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Rights confused with entitlements

Published: December 16, 2012

“Boehner calls on Obama for new ‘fiscal cliff' plan” (Associated Press, Dec. 8) explicates our current political intransigence with Republicans calling for budgetary restraints while President Obama is demanding an unfettered-by-Congress ability to raise the debt ceiling with both sides agreeing on the need to increase taxes. Now would be a good time to examine the motives underlying this dilemma wherein rights (which by definition can be exercised with no infringement whatsoever upon your fellow citizen) are confused with entitlements (which necessarily do infringe on others since they usually involve goods of some sort). Rights are intrinsic. Entitlements are extrinsic. They necessarily infringe upon successful actions and usually involve an increasing sense of security.

Edward Gibbon once wrote, “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life. (They) wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them and the freedom they cherished most was freedom from responsibility.” He wrote that in 1789 regarding the fall of Athens, yet it ably informs us today that the real choice isn't as trivial as whose ox will be gored but rather the balance between the freedom to dream, work and achieve and the freedom from responsibility. If history is correct it shall be the most important decision that we, as a people, will ever make.

Kyle Toal, Oklahoma City


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