Thursday, January 08, 2004

An Obligation to Oppress

One of the things I will go off on from time to time is the idea that if one wants to have rights, then one has to accept responsibility for the consequences of the practice of those rights. Rights/Responsibility, same coin.

On the flip side that most people don't cosider is that when you give someone responsibility, it has to be assumed that you are giving them the right to manage that responsibility. In the case of health care, if you give someone else the responsibility of paying for it, then they will have the right to try to minimize the cost. If that means denying the freedom of the person covered, then so be it.

Case in point: a Fox News article, via the Lovely and Talented Kate at Electric Venom, in which we learn that the Riverside County Sheriff's Department is instituting a policy of not hiring smokers. The reason? You guessed it, the cost of health insurance is becoming too high and the county needs ways to lower their premiums.

Many of us can understand the frustration of being responsible without the rights necessary to live up to the responsibility. So imagine how tempting it is for employers or the government to make rules (which is in their rights) to prevent the people they are responsible for from doing thing that will cost them money. How often do we hear that such and so behavior costs tax-payers X million dollars a year as a rationale for a law that forces people to be careful? Should we be surprised then that the nanny then tells us that we have to wear a helmet on motorcycles, that we have to wear seatbelts while in our cars, that our kids have to wear helmets while on their bikes, and other paraphrases of "If we have to pay for your mistakes, we'll make sure that you don't make them."?

You can't take your freedom without taking responsibility.

No comments: