In Which I Advise Sen. Rand Paul, With Flowcharts
Well, a flowchart, anyway. Because dudes love flowcharts.
In any event, Rand Paul needs my help. Actually, a lot of white people need my help, but today my focus is on the junior senator from the great state of Kentucky.
See, Rand Paul has this habit of comparing things he doesn’t like to slavery. In particular, Rand Paul likes to compare any government program he dislikes – and he dislikes most government programs – to slavery. And in virtually every instance, the thing he’s comparing to slavery isn’t actually slavery.
Case in point, via Think Progress:
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) equated government programs that prevent people from dying of starvation with slavery in a new profile of his medical practice published today, revealing himself to hold a view of the role of government so limited as to nearly define the state out of existence.
Paul’s philosophical excursus is buried in the midst of the too-friendly-for-parody article (it ends with a patient waxing poetic about how Paul “loves people”), but the words are unmistakably Randian. “As humans, yeah, we do have an obligation to give people water, to give people food, to give people health care,” Paul allowed, “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.”
Think Progress notes that this is nothing new for Sen. Paul, who, in 2011, “claim[ed] that accepting a human right to health care ‘means you believe in slavery’.”
Giving people food stamps? That’s totally slavery, man. Government-subsidized health care? Why don’t you slap some leg irons on me while you’re at it.
Of course, all of this sort of flies in the face of the Republicans’ other favorite meme: That people who receive government benefits are freeloaders. As Mitt Romney famously said, “[T]here are 47 percent who . . . are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” It’s hard to be a freeloader and a slave at the same time, isn’t it?
But, here’s a thought. Given the particularly awful place slavery holds in America’s hall of shame, maybe we shouldn’t compare random, everyday outrages to slavery. And maybe that’s all the more the case when the thing you want to compare to slavery – in Paul’s case, things like food stamps and Medicaid – are things conservatives go out of their way to associate with . . . wait for it . . . African-Americans. You know. The descendants of actual slaves.
Holy crap. Do I really have to say that out loud?
Anyway, as a public service for white people everywhere – and, especially white people surnamed Paul (Rand or Ron, actually) – I provide this handy guideline for when it’s okay to compare something to slavery:
You’re welcome, America.