Subsidized Birth Control and Matt Walsh’s Dubious Theory of Rights
Midway through ranting that women who want birth control should take personal and financial responsibility for their sex lives rather than “sit around and whine for free birth control,” Matt Walsh makes a curious statement of principle, or “philosophical and constitutional reality,” as he confidently calls it. I’ll spare you the all caps that he uses:
You don’t have a right to a product that must be provided to you through governmental coercion of a third party.
If Walsh meant that you don’t have a right to force other people to buy products for you, or that governmental coercion is a poor means of providing you with products, he phrased this sentence quite oddly. If, as he wrote, he meant to deny a right pertaining to a product, then he’s implying a questionable theory of rights.
What if a product can be provided to you without governmental coercion? Do you then have a right to the product? If so, what is the basis of that right? It can’t be your need for it or the possibility of satisfying it, because those conditions can be present where there’s governmental coercion.
With or without governmental coercion, you need water, food, clothing, shelter, and other life necessities, but according to Walsh, you don’t have a right to these goods if the government has to coerce someone into providing them to you. Your need for them and their availability to you do not establish your right to them. Or if either or both of these conditions do establish a right, the right vanishes under the condition that it must be provided to you through governmental coercion. Is your right to basic human needs so relative?
Maybe Walsh would say the right lies elsewhere, that you have a right to purchase available goods and services in the free market, assuming you have the means to do so. There’s no right to a product, per se, but there is a right to participate freely in the market. This, however, wouldn’t work with his stated principle either. If we include in “governmental coercion” the system of laws that recognize private property claims and underlie their exchange, then most products are provided through governmental coercion, albeit in a way that’s invisible.
I assume that Walsh isn’t against such laws, but then, if so, he doesn’t fully buy his capital(-ized!) reason for opposing government-subsidized birth control.