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John Edwards flunks simple quiz (badly)

Via this link at Patterico, John Edwards has just solidified his position of my least favorite presidential candidates among the serious contenders.

A YouTube interviewer asked Mr. Edwards to respond "right" or "privilege" to a list of six different things. Edwards, like most progressives, has a fairly expansive definition of what constitutes a "right."

Health care? Right.

College education? Right.

Liveable wage? Right.

And so forth. I don't even want to get into why I think he's wrong about all of these. The astonishing thing to me was how, against this backdrop, the only thing that Edwards unequivocally classified as a privilege was gun ownership. Ironically, that is also the only item on the list that is an enumerated Constitutional right. If Edwards had merely answered by flipping a coin, he would have been right half the time. As it is, he's completely bass-akwards.

Hell, Edwards even thinks surfing the goddamn internet is a "right." Sure, I remember all those Platonic dialogs and Augustinian pontifications about man's inalienable right to a DSL line and Boing-Boing, don't you? Edwards is even convinced that foreigners who work here for five years have an automatic "right" to U.S. citizenship (although if they only work here for one year, he does hesitate slightly.)

For my money, Edwards didn't just flunk this quiz. He scored a zero.

But I'll have to admit his hair looked terrific. (There are so many of my readers who would be disappointed if I posted about John Edwards without mentioning his $400 haircuts, so I couldn't let 'em down.)


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I call bullshit. That's a $10 haircut if I ever saw one.

Edwards is not Bush, that immediately makes him more qualified to lead the country. He also wasn't part of the Bush Rubber Stamp machine that serves only Corporate interests and wages war against the Constitution and middle class in this country.

So no matter what he might be wrong about, I would still vote for him over Bush and almost every other Republican.

So it's a "privilege" to be able to be treated for illnesses that, in some cases, may threaten your life?

No COMMODITY (food, clothing, shelter, etc) can be a "right."

Free people must provide those things (commodities) for themselves.

At least that's my understanding of what Liberty ("freedom") is - a fend-for-yourself individualism, self-ownership with complete personal responsibility. That seems to be the understanding of America's Founders as well.

In fact, no commodity can be a "right" without first enslaving those who provide that "right."

Medical expertise can only be a right IF government is going to force medical care providers (physicians, etc) to provide that care at a compensation rate dictated by the government - that's "slavery," by the way.

I don't care if the government were to compensate every government paid physician $500,000/year and paid their Malpractice premiums (they're not) - those physicians, even under those terms, would still be "slaves," slaves to the state.

Now the WORST answer Edwards gave, at least in my view, was when he answered, "Citizenshipo for someone who's been working here illegally for a year?"

Edwards, "Well, I'm not sure if a year is...that's a tough one..."

"How about five years?

Edwards, Five years? Definitely!"

So U.S. CITIZENSHIP is a "right" - in fact, it's OWED to anyone who's been here illegally for five years, according to Edwards.

"So it's a "privilege" to be able to be treated for illnesses that, in some cases, may threaten your life?" (Fred)

No, it's a personal responsibility.

Just as is providing enough food to live, a basic, personal responsibility.

There are two competing visions, America's Founders believed in LIBERTY - "Self-ownership, the pursuit of happiness/property and complete personal responsibility."

There have always been those who've espoused LICENSE instead - "Everyone being free to do whatever they want, so long as they don't directly harm anyone else."

License can ONLY be granted via government action, as people free to do reckless, irresponsible things (like refusing to work, etc) must have their basic life commodities (food, clothing, shelter, etc.,) GUARANTEED. Otherise the weight of providing those things for themselves would force virtually everyone from doing anything self-destructive.

Once the "cost" of one's self-destructive behavior is shared, it becomes far more "cost-efective" to indulge in it.

Those who believe and espouse LIBERTY cannot live peacefully with those who espouse and endorse LICENSE. Those two paths are mutually exclusive. They cannot co-exist.

In short, LIBERTY is an "I've got mine, you go get yours," sort of ethos, whereas LICENSE is a "We're all in this together, so lets share all the costs," kind of ethos.

For the record, I've yet to meet anyone, who after seeing those two things actually defined this way, would prefer LICENSE over LIBERTY.

Correction: Edwards does not say whether these things ARE rights or privileges, but that they SHOULD be.

Which may be even worse.

Fair point, Pudge, the interviewer did ask "DO you think....should be a right?"

Commodities AREN'T "rights," at least not at this point, AND it should also be noted that John Edwards isn't the only Dem to want to make some/MANY of them "rights."

And yes, believing that the fruits of other people's labors should be "rights," for others, is indeed worse.

I guess Barry thinks that the State must provide everyone with free guns.

Otherwise, I would think that taking care of one's health is every bit of a right as taking care of one's security. I also think that surfing the Internet would be protected by the first amendment.

Personally, I think the better answer to most of these questions is "obtainable." I think all hard working young people should have the opportunity to earn a college education. Not free, but not prohibitively expensive.

Barry was just lying, trying to make it sound like Edwards said that those things ARE rights.

That's the kind of retarded mistakes you make when you get your talking points from Rush Limbaugh.

“I guess Barry thinks that the State must provide everyone with free guns.” (PE)

There really is no arguing over “the RIGHT to bear arms,” that’s all very clearly written in that pesky old Constitution, and yet, no rational person would imply that that implies “free guns.”

I mean if the argument could be made, or if there were some legitimate confusion over whether America’s Founders felt guns (a commodity) should be provided free, by the government, it would’ve been debated long ago, but there is no debate about that...and there never was, as they all made clear their views in favor of LIBERTY and opposed to LICENSE.

You have a right to “LIFE,” as well, and we all need food, clothing and shelter in order to survive and yet EVERY SINGLE one of America’s Founders made clear in their writings that they DID NOT believe in ANY shared responsibility, NOR any right to food, clothing, shelter, etc.

So, no one can rationally claim that “the right to life” implies a right to “the commodities necessary for life.”

Even Alexander Hamilton, the most Federalist (and in my view, because of that, the most wrong-headed of America’s Founders) wrote a very moving piece AGAINST federal assistance to a Massachusetts town ravaged by a flood. THAT, to me, was one of Hamilton’s finer moments, among many less so.

No, it is clear that the Bill of Rights asserts that we each have a “right” to all the self-defense we can muster, and afford, just as you have a right to ownership over your own life and yet the individual responsibility to sustain it as best you can – you must buy your own food, clothing, shelter and all the other life-commodities.

And protecting one’s health is as much a personal responsibility as providing enough food for one’s self to live.

And Edwards DIDN’T say the internet should be open and unregulated, he said that internet access, the access that we all rightfully pay for, should be a “right.”

No COMMODITY can ever be a "RIGHT."

The YouTube Interviewer ended the above interview this way, “The last segment is called “Right or Privilege;”

Interviewer: “College Education:” (COMMDOITY)

Edwards: “Right.”

I: “Healthcare:” (COMMODITY)

Edwards: “Right.”

I: “Livable Wage:”

Edwards: “Right.”

I: “Owning a handgun,” (Enumerated Right)

Edwards: “Privilege.”

I: “American citizenship for someone not born here but has worked here for a year:”

Edwards: “Worked here for one year...that’s a hard one, because I think people have to earn citizenship, I think I’d have the period be longer than one year-”

I: “Five years maybe?”

Edwards: “Five years, for sure.”

I: “Access to the internet:” (COMMODITY)

Edwards: Definitely a right.

Neither the questions or the answers could be more clear.

Barry has it right....Barely, well, not so much.

A handgun is a commodity, as well. Also, access to the Internet doesn't mean necessarily that the access will be without cost.

There is no enumerated "right" to a gun, PE.

There IS, however, a right to own a firearm.

Edwards replied to the interviewer, calling the commodity "surfing the web," with "A right."

I presume you, Barry and I and most of the others here pay for the privilege of surfing the web.

You can argue that the question should've been clearer, perhaps something like, "Should internet access and content remain unrestricted?"

That may be so, BUT, he's already on record (in that same interview) calling a number of COMMODITIES (healthcare and a college education) "rights."

America's Founders knew that a Constitution could only accord ACCESS (by reining government barriers) to things - the Right to assemble, to freedom of expression, of self-defense (the right to bear arms), but AGAIN, the "right to LIFE," clearly DID NOT insinuate any "right" to any of the necessary "life-sustaining commodities."

If you're an engineer and I claim a "right to competent, professional engineering," I've exerted a claim over a commodity you produce...a CLAIM over your work, your PROPERTY, which the Constitution guarantees you a right to sell/dispose of as you see fit.

I CANNOT have a "right" to a commodity without having the "right" to claim the properties/commodities produced by other free, self-owning people.

So Barry,
Carrying guns is a right but health care is not? Hmm...is that called "pro-life" culture?

Health care should be most definitely a right for every citizen.

P.S. I'd rather pay $400 for a haircut and look like Edwards, than pay the same amount and look like Giuliani or Fred Thompson.

Blue Wind -- Should food and shelter also be rights?

People can go for years without seeing a doctor, but try going without food for a month.

"Blue Wind -- Should food and shelter also be rights?"

Of course. It is called humane society. I dont think it is a good thing when people starve or freeze to death. Do you?

I wonder why Barry isn't talking about little Scooter being frog-hopped off to prison?

You bleeding heart Corporatists want to see poor little Scooter pardoned? Ha, what a bunch of hypocrites.

Scooter lied and lied, and obstructed justice, all to protect Cheney for ordering a CIA agent outed in retaliation for her husband refusing to lie about WMDs.

That would seem to be a more interesting topic of discussion, to me.

Uhhhh, her husband DIDN'T LIE about WMDS...in fact, before Congress, Joe Wilson said, "I never debunked the yellowcake from Niger claim," adding, Niger only has two exports uranium and goats, and it's highly doubtgul that the Iraqi representatives were there to buy goats."

With that said, neither Joe Wilson, nor ANYONE else "debunked" Britain's claim about Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium from Niger.

Where did you get the idea that he did?


Wilson became known to the general public as a result of his controversial op-ed published in the New York Times on July 6, 2003, four months after the 2003 invasion of Iraq began. In the op-ed, entitled "What I Didn't Find in Africa," Wilson documents his February 2002 trip investigating whether Iraq purchased or attempted to purchase yellowcake from Niger in the late 1990s and accuses the George W. Bush administration of "exaggerating the Iraqi threat" in order to justify war."


Instead of just lying, JMK, why don't you try a little reading.

Forget the OpEd Barely, Wilson recanted that with his subsequent testimony BEFORE Congress, in which he acknowledged (as I noted above) that he "NEVER debunked the yellowcake form Niger report," a report which the British stand by to this day.

Wilson also acknowledged BEFORE Congress (again, as noted above) that Niger only had "two exports, uranium and goats," and he added, he didn't believe "the Iraqi representatives where there to buy goats."

As Wilson's testimony BEFORE Congress was both (1) UNDER OATH and (2) subsequent to that ill-fated Op-Ed, that Congressional testimony (which is public record) is, without question, the more reliable account of Joe Wilson's views.

See how that works?

Now that was easy, wasn't it?


Education is the key, JMK. Telling half of the truth is still lying. Turn off Rush and research things yourself.

Britain's Butler Report issued after the Italian allegations is England's final word on that matter - and the Butler Report stands by Britain's earlier claims!


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