With a few rare and now-gone voices of sanity, such as John Delaney, the Democratic Primary has largely resembled a Bizarro World auction where the participants bid against one another to see who can give away the most stuff for “free.”
“Free” is in quotes because, as every child should be taught and obviously, far too few are these days, there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” That’s been true since the dawn of time, and putting the word “Democratic” in front of “socialism” won’t change it, any more than calling useless and counter-productive gun laws "common sense" will make them common sense. Not even the schools’ “free lunch” program is free: taxpayers pay a lot for it, and the money often comes with government strings attached. Or a “quid pro quo,” to coin a phrase.
Just last night, Tom Steyer added paying reparations for slavery to the list, and earlier, Bernie Sanders tossed another new expensive “human right” on the pile: a $1.2 trillion plan called “Free Child Care and Pre-K for All.”
Personally, I can think of few ideas more chilling than every child from the age of three being put into an “education program” designed by Bernie Sanders. But I suppose we should be thankful that the cost of this one is “only” $1.2 trillion, or a little less than 1/4th of the entire current federal budget, rather than his typical plan that costs the entire US GDP.
I know that child care is very important. It’s a real problem for many low-income working people, and the government might have a role to play, although it should be on the state or local level, or better yet, handled by community organizations and churches. But spending nearly a quarter of the entire federal budget to create a new “human right” to free daycare is what passes in Bernie’s mind for “common sense” government action that isn’t “radical” at all.
I know that Bernie knows the word “privilege” because when he recently declared health care to be a “human right,” he added, “It is not a privilege!” I’ve written before about how “progressives” can’t win arguments on facts or experience, so they win by rewriting the language (for instance, liberals, leftists, socialists and communists became too infamous as purveyors of tragically failed policies, so they magically became “progressives.”)
But some of us still care about the English language, and how words actually mean things. As children used to be taught, a “right” is something you are endowed with by God, such as the right to free speech. It doesn’t require anyone else giving up their rights to provide it to you. Making a speech in a public park is a “right.” Demanding that the government provide you with a free P.A. system is a “privilege.” Just as demanding that other people attend medical school or deal with government paperwork to spend their time caring for you while others pay higher taxes to cover the cost makes that a “privilege.” You may say that you think health care should be a privilege of citizenship, but by definition, it can never be a “right.” Bernie goes around finding new “rights” the way my grandkids find Easter eggs, but they don’t have a "right" to chocolate eggs: that’s a privilege of me being their grandpa.
And as long as I’m offering a remedial primer on rights, I’d also like to point out that the Bill of Rights doesn’t list rights the government gives to you. It lists rights with which God endows you and that the government has no right to take away from you.