Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quote of the Day: Walter Williams on "Rights"

"We hear a lot of talk about this or that human right, such as a right to health care, food or housing. That's a perverse usage of the term "right." A right, such as a right to free speech, imposes no obligation on another, except that of non-interference. The so-called right to health care, food or housing, whether a person can afford it or not, is something entirely different; it does impose an obligation on another. If one person has a right to something he didn't produce, simultaneously and of necessity it means that some other person does not have the right to something he did produce.

That's because, since there's no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy, in order for government to give one American a dollar, it must, through intimidation, threats and coercion, confiscate that dollar from some other American. I'd like to hear the moral argument for taking what belongs to one person to give to another person.

There are people in need of help. Charity is one of the nobler human motivations. The act of reaching into one's own pockets to help a fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pocket is despicable and worthy of condemnation."

~George Mason economist Walter Williams, in his column "Compassion Versus Reality"


At 6/06/2007 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Williams is absolutely correct. Individuals lose when they form societies, but the collective gains from the strength in numbers. Societies’ needs always overpower individual’s needs. It’s kind of like buying insurance. You pay into a pool that someone else may collect, but it’s there for you too, if you need it.

Do you suppose Williams’ property, health, and life are all self-insured? I don’t. I am sure he’s happy to accept his state-subsidized benefits. When it come right down to it, what did he actually “produce?” Thoughts? He definitely got more than a penny for his.

At 6/06/2007 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The government doesn't provide Williams' property and life insurance.

Are you suggesting they should?

At 6/06/2007 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a public college or have funding for students from government loans, subsidies or G.I. Bill? Could Williams receive the pay he gets without the federal, state, or local governments' input (at this time and place)?

Most entitlements are not means-tested.

At 6/06/2007 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillsdale College in Michigan accepts no Federal Funding.

The professors there receive their pay and benefits with no Federal, State or local aid.

So, yes, it can be done.

At 6/06/2007 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hillsdale College in Michigan accepts no Federal Funding."

Do their students? If so, do the professors receive monies and benefits from students' tuition?

Subsidies are not always out in the open, but they are still subsidies. They are just not unpopular and have a stigma attached like welfare.

Williams speaks of liberal rhetoric. That goes both ways with the winner to the best rhetorician.

At 6/06/2007 1:26 PM, Blogger Adam said...

walt g.

Actually, Hillsdale ended up going to court to become independent of government. Students at that college end up getting scholarships from the school provided from private funds. The college does not recognize government student aid. (Actually, that is great considering how much effort goes into just filling out the FAFSA form every year, requiring tax information before the tax return is even prepared.)

At 6/06/2007 1:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From their website "Contributions to Hillsdale College are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. You will receive an official receipt in the mail."

Hidden subsidy?

At 6/08/2007 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that I found this article pretty cold-hearted and emailed the author; he graciously replied. However, when viewed in context from reading the author’s viewpoints from his Website, his principle is well-founded.

If you take it as given that taxes will be taken from individuals and spent how the government determines the money should be spent, it’s a matter of resource allocation and cruel to deny charity.

But, if you take it that the government should not have taken the taxes in the first place, it’s a matter of individual freedom.

Sadly, some of us, including me, can’t envision a world without big government. I think that mostly because that’s all we know.

The questions boil down to this: Do we accept government as we know it and just make the best of a bad situation, or do we attempt to change the current system? Do we too readily accept what should not be acceptable? I guess we all have to search inside ourselves to find that answer.


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