Doesn't matter whether it's a media scold using the analogy to declaim unpaid contributions to the Huffington Post, or the Senate Majority Leader criticizing opponents of ObamaCare, or the most interesting man in the Senate trying to make a point about the dangers of establishing a "right" to health care–comparing slavery to anything short of, well, slavery, strikes me in the best case as wildly, off-puttingly inaccurate. Here's Rand Paul:
"With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to healthcare, you have to realize what that implies. It's not an abstraction. I'm a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me," Paul said recently in a Senate subcommittee hearing.
"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," Paul said, adding that there is "an implied use of force."
"If I'm a physician in your community and you say you have a right to healthcare, you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That's ultimately what the right to free healthcare would be," Paul said.
Watch him here:
Could slaves free themselves by changing professions? Do doctors in Switzerland get taken away at gunpoint? To treat the analogy with technical seriousness, even setting aside (as if you could) the colossal weight of America's most lasting shame, is to render it ridiculous, in my opinion.
Some relevant Reason reading:
* Rand Paul, the "Great Non-Compromiser"?, Brian Doherty, Feb. 4, 2011
* Stop Smearing Federalism, Damon W. Root, Nov. 10, 2010
* Paul and the Private Parts, Jacob Sullum, May 26, 2010
* Up From Slavery, David Boaz, April 6, 2010
* Who Wins Today's Godwin Award?, Matt Welch, Dec. 7, 2009
* Crying Wolf, Michael C. Moynihan, August 2008
* The Uses of Hyperbole, Matt Welch, August 2008
* The 'White Slavery' Panic, Joanne McNeil, April 2008
Nick Gillespie and I interviewed Paul in March: