Obsession over “rights” continues to grow with little consideration of responsibilities. Distorted perceptions concerning “rights” have become commonplace, demonstrated by the right to free speech being considered by many as immunity from any consequences from speaking their mind.
The list of perceived “rights” grows annually, from the European Union’s vacation “right” to a cellphone being considered a “right”. Now, we find Assemblyman Tom Ammiano in San Francisco introducing a “Homeless Persons’ Bill of Right” in response to the city’s recent attempt to restrict homeless behaviors.
This bill would protect the “right” of the homeless to sleep in public places, camp on city streets, urinate in public, panhandle, have access to bathrooms, showers, water and clean syringes, get welfare cash payments, and protect many other behaviors that the city has been trying to curtail. Treating these things as “rights” degrades the very concept of what a “right” is.
San Francisco currently spends over $200 million a year on the homeless, although little of that goes toward addressing the underlying causes. It is often called the “homeless capital of America” but has recently begun scaling back policies allowing homeless behavior many residents found to be offensive. Taking it to the limit is a common liberal trait and San Francisco, as liberal a city there is, seems to have reached a limit that Assemblyman Ammiano doesn’t like.
All rights come with responsibilities, but that has been sadly forgotten by a self-absorbed generation no longer concerned with the “common good”. Many feel-good, idealistic notions are being considered rights, being demanded as rights, and being granted – but that doesn’t make them right. These “rights” are wrong and the very concept of a right is being lost.
David J. Hentosh