FULL RIGHTS REGARDING OURSELVES

By William Markiewicz

On yesterday’s CNN program about health care in America, one speaker declared that he is a smoker and drinker even though he knows it’s harmful and shortens his life; he says it’s his right to make a free choice whether it’s good for him or not.

One character in George Orwell’s “1984” declared, “I claim the right to be unhappy if I wish.” A Polish peasant tale says that the pig asked God, “Give me a life, short but good.” So he gave a short and good life to the pig and a long and hard life to the peasant. Rights should protect individuals from other individuals but not protect an adult of sound mind from himself. This is the difference between the Second Amendment and individual rights. The conscious adult has the right to dispose of himself for good or not-good. His own decision about himself has priority. Only children and others who are unable to do so must be protected by law. This is my opinion.

There are certain situations where things are not easily clarified. When there’s conflict between personal and collective safety, the collective takes priority. So, the seatbelt may be obligatory not only for oneself but because in an accident others may be harmed.

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