America is a unique nation with a unique heritage– founded on the recognition that all people have inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But what does inalienable mean?
It means that the government doesn’t give us those rights; we have them by right of birth. Our founders understood that our rights are derived from our Creator; they are our natural rights.
The American government was founded to protect our inalienable rights.
Government, kings, potentates, parliaments, committees, politicians, dictators, etc. can take our natural rights away. History is replete with such abuses. The American government was founded to protect our inalienable rights. Government, laws and courts are created to protect those rights. Once our unique constitutional system was put into place, the definition of that principle, and its limits, needed to be understood by all.
For example, in his famous 1790 letter to the Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, President George Washington went out of his way to set up a critical distinction between a false type of tolerance – by which “one class of people” might condescendingly extend certain privileges to another, inferior class – and the American system, in which all enjoy “their inherent natural rights” equally, provided only that they “demean themselves as good citizens.”
How Does Our Heritage Relate to Healthcare?
The more we give politicians, bureaucrats and “professionals” permission to control and manage our lives, the less free, the more dependent and the less capable we become.
As the Elders of the Oraibi Arizona Hopi Nation remind us:
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
The world-renowned sociologist Ivan Illich, Ph.D. applied this understanding to health in his famous book Medical Nemesis:
A world of optimal and widespread health is obviously a world of minimal and only occasional medical intervention. Healthy people are those who live in healthy homes on a healthy diet in an environment equally fit for birth, growth, work, healing, and dying; they are sustained by a culture that enhances the conscious acceptance of limits to population, of ageing, of incomplete recovery and ever-imminent death. Healthy people need minimal bureaucratic interference to mate, give birth, share the human condition, and die. (1)
1. Illich I. Medical Nemesis: the Expropriation of Health. New York: Bantam Books, 1977.