Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Right or Privilege


For the OP's protection, as well as the group he is in, I have edited this screen shot of some of the most insane things I have ever read. Well, not for his protection, I just edited it so that he doesn't get “harassed” by “mentally ill liberals” and grammar nazis. For those of you who don't want to read this butchering of the English language, he feels that healthcare, food and shelter are not rights. In it he laments that the person he was debating kept repeating that those three things are rights, without presenting a legitimate argument, only that said person believes, thinks, and is convinced that these things should be rights. He also concludes that liberalism is a mental illness, but you don't have a right to get that checked out, its a privilege.

Well, as someone who is mostly liberal, I have some thoughts, beliefs, and I am convinced that these things are rights, that whole right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now, along in this thread I have seen people drag up slavery, as in by creating a universal healthcare system, you are making doctors, nurses, and the rest of a hospitals, doctors staff, and all those who work in the healthcare system slaves. I have seen arguments that just because everyone has insurance that it somehow removes the agency of a doctor to refuse service. In a way I find this belief funny, as the crux of their argument against something like universal healthcare is that doctors would be forced to treat all patients, forget the fact that they will still be paid handsomely for their services, and who becomes a doctor, spends or barrows hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn a trade that they will never use? Certainly, there are some people out there who realize that by becoming a doctor, you are entering a trade that will not loose jobs for several more decades. Even in universes like Star Trek, where money is not really needed (post scarcity), you still have doctors. In my mind it becomes a question of who to ensure we have plenty of doctors for people, and to ensure that they can earn a living in their trade. Which with something like universal healthcare, people still have the choice to become a doctor, and they are insured that they are compensated for their work, without the added expense of hiring bill collectors. As for the belief that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was just propaganda, what about promoting the general welfare?

The housing not being a right is pretty horrid if you think about it. We have people dying, every year, because they do not have access to decent shelter. Yeah, we have homeless shelters, groups who provide housing. I am going to use my own local homeless shelter, in which you have to be in at 5 pm, everyday. Yes, in order to get a bed there, you have to be inside the doors at 5 pm. Before you get a cot, you have to listen to the “Praise Jesus” lecture, and you only get the cot for a maximum of two weeks. How do I know, a former co-worker was living there. When we were let go from a part time seasonal job, he ended up going there for two weeks, before he ended up sleeping under a bridge. At the time, he was working three part time jobs for minimum wage (for a total of 25 hours a week), and his final shift ended at 10 pm, which meant that when he was working at Zaxby's, he would come in too late to get a bed, and listen to the Praise Jesus lecture, therefore he often found himself begging for a couch to sleep on. But in the minds of those who do not see housing as a right, he isn't doing something right. Of which I respond, the guy is working two part time jobs, it isn't his fault that full time employment isn't available. Its not his fault that he lost his third part time job because his schedule is a complete mess, and he couldn't work when his third job wanted him too, or he couldn't come into that third job in a moments notice. Its not like he had a car making travel easy, he had to walk from job to job, or grab a bus, and would show up to work sweaty and covered in grease from his other jobs. But hey, the guy is still trying, sleeping under a bridge or on a coworkers couch, while washing his cloths and uniforms at the local laundry mat. Somehow though, he is still a morally lacking and fiscally irresponsible bum, right? I myself was homeless, living in a tent for years. I had a job at the time, was working 30-40 hours a week, making just over the minimum wage. Well, until my employer found out I was homeless, and I got canned, then couldn't find work because guess what? I didn't have a physical address.
Then there is the most hideous of views, I mean you can live without healthcare, you can live without adequate shelter, but you cannot live without this, you don't have the right to decent food. Seriously? How can anyone claim a country protects the general welfare of its citizens, where you have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, even entertain that food is not a right (to go along with decent air to breath and clean water to drink). Seriously, how can anyone believe that eating is a privilege? I mean seriously? Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I have a start confession that I must make before we proceed with this trial, I am an addict. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am an addict, I admit. My heinous addiction is one that all of us have, even if we do not wish to admit. I am addicted to food, specifically pizza and chicken. Sure, I could have gone with more hardcore drugs like crack/cocaine, or marijuana. I could have gone with the lesser viewed caffeine, chocolate, or tobacco. I went straight for the most hardcore drug possible, food. We must eat to power our massive computer like brain, the muscles in our bodies to work. But here we stand people, in the court of public opinion and being weighed is the following, Is food, or eating in general, a right or privilege? If we cannot work, or find work, does that mean we should go hungry in until we either fall into the good graces of those who would give us food, or we die. This certainly goes against the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness mantra we were told by the defense was merely propaganda, and that the general welfare only extends to not getting overrun by the bad guys.

Honestly, the whole life liberty and pursuit of happiness is propaganda thing is mind boggling for someone like me. Certainly, I will admit that our Founding Fathers, were not the saints we like to envision them as. Yes, they spoke of a nation where all men were created equal, while most had slaves. The dragging forth the specter of slavery is certainly outrageous, when it is applied to people who are ultimately being compensated for their work. While I will mostly agree that there isn't a state right to service, we are talking about something that many people would consider essential to living, or a lack there of would lead to an untimely death. Here are some key things to keep in mind. We live in an interconnected world, I think it is safe to say that everything is interconnected, when homes are vacant, property values decrease. When you go through town and there are homeless people littering the streets, it makes things look bad. When people cannot afford even the basics in life, a minimum standard of living, it reflects negatively on every aspect of your life, even if you do not want to see it. Those who cannot afford healthcare or health insurance, those who cannot afford a home, and those who cannot eat drag society down. Not them personally, many are just victims of some bad circumstances. Good things happen to bad people, and horrible things happen to good people.

But, here in lies the rub, and I am going to say it, and it will offend some. I am not sorry for this, not one iota. If you believe that food, healthcare (health insurance), and a home are not rights, what kind of person are you? Really think about it for a moment. What kind of person says you haven't worked hard enough, done enough to earn healthcare, a meal, or shelter from the blistering heat of summer and the stinging cold of winter. You are a horrible person, you come off as I got mine, screw you if you haven't got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. You want to know something else about yourself, when it happens to you personally, you will be the first in line with your hand out, and the thing is, there will be people there to help you. That is what it will take for you, the believer that these things are a privilege, to get off your high horse. Sorry, but not sorry, people that feel that healthcare, eating, and shelter are a privilege reserved for those who get lucky enough to have zero problems or no failures to launch, you are a bane to existence. You come off as a twerpy little libertarian, who doesn't understand these things. You don't really understand that cancer can strike anyone at any time, smoker or non-smoker. I could walk out of this house I reside in, and get hit by a drunk driver walking to the store. And I, as someone who has no health insurance will get lackluster care, because I cannot afford either healthcare or health insurance. My parents and I were evicted from the house we were renting, because the owner found someone willing to buy it, in the meantime, the owner of the house had sapped my father's income, but hey, I at least had the good fortune to have a friend to supply the tent, as it was taking everything I made and then some just to keep a crappy job, in an environment where there weren't many jobs to be had. Just so you know, my Dad spent 54 years working. Thats right, in 1958, at the age of 16 he started working. In total he worked six jobs his entire life. Two were part time until he graduated from high school, the last driving a coal truck. I will also say that when he went to his grave he felt himself a failure, because he spent years being homeless, his “golden years” no less. I have known people who lost part time jobs, because they couldn't be at the beck and call of a part-time gig, which made their personal problems so much worse. But please, do say they aren't trying hard enough. They don't deserve the privilege of a basic standard of living.

The truth of it is, you think that you and yours are an island all to yourselves. You have a basic standard of living, you had good chances, made good choices, got lucky enough that you didn't loose your ass in 2007 and 2008. In your mind, if you are hungry, lack medical care, and cannot afford a home, it is some moral failing on behalf of the person who lacks. Really, you are the one with the moral failings. It never occurs to you, that your line of thinking, your actions in the face of this calls for a home, education, living wages (or UBI), clean air and water, and food all devalue your fellow man. It allows those who have more than you could ever dream of having, those higher on the proverbial food chain, to set the rules to further influence the rules. You claim that creating a universal healthcare system, ensuring that all have food to eat, and a place to call home creates an environment of slavery, yet you fail to see that you are enslaving yourselves. You are allowing someone to make inordinate profits from your need to eat, human misery and suffering, all for the sake of having just a little more. You say you want freedom, but freedom is ultimately a two way street. It is a give and take proposition, like it or not. You have the right to refuse service for any reason, and people have the freedom to not bother using your service. I have the right to marry anyone I chose in this world, but you, if you are a preacher, have the right to not perform the ceremony, while others have the freedom to not attend your church or pay you to lead them into an eternal bliss (if that is your thing). True freedom, is not want you seek. You seek freedom for yourself, not for all. If you did seek freedom for all, you would see that a universal healthcare system, a living wage (or UBI), food, and a home for all would be the largest expression of freedom. People wouldn't be a slave to work, struggling to survive, they wouldn't be a slave to the potential for illness or injury, the stress of trying to make it. Then they would be free enough to have a basic standard of living, without the added stress of mounting debts, looming homelessness, and fear. Nah, you'd rather point your finger and claim they are a failure, you'd rather blame everyone else for what ails this country. Well, that is until its you or yours with the rumbling belly, sick and unable to get more than the standard patch up to make you stable, or you are sleeping in your car.