Fourth of July: Entitlement Day?

In the United States of America, July fourth is more than a celebration of our independence as a sovereign nation.  We celebrate the independence of the individual from tyranny, a word that appears four times in the Declaration of Independence.  In 1776, the small group that controlled the populace was the British aristocracy.  Today, tyranny is returning.  Instead of control by a hereditary aristocracy, we are increasingly under the thumb of a professional political class.

On July fourth, Americans honor personal freedom.  Yet Democrats want us to give up our freedom and make ourselves totally dependent on Washington.  If they were honest, they would introduce a bill to rename the Fourth of July "Day of Dependence" or "Entitlement Day."

Entitlement means "having a right to something."  When Americans think of rights, they immediately turn to the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  We think they give us the right to free speech, assembly, religious independence, security in our homes.  Not so.  These amendments are not positive rights or entitlements.  They are all protections for the one and only, overarching right of all Americans: freedom.

Americans are entitled to be free.  We are not entitled to "have" anything.  This semantic distinction is one with a big difference.  The Bill of Rights is really a series of constraints on the federal government.  The amendments say what Washington can't do to us, thus they protect our independence, Americans' freedom.

Entitlement signals the death of freedom and independence — its false promises turn self-reliant Americans into government dependents. 

Democrats say we are entitled to health care.  In other words, certain Americans — patients — have a right to the work product of certain other Americans: doctors, nurses, and therapists.  With this right, patients can demand service when and where they want, and providers must deliver.  As Democrats promise "free health care," there is no need to pay for a patient's right to a provider's service.  A patient's right or entitlement to health care takes away a provider's right to be free.

The proposed Medicare for All plan, H.R. 1384, eliminates private insurance and thus takes away patients' freedom to choose their insurance.  The same plan promises that patients can go to any provider they want, as long as that provider is approved by Washington.  So patients lose their freedom to choose their physician.

Whenever politicians say we are entitled to something, like education or health care, for free, two things are sure to happen.

First, the freebie will turn out to be very expensive for taxpayers.

Second, the freebie will be low-quality and in short supply.  Remember the Soviet Union.  There were numerous goods and services that government promised to provide for free.  Members of the Politburo and the Party did get these items.  The rest of the people waited in line for shoes with paper soles and toilet paper that doubled as sandpaper.  The free education included history, philosophy, and ethics that were acceptable to the political class, not an education of accurate facts and free discourse.

When federal politicians promise free entitlements, they always come with a dog collar where Washington holds the leash.  If we accept their promises, we give away our independence and the right to choose in return for a lump of coal in the Christmas stocking.

Entitled Americans are dependent Americans.  Three hundred twenty-seven million self-sufficient, independent souls would become a population completely reliant on federal handouts for everything.  

If this happens, don't blame the Democrats or the Progressives, who are really totalitarians in disguise.  Blame ourselves.  People living in the British colonies of 1776 were born into a tyrannical system.  They had to fight for their freedom, which they passed on to us.  If today's Americans trade our freedom for entitlement and its tyranny, we will be doing it to ourselves.  

I certainly hope not.

"Dr. Deane" Waldman, M.D., MBA is professor emeritus of pediatrics, pathology, and decision science and author of Curing the Cancer in U.S. Healthcare

In the United States of America, July fourth is more than a celebration of our independence as a sovereign nation.  We celebrate the independence of the individual from tyranny, a word that appears four times in the Declaration of Independence.  In 1776, the small group that controlled the populace was the British aristocracy.  Today, tyranny is returning.  Instead of control by a hereditary aristocracy, we are increasingly under the thumb of a professional political class.

On July fourth, Americans honor personal freedom.  Yet Democrats want us to give up our freedom and make ourselves totally dependent on Washington.  If they were honest, they would introduce a bill to rename the Fourth of July "Day of Dependence" or "Entitlement Day."

Entitlement means "having a right to something."  When Americans think of rights, they immediately turn to the Bill of Rights, the first Ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  We think they give us the right to free speech, assembly, religious independence, security in our homes.  Not so.  These amendments are not positive rights or entitlements.  They are all protections for the one and only, overarching right of all Americans: freedom.

Americans are entitled to be free.  We are not entitled to "have" anything.  This semantic distinction is one with a big difference.  The Bill of Rights is really a series of constraints on the federal government.  The amendments say what Washington can't do to us, thus they protect our independence, Americans' freedom.

Entitlement signals the death of freedom and independence — its false promises turn self-reliant Americans into government dependents. 

Democrats say we are entitled to health care.  In other words, certain Americans — patients — have a right to the work product of certain other Americans: doctors, nurses, and therapists.  With this right, patients can demand service when and where they want, and providers must deliver.  As Democrats promise "free health care," there is no need to pay for a patient's right to a provider's service.  A patient's right or entitlement to health care takes away a provider's right to be free.

The proposed Medicare for All plan, H.R. 1384, eliminates private insurance and thus takes away patients' freedom to choose their insurance.  The same plan promises that patients can go to any provider they want, as long as that provider is approved by Washington.  So patients lose their freedom to choose their physician.

Whenever politicians say we are entitled to something, like education or health care, for free, two things are sure to happen.

First, the freebie will turn out to be very expensive for taxpayers.

Second, the freebie will be low-quality and in short supply.  Remember the Soviet Union.  There were numerous goods and services that government promised to provide for free.  Members of the Politburo and the Party did get these items.  The rest of the people waited in line for shoes with paper soles and toilet paper that doubled as sandpaper.  The free education included history, philosophy, and ethics that were acceptable to the political class, not an education of accurate facts and free discourse.

When federal politicians promise free entitlements, they always come with a dog collar where Washington holds the leash.  If we accept their promises, we give away our independence and the right to choose in return for a lump of coal in the Christmas stocking.

Entitled Americans are dependent Americans.  Three hundred twenty-seven million self-sufficient, independent souls would become a population completely reliant on federal handouts for everything.  

If this happens, don't blame the Democrats or the Progressives, who are really totalitarians in disguise.  Blame ourselves.  People living in the British colonies of 1776 were born into a tyrannical system.  They had to fight for their freedom, which they passed on to us.  If today's Americans trade our freedom for entitlement and its tyranny, we will be doing it to ourselves.  

I certainly hope not.

"Dr. Deane" Waldman, M.D., MBA is professor emeritus of pediatrics, pathology, and decision science and author of Curing the Cancer in U.S. Healthcare