your money on the insurance. The insurance company had the right to create a policy that might not cover the procedure (thus the need for courts to determine if they misrepresented that). The doctor that might have performed the procedure had the right to decide whether he accepted insurance as a payment. And the person who donated the liver had the right, through a living will or posthumously through the responsible party, to not donate the liver in the first place.

What you're talking about is private companies defrauding people, not the "right" to health care.

I won't change my tune on that one, because you're talking about something different.

Toad734 said...

I know you aren't defending it but that would be saying that my dog wasn't really a dog so therefore I should be feeding it fish food.

A. By the time that lawsuit is settled I would be dead and the insurance companies know this. Even so, then you conservatives would blame trial lawyers on health care costs not greed.

So you are good with profits determining whether or not you get treated or have a procedure covered?

I just don't understand how the richest nation in the world spends more on Iraqis than its own citizens, how someone prolife and so concerned about the rights of a bunch of cells leaching on to a host, can say that life is only valuable when it is in the state of a fetus and it's the governments job to see to its "rights" at that stage but once it's born it's on its own to go out into the world, as an infant, and make sure he purchases adequate health care on the open market. Only in a sick and twisted world like we have had over the last 8 years does something like that only begin to make sense.

Patrick M said...

Toad, you're getting pointlessly redundant. And you're confusing rights with what is right.

Here's a hint: If government has to spend money to create it, it's probably not a right.

I just don't understand how the richest nation in the world spends more on Iraqis than its own citizens....

Numbers aside (as I question them, but the principle is what's important), the purpose of Iraq and Afghanistan was to protect the country. I know you'll question that assumption of course, but all the rights in the world mean nothing if our country is destroyed.

Now that brings me to abortion.

(I wish I had posted on this already)

Philosophically, I am pro-life. The problem for me comes down to rights. On one side, there's the unborn baby, who's life should be protected like any other human life. But on the other side is a woman, who is and should possess control over her body as any person should. So the problem is determining when the rights of the unborn override the rights of the mother. I believe that the answer has to fall between conception and birth, probably at the point of viability.

And that's why I don't necessarily call myself pro-life. Next incorrect assumption, please.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Do you have a right to clean water? Do you have a right to breathe clean air? Do you have a right to not have raw sewage flooding your front yard?

The DOI says Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. OK, these are the same men who wrote that all men are created equal, as long as they're white and Christian.

If we, as we must, extrapolate from these three things, where do we arrive? We have the right to life. Does this mean, by extrapolation, that we have the right to those things that promote life (versus death)? We have the right to liberty. We have a whole bunch of extrapolations on that in the form of the BOR, don't we? And our right to the 'pursuit of happiness' would be, as countless court cases have shown, is curtailed by what it is that you do in your pursuit of said happiness.

So. Where to go from here? We have the right to life. We thus have the right to those things that promote life: clean air, clean water, safe foods and drugs, no raw sewage floating in the front yard, safe medical treatments. And by further extrapolation, we have the right to have access to all those things.

By taking away those things that the exercise of this right depends upon you effectively take away the right itself.

By eliminating free speech, by curtailing travel, by unwarranted surveillance, by detention without trial, we take away the right to liberty.

Let me say it one more time: by removing access to those things that enable us to exercise a right, you eliminate the right itself.

By segregating the access to these things according to class lines you create a Metropolis society that works along an agenda of benign neglect and Malthusian (overt or covert) principles.

Patrick M said...

Saty: Been waiting to tear in you for this.... :)

The important principle is that the rights of one man end at the rights of another.

Do you have a right to clean water?

No. If you live in a town or city, you pay money for the government to supply it. In the country, you have to tap a source, supply the pump and supply filtration. Where there are waterways, the government has established these as public land, therefore a common resource, and regulation come in when it is intentionally polluted, but again, filtration is your responsibility.

Do you have a right to breathe clean air?

Not necessarily. You have the right to move to where there is clean air. To force someone to filter their air when you chose to live downwind restricts their right. However, if they constructed something that blasted dirty air into your property, they are damaging your property, therefore violating your rights. So some law has to balance that out.

Do you have a right to not have raw sewage flooding your front yard?

Yes, because it's your property.

Now, those who signed onto the DOI included men like Jefferson, who's life was sustained by slavery. But it also included men like John Adams, who believed as you and I do in the equality of ALL men, and did immediately free a slave that was given him as a gift. The correct principles were laid down, even if the men that did so were not all perfect.

Many of the things you define as "rights" are either benefits supplied by governments, or in the case of things like safe medicines, it comes to a right that requires the force of law: a good faith exchange. Legally, you are exchanging money for a product. I have no problem when government requires that a product contains what it says. That's simply keeping the rights of one person protected from the rights of another by deception.

Now, in the case of someone who is unable to supply those things for themselves, there is a place for private charity, and perhaps the government to step in and help. But because we rightly extend charity, it does not confer the right.

By eliminating free speech, by curtailing travel, by unwarranted surveillance, by detention without trial, we take away the right to liberty.

I'm assuming you're talking foreign terrorist. There is plenty of precedent where we engage foreign (and unfortunately, domestic) enemies and remove their rights to a degree to protect the country. In that, our rights come to nothing if we lose the country that secures them. This is a balancing act that we sometimes get wrong, but we must strive to solve.

In the end, it comes to this: You seek here an equality of outcome. That requires taking someone's rights to give it to another. I seek equality of opportunity. That means infringing the rights of the individual as little as possible.

(That was tiring, but fun)

Satyavati devi dasi said...

If the purpose of government, as it says in the DOI, is to secure these rights (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness) then that would mean it is the purpose of the government to ensure that these rights are protected and given every opportunity to be enjoyed.

The "right" to life doesn't mean simply the right to be born and not be murdered needlessly. It means you have the right to life and to those things that are REQUIRED for life: air and water that won't kill you, food that isn't contaminated, some form of shelter so that you don't die of exposure, treatment for your sickness and injury.

The things that are REQUIRED to maintain liberty (in the opinion of the US Government) are enumerated in the BOR.

The "pursuit of happiness" is considerably more nebulous and can be vigorously contested; that which I maintain I do in pursuit of my own happiness may very well be something detrimental or otherwise harmful to another person, in which case it ceases to become a right.

I maintain that if the government states that these three things are rights and that the government's purpose is to secure these rights, ie maintain that all persons have and continue to have these rights ad perpetuam than by logic the government's purpose is also to maintain that those things required for these rights to exist.

Otherwise it would be like saying,
'You may eat, and my purpose is to ensure that you may eat', and at the same time deny you access to food.

That would be illogical and defeat itself.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"I take this to mean you would have agreed with Schiavos husband when he pulled the plug?"

If you think you'll entrap me into some sort of situation where I'll contradict myself, you are sorely mistaken my good man. In fact, I did side with Schiavo's husband in the matter. And, I did in fact chastise the bulk of the Republican party for their involvement in a state issue.

"So you are for illegal immigration?"

Christ if you couldn't be more off the reservation with that broad statement. Your futile attempt to grossly distort my comments in an effort to get me to adopt your premises is extremely irresponsible and wholly disingenuous. And, quite honestly is makes you look foolish.

"The "right" to life doesn't mean simply the right to be born and not be murdered needlessly. It means you have the right to life and to those things that are REQUIRED for life:"

WRONG!! That's like saying you have a "right" to pull in $500,000 a year, own a 6,000 square foot house with a pool, and drive a mercedes because that is what is "required" to acheive the happiness you're pursuing.

NEWSFLASH! Contrary to your ridiculous assertion, the quality of the air, water, food, etc. is such that it can sustain life on this planet.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"By eliminating free speech, by curtailing travel, by unwarranted surveillance, by detention without trial, we take away the right to liberty."

You're preaching to the choir on that one.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"The "pursuit of happiness" is considerably more nebulous and can be vigorously contested; that which I maintain I do in pursuit of my own happiness may very well be something detrimental or otherwise harmful to another person, in which case it ceases to become a right."

I really don't know how you and Toad can be so blatant in your inabality to process the equation by which we define rights. You are free to pursue your right of self preservation and to acheive your happiness provided it does not hinder another's ability to do the same. If, in your pursuit of happiness, you are doing something that coerces, compulses, or intimidates another against their will, such means that you employ to pursue your happiness cease to exist as rights.

"I maintain that if the government states that these three things are rights and that the government's purpose is to secure these rights, ie maintain that all persons have and continue to have these rights ad perpetuam than by logic the government's purpose is also to maintain that those things required for these rights to exist."

How the government "maintains that those things [are] required for these rights to exist" is by way of protecting men from other men.

"Otherwise it would be like saying,
'You may eat, and my purpose is to ensure that you may eat', and at the same time deny you access to food."


Wrong on two counts. On the first, man is man. This means that man is a means to his own end. His right to life dictates that he may take the necessary means to sustain it. Therefore, it is his own purpose to ensure that he eat and maintain his own survival. By attempting to deny man access to food, you are in essence denying man the right to his life.

His right to life and his ability to sustain it is granted to him at birth. It is not given by any one man or men such as you've implied.

Patrick M said...

If the purpose of government, as it says in the DOI, is to secure these rights (life, liberty, pursuit of happiness) then that would mean it is the purpose of the government to ensure that these rights are protected and given every opportunity to be enjoyed.

Yes. But what you talk of after that is government either providing them or forcing someone to provide them.

Let's just take the food example. You have the right to seek food, but not the right to be given food, which is a charity function. If you first give the pseudo-right to food, then comes the pseudo-right to quality food, then the pseudo-right to your choice of foods.

Take a look at California. I think it was LA where they're passing a law that restricts the rights of individual businesses to open restaurants based on the kind of food they serve to protect the people who have a "right" to better quality food.

This is where your socialist tendencies fail. With the example of the fast food ban, government has just used the police power of the state to eliminate the rights of scores of people based on what
they believe is right. And when we enshrine those things that are not rights as "rights" that the government supplies, then government gets to dictate them to us.

A just and compassionate society will do what it can to help those that can't afford the basics. But that's a privilege of living in a prosperous country, not a right.

Soapster: FYI, I started this comment before your three posted. I'm just glad we're on the same side. Otherwise I'd wear out my keyboad.

Beth said...

Soapie and Patrick, you are both doing a fine job here, so I can save my keyboard as well. What I will say is this: that this discussion is one that should be held in a more public way than this very fine blog here. The misinterpretation of rights that is actually being promoted by our politicians is the very reason that we are so divided in our nation; because there are those who think there is a whole host of things are rights, when they are not. So when they feel their "rights" are being denied, they cry foul, then those of us who know better try to explain to them the error of their thinking.

Patrick M said...

Beth: It also distinctly highlights the difference between a socialist mentality (Satyavati primarily, Toad to a lesser extent) and the libertarian conservative view (Soap, you, and the greatness of I Myself).

It's certainly instructive.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Okay, let's think about something here in terms of REQUIREMENTS.

REQUIREMENTS of living include clean air, clean water, food in adequate quality and quantity to support life, protection from elements and care in sickness.

Let's break this down, since you all love to take these extremely obvious and basic truths and turn them into some kind of heebie jeebie.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS. This is that which fulfills the essential need and not more. Basic shelter means four walls and a roof that protect from the elements, not Bill Gates' mansion. Clean water. Without it you die of dysentery, cholera, giardosis, or another equally foul disease, or you get some evil disease from contamination of groundwater that you didnt' even know about. This happens every day. Clean air. Without it you get silicosis, black lung disease, lung cancer, or just die a painful death. Adequate food. This is the amount of basic food in quality and quantity enough to maintain a state of active, healthy living. This does not imply lobster tail, pate de foie gras, or anything Wolfgang Puck makes. This means, in essence, a bowl of rice and some vegetables, on which a great portion of the world does survive.

These are basic requirements to keep one from falling over dead, not an excuse to indulge in hedonism.

And fyi: if the quality of air, water, etc are such that it can sustain life, why are so many people dying of waterborne contaminants and hideous levels of air pollution?

You are free to pursue your right of self preservation and to acheive your happiness provided it does not hinder another's ability to do the same. If, in your pursuit of happiness, you are doing something that coerces, compulses, or intimidates another against their will, such means that you employ to pursue your happiness cease to exist as rights.


Do you actually read what I write, or just knee-jerk to it? This is precisely what I wrote in the previous paragraph. Is it somehow different or better because you restated it?

By attempting to deny man access to food, you are in essence denying man the right to his life.


Hello. This is my point. If you maintain that someone has a right to something and then you deny them access to the means of fulfilling or exercising or realizing that right then you are in essence denying them the right you said they had to begin with.

This is not rocket science. Is it really so hard for you to process this stuff? It's basic and obvious. If it makes you somehow feel more self-righteous or more complete to take what I say, and in refuting it, repeat exactly what I say, then you have at it. If it's that hard for you to admit that maybe a liberal (and we can just dispense with the generic liberal label, I'm a Socialist and have always been so) is putting forth the same ideas you are, then maybe you need to rethink what you think your stand is all about.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

A just and compassionate society will do what it can to help those that can't afford the basics. But that's a privilege of living in a prosperous country, not a right.

So those who don't live in prosperous countries can just crawl off in a corner and helplessly die, since they aren't "priveleged" to the same rights as those who do?

I told you I smelled Malthusianism.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And Toad:

You know I love you, but that whole Terry Schiavo thing was an atrocity. Bush had no business getting in the middle of that mess. It was a family feud over quality of life and terminal care. These happen every day. It just so came about that her parents decided they wanted to make a national stink over it.

I absolutely and one hundred percent support a person's self-determination regarding death. I firmly believe that everyone should have advance directives detailing their wishes regarding this in the case they are unable to put forth those wishes themselves. I believe that given a situation in which a person becomes irreversibly brain-dead, in a persistent vegetative state, etc., and cannot speak their own wishes, that their spouse or next of kin should be able to make those decisions for them without having to deal with a court or the damn President.

I have seen too much of this to feel any other way. I have watched people linger in agony for days and weeks while their selfish families put them through the torture of continuing to live. We had this situation not long ago and ended up having to convene the ethics committee.

The best thing to do is to write an advance directive and name a healthcare power of attorney. Make your wishes known well beforehand to all your close friends and family members. Barring that, I believe that the next of kin should be fully authorized to make those decisions if they need to be made.

Bullfrog said...

This is exactly the kind of discussion I like because, unlike regurgitating political talking points, this issue affects everyone. It is actually strategically significant and needs to be discussed!

I think the crux of the issue is liberty itself, and I think this word gets misused and misconstrued an awful lot. It has been said previously that liberty is not absolute, it stops at the liberty of the next person. I blogged a bit ago about just this issue: http://bullfrogsblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/liberty-without-creator.html.

I think this goes a long way in correctly characterizing what liberty is.

Aside from getting emotional about it, liberty means the freedom to pursue what it is that brings you the quality of life you desire. If you desire an $80,000 car, you have the freedom in this country to pursue that by making enough money to do so.

I make enough money to support my family so my wife can stay home with our toddlers. We have what we need and we are content with that. Some would not be, and nothing is stopping them from going after the life they think they would be happy living.

I went through a period where I was sick enough not to be able to work. This lasted 8 months, and all I had was state disability insurance and the kindness of my loved ones to support me. Ironically, I was not able to get any state disability insurance to pay for the huge medical costs I was incurring because, according to the social worker, "You are not permanently disabled, and you have no dependents, and you are not a minority." So, because I was responsible and white, no dice.

My point? This is an example of the system "working".

What did work was the state insurance I had been paying for since I started in the work force, and charity. The DOI does the correct thing by protecting the individual and keeping the government out of the business of creating and maintaining "rights".

Toad734 said...

Patrick:
Destroyed by Saddam? Was that supposed to be a joke? Ok, fine, I won't go there.

Not that it matters, but I sort of agree with your abortion stance. The difference is I know that it isn't "human life" in the first trimester. It has no nervous system, doesn't feel pain, is not self aware...All the things which make us human. During the third trimester, when most who make it to that point actually come to term, it's hard to argue that it isn't life, it has a nervous system, heart beat, brain, etc. Again, if it comes down to either the mother or an unborn baby which still has the possiblity of dying during childbirth or not making it afterwards, then the choice, in a medical emergency should always favor the mother. Otherwise, I think 6 months is plenty of time to decide whether or not you want to have an abortion or not.

I think to solve this issue they should just make the morning after pill over the counter. Only serious nut jobs would argue that the day after sex you are killing a person. There is just as much potential for life at that point as there is in the paper towel on nights my girlfriend doesn't stay over.

Toad734 said...

Soap:

Good for you with regards to Schiavo. It was none of the governments business. That is why you shouldn't vote Republican. You are being lied to. They only claim they are for small government because you will vote for them but the fact is the federal government has grown 60% under Bush. If you want the government to stay out of your business, vote for a Democrat, or possibly a Libertarian.

If you think the free market should always determine wages you are automatically endorsing illegal immigration like it or not. The free market isn't free if you don't let them hire illegals! So, you admit that sometimes you can't always trust a company to do what is right and they will always find ways to make more money whether it is legal, moral, right or not. Thanks for pointing out that we can't just let them run wild because "they know what's best for their business". Sometimes their business hurts others which is why we need to regulate them.

So are you saying that anyone else has the right to pollute the air and water which will kill us but we don't have the right to drink clean water? I don't get where you are going here. I agree with Saty, don't act like you are prolife and bitch and cry when someone has an abortion if you are just going to give that kid asthma, not make medical care affordable enough to deal with that asthma and then poison him with asbestos tainted water.

And if I pay taxes and they say they are collecting taxes in order to provide me with water, then I have a right to clean water! Fuck all the rest!

Satyavati devi dasi said...

And while it occurs to me:

"Capitalism" is about making the biggest bang for your buck.

This is the reason companies outsource jobs to third world countries. People in other countries are willing to work for half (or less) of what you do to do the same job. The company doubles its profits, and you lose a job, your benefits, and your economic security. If you aren't given a severance package, which many arent, and you can't afford your COBRA payments to keep your benefits in force (and these reach into the thousands of dollars per month), and you are forced to attempt to live on the 60% unemployment will give you for the limited amount of time they figure it will take you to find a new job (which may or may not reflect the reality of the situation), you could find yourself losing a house, losing a car, up to your eyeballs in medical bills and in debt for the next six generations to Citibank. This is, actually, not a bad depiction of what does happen to people when companies decide to boost their profits at the expense of their compatriots.

Fair?

System still working for ya?

Support it all the way, red white and blue?

I'm glad for ya.

Name: Soapboxgod said...

"I agree with Saty, don't act like you are prolife and bitch and cry when someone has an abortion if you are just going to give that kid asthma, not make medical care affordable enough to deal with that asthma and then poison him with asbestos tainted water."

Conversely, don't come to me telling me how you're all fucking pro-life and shit and then seek policies which enslave an individual by subjecting them to excessive taxation which is then redistributed to another.

Life and liberty are not mutually exclusive.

Additionally, you'll find that I am, if nothing else, objective. As such, I know full damn well what the Republicans have been up to for the last 8 years. But, to infer that voting for Democrats is "change" is the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard. Proposing over $1 Trillion in new spending isn't change but instead an exacerbation of our present ills.

Libertarian or Constitutionalist you have a better argument on so I'll give you that.

"The free market isn't free if you don't let them hire illegals!"

Honestly, where the hell do you come up with this shit?? The free market doesn't mean people can break the law you idiot. That's like saying that the police are stifling people's liberty because they don't let you kill people freely.

The free market would dictate that employers can offer a wage to any legal worker they want. And, in turn the worker can either accept that wage or not. It has nothing to do with skirting the law and doing as people wish.

Patrick M said...

BASIC REQUIREMENTS. This is that which fulfills the essential need and not more.

As I said, this is where we will continue to disagree. Your rights to obtain these cannot be infringed. But where it ceases to be a right and becomes a benefit is when the government provides it through either taking money from someone to give it to another, or directly forcing someone to give it.



So those who don't live in prosperous countries can just crawl off in a corner and helplessly die, since they aren't "priveleged" to the same rights as those who do?

That's what happens. But those countries aren't usually free (can you say "death squads?", and seriously lack the charitable tendencies we do

Let's look at an extreme case: a country that gives its populace everything you define as a right. Suppose there's a country called the "People's Republic of Obama (low blow, but I'll go with it)" where the government provides all goods and services and gives people jobs and homes and so on. When the government faces an angry group of people (we'll call them the Paulistas) who want to simply live on their own in the wilderness and not have the government bug them. of course the PRO won't allow anyone to be self-sufficient, so they force them into the mountains and cut off the food. When government becomes the supplier of all these "rights" then they hold power over us. At least against companies and other individuals, the government has a role in ensuring you have rights.

Freedom is coupled with responsibility. You have the right to seek food, but not the right to have it given to you.

"Capitalism" is about making the biggest bang for your buck.

This is the reason companies outsource jobs to third world countries. People in other countries are willing to work for half (or less) of what you do to do the same job.


Only if the cost of shipping and lower quality justify it. However, you forgot to add, in addition to the wages and benefits, the matching payments for Social Security and such, the second highest corporate tax rate in the civilized world, the convoluted whore that is the tax code, the ponderous level of environmental regulations, the tyranny of OSHA, the frivolous class-action lawsuits, protesters demonstrating in front of your business for whatever torqued them off, unions unwilling to bend when you are losing money and trying to push through a bill eliminating the secret ballot from union organizing elections, and the general fear of the government throwing regulations at you because it will buy them more votes. It's a wonder we have any companies here at all when you look at the binders full of shit they have to put up with. And if they stay, they pass all these fine costs onto us.

You'd be amazed if you could see what a real free market can do.

Bullfrog: My goal from here to election day is to talk about the election directly as little as possible. Too bad there's a debate tomorrow....

Toad: Crap, I actually don't have enough disagreement to really get into it with you, except:

Paper towel? Haven't you ever heard of the venerated tube sock? :)

Patrick M said...

Saty: One additional thought on this is the quote I have at the top of my blog this week:

“Those whom government intended to help discovered a cycle of dependency that could not be broken. Government became a drug, providing temporary relief, but addiction as well.”
Reagan’s Remarks Accepting the Presidential Nomination (August 23, 1984)

BB-Idaho said...

"Conversely, don't come to me telling me how you're all fucking pro-life and shit and then seek policies which enslave an individual by subjecting them to excessive taxation which is then redistributed to another." Soapbox
is interested in getting into politics. Heh. (I already put up a sign with his quote)

Satyavati devi dasi said...

OK. I think yall have possibly missed an important distinction.

"Giving" someone something is not the same as "providing access" to it.

EG. Clean air. Obviously the government can't package up clean air and ship it off to your house for an exhorbitant amount of money (at least not until the technology is available), but they can ensure you have access to it by regulating the amount of shit they allow companies and people in general to spew into the air. This also applies to water. They aren't giving it to you-they don't have to. Their job is to make sure it's available. Your job still remains to pay the water bill.

In terms of food, we already have the FDA in place to inspect food and to hopefully ensure it isn't contaminated with some gruesome disease, which they for the most part do. This (for the most part) would take care of the "quality" half, and then programs like WIC and the general food stamp program complete the other half and between the two of them ensure access to food in quality and quantity sufficient to maintain life. There are plenty of people who abuse these systems. There are also plenty of people who fall into the gray area of not having enough money to pay their bills, but still make too much money to qualify for these programs.(We were in this position at one time.) But in toto the system is in place and your right to have access to these things is for the most part preserved.

In terms of healthcare, insofar as protecting this right (being, as it is, under the umbrella of "the right to life"), the onus on the government is one, to ensure that healthcare is safe-that treatments and medicines are tested, that healthcare workers are qualified, and that facilities are safe. This part of the requirement is fulfilled by multiple agencies such as DFS, JCAHO, and CLIA. Note that some of these agencies aren't run by the government, but are in place to ensure that standards are met. (There is a sort of government impetus here in that if you aren't certified you can be denied MC/MA payments until you are.)

In terms of providingaccess to healthcare, the huge disparity in the system comes into focus. There is no "free" healthcare in this country. (Public hospitals have the obligation to accept all patients regardless of ability to pay. Private hospitals do not. This does not mean a public hospital will not hunt you down, destroy your credit and garnish your wages forever. They will.) The vast bulk of the population obtains their health insurance through their employers, who are under no obligation to provide such coverage and may also charge whatever premiums they wish. In some cases the per-pay-period premiums total 75% or more of the earned wages; this often forces people into a position where they cannot afford to eat, pay for housing, and pay for healthcare as well. A worker that loses a job that provides benefits has two options: one, take a COBRA program (that can cost thousands per month in premiums) or attempt to apply for an independent policy, which is likely to be denied for any person who has any type of preexisting condition and is almost guaranteed to be denied for any person with any behavioural health history. Personal policiy premiums are also considerably more expensive than group health premiums; even if a person is accepted by the insurance company they may not be able to afford it. A person who is in a job that offers no benefits may also attempt to obtain a private policy, but again, has no guarantee of acceptance, and may not be able to afford the premiums.

Medicare and Medicaid to some measure attempt to provide access for those persons otherwise unable to obtain health insurance. However, in practical terms, to qualify for it and to find (and deal) with providers who accept these programs (more and more are refusing every day) makes the actual obtaining of healthcare so difficult that many people remain outside their scope.

The government's job in terms of protecting and ensuring these rights is strictly to provide access to them for all citizens. They don't have to give it away, necessarily, or make it free. However, the huge cost of healthcare and the lack of options means that an enormous amount of the population is without access, and this is where the problem lies; by allowing a situation to continue which in essence denies people access to healthcare, the "right to life" is compromised.

Further, the without-access population is largely comprised of marginalized groups: children, the elderly, the disabled and the poor. Denying these groups access to healthcare is the functional equivalent of benign neglect.

This was long enough. I'm not dealing with housing. The point is that the government isn't obligated to pay for these things or to make them free. They merely need to ensure that all people have equal opportunity of access; not, as you thought, Patrick, equality of outcome, but equal opportunity to obtain these rights.

Patrick M said...

Well, I'm glad we're agreeing on this, more or less.

The whole health care mess, though, is an example of what happens when people stop having to pay for their health care, either by government dole or by employer benefit. The solution, I'm sure, we're not going to agree on.

But I'm glad we got this mostly ironed out.

Toad734 said...

Soap:

I can assure you that Paris Hilton, Donald Trump and Michael Jordan are not enslaved. Cry me a river for the defenseless rich people who we pick on so much. Boo Hoo! If they don't like it they can leave...Oh wait, only in America could they have so much success and pay so little in tax, so they can't leave. Therefore, they owe something back to America. Having people with more money pay more taxes isn't wealth redistribution, it's just tax. It's not like anyone has ever taxed Bill Gates and then turned around and handed his money to me. That has never and will never happen. What they will do is tax Bill Gates, give a no bid contract to a friend who owns a arms company and pay them 6 times the amount of money the product is worth and justify that need by starting a useless war which makes rich exxon executives rich while draining the pockets of middle clas people who just lost their job to a Chinamen who he will probably have to then join the army someday (since he is jobless) and go fight. That is income redistribution, not buying books for schools.

I hardly doubt Obama has a trillion dollars in new spending but I will tell you this, any new spending, unlike Republicans, he actually pays for. When you don't pay for something you buy, you eventually go bankrupt, just like our nation did this year.

And so now you are for regulating business. If that is the case, A republican is the last thing you should be voting for. McCain, for years, has called himself a deregulater and it was Phil Gramm, the guy who wrote McCains economic policy, who wrote many of the deregulation bills which got us into this mess.

So we can all agree that corporations are greedy and will always need regulation, especially when dealing with our money, because they will do what ever it takes to make a quick profit wheter it's hiring illegals, cooking the books and robbing their own employees, counting debt as profit, buying bad assetts and counting them as capital, etc.

I am glad we can finally agree on something.

Patrick M said...

Toad: The number of things you're intentionally ignorant on is staggering.

It's not like anyone has ever taxed Bill Gates and then turned around and handed his money to me. That has never and will never happen.

You make enough that you didn't get the dumbassed "stimulus" check earlier this year.

And then there's the EIC. I learned about that one a few years ago. Long story short, it means we pay people to be poor by taking taxes from the rich.

So we can all agree that corporations are greedy and will always need regulation, ...because they will do what ever it takes to make a quick profit wheter [blah, blah, blah]...

I think you just listed all the illegal things that we already regulate. But the important point is that corporations exist to make a profit! You treat them as though they are evil entities whose only purpose is to repress the "middle class" when in reality, they simply want to exist, make a profit, and get bigger. To do so, they employ people, produce and sell items, and interact as a member of the community they are in. They have rights, and the accompanying responsibilities. However, when faced with the shifting insane political wins, when hiding and deceit is necessary to avoid their rights being infringed by an imperial government, you naturally get more of the criminal element. And thus comes all the problems.

So other than the general rule that there has to be some regulations (to protect the rights of all people (and corporations)), your attempts to demonize mean that one group will get their rights raped for someone's political future.