Rights and Privileges
by, 19-Apr-2012 at 09:51 PM (1958 Views)
Rights and Privileges
There is a saying in the United States - “Driving is a privilege and not a right”. I am using roads -‘a public property’ for my personal use and because of that, my rights of mobility are curtailed and I have to be in compliance. My car has to be of a minimum standard. I should have insurance for accident so if I ever hit someone’s car, damage to the other party is covered by my insurance company. I have to have correct vision and should understand road signs. If I fail any of these tests, my license is revoked. This is not an oppression of the State but a maintained level of justice for all citizens to use (and not abuse) the public resources equally. It is important to understand the difference between rights and privileges. Anything that is provided to me that bears a cost, cannot be a right because of the cost factor. If anyone other than me, is paying for that service, that service cant be my right. With this in mind, lets try to logically define “the fundamental rights”.
1. Right to exist.
You are born free of slavery. One has the right to live and protect oneself. “Treat me the way, you want to be treated”. If you protect me, I will protect you. If you fight me, I maintain the right to fight back. I do not have the right to take anyone’s life nor does anyone else has the right to kill me. Pretty straight forward stuff.
2. Right to choose one’s religion.
As parents are the initial guardians of their child and his basic rights, they choose that child’s religion for him initially. No other entity has a say in that child’s belief. Once the child is mature enough, he maintains the right to change his religion.
3. Right to the fruits of their labor.
A free man has the right to his fruits of labor, minus the social cost via the social contract. Whatever money you make with your labor, you have the right to it. And this is key. This lays the foundation for private property and an Economic model.
Notice that none of the above rights cost anything to anyone other than the person himself. If any other rights are added, they would end up violating this 3rd right - someone else’s fruits of labor. For eg. You cannot have Education as a right because there is a teacher involved. If a child has a right to education, then that child’s right violates the rights to fruits of labor for the teacher. If healthcare is a right, then that right of the patient violates the fruits of labor for the doctor.
It sure does “feel” good to make education and healthcare as Fundamental Rights, as long as I am not paying for it! This very fallacy has manifested itself in the Eurocrisis. The right to Roti, Kapra & Makaan for Pakistanis has costed Roti, Kapra & Makaan!
Problem with Pakistan today is that it has mixed up privileges with rights. Every privilege has become a right, hence the sense of entitlement. Citizens expect every problem be fixed by the Government, even when the government is the cause of the problem. e.g. Inflation due to deficit spending, corruption due to inflation, blackmarkets due price-controls. There needs to be a fundamental shift in the minds of the people what the role of the Government is. Government is nothing more than an ‘Apartment Association’ or a ‘Community Association’. Governments do not provide services without someone somewhere paying for it. Its usually in the form of Inflation and corruption. The more the services you ask the Government to provide, the more corruption you will see around you with lesser the service! Politics robs the ‘spiritual’ aspect of a service that is provided to its citizen due to the sense of entitlement.
Lets keep government out of Economics, Science and religion to preserve the latter. Lets limit government to the protection of life, property and justice for all so hardworking citizens can roll up their sleeves and feel sweetness of their own fruits of labor.
Asif Ameer trades equities, bonds and derivatives in the International Capital Markets. He can be reached via Twitter @AsifAmeer_AP0 Than/ks, 0 Likes, 0 Dislikes