Food is a Right, not a privilege.

That’s what the sign said,
Food is a Right, not a privilege.
The sign was carried by a protester of
Orlando Florida’s new city law.

Orlando Sentinel

Daily Bread serves free lunch at noon six times a week.
Salvation Army has a soup line and all the bread you can carry at four, weekdays.
Homeless Coalition serves a sit down meal at seven, 7/.

The other protester’s sign read, The Government wants me to starve.
Was my father wrong? Does life owe me a living?

Food, generically, is a right. Luxury foods, like filet mignon or Snickers bars, is not. I say that food (the generic food) is a right because starving to death is absolutely unconscionable in this day and age, and if you can’t afford food because of circumstances out of your control that hardly condemns you to death.

Life does not owe you a living. You owe yourself a living. On the other hand, you do deserve a chance, small as it may be. You can’t do anything if you’re dead.

No…it does not. Your dad was right. Another question relevant to the particular story in question is…do the recipients of the food get to demand the circumstances in which they receive it? Seems a little out of line to me.

Well put Airman.

He was right…life doesn’t owe you anything. But people starving in the street in a wealthy society is a disgrace. Beyond that it’s not the homeless per se who are demanding the circumstances. It’s the people who are giving out the food, who know where the homeless are and go where they’re needed. I don’t think those three place are going to feed all the homeless in Orlando. And some of them might not know to go there…the mentally ill, the elderly.

Not to say they shouldn’t try to do something about the problem of “transients” in the park. But simple not feeding them is not solving much.

I would say that no, life doesn’t owe you a living–and wandering the streets, getting one or two handout meals a day, doesn’t constitute “living” but just “existing.”

I guess we have different definitions of what ‘rights’ are. The term rights, as I learned it, in the political sense concerns actions available to individuals. You have a right to own a gun. You have a right to own land. You have a right to do a job for pay, asssuming someone will hire you. You have a right to grow, harvest and sell food or, if you don’t have the land for that, the right to buy it from somene who will sell it. All these things are actions that the individual can take.

Now, the term rights has gone from actions available to individuals to requirements that the governement (or someone) must provide for individuals. Can’t afford health care? Call it a right and force someone else to pay for your healthcare. Can’t afford food, call it a right and force someone else to buy you food.

If I said that “everyone has a right to house” most people would look at me oddly. No one has a right to house. They have a right to buy a house, sell a house if they own it, rent a house, build a house, etc. That sentence sounds odd so those who believe that everyone should have a house regardless of whether or not they work for it instead say “Everyone has a right to housing”. Suddenly the sentence sounds a little better and people agree even though the basic premise (that people have a right to a house without earning it) is still there.

The fact that you think starving to death is unconscionable does not make food a right. I happen to agree that it is unconscionable for people to starve to death. But it is does not make food a right.


Which works for “pursuit of happiness,” I suppose, but how exactly are “life” and “liberty” actions?

This creeping extension of the concept of rights is one of the banes of the last century.

Food isn’t a right, it’s just food. We have no inalienable right to be fed by society. Of course, a humane society will not allow its weaker members to starve, but that does not equate to a right to be fed. It’s just the decent thing to do.

The danger is, of course, that if everything becomes a right then we will all end up with no rights at all, the concept having become meaningless.

What difference do the other rights mean if you starve to death?

One might as well say what good are the other rights if we get ill and die. Does that mean we have the right to free medical treatment?

As an old and now long gone former union convener used to say to me, the only freedom that counts, is freedom from hunger.
None of the other freedoms count for much, unless you have that, because the person who controls food, controls you.

Think about what is going on in Zimbabewe.

Don’t forget the right to a “peaceful quest.”

Can’t you see? You two just have different definitions of what ‘verbs’ are. :wink:

Well, I can’t comment on the metaphysical side of things, but I think in a wealthy society like the US, providing some relief to the extent that the truly desperate do not starve to death is certainly a net social positive. One would assume that the social cost of the starving proletariate resorting to crime or other forms of mayhem in their desperation would far outweigh the cost to society of proving a few loaves of bread everyday. I have no numbers to back it up but that’s what intuition would suggest.

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to have food served to them in parks.

Although I’m pretty sure you were wittily referring to ‘the poor man has the right to sleep on the street; the rich man has the right to sleep in a mansion’, I’d like to point out that apparently the ruling is that a rich home owner can indeed have free food in parks - only the homeless can’t.

A society can be judged by how it treats those with the least. (I am not bothered if there is a right involved.)

Quite a few people would say something quite like that. I don’t think it’s an idea you can dismiss as cavalierly as you have here.

Here’s a thread I started a while ago about much this same topic. Note the quote in the OP that inspired it; that gives you an idea of the opposite POV.

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
–Anatole France

I agree.