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The Right to Nothing

Posted: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Recently, I heard conservative radio talk-show host Michael Medved interviewing, with considerable patience, the director of a national advocacy organization that benefits the homeless (I'll call him John). John was full of righteousness about the necessity of supporting his organization via Your Tax Dollars because his work was so important.

While I admired John's passionate dedication to ending homelessness, he seemed unaware of the connection between homelessness and government dependency. And he was vocal about a whole new set of "rights" that I never knew existed.
A homeless person, apparently, has a right to a home. And food. And medical care. And transportation. And a (public sector) job. It doesn't matter that he hasn't earned these things. As long as he's homeless, he's entitled. Naturally, these "rights" are provided at the point of a gun by you and me, the overburdened taxpayer.
Medved tried to steer John into a better understanding of the limitations of government involvement in individual hardships, to no avail. Any criticism of his cause was dismissed as heartless. Medved asked whether any of these homeless people ever became independent private-sector employees. The answer was, essentially, "No." But to John, that was OK. His program to "end" homelessness succeeded as long as people were off the street, living in government-subsidized housing, working at low-paying government jobs, and receiving government-funded health care and food stamps. Forever. No wonder his organization needed more funding.
About now some of you may be wondering what kind of heartless monster I am. After all, there are a lot more homeless people now than two years ago. In this economy, millions are just one paycheck away from living on the streets. Surely I could loosen my moral compass just a little and agree with John that the homeless have a right to all these things?

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