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The right to have something means the right to have it for free?

by Greg Krehbiel on 12 February 2012

Sometimes I’m astonished at the inability of people to make simple distinctions between things.

Here’s a clip of Barbara Boxer confusing the right to have access to contraception with a requirement that somebody else give it to you for free.

Unfortunately, it’s a common confusion these days.

(HT Powerline blog — The Constitutional Right to Free Stuff.)

-- 2012-02-12  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 2

  1. pentamom pentamom
    12 February 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    The underlying problem is that a “right to contraception” has been posited, and widely swallowed, to begin with.

    There is no right to contraception. There may be a right not to be prevented from having contraception, but that is not the same thing. Once you assert a right to contraception, then it logically follows that anything you have a right to, have *have a right to.* So somebody’s got ot provide it for you if you can’t get it yourself.

    That’s why the Bill of Rights talks about “freedom of the press,” not “the right to publish.” If there was a right to publish, I could insist that someone give me printing equipment and a distribution system.

    The real fallacy here is that a significant percentage of women who already have household income (all the employees or wives of employees of affected institutions) and health insurance somehow can’t manage to scrape up the money for contraception even though they really, really want not to have babies — so they’re just having babies right and left against their will.

  2. DSM
    12 February 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    To be fair: the Left doesn’t see this as a confusion. It’s not that they don’t understand that there *is* a distinction, they just don’t see why it should matter for policy.

    I find it helps to imagine what I’d think I was a fanatic obsessed with equality, heretically so, in the Chestertonian sense in which a heresy is a truth unmoored from Truth.

    In that sense, of *course* people need to get free contraception from the government. It’s something people want, and if it’s not provided by the government, some will have more access than others, which seems unjust. And strategically, anything which helps crowd out private associations in favour of the government both helps stamp out discrimination and concentrates power in the hands of a small group of expert managers.

    Saying “you have a right not to be prevented from having contraception” is just another spin on Anatole French’s old comment that the law in its majesty equality forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to sleep under bridges. if the government doesn’t step in, how can real — not potential, real — reproductive freedom be effected among the populace at large?

    And we can — nay, should! — replace contraception in this argument with housing, education, whatever. Only when the government is in full control can inequities be fought.

    [I feel the need to shower.]