A Right to Healthcare?

For the moment at least, healthcare is at the center of the American news, as President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats try to enact legislation that would radically change the American healthcare system. Although Obama has avoided any mention of a right to healthcare as justification for the change — and instead pointed to the impact of escalating health costs on the Federal budget — liberals have long argued that healthcare is a basic human right, and many continue to use the presumed existence of such a right as a clinching argument to end all debate on the matter: if healthcare is a human right, one that inheres in human existence itself, it can only be the gravest of injustices to fail to recognize it and to provide for it, the consequences be damned.

Theodore Dalrymple addressed this idea in his 2001 book An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Medicine with a clarity of thought and language that has recently been hard to find:

The first step is to dismiss out of hand the absurd idea that anyone has a right to healthcare. No one has a right to healthcare. Indeed, where could such a right come from? The increasing tendency in modern society to treat all goods, and all human desiderata, as the American Declaration of Independence treats life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is extremely foolish, for reasons I shall explain. The problem of the metaphysical origin of human rights will not go away. It should be remembered that the American Declaration of Independence asserted the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the belief that all men were created equal and that these rights were endowed upon them by their creator. In other words, the Declaration was, if not a religious, than at least a theist, document. Take away God, and the origin of the rights asserted becomes completely mysterious.

If we do not believe in God (and of course it is also perfectly possible to believe in God without believing in the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, or in any other rights whatsoever), we have to find some other transcendent source of our supposed human rights. And the fact is that, while an ever-increasing proportion of the population believes it has rights, of ever-growing number and complexity into the bargain, an ever-decreasing proportion of the population believes in God.

It might, of course, be argued that the source of our rights is in our human nature. But there are undoubted difficulties in this view of the matter. The headhunters of Borneo are indubitably human, but they do not believe in (and would not even understand) the right to freedom of religious worship, let alone the right to healthcare. What we believe to be our rights are in fact the philosophical product of a particular culture at a particular time. But rights must, by the very nature of the concept, transcend both culture and time: they are universal, or they are nothing. Either we must believe that our society has discovered pre-existing rights, rather as Koch discovered the tubercle bacillus, and that therefore we stand at the pinnacle of human moral endeavour, or that in fact our supposed rights are fictions, which we made up to suit ourselves. In the former case we are guilty of the most terrible arrogance (though, interestingly, those who most strongly believe in human rights also pay most lip-service to the contradictory ideal of multiculturalism), while in the latter case we are reduced to lying and pretence. We pretend the rights we have awarded ourselves (or that governments have awarded us) have transcendent origins, but we know perfectly well that they have not. Like most pretences, this one can be kept up a while, so long as no one agrees to talk about the metaphysical legerdemain, but not for ever. The truth will out, with a consequent loss of faith and an access of moral confusion.

If there is a right to tangible goods (such as food, housing and healthcare), someone has an obligation to provide them, since they do not arrive as free gifts of God or nature. They are, in fact, the products of human labour. The obligation to provide others with the fruit of one’s labour is indistinguishable from slavery — except that one has the option to do nothing, since food, housing and healthcare (among other necessities and desiderata) are one’s rights. A man who chooses not to work therefore merely shifts the responsibility for providing these things from himself to others, as it must be his right to do if these things are in themselves truly rights.

The idea that tangible benefits are and should be conferred as of right exerts a most lamentable effect upon the human personality. The reason for this is obvious. In a world of rights, there is no reason for gratitude or indeed for kindness. Social arrangements will be so perfect that no one will need to be good; nor, of course, can there be any dire consequences for those who are bad. There is no reason to be grateful for what is received as of right, since it is precisely that — a right. At the same time, resentment is aroused when those things which are believed to be rights (an ever-increasing number) are not received. Neither ingratitude nor resentment are an attractive human characteristic: and the consequences of the doctrine of rights, with its attendant ingratitude and resentment, are to be seen in British hospitals. A right being by its nature inalienable, it does not matter how its possessor behaves: he can smash up a house and demand a new one (‘It’s my right’), and he can abuse and assault hospital staff and demand medical attention (‘It’s my right’). In these circumstances, therefore, it is not surprising that 40 per cent of British general practitioners are assaulted by at least one patient a year, or that a nursing sister to whom I spoke recently told me that a patient in her ward informed her, after she had been assaulted by another of her patients, that this was what she was paid for.

There is, and can be, no general right to healthcare.

It does not follow in the least, of course, that healthcare should not be available for people. The satisfaction of rights does not exhaust moral duties. A society in which the ill are well treated is better (at least in this regard, though not necessarily in others, since health is not the whole purpose of human existence) than one in which they are not. No one would want to see a society in which the ill were denied help: but this is because human kindness, decency, solidarity and sympathy demand that we succour the sick, not because the sick have rights.

The question of how healthcare should be provided cannot be answered by an appeal to a single simple desideratum: for example, that everyone should receive the same level of healthcare, in the name of equality or equity. Equality is not much a value in itself, for it would be satisfied by a system in which everyone received the same appalling healthcare and died at the same early age. Would a society in which no one received good healthcare be better than one in which half the population did? Egalitarians, but surely no sensible person, would answer that it would.

At the very least, egalitarians would have to add a condition to their demand for equality: that the healthcare to which all should have equal access must be good, or better than good. But in that case, equality is no longer the sole moral yardstick by which a healthcare system should be measured. If an unequal system nevertheless provided a better overall level of care, then it might with reason be preferred to one that gave the same, but inferior, level of care to everyone.


Now compare the clear logic of the preceding passage with a transcript from a portion of this recent, brief debate, hosted by National Review, between the liberal writer Chris Hayes and the conservative writer Reihan Salam:


Will Cain: So let me start with you, Chris. Do Americans have a right to healthcare?

Chris Hayes: Well, sure. The problem with arguing about rights is that it’s a sort of axiomatic thing. I mean, how you argue for a kind of first principle like the fact that people have a right to healthcare is a little difficult. But yes, as just a basic moral principle, I think that everybody… you know… the right to live a life as unburdened as possible within, obviously, the constraints of cost, etc. by the vagaries of illness, crippling chronic disease, etc. is just a basic human right.


<:od>So immediately after arguing that the existence of a sound, philosophical basis for the right to healthcare is highly doubtful, Hayes immediately claims that it nonetheless exists. In fairness, the conservative position on many ideas (certain  moral standards, for instance) is that, while it is difficult to find a rational reason to justify them, we nonetheless presume their existence, but that view relies almost entirely on a respect for tradition, since those standards have existed for hundreds if not thousands of years. Hayes, of course, doesn’t have much tradition to fall back on. The push for positive rights in general, and the right to healthcare in particular, has a history in America dating back no more than 70 or so years and remains outside mainstream American thought.

To be charitable, it is possible that Hayes means to say that there is no such thing as a right to healthcare but that common decency and human kindness could be served by the provision of it, but if true, this would demonstrate that Hayes may not understand the fairly significant difference between the two justifications, insofar as the latter makes everything dependent on practical considerations (he did qualify his statement by reference to cost) and the former implies their irrelevance. Of course, it might also be true that, in such a short debate with a limited amount of time to make his case, he simply phrased it poorly (I would probably do no better). At worse, it could be that, although Hayes doubts any metaphysical basis for the existence of a right to healthcare, he is simply unable or unwilling to give up the rhetorical advantage that such a belief provides to his side in the debate.

Regardless, liberals on the whole have pointed to the existence of such a right for decades.


Will Cain: Well, it’s a positive right, right?

Chris Hayes: Yeah.

Will Cain: I mean, that’s what it is specifically. And Reihan, we have a lot of positive rights. We have police protection. Does healthcare not fit in to that?

But police protection is certainly not a positive right. The provision of police services flows out of the negative right that citizens have not to be harmed (via physical assault, burglary, etc.) by their fellow citizens. If it could be determined that this negative right were best protected in some fashion other than by a police force, we would no longer regard the police as necessary, much less as a positive right.

Reihan Salam: I don’t think it does, because I think that a right to healthcare implies a right to health, and I think that’s a dangerous idea. I think that one thing that you’ve seen with the, for example, socialization of pensions is the idea that, well we’ve socialized your pensions, ergo we actually need to get more involved in your intimate life. Similarly, you know, if we’re going to provide you with a right to healthcare, then I think that implies that, well, you know, you’re obese, or you’re creating other social demands. And so there becomes a public health framework. And there’s nothing intrinsicallly wrong with it, but I think that there’s a real danger that the state starts to interfere ever more with your intimate life and your personal choices. So I think that, yes, there’s a prudential case for a basic social minimum, for insurance reforms, that kind of thing. But to imply a right to healthcare I think takes us down a dangerous road.


Leave aside Salam’s assertion that “a right to healthcare implies a right to health”, which I think is questionable at best (although it is probably inevitable that some would make that illogical leap), and note his concession that “there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it”, which is surely a far cry from Dalrymple’s clear explanation of the philosophical absurdity of the idea.

Chris Hayes: Well, we should also just say that there is a right to healthcare that’s acknowledged, which is the fact that you can’t turn people away from emergency rooms, right? So unless I misunderstand Reihan, and I don’t think I do, I don’t think anyone would advocate the fact that if someone is shot or hit by a car and they show up and can’t pay that we just turn them away. So we acknowledge that there is a basic kind of framework that we do have to provide emergency care to everyone, and part of the problem with the system is that we don’t build up from that to sort of approach care in a more holistic fashion that I think would actually be in the long-term a lot less expensive.
Again, Hayes does not distinguish between moral responsibility and the kind of inescapable philosophical demand that requires recognition in law. For him, the choice seems to be that we either establish a legal right to healthcare or we allow the poor to die. He does not seem to believe that compassion and charity can exist even when it is not legally required.

As to his contention that endowing all citizens with an eternal right to healthcare, and thereby freeing them of responsibility for their own health, will make healthcare less expensive, to say nothing of making people healthier, what need be said? Perhaps only this…

More Dalrymple, please.

15 thoughts on “A Right to Healthcare?

  1. Basil

    Good article. I could not help but notice that the movement in the definition of human rights away from a religious basis to a more academic or rational one also corresponds with the movement in the traditional basis for the provision of health care itself. Whereas it was once (and indeed may well be argued, originally) based on charity and altruism as it was manifest in the will of those that, overwhelmingly, were influenced by religious motives, the will for our future modern (bureaucratized) care must flow from an entirely different source – one that is driven entirely from a rational basis and is, accordingly, of the same sort that was employed to mitigate so many other extremes of social inequity in the past century. It will, of course, result in the same disastrous outcome and for the same reasons. We can never provide by way of pure reason what has traditionally been provided in spite of it. There is, after all, a reason why, when we require care, we are so often attended to at places named St. Johns or St. Francis, or someplace with Baptist or Methodist in its name, and never at someplace called Saint Darwin, Saint Marx or Saint Freud.

    Similarly, the shift from individual responsibility for health care – both our own and that of others – to a legally and socially mandated responsibility also marks a change in the historical direction of the dispensation of care. If I am responsible, first for my own care, I take measures to ensure that, should I require it, such care will be available, in the form of insurance or a similar arrangement. If I am unable to do so, I am obligated to recognize and appreciate the charity of those that might still provide me with whatever care I do receive. A similar responsibility would motivate me to help others provided that I felt a personal responsibility for my “neighbor”, as only a religious motive would inspire. However, once that responsibility is transferred from the individual to everyone at large, the responsibility disappears, for it is true here as in other ways that, what belongs to everyone, belongs to no one.

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  2. Tayles

    The liberal take on rights is merely an assumption that a modern society has a moral duty to provide a certain level of care. So, ‘rights’ are not pre-existing entitlements but the flip-side of duties imposed on others.

    This understanding of rights is born out of the notion that if to withold something is morally wrong, then it must be ours by right. This means that rights are based on our own desire to be treated in a certain way rather than on any God-given entitlement. They are a wish-list of circumstances elevated in status by the conviction and piety of their owners.

    If it would be nicer if things were a certain way then that scenario is given some mystical, righteous power that everyone has a moral duty to bring about. This power is the product of the liberal belief that their morals are so lofty and unarguable they possess an almighty power which turns the preference for a certain outcome into an immutable right.

    The liberal consensus in government and the media has managed to cement in our minds the idea that certain social arrangements are preferable and inevitable by describing them as rights. Not only is this extremely damaging to the fabric of society, breeding arrogance, ingratitude and resentment, but it also closes down any contemplation of alternative, superior arrangements.

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  3. Tayles

    There is a big difference between rights that respect our freedom and those which involve making a claim on others. The modern understanding of rights has moved away from the former and now resides firmly in the latter.

    Take the right to freedom of speech, for instance. In the absence of laws to contrary, we are all free to voice an opinion. It is not so much a right as a natural state of affairs that exists in the absence of the compulsion to do otherwise.

    By calling it a right, however, we demand that the law protects our freedom against others who would like to prevent us from speaking our minds. Crucially, it does not put a claim on others; it simply requires them to respect our freedom. If we are to describe anything as a right, it should be obligation-free arrangements such us this.

    Compare this to the right to healthcare. This has nothing to do with our freedom, but it has everything to do with putting a claim on others. If healthcare is a human right, then others have an obligation to provide it.

    I think we should differentiate between those things that can legitimately be called rights (ie that which would exist naturally but for the interference of others), and those which are merely slices of socialist wish-fulfilment.

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  4. Steve
    Exactly, Tayles. Well said.

    From an American perspective, even if one accepts the ideas embodied in the American founding, that certain rights are a gift from God, or alternatively, if one believes that those same rights flow inevitably out of human nature, those rights are still negative, not positive, rights. They require only that government or one’s fellow citizens refrain from acting: for example, that government refrain from limiting your speech or that citizens refrain from physically harming you or stealing your property. But the kind of rights that the Left in America has claimed for at least 65 years are positive rights, because they place duties on the majority to provide something to a minority:

    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

    The right of every family to a decent home;

    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

    The right to a good education.

    –Franklin Roosevelt’s “Second Bill of Rights” (1944)

    According to Charles Kesler here, the doctrine of positive rights actually takes us back to the feudal idea whereby “duties are primary, and rights are exemptions from duties that government grants to its favorite clients”.

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  5. Jaye Marno

    The tacit assumption by so many today that there is some inherent right to health care seems especially strange in that many (most?) of those who hold it do not hold to the right to life, the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. They want to oblige others to serve them while serving no-one themselves.

    I still do not understand where this so-called “right” comes from, other than from the idea that it is better for people to be well than sick. It’s all about feelings and political posturing rather than ethics, reason, true argument and debate.
    This is why socialism and government-run health care is all but inevitable. The majority is moved by selfishness, feelings and sound-bites, not by reason not even concern for their fellow citizens. This is all very frightening.

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  6. Mike

    While I don’t disagree with everything stated in this article, I feel obliged to point out that it is an opinion, not a fact, but an opinion of one man that health care is not a right.
    That being said, I found problems almost from the very beginning. The Declaration of Independence mentions some rights that the authors felt were endowed by a “creator” of sorts. Dalrymple, probably as a consequence of his own inherent bias, takes this to mean a god. However, putting aside the fact that the Declaration of Independence was just a declaration and only a declaration and not part of the Constitution which set up our government, assuming when a person states “creator” that they mean god or a god is a bit of a leap. I could say creator as well, and I could mean natural selection. IE: natural selection is the creator of mankind. Or, I could say the Sun is our creator, since without the sun, none of us would exist.
    So from this point of view, you can basically nullify the entire first two paragraphs of his argument.
    Am I making a stretch with this? Perhaps, but I am not the first man nor will I be the last to attempt to find out what the men who found this country were thinking when they wrote these documents.
    Suffice to say that the world was a very different place then, and there was no way for these men to foresee the direction mankind would take over the following 2 and a half centuries.
    Do I believe healthcare is a right? I do. I believe every human being has a right to dignity, and to happiness. I think it’s pretty hard to be happy or dignified when you have treatable illness that goes untreated. As my final point, in no way would government provided healthcare be free, since it would have to paid for by taxes. These taxes, taken in place of premiums already paid by insured to their bloated and inefficient insurers, would at worse be a very slight raise, and at best a reduction in cost (due to an increase in efficiency). Are there those who would take advantage of a public system? Perhaps. There are people who take advantage whenever and however they can, and nothing we can do will ever change that.

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  7. Yana

    I am a member of the left wing. I do not believe that health care is an inalienable right. I do believe that those who have the most in society should share it with those who have the least. I believe that you become extremely wealthy by specifically not sharing. When this happens to a great extent, government should step in and make sure that wealth is not being amassed by the few at the expense of the many. People are inherently greedy. If this were not so, 80% of the world’s wealth would not belong to 20% of its inhabitants. There is no way to force people to share other than through the government. Because of our inherent and obvious greed, this is the only option. It is obvious, and history has shown that the wealthy always keep most of what they have whether they could ever spend most of it or not.

    Remember, the rich become rich by NOT sharing very much of what they have been given, earned, or inherited. Simple as that. And they will fight tooth and nail any attempts to make them share. I am not pointing fingers and thinking that they are evil – they are human. The vast majority of humans, given the chance, do not share much of what they have – they prefer to enrich themselves at the expense of others. If you were truly willing to share and better the lives of those in this world who have little or nothing, you would not be rich. That is a fact.

    So, the government mandating health care for all, is just one way of getting the haves to share with the have nots. I am not afraid to talk about redistribution of wealth. Human governments have to do this to prevent the haves from keeping 99% of it for themselves only and pretending that their 1% in donations is generous.

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  8. Steve

    Yana,

    I would like to commend you for being so forthright in stating your beliefs. Americans are deeply skeptical of many of Obama’s claims regarding the Democratic healthcare plan, especially his claim to be concerned mostly with the impact of healthcare spending on the federal budget. Obama and the Democrats want “social justice” via government-enforced equality, and they are simply afraid to say it because they know it’s a losing issue. So I applaud you for saying so forthrightly what they will not.

    As to the points of your post, the rich do not get rich by giving away less but by making more, specifically by having a skill, producing a product or providing a service that other people value very highly and which is not already sufficiently available. Economics is not a zero-sum game. If it were, we would all still be living in caves. Do you not find it interesting that the poor have a higher standard of living in countries that reject income redistribution? Is it not to the capitalist countries that the poor of the world most wish to immigrate?

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  9. Yana

    Some of the rich make more – some inherit more – some have been afforded better educations by their parents – the list is long as to how people acquire more money. I am not arguing how people acquire money – but you can only get rich if you keep the money for yourself. You cannot get rich if you give your money to those in need. You can only accumulate more and more wealth if you keep the money for yourself. Try to argue that this isn’t true. If you are giving money away – it isn’t adding to your bank account or your stock portfolio, is it? You know I am telling the truth, but like most people who want to believe you are worth more than other people, you reject the plain truth.

    Which country are you referring to that has poor with a higher standard of living where income redistribution is not practiced? Across the board, many European countries have higher standard of livings than we do and less of an income gap between the rich and the poor. And European countries redistribute wealth more than we do.

    Poor people want to go where there is opportunity. There is opportunity in all developed countries in the Western world and poor people fight to get into all of these countries.

    BTW, the developed Western world got a lot of its wealth by raping and pillaging across the undeveloped world. Remember colonialism??? That was still an active process just this last century and much of Western control and influence over the world is a product of that.

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  10. Clinton

    Yana-

    You cannot keep what you do not have. To become extremely wealthy it is first necessary to earn an extremely large amount of money.

    It is most certainly not a fact that “if you were truly willing to share and better the lives of those in this world who have little or nothing, you would not be rich”. American history is replete with people like Carnegie, Rockefeller or Gates who were or are extremely rich while also sharing a large portion of their wealth with others through philanthropy. I myself, like thousands of others, attended college partly via a loan from Wal Mart founder Sam Walton.

    But of course, there is nothing immoral about earning an extremely large amount of
    money and keeping every penny for yourself. Neither you nor anyone else
    is entitled to the fruit of someone else’s labor. Giving to others is an act of generosity for which the recipient has the responsibility to feel gratitude. To simply expect to be given the possessions of others, as if they belong to you and not to their owner, is unseemly, ungrateful and ugly.

    To answer your question, America has a higher standard of living than any other large country in the world, and practices income redistribution less than the vast majority of them. Your statement about Europe is simply factually incorrect. America’s standard of living is higher than any country in Europe, and much higher than most (I believe only Switzerland is even close). America also receives a great deal more immigration than any European country. Immigrants vote with their feet, and as Steve pointed out, they seem to be voting for a country that doesn’t engage in a great deal of income redistribution.

    This is due to a fact that you are failing to consider. The more you redistribute income, the more you destroy incentives to work, innovate, earn and save. Thus countries that do not engage in large-scale income redistribution have greater economic opportunity. This is why, according to demographer Nick Eberstadt, the average “poor” American is wealthier than 94% of the people on the planet.

    But here’s the best part: countries that do not engage in large-scale income redistribution also give more to the needy. For example, according to Arthur Brooks in Who Really Cares? (http://www.arthurbrooks.net/whoreallycares/index.html), Americans give 4 times more to charity per capita than Europeans.

    The best way to aid the poor is to maintain a culture of self-reliance and an economy unburdened by large-scale income redistribution.

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  11. Yana

    It is a fact that you cannot be rich if you give the money you don’t need to be comfortable to the poor. Simple mathematics. If you give it away – you no longer have it. So, let me repeat, if you only keep what would make you comfortable and gave the rest away, you wouldn’t be rich (at least not multi-millionaire wealthy).

    Countries that engage in large scale redistribution give more to the poor in taxes not in charity. To this end, all poor people in Europe have health care. That is hundreds of billions in giving.

    Let me again point out that the wealthiest 20% control 80% of the wealth while people in this world are so poor they are starving. You can only justify that kind of greed if you have no conscience.

    If the rich, like Carnegie were so generous – they could have let go of their wealth while they lived. That is how hard as a human it is to let go of wealth.

    In addition, true wealth (which only 5% of the populace ever sees even in a developed country)is not earned in a vacuum. Others facilitated that wealth. Techonology developed through government funds developed that wealth. Educated workers paid for by taxes developed that wealth. You did not get rich in a vacuum. You owe something to society.

    As to whether countries in Europe have higher standards of living – that depends on whose statistics you believe in. You should know that. Per capita income doesn’t place us at the top in most studies. And not all European countries have seriously higher taxes than we do – except perhaps on the wealthiest 5%.

    As to incentives to work – the vast majority of people (about 80% in America) work to make ends meet and to secure something resembling a not so scary retirement. They have very little to no hope of ever getting wealthy. So what is motivating them to work? It isn’t attainment of ridiculous levels of wealth – is it? So the idea that if we tax the rich some to help the less well off – that somehow -the rich will just quit working on getting more money – what a joke. You know that is a joke. If the government were to seriously ask you to pony up 10% more of your income – you are trying to tell me that you would just get lazy all the sudden and stop trying? Puh-lease.

    You would like to believe that the poor need you as the whip holder to keep them working. Don’t give them enough to live on comfortably or without worry – if you do, they stop working. You use communism as an example. As if it is all or nothing. What about Sweden – are the people there stupid and unproductive? Be serious. You are really lying to yourself that lower income workers need wealthy people to crack the whip for them (as if there are no indolent wealthy people – have you ever seen info on the wealthy young elites who have nothing better to do then get drunk and ride around in limos?).

    People are all the same – whether they are wealthy or not. Some work super hard. Some do not. Rich or poor. No differnce.

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  12. Yana

    I forgot to mention – the vast majority of wealthy people do not become wealthy by amassing a huge amount of money in one or two years. The way they become wealthy is by consistently keeping far more than they need to become comfortable for years – until that money can earn more money on its own by sitting in investments. At which point, the wealthy person can choose to keep working or not. Many choose to stop working and live off of their investment dividends. How is that productive, by the way?

    Also, as I have pointed out, following the above model, you can only get rich by keeping much more than you need every year. You choose to not use your extra money to feed the poor and the starving and add that amount to your net worth. That is still how you attain massive wealth. Very few people suddenly earn massive wealth in one year – unless they win the lottery – and you could hardly argue that that is the result of productivity. So again, just so you understand. You get wealthy by keeping more money than you need repeatedly for years and years. You do not give you money to charity – at least not more than a very small bit – nothing that might eat into your accumulation of massive wealth. All the while being fully aware that a child is dying of starvation somewhere. But why should you care? You are so supremely productive. You are so supremely productive that you should be able to leave your vast fortune to your children who have done nothing.

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  13. Yana

    I forgot to mention, Clinton, that other countries limit immigration effectively – especially illegal immigration – which would explain our popularity far more than the fact that Europe redistributes wealth.

    As a matter of fact, I recall conservatives saying that many Louisiana hurricane victims would never leave the blue northern states because their lives there are so much better with the welfare provided than their lives were in Louisiana. So your argument is ridiculous – the poor immigrants choose us over countries that afford them better health care, better everything while they are poor?

    According to right wing arguments about why hurricane victims have chosen wealthier, welfare states to stay in, the poor working class immigrants should choose welfare states – shouldn’t they? They would surely choose big, liberal, socialist welfare states to go live in – right? That is what most poor people want – right? To go where they can get something for nothing? That is your supposition, not mine, about poor people in general.

    The answer is that this isn’t true. European countries have to limit their immigration like we do – not more, not less. We get more immigrants because we are a) larger and b) won’t stop illegal immigration because corporations want the cheap labor illegals provide. We do not have a greater percent of legal immigrants than most other developed countries per population – we do not have less. Period. If you want to say that we do – please post the source of this information. And also explain why these poor immigrants didn’t choose the welfare states that provide them their basic needs – since all poor people need the motivation of poverty to make them work and given the chance they will choose not to work whenever they can according to you. Your ideas about needing to provide poor people with character building poverty to motivate them to work – remember? They wouldn’t choose to be productive otherwise – right? So why would they choose to come here – where they have to work? They are poor, often illiterate. I know, I work with them every day as a volunteer. So why do you think that they come here? Do you know that not all of our refugees list us as their first choice? Did you know that many of our refugees classify themselves as religious refugees and come here because their church tells them that we are the best? Many can’t read or write in their own language. Let alone in English. Did you know that? Many come here because their cousin or brother or aunt is here. That is their sole reason. Did you know that?

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  14. Norris Hall

    One day a poor pregnant woman came to A Theodore Dairymple.
    “Oh, Theodore” cried the woman. “My husband was killed in an auto accident. I am an illegal alien. I cannot support this child in my belly. I want to have an abortion. ”
    ore Dairymple.
    “Oh, Theodore gazed upon the poor woman and replied “No. Woman. God loves every child..even the unborn. All human beings have a fundamental right “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Go and have your baby and forget about an abortion”

    So the woman had her baby.
    The newborn gravely sick.
    It needed a doctor and expensive medical care.
    So the woman returned to Theodore Dairymple.
    “Oh, Theodore
    “Oh wise one. My baby is sick. But I am an illegal alien. My child needs expensive medical care. Can you help me.”
    The Conservative lectured the woman sternly:
    “You chose to come her illegally. If your child is sick and you cannot afford a doctor you have no one to blame but yourself. Health care is not a right. Take that wretched child and return to where you came from.

    The newborn child died after much suffering

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  15. Glenn

    One day a poor pregnant woman came to Theodore Dalyrymple. “Oh, Theodore” cried the woman. “My husband was killed in an auto accident. I am an illegal alien. I cannot support this child in my belly. I want to have an abortion.”

    Theodore gazed upon the poor woman and replied “Go to any adoption agency in America, where the waiting list to adopt a newborn child is many thousands of names long. The prospective adoptive parents will pay all your medical bills, and help you stay healthy while you’re pregnant, because they want their child to be healthy. You will have brought happiness to a childless couple, and avoided murdering your unborn child.”

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