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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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No Right to Health Care, Education, or a Job

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Statists love to say that people have a right to such things as health care, education, or a job. That’s just plain statist nonsense. People do not have a right to health care, education, or a job.

People have a right to seek health care, education, or a job but they don’t have a right to them.

What’s the difference? Let’s examine it.

To say that someone has a right to health care is to say that someone else has a duty to provide it. Let’s say I walk into a doctor’s office and demand to see the doctor. The receptionist asks me to provide a credit card to cover the cost of the visit. I reply: “I don’t have to pay for this service. I have a right to health care.” The doctor walks in and says, “If you don’t pay for my service, you’re not getting treated.”

Isn’t he interfering with my right to health care? If I have a right to health care, then shouldn’t he be forced to provide it? If he refuses to provide it, then what good is my right to health care? The statist would say that a right to health care means the right to force a doctor or other health care provider to treat you for free (or force someone else to pay for it).

Now, compare that with a right to seek health care. You have a right to walk into a doctor’s office and ask if he will treat you. He has the right to say yes or no. If he says yes, both of you must arrive at a mutually agreeable price for the service. If you fail to do so, the doctor is free to walk away and so are you.

It’s the same with education. You don’t have a right to force a teacher to provide you with an education. You have the right to seek an education by asking the teacher to teach you on mutually agreed-upon terms.

It’s the same with a job. You have the right to seek employment but not force an employer to hire you.

In other words, you have the right to pursue happiness but you have no right to force others to provide you with health care, education, or a job. Genuine liberty entails the right to live your live any way you wish, so long as you leave everyone else free to do the same thing.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.