The Right to Be Left Alone is the Only Right There Is

There’s no such thing as a “right” to something that somebody else created. In other words, there is no “right” to health care; or to a mortgage-free house; or to an iPhone, a television, or anything else for that matter.

In order to claim a right to any of these things, somebody else will have to surrender his or her rights. If you have a right to an iPhone, then the company who created that phone, or the person who presently owns it, no longer has the rights of ownership. You have to be prepared to require others to give up their rights in order to attain your own.

There’s no such thing as “equal rights” in a context where one person must surrender some of his rights in order for another person to have those rights.

This is the issue which cannot be evaded, but is routinely evaded in our time. It’s why our society seems to be on the brink of cultural civil war at times, and it’s why the budget deficit and other political crises cannot be resolved. After all, who’s to say that I’m NOT entitled to the billions of dollars set aside in the budget for something I want, while somebody else IS entitled to the billions set aside for him? There’s no way to resolve this. This is why there’s no reason for optimism about anything credible or fair coming out of the latest round of “budget deals” taking place in Washington D.C. Fairness is not possible, because fairness, by the prevailing definition, means sacrificing one for the sake of another.

So what is fair, then? Fair is honoring the right of everyone to be left alone. Some will say, “This is heartless and cruel.” No it isn’t. It’s the definition of a peaceful society, a society based on equal liberty for everyone. There’s nothing about a free society which makes it impossible or illegal to help anyone you wish. There’s nothing to stop people from forming all kinds of business and personal arrangements, including but not limited to having children, getting married and forming business partnerships. Nobody has to be alone, if they don’t want to be. But government IS required to leave people alone, and to require that people leave each other alone.

When government says, “We’re going to take twenty percent of the income people make and spend it on health care,” it’s not leaving people alone. It’s actually turning people into slaves for the sake of others. People reply, “Oh, that’s not slavery. Slavery is when you’re put in chains.” But what happens if you don’t hand over the twenty — or seventy-five — percent of your income that government claims as its own, for whatever purpose? You go to jail. You’re put in chains and you go to jail. Short of murder, not paying one’s taxes (unless you’re politically influential) is one of the most serious offenses one can commit.

So pay up, or go to jail in chains. If that isn’t slavery, what is?

People, especially liberal socialist types, claim that, “Well, this is just common sense morality. It’s obscene to make a lot of money while others around you are lacking.” That’s one opinion about morality. But there are lots of opinions about morality. Some people feel it’s morally obscene to have an abortion; yet most liberals claim that it should be left legal, and I agree. Some people claim it’s morally obscene to be gay, or to do other unconventional things which don’t harm anyone; yet most liberals claim that these things are not under the control of government, and reasonable people agree.

So why does government have an entitlement to impose morality in one case, while not in another? No answer is ever given, because the question is never asked.

The issue of government is nothing more, and nothing less, than the issue of outlawing coercion. Without a government, there would be no way to outlaw coercion. Coercion is the initiation of physical force. Nobody has a moral right to do this, and nobody should have a legal right to do this. When the government starts using coercion to force people to do certain things, such as pay for the goods and services of others the government happens to like, then government itself becomes the criminal. The minute government started doing this, it lost its moral authority.

By what I’m saying, the government lost its moral authority quite some time ago, before any of us alive today were born. Is it any wonder that government is losing control of itself, as well?