I'm realizing more and more now why one often hears the term "heartless libertarian." In any political discussion I'm often considered a heartless asshole because of my views. This occurs for several reasons. I believe the key reasons is that I have a firm belief that the only "rights" a man can have are those that do not impose a burden or obligation on another man. Anything else is not a right, but merely legally sanctioned plunder.
What do I mean by this? Well I have a right to free speech, but I don't have the right to make others accommodate me by forcing them to provide me with a speaking venue, or with free ad space in the newspaper. I have the right to practice whatever religion I believe in, but no right to have a church built for me. (forced labor is still theft.... or slavery) I have the right to own property, but I don't have the right to take someone else's property because they're more well-off than I am. Nor do I have the right to demand that others provide me with property.
Furthermore, I don't have the right to use the government to appropriate the property of someone “wealthy” because I am "needy" I have the right to use every faculty at my disposal to procure my own property, and I have the right to accept property given to me as a gift by a consenting party. Obviously, I also have the right to ask for such a gift. I have the right to own any property I’ve obtained by means other than theft. Only my actions should be proscribed, insofar as they infringe on the rights of others to likewise act in their own self-interest. My right to own property should not be infringed just because of how others "feel" about said property. (Guns anyone?!)
I do no have the right to health care If I can't afford it, because that means someone else is being forced to pay for what I cannot. That is a violation of their property rights. They have a right to do with their earnings as they see fit. No one has a "right" to anything which someone else has been forced to pay for. This is true regardless of whether theft via income redistribution is good for society or not. It doesn't change the fact that such policies inhibit my ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness. They are theft, plain and simple. The government is forcing me, at the barrel of a gun, to give up property I've earned, so that they can give it to someone else. That is no different than a common criminal stealing my wallet at gunpoint. The only difference is that the government is acting as an intermediary in the theft, and some feel that their involvement legitimizes such actions.
I do not have the right to a cushy retirement living off of social security checks. I do however have a right to save for my own retirement, and should be able to keep the income I earn in order to provide for myself. The responsibility of doing so is my own, and no one else's. If I fail to save and end up broke in old age that is MY fault. If someone then wishes to help me out of the goodness of their heart that is their choice. No one else, however, should be forced by the government to make up for my lack of responsibility.
In short, anything which must be produced by a non-consenting party cannot be claimed by another party as a “right.” The fact is, there are risks associated with freedom. The single biggest risk is the possibility of failure. The Declaration of Independence contains the words “life, liberty and the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.” No group, government or individual is required to provide others with material happiness.
Here’s an idea you’ll never hear mentioned. What happens to society when you plunder unduly on the producers? I’ll give you a hint, they either move abroad or stop producing all-together. You're also ensuring that a society will have fewer producers in the future. If they are taxed at too high a rate, what incentive do they have to continue their business? Aren’t those producers (the wealthy) necessary for the survival of the plunderer? You can’t give money to the “needy proletariat” if there aren’t enough “evil capitalists” to fulfill their “needs” and provide them with so-called “rights.” Not to mention, if the “evil capitalists” and corporations leave or cease to exist, so too will all the accompanying jobs and wages.
Also, Who determines what those “needs” are and when they are satisfied? Needs and happiness are different for every individual, and create an inherent and perpetual inequality among men. To declare it someone else’s duty to provide that happiness, there must be a requisite duty to destroy the individual. Needs / wants / happiness cannot be provided by the government unless such terms are defined broadly, in a societal context, under the collectivist principle that everyone wants or needs the same things in order to be happy.
If we’re using the concept of “rights” the way many seem to think of them today, then where does the list of “rights” end? Healthcare, a job, transportation, a college education, housing etc. These things are “wants,” and somehow, somewhere American’s have gotten the notion that they have the “right” to live a cushy, risk-free life where everything they want is given to them by the government. What’s worse, these people think they deserve such things because the evil greedy capitalists have too much. They preach “fairness” and “equality,” but think nothing of whether it’s “fair” to take from the wealthy.
Freedom demands inequality, it demands that life not be fair. I demand freedom. To quote The Formats' "On Your Porch" "If I fail well then I fail, but I gave it a shot." A shot is all anyone can ever really ask for in this life.