Thursday, August 9, 2007

Mark Hillman OpEd on Health Care

The August 7, 2007 edition of the Denver Post printed the following OpEd by former Colorado State Senator Mark Hillman. Here are some excerpts:
Rights do not burden others
By Mark Hillman

When we consider drastically altering our expectations of government, we risk undermining the principles on which our country was founded and proving Ronald Reagan's maxim: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

Every expansion of government entitlements masquerading as rights - like a "right to health care" - is a dangerous step along this path, no matter how well-intentioned.

...Authentic rights can be enjoyed without permission from anyone else. Freedom of speech or religion or the right to keep and bear arms impose no cost on others or government. Only when competing rights collide must one freedom yield. In these circumstances, the Founders concluded that the proper balance ought to be drawn by the people whom government serves.

However, there is no right to be free from annoyance or irritation. That the mere exercise of our rights bothers someone else is an inevitable consequence of freedom.

Freedom also demands that we refrain from interfering in others' enjoyment of their inalienable rights. Freedom encompasses not simply the opportunity to make choices but the responsibility for those choices. Just because one choice seems wiser or safer doesn't justify using the force of government to require everyone to make the same choice. Likewise, government shouldn't protect those who make irresponsible choices from the consequences of their actions or, worse yet, make someone else bear the cost.

Entitlements, on the other hand, always impose a cost and always interfere with someone else's fundamental freedoms....

...[H]istory has but one example of a country founded on individual freedom. Despite its shortcomings and injustices, America remains a beacon to oppressed people around the world.

...Our vision for the future should emulate the Founders of that freedom - not the empty promises and repressive systems that so many around the world are dying to escape.

Mark Hillman ( is a wheat farmer and former state senator.
(Note: I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but I agree with Hillman's views on rights. In my opinion, the gradual expansion of entitlements by disguising them as "rights" is one of the biggest threats to the American political system.)