...Constitutional rights protect us from things: intimidation, illegal search and seizure, self-incrimination, and so on. The revolutionary idea of our Founding Fathers was that people had a God-given right to live as they saw fit. Our constitutional rights protect us from the power of government.Whittle identifies the central issue -- rights are freedoms of action (and corresponding restrictions of government power). They are not entitlements to goods and services that must be produced by others.
But these new so-called "rights" are about the government -- who the Founders saw as the enemy -- giving us things: food, health care, education... And when we have a right to be given stuff that previously we had to work for, then there is no reason -- none -- to go and work for them. The goody bag has no bottom, except bankruptcy and ruin.
Does that ring a little familiar these days? Because isn’t the danger here that if you’re offered something for nothing... you'll take it?
Only it's not something for nothing. "Free" health-care costs us something precious, and no less precious for being invisible. Because there's a word for someone who has their food, housing and care provided for them... for people who owe their existence to someone else.
And that word is "slaves."
I also liked his identification of the fact that a welfare state turns both the producers and the recipients of these redistributed goods into slaves. That's a point that cannot be emphasized enough.
(Disclaimer: This should not be construed as any kind of general endorsement of NRO or Whittle. I like much of Whittle's writings, although I have disagree with his characterization of rights as "God-given". For a secular discussion of the nature of rights and the objective facts that give rise to that concept, see "Man's Rights" by Ayn Rand. I also have other disagreements with Whittle on issues not related to this particular topic.)