In a National Review profile focused on his past life as an ophthalmologist and all of the pro-bono work performed over the years, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) offered yet another peculiar view of the government’s responsibility to its most impoverished citizens. When asked of his view on health care in light of the wide array of free operations he’s done in his career — estimated at more than 100 — Paul offered an analogy that essentially placed food stamps on par with slavery. Though that is not especially surprising giving the GOP’s penchant for playing down how slavery really works, it’s frustrating all the same.
Paul explained, “As humans, yeah, we do have an obligation to give people water, to give people food, to give people health care, but it’s not a right because once you conscript people and say, ‘Oh, it’s a right,’ then really you’re in charge. It’s servitude. You’re in charge of me and I’m supposed to do whatever you tell me to do.”
By Paul’s logic, if I find myself waiting for one or four checks and someone pays for my drinks at happy hour, they are my new master. I already ran this by a friend and she’s since offered her services, noting that in turn she will order me to twerk on command. Think Beyoncé, not Miley Cyrus.
Seriously, though, Paul has a knack for hyperbole and comparing various government-provided services to slavery. In 2011, Paul said that when one believes in a right to health care, “It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.”
So he more or less remixed this notion in the National Review story, only this time those wretched poor folks are giving farmers the blues. After all, “You don’t have a right to anyone else’s labor. Food’s pretty important; do you have a right to the labor of the farmer?”