Rights, Duties, and Obligations in the Modern Era

I recently discovered a brand new and interesting philosophical blog, via Marginal Revolution. If you happen to get an opportunity, please explore–there is quite a bit there worth reading. And so far, I’m enjoying it immensely.

In a recent post discussing rights and duties, James Otteson lays out the interplay between the two very well and the important roles each play:

Whether one has a “right” to something is whether someone else has a duty to provide it. The two—a right and its correlative duty—are logically inseparable; like mountain and valley or ebb and flow, one exists only with the other. Hence if no one has a duty to provide you something, you have no right to it; and you can claim a right to something only if it is someone else’s duty to provide it for you.

He goes on to say that if one really, really wants whatever it is they’re clamoring for, it does not then become a right, nor does it become a duty for another to provide it for them.

The whole post is a pretty interesting discussion concerning positive and and negative liberty, one that I’ll leave to you to read and digest, but it brushes nicely over the current health care debate.

The question we have is, if health care is a right, as claimed, who then has the duty to provide it at their expense? Anyway, read the article and the accompanying discussion for a little balance.