Senator Rand Paul has tested the extremes of American right-wing ideology once again. As one of those Tea Party favorites that pretends to be a Republican, Paul is actually a thinly disguised anarcho-capitalist. Anarcho-capitalists are also known as libertarians, a name which doesn’t distinguish between those like Sen. Paul and the more moderate “classical liberal.” This time, Rand Paul is insisting that food stamps are just like slavery for several reasons — all of which are either completely idiotic or patently false, as I’ll explain below.
Here’s the excerpt in question, taken from an article appearing on National Review:
“There’s a philosophic debate which often gets me in trouble, you know, on whether health care’s a right or not,” Paul, in a red tie, white button-down shirt, and khakis, tells the students from the stage. “I think we as physicians have an obligation. As Christians, we have an obligation. . . . I really believe that, and it’s a deep-held belief,” he says of helping others.
“But I don’t think you have a right to my labor,” he continues. “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?”
Paul then asks, rhetorically, if students have a right to food and water. “As humans, yeah, we do have an obligation to give people water, to give people food, to give people health care,” Paul muses. “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. . . . It really shouldn’t be seen that way.”
Well then, Paul, stop looking at it this way. See, a food stamp card doesn’t let you go visit the local farm (which doesn’t feed most Americans, anyway; corporate farms do) and tell them to give you food as part of the social contract of taxation. Instead, they give you the right to a small amount of money, which the government has a monopoly on the production of, to be used for the purchase of food. That money is the government’s, already taken through taxation, to be used for the public good. Feeding the poor is part of the public good. So is taking care of them. It’s not “slavery” because the doctor and farmer aren’t being forced to do labor without compensation — they’re being compensated just fine. If anyone was being told to do something, it’d be the taxpayers — who also benefit from different aspects of our social contract taxation system.
His language gives away his real problem with it, anyway. As he’s stated, it “shouldn’t be that way,” with “that” meaning “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.” (Oh, you mean your job? For money? How strange.)
What he really means is, “I’m fine with helping poor people, but I reject the notion of social leadership and don’t want ANYONE telling me how to do things, even if it’s more efficient for the people to work together toward a common goal, such as feeding the poor, with government as the means!” Now, you can tell that he really doesn’t understand that charity isn’t enough, and never will be, which you can tell from an earlier excerpt from his statements. From earlier on in the same article:
n 1995, Paul founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, which provided free eye care for low-income people, “because I wanted to be able to give back to the community.” He did free operations for locals and also for children who had come all the way from Guatemala.
Paul estimates he has done over a hundred pro bono surgeries over the years. In the health-care debate, he remarks, it was overlooked how many doctors already perform free surgeries for those in need. Performing surgery pro bono, Paul insists, “is not unusual for physicians.”
That’s an amazing thing he’s done there — and many surgeons do engage in things like this. Yet, if that charitable contribution was enough, 62 percent of bankruptcies wouldn’t be related to medical bills. Cutting food stamps won’t free farmers from economic slavery — it’ll make children starve.
Reposted from Occupy Democrats with permission.
- Senator: Food Stamps Are Just Like Slavery (thinkprogress.org)
- Rand Paul: Water is not a right, giving water to others is servitude (freakoutnation.com)
- Rand Paul: Health Care is Not a Right (dannyvinik.com)