Right To Life


### This is a bit of a mystery to me: what does one mean when they say they have a right to life? Life just is. To be alive is the state that begins after birth, whenever that is, and ends at death; there's no "right" to life. Unless you want to define that right by the equally absent right to end a life, to cause death.



life_small.jpg

source: YouTube


We're fortunate that, in the grand scheme of things, human societies acknowledge the fact that "rights" are defined and established in and by society as a whole, and that society as a whole has decided that it's illegal to take a life, that no one individual has the right to end another individual's life. Most human societies throughout history are organized around this basic recognition of the worth of life. We're social creatures after all that are incapable of surviving on our own, so the awareness of the need for a certain amount of reciprocity to be built into the organization of society is deeply rooted in our individual and collective psyche. Human societies, small unorganized and large organized ones alike, wouldn't have reached the level of mastery over our dominions we have now, if we went around taking each others' life willy-nilly. The same goes for taking each others' personal property by the way. This rule breaks down when we talk about private property as opposed to personal property though; individuals owning, needing and using personal stuff is normal and obvious, but private property is the stuff that's owned by an individual when it's needed and used by many individuals...

Life just is, and the above explains why the "right" to life just is. It's not God-given, but simply embedded in the structure of society as it's organized by social creatures who recognize that their very survival hinges on assigning worth to the life of others who are part of that society. This is not something we ponder on or consider on a regular basis, it's part of who and what we are. It's instinct rather than the result of a rational thought process, which is why it starts as something that's unconditional, why we're able to cry when we see people die who we have no direct relationship with, even if they are fictional characters in films or books. We know in our bones that when someone dies, something of indescribable worth has been lost in the universe. The only exception is of course when we feel or know that the life lost "belonged" to an individual who was responsible for causing death and misery for other individuals. Right?

Given all that, and assuming you agree, why is it that in America lifes are lost because people can't afford insulin, surgery or some other form of healthcare? In other words; what has to happen to a society in order for it to decide that a human life is not worth saving? How can a society be organized in a way that betrays some of the most basic human instincts? Again, we don't think about these things a lot, but a large part of freedom is found in the freedom to not to have to worry about our continued existence. We feel free, and safe, because there are laws against murder and theft; we have to worry less about our life or stuff being taken because society has decided that murder and theft are illegal. But what's the difference when we lose our stuff because of medical bankruptcy, or lose our life because of a medical bill we can't pay? I would even say the latter is worse, for it's the result of a way of organizing a whole society to the benefit of a few ultra-rich capitalists, to the point that their profits are more important than the individual human lifes of millions. In America specifically, "the right to life" has been superseded by "the need for profits". And this provokes some surprised reactions in the rest of the "civilized" world; watch the below linked video for some of those reactions...



Non-Americans Stunned By American Health Care Costs


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