|A “right” to health care? A “right” to a job? These are Euro-Socialist Rights by Jeff Jared|
DECLARATION ON SOCIAL RIGHTS
We the People sincerely hope for a society where: (1) no individual lives at a level of poverty below a certain minimum (1) (2) no individual who is capable goes without a job2 (3) no individual goes without adequate health care (3) (4) no individual goes without adequate education (4) (5) no individual gets paid less for equal work (5) (6) no individual goes without social security or pensions (6) (7) no individual goes without leisure, recreation, vacations and holidays with pay (7) and (8) no individual is privately discriminated against. (8)
But the well-intentioned elevation of these ideals to "rights" would be counterproductive and directly violate the Principle of Individual Consent, thus ultimately showing disrespect for the individual and the concept of equally applicable universal human rights. For these laudable ideals are "positive" rights which ultimately and logically lead to a property claim on things that other individuals already have prior inalienable rights to.
Such positive rights cannot be retained equally by all, thus they violate the principle of equal protection of the laws (Art. I, Sect. 1, Subsect. 7). Some people in wealthier societies, for example, would have "more" rights. But universal rights, by definition, are equal and timeless for all humans everywhere.
By elevating ideals to the status of rights, we tend to trivialize and inflate the notion of basic rights. "Negative" universal rights are really just rights from government coercion-interference (or coercion-interference from anyone else); they do not require anything to be actively done by government, only that governments passively refrain from doing anything.
A right to contract, for example, (Art. I, Sect. 1, Subsect. 5) does not mean government will guarantee an individual a contract for something; it merely means that a government shall not impair the obligation of contract (9) while it is in the process of forming or once it has already been undertaken between two or more consenting and capable adults.
A right to free speech doesn't mean the gov't must provide a website to you at no cost; it just means if you get one up and running, it can't take it down.
Social rights are prohibited because they require a right to something (usually the time, money, or property of another individual) that another individual already has prior rights to. Money--before taxation--belongs to the individual--as an extension of his body when he "mixed" his labor with property,10 and/or as a result of earning it through a consensual labor contract. Government actually produces nothing itself; it only takes via taxation.
Finally, giving government the moral mandate to operate a social welfare state also, unfortunately, gives it the opportunity to ever-expand. Universal, natural, individual human rights precede the state; they are not derived from it as social rights are.
If giving money or time is to help a fellow human being and is voluntary, then it is no longer taxation but, rather, compassionate, charitable and loving gift-giving. This kind of love, not more taxation, is the solution to our mutual human problems. And the intermediary private institutions of civil society including but not limited to church, labor organization, insurance pool, neighborhood association, community, club and family will provide these if left alone by government.
We the People hold once and for all that the superstitious 19th and 20th century belief that only governments can help the poor, underprivileged, unfortunate, and disabled is an outdated anachronism. We the People can and will take care of each other if left free to do so by governments.
1 From Article 25 of the UN Declaration, 1948.
2 From Article 23 of the UN Declaration, 1948.
3 From Article 12 of the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 1966.
4 From Article 26 of the UN Declaration, 1948.
5 From Article 23, Paragraph 2 of the UN Declaration, 1948.
6 From Article 22 of the UN Declaration, 1948.
7 From Article 24 of the UN Declaration, 1948.
8 From Article 2 of the UN Declaration, 1948.
9 From Art. I, Sect. 10, Para. 1 of the United States Constitution, 1789.
10 From the philosophy of John Locke and his "labor theory of value," Two Treatises on Government, 1678.