Bill O’Reilly is generally seen as a leader in the conservative movement. Whether this title is actually deserved is a matter of opinion. His adamant support for a candidate like Trump (especially when there were other, far better options) definitely calls it into question. However, after an article on this week, I think that it is safe to say O’Reilly is not the conservative that many believe him to be.

O’Reilly states, “Essentially, there are three major expectations that the government should meet under the constitutional banner of pursuit of happiness….Number one, security.” Number two on the list: “Americans are entitled to an affordable medical system that can alleviate their suffering.” And number three on his list: “…fair access to the free marketplace.”

(First of all, a word on the pursuit of happiness. This phrase is often misunderstood, but the Declaration was written, it was often used interchangeably with the word ‘property’. The Founders saw this as the ability to make and get wealth. It was the ability to acquire and use property in order to advance oneself. This is the free market system that allowed America’s economy to skyrocket unlike anything before seen in history.)

With some caveats, I could give him the first and third item on his list. But there is just absolutely no way for a conservative to justify the second item on his list. To say that the government owes America an affordable medical system is one small step away from saying that the government owes all Americans affordable food, or a “living wage”.

Where people often go wrong is by thinking since the government is supposed to protect our rights, it’s therefore government’s job to provide for those rights. Government’s job is to make sure that the free market is indeed free so that an affordable medical system can develop of its own accord. This is accomplished by government getting out of the way. Lifting rule and regulations, allowing competition, etc.

Government does not owe its citizens an affordable medical system. O’Reilly used the word “entitled” which should be an immediate red flag. This is not being nit-picky. A “conservative leader” telling his viewers that their government owes them affordable health care is not only dangerous, it is irresponsible.

We should demand certain things from our government. We should demand integrity and honesty in our leaders. We should demand that our government stay within its constitutional limits. We should demand that government protect our rights. In that sense, government does “owe” us these things.

However, we are not entitled to these things. An entitlement is free, given regardless of what you do or who you are. Freedom is not an entitlement. It is a gift, an honor, a privilege, something that must be worked for, something that must be sacrificed for.

Freedom is not free. The only way to preserve it is to have a people and a government that both understand the difference between protection of rights and provision of rights. This is a concept that Bill O’Reilly apparently does not understand.