I just wanted to alert our readers that I have posted a new blog over at Political Theology Journal’s There’s power in the blog
examining the role of government, human rights, and Gov. Romney’s statements about the “47%”
Are You Entitled to Food, Housing & Healthcare? Examining the Role of Government and the Public Order
The public order, then, goes beyond basic law and order or protection of property to the securing of basic justice. And what is basic justice? In 2012, at its very minimum, this must begin with promotion and protection of the basic human rights of all citizens. Now, on one level the rights of all citizens is a constitutional question and thus civil rights come front and center. On another more fundamental level, we in the United States are bound by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Rights of all citizens must be viewed as beginning with those rights laid out in the Universal Declaration (to which the United States of America is bound).
So if the public order involves basic justice and basic justice must begin with human rights – what is properly a matter of the public order?
Are you entitled to food, housing and healthcare? My answer is an unequivocal YES because you are a human person created in the image of God and endowed with a particular set of human rights. Entitlements? (AKA Human Rights in Catholic moral theology….and international agreements).
I wonder if you recognize the implication of your unequivocal YES. If I am entitled to all those things then who is obliged to provide them and if it is unjust for me to go next door and help myself to the food in my neighbor’s pantry why is it just to have the government to do it for me?
If I decide not to work am I not still entitled to all those things, inasmuch as they are human rights? It is not as simple as saying everyone is entitled to have the necessities of life provided for him. I think we can be pretty sure this isn’t true and that no one really believes it.
The entitlement mentality I believe Romney was rightly condemning is the one that goes “You have an obligation to provide for me” as opposed to the one that says “We will help you when your best efforts are unavailing.” We are well down the road de Tocqueville cautioned against when he said: “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of governement. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury …”
2 Thessolonians 3:10 says….”if a man will not work, neither let him eat.”. Scripture trumps all treaties.
That said, Romney’s figures and comments were a bizarre conflation of those totally on welfare
…4.1% of the country…and those who receive any government check of a helping nature which includes elderly receiving medicare or medicaid and to which they contributed to varying extents.
Some elderly die one year into collecting medicare and hence gave way more in to the program than they received and others live til 95 and collect way more than they put in especially if medicaid pays for several years in a nursing home. Those dying in their fifties also over invested so to speak.
Healthcare as an entitlement is no longer simple. Do you have a right to a procedure that costs $700,000 as surely as you have a right for emergency room treatment of a broken ankle. No…because funding is finite on earth. My relative was denied an MRI by medicare because they
had to make a judgement call that the doctor was over ordering in context. One has a conditional right to the expensive end of health care. Can your country afford to give all its citizens a heart transplant. Greece sure can’t. Catholic Italy and Spain probably can’t either.
Catholicism is going to be increasingly ignored if it keeps solving these questions by theology only… as the last Pope did to the death penalty with no research cited by him in detterence
statistics under differing variables.