On November 2nd, the American people’s voice was heard at the ballot box. Voters in Arizona, Oklahoma and Missouri overwhelmingly voted for ballot measures stopping the enforcement of the individual mandate — one of the key provisions in Obamacare. The mandate, which takes effect in 2014, will force Americans to buy government-approved health care insurance whether they want to or not. Somehow, the Obama administration thinks this new mandate will boost our ratings in the first ever review by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The administration claims that the new health care law “makes great strides” towards improving human rights in America. However, Obamacare is a blatant violation of human rights. Many young and healthy Americans who may rationally choose not to purchase expensive government-sanctioned health insurance will be forced to pay steep fines or ultimately face jail time. In the end, Noble Peace Prize-winner Barack Obama appears willing to throw an innocent person in prison for not purchasing the right health insurance. How, again, does that advance human rights?
Such use of government force is the kind of human rights violation that we are more accustomed to seeing from UN Human Rights Council members like Saudi Arabia, China and Cuba. We cannot allow blatant human rights abuses to occur in America, the land of the free.
In our land of religious freedom, consider the Christian Scientist, whose faith precludes him from seeing doctors. Would it not be a human rights violation for the government to force him to pay for health insurance that he doesn’t want or need and will not use?
Listed in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the “right” to health care. This is a perversion of the idea of rights. As the Declaration of Independence states, Americans have the unalienable right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Note that none of these things require anything of anybody else. As Leonard Peikoff once put it, “they are rights to action, not to rewards from other people.” In other words, Americans have the right to do as they please as long as they do not harm others, but do not have the right to a vacation with the president in Martha’s Vineyard.
Health care does require something from someone else. It either requires time from a doctor or nurse or money from someone to pay for such services. To say we have the right to someone else’s time or services takes us back down a dark path in American history that most would not want to travel.
Some believe the government can just pay for such services at no harm to anyone. But the government does not have any wealth of its own. Every penny that the government redistributes was first forcibly taken away from a taxpayer. It is practically universally agreed upon that stealing from others is an immoral action. While Obamacare was passed under the guise of compassion, there is absolutely no virtue in spending others people’s money without their consent, no matter what the intention.
I urge everyone, including the millionaires who make up the Senate, to reach into their own pockets to donate money to help poor people in need of health care. Voluntarily donating to charities is a commendable action that should be encouraged. On the other hand, compulsory government “charities” — because they are in fact just taxes — violate human rights by coercing people to either pay or face harsh prison time.
We must step back and decide what kind of society we wish to live in. One where the government uses its monopoly on the legal use of physical force to coerce Americans to pay for mandatory government-approved insurance and threatens to jail those who refuse to do so? Or one that respects human rights and promotes peace by allowing Americans to make their own decisions regarding where their hard-earned money goes?
Fortunately, unlike many of the worst offenders on the UNHRC that will be judging our human rights record, the United States is still a democracy. As shown in the recent fair and free election, voters overwhelmingly oppose the government takeover of the healthcare system. We would be wise to listen to the message of the American people instead of a governmental body that includes some of the world’s worst human rights abusers. Ultimately, the American people will prove to be the ultimate protector of our own human rights.
Matt Kibbe is president and CEO of FreedomWorks, a nationwide grassroots organization fighting for lower taxes, less government and freedom and the author of Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto.