If everything can be a right, why do we need a Constitution?
July 23, 2009 · 1:24 PM
Jayson Osborne continues to make a hash of the U.S. Constitution in his vain attempt to find within its protections a right to publicly paid healthcare (“It’s implied by the Constitution,” July 17).
On the bright side, he’s quite right when he notes that the 9th Amendment says, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
But that doesn’t mean something is considered a protected “right” regardless of whether or not it’s spelled out in the Constitution.
If that were the case, there would be no reason to have a Constitution at all, would there?
Notwithstanding the persistent liberal desire to treat it as a “living document,” the Constitution exists to establish the rigid framework of our society by identifying in unambiguous terms those fundamental freedoms that don’t have to be provided by government — or by one’s fellow citizens — because they were already given to us by our Creator.
With respect to individual liberties, the Constitution doesn’t tell us what we must do. It tells the government what it can’t do.
If the Founding Fathers felt the need to identify a right to free speech, does it make sense they’d have been vague on the subject of a “right” as sweeping as free healthcare for all?
Among the other provisions of the Constitution is Article V, which defines the process for amending the document. If Mr. Osborne wants healthcare to become a right with the same protections as the right to keep and bear arms, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and all the others, I invite him to draft an amendment to that effect and see if he can get it ratified.
But failing that, I reject the notion that anyone’s pet issue can be elevated to the status of a “right” just because they think their passion entitles them to jump to the front of the line.