Has anyone else noticed that – at least in the minds of many – our list of “basic human rights” has expanded in recent years? I’m thinking specifically about the ongoing debates over healthcare reform, gay marriage, and the availability of contraception and abortions. For example:
“Affordable healthcare is a right, not a privilege.”
“Everyone has the right to marry the person they love, regardless of sexual orientation.”
“Allowing religious institutions to opt out of providing health coverage for contraception is a violation of women’s reproductive rights.”
These kinds of statements are rampant, yet we seldom hear anyone stop to define exactly what they mean when they say something is a “right”. Clearly they don’t mean legal rights, at least not as the law is currently written. They seem instead to be appealing to something more fundamental to our human existence.
The next obvious question: Where do these rights come from?
“Think of this great flaming phrase: “certain inalienable rights.” Who gives the rights? The state? Then they are not inalienable because the state can change them and take them away. Where do the rights come from? [Jefferson and others] understood that they were founding the country upon the concept that goes back into the Judeo-Christian thinking that there is Someone there who gave the inalienable rights.” -Francis Schaeffer
Unfortunately, I suspect that much of what’s being defined as “human rights” these days is really nothing more than the personal desires of the individual making the claim. Isn’t it just a LITTLE absurd, after all, to suggest that every human is born with the right to an affordable, government-approved health insurance plan? Surely this must come as shocking news to the billions of people who haven’t been raised with our entitled first-world mindset.
Perhaps in a few years we’ll be arguing over the “basic human right to a smartphone”…