Yesterday I posted this question “Does government have the responsibilty to even the odds or should it rely on the free market to resolve the dilemma?” while discussing the outcome of Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. Then yesterday afternoon while at the laundry I picked up a copy of one of our city’s street newspapers called San Diego City Beat. One of my favorite columnists is writer Edwin Decker who writes the column Sordid Tales. His subject this week, The Difference Between Right and Privilege.
As you might know, I am a firm believer in the serendipitous. So when I saw the sub-title, a quote from Hillary Clinton that said, “I believe universal healthcare is a right, not a privilege.” I knew I was onto something.
The notion that we have a right to health-care ignores two univeral truths of the human condition – we all must fend for ourselves and nobody owes anybody a damn thing. Edwin Decker
When Decker’s, and I must admit my, idea is put into the context of Smith’s story then it is clear that the problem of government, any government is how to balance the scales without taking away the freedom to choose. To much control and it becomes Smotherhood. Not enough regulation and we get the sub-prime lending mess. Right now as the Presidential debates and primaries run their course, one of the major issues that we as voters have to decide is which candidate and which party can walk the line. NAFTA will be re-visited if the Democrats win. It won’t if the Republicans do.
As Edwin points out in his article, “The point is that there are no true rights or privileges, just an interminable debate raging every day among millions of people . . .” and “when you boil it down, you realize that what people are really saying is, ‘I have rights, you have privileges.’ ”
Is it true? It seems to me that there is another way to see this. A right is something I have. A privilege is something I get. And in a free society everyone should have the opportunity to exercise the difference.