Political controversies and protests are often dominated by the theme of rights or individual rights. We hear about a "right to health care," a "right to education," even a "right to high-speed Internet." In California, one man has even claimed a "right to longboard" on city sidewalks. Others claim there is no "right to health care" because such a right entails forcing others to pay for one's health care--and coercion they say is a violation of individual rights. How can we make sense of competing claims to rights?
The Declaration of Independence states that the purpose of government is to secure the rights of man. Most Americans know and assent to the stirring words: We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. These words are immortal; they are what America stands for. Sadly, they now apparently mean next to nothing. What Rights Are What does it mean to have rights? A right is an absolute political claim. If you have right to some land, other people ought to permit you to have it. If you have a right to vote, nobody should prevent you from voting. If animals have rights, then we mean that no one ought to harm them. Rights are political claims because they pertain to what the law can or can’t force you to do, and what it can or can’t force others to do for you. Rights are not a physical property of human beings. They aren’t encoded in your DNA, rooted in your hair follicles, or readable via an iris-scanner. But they aren’t just a moral fashion statement, either: it’s wrong to say someone has a right simply to cheer for whatever the right stands for. I think it would be grand if people would travel to Mars. However, that alone doesn’t give someone a right to travel to Mars. Moreover, if you have a right, you have a right to do wrong, too. Your right to vote isn’t just a right to vote for good...
 Congratulations to Matthew McConaughey for winning the best actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club! The film and his fine performance highlight a simple, fundamental moral principle that is being lost in America: It’s your life.
The Wall Street Journal reported today [pay site] that the Department of Health and Human Services is urging hospitals and pharmaceutical companies not to buy Obamacare benefits (aka “health insurance”) for poor individuals. Why? Because the internal contradictions of Obamacare have created a conflict of interest.
Atlas Society founder David Kelley is interviewed by Jan Helfeld about the Supreme Court's decision on "Obamacare." 


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