Category Archives: health

Join me LIVE on the Annoying Peasant Radio Show Tuesday, May 5. @ 7:00 pm cst

I know I’ve been offline from posting for a while.   Hope to be back soon.  But, I wanted to invite all of you to join me as I guest host the Annoying Peasant Radio Show next Tuesday, May 5th at 7:00 pm cst.   

I’ve appeared on the show a couple times already with my friends Tom and Tanya, but we’ve been wrestling with some audio / technical difficulties.  Really hoping we have all the kinks worked out.

On the docket will be an important topic that is near and dear to my heart — Organ Donations and Liberty.  Whether you have no opinion or very strong thoughts on the topic, my goal is to get you to think more about this as it affects millions of people around the world every day.

Click — http://www.spreaker.com/show/annoying-peasant-radio on Tuesday to get to the show.  (You can also go there and listen to recorded shows.)

Be sure to join us in the Chat Room as well during the show.  Click on the bubble icon to get to the Chat.  You will have to create a Spreaker login to Chat, but it’s free and can be linked to your Google or Facebook accounts if you’d like.

Capture

You can follow the Annoying Peasant Radio show on Facebook.  www.facebook.com/AnnoyingPeasantRadio

Hope to see you online this Tuesday!

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re: https://txfatherofseven.wordpress.com/2014/10/21/you-think-you-own-your-body-try-selling-your-organs/

Do you even know what you’re saying?

Socialism, and her inevitable offspring Communism, are gaining popularity once again.  Visions of Che Guevara swell in the hearts and on the T-shirts of the ‘working class’.  Students flock to the local Leftist “Equality” rallies, iPhones and Starbucks Gluten-Free-Mocha-Frappa-Caramelitos in hand.  Disgruntled workers, not feeling the love, covet their CEO’s bonus payout last year without the slightest clue of what it takes to run a company that may employ tens of thousands of workers.

And why not?  On the surface, there’s some appeal to the idea of Socialism.  Why wouldn’t we want everyone to have guaranteed food, shelter, education, medicine, clean air, pothole-free roads, high paying jobs, time and money for vacations on the beach, USDA Prime filet mignon for dinner every night, or blazing fast wifi?  Unless you’re a real sociopath, no one wants to actively prevent someone from having these things.

The problem is that in reality, everyone can’t simply have all of these things just because we want it to be so.  As I’ve written previously, the fundamental truth of economics comes down to 2 basic, opposing forces – the insatiability of our appetites vs. the scarcity of available resources.  You cannot completely satisfy even a personal insatiability because of the scarcity of resources, much less the desires on a national or global scale.

Don’t misunderstand.  That’s not to say individuals cannot find contentment in their situation.  We may resolve to be content with what we have.  But tomorrow, we will be hungry again.  We will need shelter again.  We will want electricity and heat and water again.  That’s what it means to have an insatiable Demand over time.

Despite these fundamental truths, modern Socialists want you to believe that it IS possible for a central planner to gather up all of the resources and equitably parse them out to the masses.  They also want you to believe that in this fairy tale, individuals will choose to work, not for selfish gain, but for the good of humanity.

Can a central planner actually accomplish this better than the free market?

This clip from Milton Friedman explains why no one can even build a pencil on their own.

What is Socialism?  How do they propose to distribute all these goods and services for everyone to enjoy?

Here’s a quote from MarxMail.org —

Instead of wanting to take away people’s private property, socialists want more people to have more private property than ever before.

There are two kinds of private property. There is property which is personal in nature, consumer’s goods, used for private enjoyment. Then there is the kind of private property which is not personal in nature, property in the means of production. This kind of property is not used for private enjoyment, but to produce the consumer’s goods which are.

Socialism does not mean taking away the first kind of private property, e.g. your suit of clothes; it does mean taking away the second kind of private property, e.g. your factory for making suits of clothes. It means taking away private property in the means of production from the few so that there will be much more private property in the means of consumption for the many. That part of the wealth which is produced by workers and taken from them in the form of profits would be theirs, under socialism, to buy more private property, more suits of clothes, more furniture, more food, more tickets to the movies.

More private property for use and enjoyment. No private property for oppression and exploitation. That’s socialism.

So first off, Socialists want you to have MORE private property by taking away your second kind of Private Property.

wait-what-meme

But let’s take a closer look at this nonsensical banality.  You have the right to your property for use and enjoyment, just not the things that will produce more property for use and enjoyment.

How many of you have 2 separate bank accounts – one for your use and enjoyment (say a checking account) and another for producing more money (say an IRA or Savings account)?  Well, that second account would become property of the Socialist State.

For those of you that are business owners or employers, how many of you sacrifice some of your “use and enjoyment” private property to invest in your business or to create jobs for employees?  Well, you might want to reconsider because the Socialist State would immediately seize your tools of exploitation and oppression.

So what’ you say?  As long as there’s equality and people’s lives improve, isn’t that good?

Let’s imagine if we measured the Total Global Production of Goods today, and declare it be equal to 100 units of measurement (let’s call them widgets).  So as of Jan 24, 2015, there are 100 widgets in the world today.  Socialist believe that if the global population equaled 100 people, well then each person would get, on average, 1 widget to consume.  (True Socialists differ from hard-lined Communists in that they won’t distribute the stolen goods equally per person, but that’s another topic).

So what happens when 100 widgets are consumed?  Will they all be replenished and can we continue to perpetuate this rate of consumption once we take away Private Property (Capitalism and Self-Interest)?  Will consumption remain constant or might it grow?

Ask yourself – what if you could continue to consume what you do today (or even consume MORE than what you do today) without increasing your workload?  What if not a single hour of additional labor would net you any additional benefit in compensation?  You get paid regardless of if you work 8 hours a day or 4.  Would you work as hard as you do?  Would anyone?

I don’t know if you’ve recently been to the United States Post Office.  Take a look at the floors, the walls, the supplies stations.  Even the self-service kiosks.  Unlike privately-owned businesses that are meticulously maintained in order to keep customers satisfied, most of the time the USPO is filthy, out of supplies, understaffed and totally run by clock watchers.  Try walking into the Post Office with a stack of packages at 5:01 pm when the place closes at 5:00.

So now think about the 100 widgets being consumed.  Is there any likelihood those consumed widgets would be replaced or even grow past the current level when you take away the incentives to work harder and longer?

Of course not.  In fact, very quickly, the Socialist State has to scale back their promises of free goods and services, institute rationing and price fixing, and nationalize mandatory labor (e.g. slavery) in order to keep the State alive.  Forget about iPhones and free wifi or healthcare and education.  Now, you can’t even manage to keep everyone fed.

When this happens, you have gone from the Socialist’s Pipe Dream to the hard reality of a Communist State.

So what’s so bad about the Communist State?

Plenty.

Now, any lingering seed of individualism or free thinking is met with severe hostility, violence, persecution, torture, starvation, and death.  This account of the horrific genocide perpetrated by Mao Tse Tung on his own people should be a sobering wakeup call for those who live on some Fantasy Island thinking that we can just take everyone’s property for the good of the people, yet production will be able to keep up with the increased demand.

alewitz2

(okay, I added a bit of truth to this Socialist propaganda.)

Even more disturbing to me are the attempts by Socialist fan boys to re-write or ignore history.  Like Mao, the history of Stalin, Russia and the Soviet Union is written in the blood of millions of people, murdered and tortured by their own leaders.  This film of the Soviet Story is disturbing but must be shared.  If you watch to the end, what’s particularly alarming are the current trends in Russia under Putin to go back to the days of Stalin and ethnic cleansing.

You can also go here to see the film with full English subtitles.

Now I know there are still some naïve daydreamers out there, sitting in your dorm rooms, looking up at your Bob Marley posters, sipping your dandelion tea and thinking “we would never resort to killing and violence and torture in order to achieve equality.  We just want to stand up for the 99%.”

So to you, let me ask you this:  If I choose to ignore your demands on my Private Property, if I refuse to fund your regime with my taxes, if I protest anything that has to do with “contributing My Fair Share”, if I stand defiantly at the doors of my business and do not allow you to come in and take what I’ve created or earned – WHAT IS YOUR NEXT COURSE OF ACTION?

Will you leave me alone?

Will you go pick on someone else instead?

Will your master plan survive with the existence of Choice?

Seven Children?!? HOW COME?


 

We have a big family. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of having a big family. People have such interesting reactions when they meet us for the first time. I guess it’s pretty rare to meet a family of 9 nowadays, but an Asian American family of 9 is practically unheard of.

The first time I saw this clip below, I was laughing all day because we’ve heard them all.

Still. Probably THE BEST reaction I’ve heard was when my wife and I went back to our old church neighborhood, to one of favorite Chinese restaurants. It had been years since we were there and the owner asked us how many children we had. When we told her that we had seven children, she gasped and said “Seven children?!? HOW COME?” She’s such a sweet lady, and I’m sure it didn’t come out exactly as she meant, but we thought it was hilarious.

The funny thing is that when we talked about getting married, my then girlfriend from college told me emphatically that she didn’t want to have kids.

Ever.

Kids are loud. They are messy and expensive. They are disrespectful and obnoxious. Despite her warnings, I still kept my dream of having a large family to myself.

When we first got married, my wife and I were practicing birth control. After probably a month or 2 into our marriage, my father came to us with a very simple message. He said “there’s no perfect time to have children. There’s always going to be something going on at work, with friends, or financial considerations.”

That’s all he said.

Later that month, Jenny came to me and said that maybe we could talk about children in 5 years. I was thrilled that she had opened her heart to having children . . . someday. And I was in no rush.

Less than a month later, we were pregnant while still on birth control.

I know it was a miracle because only God could move her heart and overcome medical science like He did. Despite all of our efforts to remain childless, God had different plans for us. I’ve written about it previously, but not too long after our first daughter was born, Jenny decided that she wanted to quit her job and stay at home with our child. Again, wasn’t part of the plan we had created, but He made a way.

Somewhere along the way, some friends from church started talking to us about the blessing of children, trusting in God’s sovereignty, and the miracle of life. Today, it’s known as the Quiverfull movement among some Christians. The premise of this movement is rooted in Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

The belief, depending on who you are talking to, comes down to the idea that God ordains life. If you really trust in Him and believe that Children are a blessing and reward, then you will embrace any child that is conceived and commit to life without contraception.

Soon afterward, Jenny took to motherhood like it was what she was meant to be all along. We stopped actively practicing birth control altogether and God blessed us with 6 more children over the next ten years. Now, we weren’t necessarily trying to have more children per se. However, we weren’t actively trying to prevent it either.

After our youngest was born, her doctor had raised some serious concerns about Jenny’s health if we tried to conceive again. We had talked and prayed about what to do. In the end, we decided that I would undergo sterilization. So, we’ve stopped at 7.

Some Quiverfull Christians would frown on our decision and claim we lacked faith. Others might say ‘well why didn’t you stop sooner?’. The truth is that I’m so thankful we have seven children, but I don’t see it as a proclamation of our trusting in God. I would trust in Him whether we were childless or had a dozen. Birth control that prevents conception (not talking about those forms that work as abortion) is available because of advances in medical technology. If God has given us the wisdom to develop technology and medicine, why would using that wisdom show a lack of faith?

You could make a similar case that if you really trusted in God, you should be able to walk blindfolded across a busy highway because if He meant for you to die, you would. If not, then He’d maneuver all the cars around you like a giant game of Frogger. Or if you have such a distain for the technological wisdom of Man, then why bother getting shots or antibiotics or Tylenol or even bandages?

You could similarly claim that using maps or navigation shows a lack of faith.  If God wanted you to arrive to your destination, by a certain time, you should just start driving (or walking) in whichever direction you feel led by the Spirit.

Christians shouldn’t fear using technology or medicine, but at the same time, our hope is not based in it either. God is sovereign and His will shall be done. My children keep me grounded. They force me to think about someone else’s needs. They provide me with endless entertainment and more funny stories to share at parties than all the Hollywood Screenwriters’ Guild combined. And ultimately, when they put their trust in me, as the Bible instructs us to have faith like children, I see the relationship that God wants me to have with Him.

US Healthcare – the illegitimate child of Cronyism and Socialism, NOT Capitalism

Earlier this week at about 8:30 pm, one of my sons slipped in the bath tub, landed on the metal tub plug, and had a pretty deep cut on his bottom. If you’re a fan of Seinfeld, think Kramer’s Fusilli Jerry and Frank Costanza’s “one in a million shot”. I took D to the closest Urgent Care center less than a mile from our home. Within minutes, the RN took a look at the wound, called in the doctor, and he gave me his diagnosis.

(sorry if this part gets a little graphic)

The doctor said that the wound itself appears to be a simple laceration (fancy word for cut) of the buttock. It can be stitched up in a matter of minutes. However, because of the proximity to the anus, rectum and sphincter, there may be some more serious damage that would require sedating my son and doing a deeper dive. The problem is that if there is repair required to the sphincter or in the rectum, the Urgent Care physician would have to transfer us to a full-blown Emergency Room hospital equipped with a surgical team.

From the moment I walked in to getting to see the doctor and having the information I needed to make a decision – 30 minutes.

We discussed and I opted to transfer D to a hospital, to have the sedated examination done by a surgeon, in case there needs to be more than just a couple stitches to his buttock. They called around and finally contacted Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. It’s about 45 minutes away from my home, but they assured us that they had the equipment and staff on hand at that hour to treat my son.

I packed up D in the car, thanked the staff at the Urgent Care clinic, grabbed my transfer paperwork, and we were on our way. We arrived at Children’s around 10:00 pm.

When we got to the ER check in, the place was packed. Dozens of families, mostly non-English speaking minorities, cramming the waiting room. I don’t know for certain, but I’m going to guess that a good portion of the people there had either no health insurance or were on some kind of public assistance.

We waited in a pre-ER check in station. Then we got moved to the ER where they put us in a private room. Several RNs came by to look at the wound. Each time, someone new came. Each time, I had to answer the SAME questions.

  • What happened?
  • What time did it happen?
  • Did you give him any medication? Is he taking anything regularly?
  • When was the last time he ate / drank / went to the bathroom?
  • Is he allergic to anything?
  • Has he had any major health problems / surgeries prior to this?
  • Did he lose consciousness, start vomiting, complaining of any head injuries?
  • What are these bruises on his back? (they are called Mongolian spots and all my children have them.)

Each time, I’d go through all the questions and get this response:

Okay first, can you sign this form. And then, we’ll have to wait for the doctor to come take a look.

Over the next 4 HOURS, we saw probably 3-4 different nurses and went through the same routine.

Finally, at around 2 am, we saw our first doctor – a resident (which means someone in training). Went through all the same questions above again. Only to get:

I’ll have to ask my [mentor / teacher, not sure what they call them] to take a look.

So, we wait. Another hour.

Senior ER doctor comes in. Asks all the same questions. Her response?

The laceration can be stitched up here, but I’m going to ask the surgeon to take a look so that if there’s any internal injuries, they can treat him while he’s sedated.

Keep in mind, it took now 5 hours to come to the same conclusion I already had after 30 minutes in the Urgent Care center.

Next comes in the Surgery Resident. Asks all the same questions. Sign a couple more forms. His response?

I’ll have to ask my [mentor / teacher, not sure what they call them] to take a look.

Another hour later – we’re up to around 4 am – the teaching surgeon comes in. Asks all the same questions. Afterwards, we have this exchange:

  • We will schedule D for surgery in the morning.
  • What time?
  • We usually don’t schedule surgeries until after 8 am when everyone comes in unless it’s an emergency.
  • So we have to sit here and wait another 4 hours?
  • Probably.

I lost it. I went off on the 2 ER doctors and told them that I am exactly where I was 6 hours before coming in to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. The reason we went there in the first place was because we were assured they could treat him. Had I known we would have been waiting till 8 am, I would have taken D home and we could come back in the morning.

Apparently, this lit a fire under someone’s butt (pun intended) because within minutes, a couple NEW nurses came down to prep D for surgery. They put in an IV and took us up to the OR.

Met with yet another surgeon upstairs to go over the risks / plan. Again, exactly where I was at 10 pm.

Put me in a Consultation room where I grabbed a quick nap. Surgery took less than an hour. Surgeon came by to tell me that there was no internal damage and that D only required a couple of stitches for the laceration. He’ll be fine, but they want to keep him in recovery for a couple hours to monitor him.

6 am. 8 HOURS from the time we had arrived for which probably 30 minutes was actual surgery / treatment.

Now, that’s the background and course of events. Here’s why our Healthcare is broken and to where this is leading our country.

Crowd / Line Management

In any business, if you have adequate Demand for your product, and it is profitable for you to increase your Supply, you staff up. Economists call this your Marginal Rate of Return (MRR), but it’s basically the benefit for you (the business owner) to see one more patient, sell one more unit, fulfill one more contract. It’s not always profitable to do more if you can’t cover your expenses.

The flip side to this is that hospitals don’t know if the next patient walking in the door will increase their MRR because they can’t turn anyone away for not being able to pay. So it’s a coin toss whether the next patient increase or decreases their bottom line. So how do they manage this? They keep their staff to a working minimum, guaranteeing they will always be overbooked, and customers (patients) will self-manage the waiting queue by either leaving out of frustration or they die before they can be seen.

What Hospital Administrators need to understand is that this queuing plan ensures those that can’t pay are the ones that will be sticking around (since they have no other place to go) and only the desperate or stupid (read: me) that can actually afford to pay will sit through the line. You are incenting the wrong customers to fill up your lines, from a financial perspective. Their other tool is to give you as little information as possible. At some point, you might consider leaving, but you figured you’ve waited this long.

Price / Cost Management

In most businesses, the owners set the price for their goods, weighing out their costs and the market demand. When you walk into a restaurant, brake shop, Walmart, or CPA’s office, there’s a list of prices that are displayed for their goods and services. Some services require the owners to give you an estimate because they won’t know exactly what they need to do / charge until they start to work. But reputable businesses will usually have a pretty good idea of the range of your potential costs once they start.

The US Hospital never publishes their prices. Why? They don’t know what to charge you because they don’t know who is going to pay. If they see 10 patients and their costs (before any profit) is $1000, they might charge each patient $100. The problem is that 5 patients might not have any ability to pay. 2 may be on a public assistance healthcare plan that has negotiated a maximum benefit of $50. The remaining 3 patients may have a healthcare plan that pays up to $200.

So do the math. The hospital loses an average cost of $500 for the freeloaders, takes in $100 for the 2 public aid patients, and is forced to charge the last 3 patients $600. Net result? The hospital still can’t cover their costs – they end up losing $300 for the 10 patients seen.

Now think about how much control / influence patients have over their incurred costs. When you go into a brake shop, there may be 3 different options for you to repair your brakes. You have the low cost, mid-range, and premium package options. What’s the difference? Well, you might want the cheapest option that will last only for a couple years as your car is on its last leg anyway. Or maybe you plan to keep your car running for another decade, so you want a long-term solution. Or maybe the premium package has a better safety rating than the discount pads.

Do patients have any visibility to the costs associated with their decisions? Sure, doctors will present choices for you on your care — just like I was given the option to just go ahead and have stitches put in or take my son to surgery which now involves an entire surgical team including anesthesia. Let’s say the stitches option cost me $100 and the surgery option cost me $100,000. Don’t you think that should be part of the decision making process?

Risk / Liability Management

Most businesses have some kind of liability insurance coverage. If something goes wrong, your customers might try to sue you, and you run the risk of losing not just the business, but your personal assets as well unless you are properly protected. As a country, we’ve blow liability way out of proportion to the point where there are countless, frivolous lawsuits that are settled out of court because some shark lawyer smells blood in the water and an opportunity to cash in.

The Healthcare liability circus is killing us as a country. From a Cost Management perspective, doctors don’t have any incentive to keep costs down. They’re only interested in keeping their liability to a minimum. As a result, doctors are afraid of being sued, so they order countless precautionary procedures. The amount of paperwork that’s involved in Healthcare is ridiculously out of control. I can’t tell you how many forms I had to sign to give each doctor permission to treat my son, to share the results with his pediatrician, to bill my insurance company, and to assume responsibility for my bill.

ALL COMPLETELY USELESS.

But if the Hospital doesn’t go through all these hoops, some lawyer will end up suing for millions.

There’s something also that Healthcare Consumers need to get straight. There are no guarantees with medical care. 100% of people die. Some sooner than others. Quality of Life is a mirage / legal term that some parasite cooked up to argue for perfection. Arguing that a doctor should have done this or could have done that for a tasty pile of cash does not bring your loved one back.

Cronyism / Socialism mated and it was ugly

So how does this all tie into my title? Surely, we live in a Free Market society and Capitalism is to blame for our woes?

Not exactly. Think about who can practice medicine here. Doctors, RN’s, and staff are licensed by their own kind. They arbitrarily determine who can practice. So what does that do? It creates a bottleneck of supply, in this case medical practitioners. They can effectively create a monopoly of power. Less competition means higher prices for consumers. For example, many people are turning to midwifery and home births and birthing centers. But in the state of Georgia, midwives are illegal. The people of Georgia have less choice, and thus, higher prices.

This is textbook Cronyism. Those in power want to keep their positions by legislating out any competition. In a free market, consumers would be able to choose who could perform medical care services. Consumers could decide to choose traditional, alternative, homeopathic, or religiously-based care.

Now think about how patients pay for health care. You have a large portion of the population that have health insurance (despite the alarmist figures Obama used to scare everyone into the need for Obamacare). Then you have some (the young and healthy) that probably wouldn’t buy health insurance if it wasn’t required. They might pay out of pocket or purchase a la carte coverage for only the things they want.

Lastly, you have those that have coverage through public aid. They receive the same healthcare benefits, for most part, as those that carry their own insurance.

Anytime you mix in a partial socialized payment plan, the market is no longer based on Capitalism because costs are no longer a factor for a portion of the consumer base. There are no restraints to consumption when you don’t have to pay the bill.

When you mix restricted suppliers by licensing and crony controls with unlimited demand through free (to the user) coverage, the results are the dysfunctional cluster bomb know as US Healthcare.

So, how do we fix the problem with healthcare in the US?

Like anything else, I’ll turn to the Market.

We need to teach people that healthcare is like any other kind of commodity. It’s not some super, special God-given right that everyone should have, regardless of cost.

We need to open up competition by removing the restrictions licensing creates.

We need to insist that those that want services have to pay for them. If you can’t afford it, you either have to rely on charity from the willing (not taxation / theft) or make other arrangements with your provider such as financing or secured debt.

We need to insist on up-front pricing from our providers so that we can include the costs into our decision making.

We need to change the tort laws and drastically reduce medical malpractice liability.

Free Market Capitalism is the only rational, consistent, and long-term solution that will benefit the most people and encourage excellence of care.

Positive vs. Negative Rights

Like the word Love, Rights is oftentimes used in different contexts to mean different things. Someone may say they have the right to Health Care. Others may say Education is a right. Protection from racial discrimination may be considered my right. Then there’s the Bill of Rights.

Going to piggy back / expand off of this clip from LearnLiberty.org to establish the differences between Positive and Negative Rights. As Skoble teaches, Negative Rights basically speaks to an unobstructed ability to choose or behave. This can also be called Liberty. In other words, if you prevent me from choosing to eat ice cream 24 hrs a day, you are violating my Negative Rights. In order to prevent that violation, basically, you need to stay out of my way and allow me to choose my diet.

Positive Rights, on the other hand, involves action due to/from me. These can also be labeled as Entitlements. When I agree to a voluntary trade with someone, we are both obliged to fulfill that agreement. As Skoble describes, if I pay for AAA and I need a tow, I have Positive Rights (an entitlement) to towing service per our agreement.

Where it gets messy is when someone’s Positive Rights creates an obligation for another, particularly when the obliged may not have agreed to the infringement on their Negative Rights.

The Obamacare mandate, for example, is attempting to assert Positive Rights to Birth Control. Interestingly, it also mandates guaranteed Psychological and Addiction Treatment coverage regardless of previous medical history or health or if you even want to carry that coverage. The argument against these Positive Rights comes down to the violation of our Negative Rights – to be able to choose which, if any, kind of coverage we need or want to provide.

The AZ 1062 Bill, which was defeated, is an example of legislators attempting to use the law to assert store owners’ Negative Rights to do business with whomever they choose. Opponents argued that everyone has a Positive Right to wedding cakes or photographs or the like – that the business owners had a DUTY to take their business. AN OBLIGATION! To do business! (Let that sink in for a moment.) My argument during the whole ramp up to the bill’s ultimate demise was that instead of passing laws to legislate Negative Rights, you need to attack the laws on the books that assign faulty Positive Rights.

Ultimately, it comes down to where or how you determine the balance of Positive and Negative Rights. If you believe our rights are endowed by God, then the fact that some legislators got together and passed hundreds of thousands of laws to define your rights should be, at best, a secondary consideration because it’s a matter of jurisdiction and authority. If I showed up on your property and started telling you who you could invite over to your house and who you couldn’t, you’d probably disregard anything I had to say because I have no authority. Today in some countries, the law of the land states you may not marry another race or religion. You can decide whether you will abide by that restriction or choose to disobey (understanding there may be consequences).

Even if you don’t believe in God or His authority to grant our rights, your worldview (whether it’s Utilitarian, Deontological, Pragmatic, etc.) should cause you to examine Rights in the context of “Who is Obliged?” and “Who is Entitled?”. Many people make the mistake of assuming that government grants us our rights. If that’s what you believe, then pretty much any of your rights are subject to disappear whenever a majority (or better yet a small handful of powerful influencers) decides it’s time to close that loophole. If a fascist regime were to suddenly seize authority over your town, state, or country, are you still obliged to follow the letter of their new laws? For the sake of humanity, I really hope that all of you are shaking your head saying “that’s crazy talk”. Now take a step back and see if your reaction is different just because those laws are passed by majority rule, the rich and influential, or the most educated ‘experts’ with fancy degrees.

This is usually the reason why I don’t use the Constitution or the Bill of Rights to defend my assertion of rights which is a trap many Conservatives fall into when arguing with a Liberal. I’m happy to see that the Bill of Rights agrees with me that I have the right to Freedom of Speech. But to base my right on the Constitution would mean that when I travel outside of the US, I no longer have that right. It also implies that prior to its ratification, we didn’t have those rights.

From a moral perspective, unless you’ve elevated “the law” and “government” into some carnal extension of God’s ethereal will, one has to wonder if adherence to the law is, in and of itself, a moral act. For example, if the law tells me recreational use of marijuana is permissible in Colorado, but possession of any kind is illegal in Utah, does geography really establish “good” from “evil”? Do all sins really ‘stay in Vegas’?