There is no shortage of claims some people assert to live at the expense of others. It is easy to simply declare the existence of some “right.” However, merely asserting the claim does not make it legitimate. Without properly thinking it through, many people recklessly announce some “right” to do something or be given a particular item, service, or payment. It seems there is no limit to the number of “rights” some people claim to have. It is currently fashionable in some circles to claim rights to healthcare, college tuition, a living wage, a job, shelter, not to be discriminated against, not be offended, or even to be treated with dignity and respect.

The difference between legal and moral rights has been a critically important distinction throughout this book. While some of these claims may be legitimate as moral rights, general morality issues are beyond this book’s scope. To the extent these claims are consistent with the 3L Moral Principle, we should act to accomplish these goals outside the law. Further, it has been a primary focus of this book to make the case that the right to be free from all aggressions of others, and the groups they form, ought to be our most fundamental legal right.

In addition to the distinction between moral and legal rights, there is another critical distinction between different legal rights claims. There are two different varieties of such claims. One type does not legally obligate other people to do anything. The other legally requires, and therefore forces, other people to do something. This distinction is the key to understanding what rights are legitimate legal rights and which are not.

The term “negative rights” describes rights a person can fully exercise without forcefully compelling anyone to do anything. All substantive rights advocated for in this book are negative rights. Other than simply refraining from violating the 3L Legal Principle, we should not force anyone to do anything. For example, your rights to control your body, property, money, and time do not depend on anybody doing anything other than simply refraining from violating the 3L Legal Principle. This well illustrates the concept of negative rights. We can say the same for your right to be left alone and not interfered with by the activities of others. So long as others refrain from violating the 3L Legal Principle, you realize and enjoy all your negative rights.

On the other hand, the term “positive rights” can be used to describe a right that a person cannot realize unless someone else affirmatively does something. Positive rights always require forcing people into doing things. An example of a positive right would be a claimed right to healthcare. For one person to have a right to healthcare, some other person, or group of people, must be forced to either personally provide the healthcare or fund it.

Forcing people to provide healthcare for others or fund it violates the 3L Legal Principle. As previously discussed, forcing people to fund anything violates the 3L Legal Principle. While voluntarily supporting another’s healthcare is a charitable act of moral significance, it is irrelevant to determining whether a person violates the 3L Legal Principle. Because promoting a legal right to healthcare, as a positive right, requires forcing others to either provide the healthcare or fund it, we can conclude that a legal right to healthcare violates the 3L Legal Principle. This conclusion ends the analysis for the person committed to the 3LP.

That notwithstanding, one may persuasively argue the existence of a moral right to provide healthcare for others who are less fortunate. Voluntary kindness is an essential aspirational value for those in the 3LM. People of goodwill and sufficient means should be encouraged to help less fortunate people obtain basic healthcare. It is important to note we cannot achieve or maintain optimum health without consistent access to nutritious food and clean water. Also, people need access to appropriate housing, clothing, sanitation requirements, exercise, and countless other items and services to maintain good health. It is easy to see how any claimed positive right to healthcare quickly expands to a right to have all of life’s basic needs provided by or funded by another person. In any event, solving these moral issues is appropriately in the realm of persuasion.

Ensuring the less fortunate have access to all these basic life needs is a moral obligation for many people in the 3LM. Helping others less fortunate is undoubtedly a worthy moral cause and entirely consistent with the aspirational value of voluntary kindness towards others. We should act ourselves and inspire more people to help with this cause voluntarily. However, forcing them to help consistently violates the 3L Legal Principle as it seeks to import moral goals, even worthy ones, into the law.

Importing general moral views into the law is always fraught with peril. Besides violating the 3L Legal Principle, when the law forces people to affirmatively act morally, even to achieve worthy goals like healthcare for those less fortunate, the law invites an endless struggle over who gets to enshrine their morality into the law. An infinite number of worthy causes compete for our limited charitable efforts. Forced charity is not charity at all. Genuine charity emanates from a kind and empathetic heart. We should encourage charity while taking a principled position against forced charity, even when a worthy cause we advocate for is at issue.

There is no better way to move towards a world where all people have access to healthcare than to calibrate our laws to be in harmony with the 3L Legal Principle. This conclusion is proper for several reasons: In a world where people can venture their capital and trade freely with others, standards of living rise. Free societies naturally have higher standards of living.xiv As standards of living rise, more people can afford to purchase healthcare and other life needs. Achieving a free and peaceful world where free trade thrives and standards of living rise is the best way to permanently eradicate poverty and the lack of access to proper basic healthcare, food, housing, clothing, and other necessities to live a long and healthy life.

Also, healthcare is subject to the same laws of economics and incentives that apply to other products and services. As such, only a free market in healthcare can set the actual fair market price of the service in question. Few markets have been subject to government regulation as the healthcare industry.xv This has resulted in a distorted and inefficient market where people maneuver to qualify for services at the forced expense of others, consumers generally have no idea of the actual cost of service, prices continually rise, quality of service is in perpetual decline, and healthcare professionals generally continue to work more for less pay. Overall, satisfaction with the entire industry is in free fall.xvi As with any other product or service, if our goal is to have the best quality healthcare available at the most reasonable competitive market price, an actual free market in all forms of healthcare and health insurance is our only available option. It is also the only option compatible with the 3LP.