In today’s On the Square , the excellently named John Daniel Davidson wants to talk about why healthcare cannot become a civil right (so, perhaps that’s one word Republicans ought not steal ):

But there’s another, more urgent, reason to invoke the civil rights movement in the defense of Obamacare, and that is to shut down the opposition. In his remarks Wednesday, the president strongly implied that the debate over health care, like the civil rights debate, is now over. Dissent is not only illegitimate but also cowardly, and represents a dark era of the past. What’s needed now is the courage to secure a right everyone agrees is inviolable.

Read the rest here . Back in a 1992 issue of First Things , Robert A. Licht reviewed Mary Ann Glendon’s Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse ; the article contains some good general formulations of the history behind the idea of civil rights, so it makes a nice chaser to Davidson’s post if you have the time.

Articles by B. D. McClay

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