The Drudge Report headline yesterday in red and all caps “SHOCK VIDEO: DEM CONGRESSMAN BRAGS: ‘FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN DO MOST ANYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY’…”
If you’re inclined to get your week off on the wrong foot, you had no choice but to watch – knowing it would infuriate you.
But what Drudge highlighted wasn’t what that clip was about.
Instead, it was the essence of the political debate over domestic policy in this nation for the past century and likely for the next century.
First, the latest characters in this great drama. On one side of the debate was Pete Stark the Democrat Congressman from California – casually dressed to match the appearance of his constituents which betrays his 37 years inside the Beltway.
Then we see an ordinary American woman – unpolished and reading off a prepared statement. Stammering her way through a question she was taught by our inadequate education system to write over and over, but not trained in the oratory to deliver the final product.
She clumsily quotes the 13th Amendment and uses a highly emotive word like “slavery” in lieu of the better analogy of involuntary servitude. She chooses a shocking word because it’s the best way to convey her anger. Anger that gave her the energy to google all of her research and write-out her question.
She has an intuition, a sense that there is something that doesn’t seem quite right about the new Health Care Reform bill that gives all Americans the right to health care.
What she senses intuitively is one side of the debate of maintaining the existing Bill of Rights that was ratified with the original Constitution rather than supplementing it with a Second Bill of Rights.
The Second Bill of Rights are a list of entitlements that all Americans are to be given such as health care, housing, employment compensated by a living wage, and an education. These are positive rights and are often regarded by Democrat politicians (like Rep. Stark) to be on the same level as negative rights since FDR introduced this litany in 1944.
Aside from your rights as a potentially accused criminal, the original Bill of Rights consists mainly of rights that you as an individual can perform as an action and the government cannot infringe on your right to perform that action yourself. The woman used the Founding Fathers description of “inalienable.” They are also called negative rights because each individual has these rights and it is a violation for another person to prevent these actions from happening.
The major issue that is being debated right now is not so much philosophical, but the realization – made worse by a bad economy – that in order to implement the Second Bill of Rights for all Americans, then there must be an infringement on the liberty and property of other citizens. Either by requiring those with the necessary skills to provide these services for Americans who could not otherwise have them or by enforcing on the most productive citizens a punitive tax burden needed to adequately fund the former.
In this particular clip, the woman discusses an overlooked aspect of the health care debate which gets to the heart of the real-world consequences of implementing the Second Bill of Rights.
In order to have the right to something like health care, then it must be delivered to us by professionals who will likely not be compensated appropriately for their services. So doctors and nurses will be forced to provide health care services to people they would otherwise not deliver care to.
The same thing would happen if other positive rights are given to us.
For a person to have the right to be employed at a living wage there must be an enforcement of employers to hire people and pay them a minimum amount predetermined by authorities. Likewise engineers and construction workers would have to designate property to build homes and apartment buildings for every American to live in so the land cannot be used for commercial interests. And teachers must educate everyone, even those who fail and drop out. A plight that sounds remarkably similar to doctors having to spend more time treating patients that have used their money to diminish their health with bad food and smoking without paying anything for health care over the past few years.
The framework of these debates pits FDR’s promise of a Second Bill of Rights against the original Bill of Rights. Everything in the Second Bill of Rights is based on you getting something from someone else and that infringes on someone else’s liberty and property.