There has been a lot of political posturing regarding privilege recently and it really got me thinking about the privileges I actually have. I have been to over 8 different countries on 3 different continents and have found that the greatest privilege has nothing to do with my skin color or sex but rather where I was born. Growing up in the USA, I have had access to virtually limitless water, electricity, resources, health care, technology, and nearly any other luxury you can name before I was even born. I have this access not because I was born to the upper echelons of society but merely because the standard of living in America is greater than any other country on the planet.
This access to all of these resources has affected how we see and perceive the world. So many things are taken for granted and some are now perceived as “basic human rights.” We have allowed the affluence of our country to guide our political policy while forgetting what policies and principles got us to this point in the first place. These luxury beliefs only happen when the basic human necessities have been fulfilled to such a point that survival is no longer a question, but a norm. When we start to confuse actual rights with these luxury beliefs, we will soon find that we have neither.
The conditions of freedom and personal rights have led to the ubiquity of these luxury rights. The belief that health care or green energy or any of the other initiatives are “rights” is only because capitalism has created the abundance that has produced these beliefs. These luxury rights are standing on the shoulders of capitalism and calling themselves tall. The irony is these luxury beliefs are the antithesis to the principles responsible for the creation of the affluence and abundance we now see.
AOC, Obama and many on the left have been saying in recent years that health care is a basic human right. They opine that our healthcare system in the USA is subpar and we are owed the right to healthcare. The problem is, whenever they impose legislation to make healthcare more affordable or available it tends to have the exact opposite effect. The Affordable Care Act increased insurance premiums and made medical care much more expensive. In an effort to help the poorest among us, they have only hurt them. Medicare and Medicaid were created with the best of intentions to provide medical care to all but the results actually hurt everyone by driving up health care and drug costs. The result of the luxury belief that health care is necessary: worse health care.
Another great example of the pain caused by luxury beliefs is the incessant push for more green cars and energy. Both of these require ample amounts of money. The green agenda has been forced on every American through legislation, executive orders and a bevy of regulations. None has been more aggressive than California and recently California urged their citizens not to charge their cars due to an energy crisis. And how can we ignore the lives lost in Texas when a severe winter storm hit the state, and their over-reliance on green energy caused the power outages? These problems cause the most pain to the most susceptible of society; the luxury beliefs of the elites and intellectuals actually hurt the very people whom they say they want to help.
These luxury beliefs need to be seen for what they actually are: the most stunning example for the success of capitalism and natural human rights. The innovation, creativity and mutual benefit gained from the system created by these principles is responsible for all the luxury we live in today. Instead of trying to undercut the very institutions that have created the opportunities and abundance in our country we should instead stand up for them and educate ourselves and others about how wonderful our fundamental beliefs are. As the saying goes, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.