Monday, March 14, 2016

Common Ground for Conservatives and Liberals: ‘Pro-life’ and Government-Healthcare Arguments are the Same

There are those who say that healthcare is a right, and the fact that a person is a person is all that is needed for a right is inherent in being human, to be guaranteed by the State.  In addition to healthcare being a right all people should have, (according to Gallup) there has been over the past 16 years, a majority that think the government should have some safety net for people; there is an increasing percentage that think the healthcare system should be run by the government.  Healthcare as a right (in some degree to complete coverage) is deemed to be provided by the State from two parts: the beneficiary being human, and public opinion.

There are those who say a fetus has a right to life.  A fetus is not a ‘fetus,’ but an unborn child, a baby, a human being who deserves full rights.  It does not matter if this perspective is religious saying the ‘child has a soul given by God,’ or if the perspective is secular and the unborn baby is (as not a fetus) a full human being deserving of every right any other human being deserves.  Humans have innate rights, so the unborn are no different and to abort one either violates the sanctity of life according to one’s religion, or goes against the non-aggression principle (NAP) of not initiating force. 

In the two aforementioned positions, there is commonality – they make the same point. 
In order for the sick to have the right of healthcare, it has to be provided.  Healthcare is a product – service and goods – that has to be created before it can be given to the patient.  For the patient to receive what is their right, those who offer healthcare would have their rights violated in some way: who they treat and in what order, what services they offer, and what can be charged.  If there is to be a loss, that can be subsidized, but that means someone else loses their rights (to what they acquired) in order to pay: this payment that someone else must bear can be in monetary and non-monetary ways. 

As positive rights (something the State is to give to the people), the State has regulations and restrictions regarding how those rights are to be given.  Examples of how the State restricts your ability to pursue the goods and services that you may want, but it denies: midwifery was made illegal (though there are conditions where it is legal, with appropriate licensure) so options are reduced to the hospital, and have more visits subsidized; insurance can be viewed in the same manner;  the ‘War on Drugs’ restricts what chemicals you may consume, although you can buy the more expensive, State-approved pharmaceuticals, when offered by one who is licensed, and again, if you cannot afford, it will be subsidized; there are states that require a Certificate of Need (appropriate anagram of CON), whereby a potential medical practitioner who wants to open a clinic, has to prove to a regulatory board that there is a sufficient need for the clinic, and the board is usually made of members of the local hospital who would lose business, so the more expensive option can be subsidized; if you or your loved one is dying, you do not have the ‘right to try’ unapproved treatments, so you or your loved one must suffer until death comes, as the will of an unconnected third-party bureaucrat said ‘no.’  These, and many more, are examples of how the State’s granting of rights affects the individuals, controls how people can use their money and their very lives.

The State decides who is to receive what, and how, as a right.

Regarding abortion, it does not matter for the antiabortionists (proper term as ‘pro-life is more than being against abortion) whether it is religiously or secularly based.  The conclusion is the same, even if the premises vary.  In the secular or religious veins, the fetus is considered a ‘baby’ or a ‘child’ – hence, the adjective of ‘unborn’ repeatedly thrown before the words baby or child.  The secular, of course, do not fall back upon any form of an external supernatural deity, which will be addressed shortly.  When we examine those claims and the terms therein, the same answer can be given to both the secular and religious antiabortionists.  Terms are important, for they show exactly what the subject word is: a child is a young human being, below the age of puberty; a baby is a young child, usually recently born.  A [human] fetus is an unborn offspring, eight weeks after conception – until then it is an embryo. 

We may use terms informally, such as in analogies referring to one’s lover as ‘baby’ or idioms such as ‘draw a blank’ in our daily conversations.  However, in philosophy, science and law, precision is key, and though conversational language may be used to supplement a point, it is around an operational definition that is precise.  Baby, child, and fetus are different concepts for they reference different things – things that have a link, but are different nonetheless.  Outside of informal conversation as aforementioned, treating the terms literally and equally shows their absurdity: your lover is not your baby, and your preschooler is not your fetus.  An implicit part of the definition in child and baby that fetus does not have: a separate individual. 

Individuals have rights.

Defenders of antiabortion may claim: a fetus has a heartbeat, it has brain activity, and that there is a period of viability.  To these points, it may simply be stated that a human fetus is indistinguishable from almost any other gestational organism in those characteristics.  The antiabortion counter is made ‘but it has human DNA.’  The counter to that is any human cell has human DNA, and before you mention it has its own DNA, that just means its parents were separate sexes (not reproducing asexually), like other gestational animals.  The brain dead, and even individual organs, can be kept alive nearly indefinitely through the use of medical devices. 

The argument for both claims (government healthcare and antiabortion) is:
Humans have rights, including positive rights.
Those in need are human.
Society has to grant help to those who are in need.
Society has to fulfill positive rights.

Society, however, is a second-level abstraction – there is no entity as society, but there are individuals who make up a society; those individuals are to grant the positive rights that society is to supply.  Since there are those who need, those who do not need, have to help.  In other words, the rights of the beneficiary outweigh the rights of the individual. 

To those who interject religion and their faith as justification on their antiabortion position, your faith may be important to you, but I am not under any obligation to honor your faith – I am even obligated to resist your imposition of your faith if forced upon me, the same as any other system (secular or other) that is not of my choosing.  To those who do not interject faith, but public opinion, your preference is as fragile as the whim of the majority who may blow with the winds of the moment.  Does your preference, and should the law, change whenever the opinion of the majority shifts over 50% in either direction, to go back again and again?

Detractors of this may wail: what about the poor/needy? – they will die without help!  That may be the case, and it may not.  It is a false assumption that only having the State help is the way help can be achieved; it is more of a factor such ‘help’ may take away from care/assistance.  If you saw someone sick and injured on the street, would you go to your local representative to have him go to the state representative (and him to the congress if continuing), to have that representative draft a bill, get it passed, train law enforcement how to enforce it, have the police enforce the new law – all of which would have to be paid for, meaning less funds for actual care – to have that officer detain and fine your neighbor to help the original sick and injured, or would it be better to help that one yourself, or a local charity who is ready to help? 

There will still be a cost for the doctors being trained and implementing care, along with nurses, the various medical devices and drugs, as well as facilities, and research for newer and better treatments and programs.  How would adding bureaucrats in a vast bureaucracy that needs to be created and maintained, as well as placing new restrictions upon the actual care-providers, increase the availability and affordability of care?  It will not make it more affordable, or available; it will simply make the base of patients increase without increasing the providers, while violating the rights of others in order to cover costs.

Regarding the ‘right to life of a fetus,’ would those proponents be willing to have tubes surgically attached to themselves so an invalid or one clinically braindead can have a continuous supply of nourishment?  If the answer is no to either of the questions, very well, but do not advance either cause as legislation that makes all individuals or women lose rights of their own property and bodies.

Finally, a right is not an opinion – you may rightly say that you feel or think that healthcare should be free and that a fetus should not be aborted; that is the nature of a free society, in that you follow the regulations you believe in, but do not impose your will on others.  It is disingenuous to say that either healthcare or fetal-rights to life are rights, followed up with the commitment to those claims, of an opinion of equal value saying one’s favorite ice cream flavor. 

“A government of laws, and not of men.” – John Adams

If non-rights are granted according to some sense of rightness from those who want them, and not in the rightness or wrongness of the acts themselves, then we do have a government of men, meaning the whims of those in charge will be used to dictate over the others.  This does not necessarily mean an individual man, but men who inhabit the same system: the State and its power.  Such laws are not to protect individual rights, but on the contrary will be used to violate rights according to the whims of those with legal authority.  Be wary, for if your preference is in office now, they will not remain there, but the power to rule by whim will remain.

Either way, conservatives being antiabortion, or liberals wanting State healthcare, they equally demonstrate a lack of concern for individual rights, though they may talk otherwise.

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