I watched Ron Paul's speech last night on C-Span, and the station took call-in comments afterwards. I turned that off pretty quickly, but not before hearing a caller comment that "I can't believe he says having guns is a right, but health care is not a right".
Some pretty smart people read this blog, and I suspect that if the type of person who made that comment were to stumble across this site, they would move on pretty quickly; but still, I can't resist answering that comment with a few facts. Actually, let's take the comment a little further first: "that criminal has a right to have a gun to shoot me with, but then I don't have a right to health care if I happen to not die immediately?" This is the kind of question people like that pose. They are not serious. It is an act, designed to cloud the real issue; just like the statement that all we need to do is call 911. The people who say things like that are liars. They generally live lives that (have so far) insulate(d) them from the realities that some people have to face, and they really couldn't care less about people who aren't so insulated. OK, that's a generalization. The person spewing this nonsense may not be a liar. They could be an abject moron who actually believes this crap.
Here are the facts about rights. It's very simple really, when all the clouds are moved out of the way: rights are something all people have, without requiring someone else to supply them. It has to be that way, because none of us are perfect, and there aren't black and white distinctions that we can see when we look at other people.
The statement above, about the criminal with a gun, is based on faulty logic. It goes something like this: "I'm a good person, and I don't have a gun. Gang-bangers and other violent criminals are bad people, and they have guns. Therefore, people who have guns are bad people." That is faulty logic, because it ignores all the good people who have guns and wouldn't dream of victimizing other people, with or without the gun.
Those who believe the "gun=criminal" logic tend to then take it a step further and claim that if all guns were banned, all those bad people would miraculously become good people. Only a liar or a moron would cling to that idea.
Enough of that; let's look at reality. I live in a dangerous world, therefore I have a right to arm myself so that I can protect myself. Note here that I do not have a right to be given a gun or other arm, because somebody would have to then supply that need from the fruits of their own labor, and just as I have a right to the fruits of my own labor (and can choose to give some of that to others in need, but it's mine to choose), so too does that other person have the right to the fruits of his own labor, and shouldn't be forced to supply my need. Likewise, I don't have a right to expect someone else to save me. Did the cops at Columbine rush into the school immediately? No, they didn't. They waited until all the shooting stopped, because each of their individual lives were worth more to them than the lives of those who were being killed inside. Even though each of those cops was armed.
As an aside, do you know why cops are armed? Is it so they can protect you? No. It is so they can protect themselves. So does this mean that the Constitution was written for cops, so they can protect themselves, and perhaps if it's not too much trouble nor danger to themselves, also protect you, lowly civilian? No, of course not. I'm the only one who will ultimately do whatever is necessary to protect myself; therefore I have the right to obtain, without interference, the tools I deem necessary to do so.
Aside from that, I also have the right to obtain, keep and bear anything I wish, so long as I don't use it to deny others their rights.
As for medical treatment, just as an individual has a right to obtain their own gun but not to have one given to him, so too does he have the right to seek medical treatment and trade for same, but not to have that treatment supplied. Does the doctor not own himself? He gave up years of his life in training; he should be able to trade on the free market with that training, and should not be forced to provide the benefit of the training and of his labor without compensation.
As a physician, Dr. Paul intimately understands the problems with the medical establishment in the US. That is why he contends that medical treatment is not a right. Treating it as if it were, is a large part of why so many US residents go to Mexico for medical and dental treatment. There is another facet of that, too. If I have an ailment for which a treatment or medication is freely available in Mexico; that is, I am at liberty to trade for it on the free market in Mexico (imagine that) but not in the US, guess what I'm gonna do?
To recap, a right is simply freedom from interference. The only limit is that I may not interfere with others, just as they may not interfere with me. A right is not to have a need provided for, because that means someone must supply that need, by force if necessary. Being forced to work is slavery, and no one has a "right" to the benefits of slavery.
One more thing: denying or infringing someone's rights for what they might do is tyranny. You can't tell what someone is going to do until they actually do it; therefore the only reasonable option is to prepare yourself to defend against it if the necessity were to arise.