WTF: Medicare = Slavery?

That’s the curious formulation of Tea Party icon Senator Rand Paul – an intellectually dishonest and deeply unserious assertion of libertarian dogma that Lawrence O’Donnell quite brilliantly deconstructed on his program last week…

Unfortunately, this sort of depraved nonsense is the outcome of the radical libertarian argument carried to its logical extreme… a dialectic not based on facts or evidence, but one that is hypothetically predicated on a dystopian hellscape of the imagination.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “WTF: Medicare = Slavery?

  1. sapphireandsteel

    Ugh, Paul season seems to have started early this season. I actually wrote a greasemonkey script to “dePaul” the internet back in 2008. I put it up on userscripts and got a bunch of paranoid individuals writing me not so nice emails because apparently “I hated freedom and America”. Well not really, I just wanted freedom from the facile ramblings of Lew Rockwell.

    As for Rand… it’s sad how far ignorance will get you in the US these days. Maybe it’s just me but the “truth” is probably far more boring than they care admit. If they want a dystopian Rand fantasy I recommend they get the Bioshock series.

  2. Both Pauls are dangerous lunatics.

  3. I subscribe to a lot of YouTube channels and it’s amazing what a rabid fan club Ron Paul has in that forum. Unsurprisingly, the same people generally hate the government, despise the police, believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy, are “anti-Zionists” (the Jews are controlling absolutely everything!), believe there’s a nefarious NWO being hatched by the Illuminati/Billderbergers, think Obama is a secret Muslim, etc., etc.,

    Which is unfortunate, because I happen to agree with a lot of what Ron Paul has to say about non-intervention in foreign misadventures and even some of his minimalist stances on domestic affairs.

  4. Craig Chamberlain

    Thank you for posting the clip.
    I would consider him to be a liability if he was on my team — such is the wisdom of freedom of expression. Ultimately, he is forgettable. He will be used and abandoned once he has served his purpose for the libertarian powers that be. Ironic, huh?

  5. Craig Chamberlain

    (Ironic that he IS a slave.)

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  9. The Paulians are extremely ideological – almost like Communists, as it pointed-out in this month’s Esquire.

    That Ron Paul has managed to be correct on a few issues does not dispute the fact that he is wrong on the notion of a collective civil society.

  10. hitfan

    O’Donnell blowing a gasket, LOL. He does not get it at all.

    Rand perceives all taxation as slavery. I’ve heard this argument before, and it’s no big deal. It’s a dialectic I don’t really subscribe to, I don’t mind government as long as it is transparent and accountable. I don’t mind government, as long as it doesn’t alienate me.

    I used to think that sovereign movement and tax avoider fanatics were crazies. Then I saw this 60 minute hit piece on the movement recently:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7366128n&tag=contentMain;contentBody

    Which made me sympathetic towards them. Why? Because nowhere in the piece does it address the root cause as to why people are increasingly feeling _alienated_ from their public officials. There are legitimate grievances, especially in the case of the 2008 Wall Street bailout when 90% of the public was opposed to it, but the bought-off politicians were strong-armed and whipped into voting for it anyway.

    Until alienation is addressed, then “crazies” will get crazier. The talking heads with their loudspeakers who pooh-pooh them with an air of snobbery and superiority with calls to “raising the discourse” will just continue to fan the flames.

    Being from Ontario, I wasn’t really aware of the hatred that the West had for Eastern Canada until I moved to Alberta (I was also a wee lad in the 1980s). I talked to many people who had lost everything during the NEP days and I concurred that their feelings were quite justified. Especially when their livelihoods were destroyed and there was a justified perception that the East had voted itself cheap oil at their expense.

    George Wallace. Ronald Reagan. Preston Manning. The Tea Party. Right-wing populist movements all have alienation by elitists as the thing that drives them.

    Libs, would you rather that the conservative voter base follow someone like Rand Paul, or a real extremist like Timothy McVeigh? Better to have Fox News be a conservative mouthpiece than have it banned by legislation only to have the conservative movement then really go extremist and follow Stormfront as their main source of news.

    Rand Paul and people like him are your best friends, because his position as an elected official actually defuses the far right in the long run. He provides a sieve for people’s frustrations.

    As for Ron Paul–he kicks ass. Ron Paul said in a REPUBLICAN debate that heroin should be legalized.

  11. tofkw

    RT – I seem to have a comment trapped ‘awaiting moderation’ in the Newt 2012 post. Hope you can find it and free it up.

    Likewise I do happen to agree with a lot of what Dr Ron Paul has to say on US foreign policy, the federal reserve and corporations drafting laws in Washington; and indecently so does Ralph Nader and many others who would occupy the opposite ‘left’ of American politics. However, yes I would have to admit many of his other libertarian views do border on batshit crazy. However I still consider him an honest man who really believes in what he preaches.

    But his son Rand here is a real work of art. The younger Dr Paul is (like most teabaggers) obsessed with fantasies of victimhood and discrimination. Seriously, you would think affluent white people with any sense of shame would avoid describing the condition of being a rich yuppie doctor whose parents put you through school as “slavery”.

    Rand Paul’s statement goes beyond simple descriptions like ‘silly’ or ‘ridiculous’. His comments actually belittle and openly mock the greatest domestic sin ever committed by the USA in its 235 year history.

  12. tofkw

    hitfan, this comment really bothers me:

    “I talked to many people who had lost everything during the NEP days and I concurred that their feelings were quite justified. Especially when their livelihoods were destroyed and there was a justified perception that the East had voted itself cheap oil at their expense.”

    If you were originally from the East, I think you would know plenty of people lost everything there too in those days, and the NEP didn’t help to lessen the blow.

    Likewise Texas saw a loss of billions in revenue and a collapse of the oil industry as well in the 1980’s, and likewise plenty of people lost everything there too; but they didn’t have an NEP did they?

    The dramatic collapse of world oil prices in the 1980’s was the reason for Alberta’s (and Texas’) woes. And this was due to;
    a) a drop in prices do to lack of industrial demand and resulting glut of reserves,
    b) major new oil production coming on-line from non-OPEC sources in the North Sea, Mexico, South America and Africa.

    So you had classic over-production and lack of demand. Not to say the NEP wasn’t a stupid attempt for Ottawa to drill into Alberta’s wallet, but it’s affect on the overall scheme of things was more like throwing salt into an open wound. It was not the cause of the injury, nor the reason for its severity.

  13. I think the effect of the NEP is greatly exaggerated, but you won’t successfully convince many Albertans of that that fact seeing as it’s become so deeply embedded in their provincial mythology. Kind of like the trope that they’re a hard-scrabble bunch of roughnecks and frontier pioneers that “won the west” through their rugged individualism and love of freedom. Never mind the fact that most of them, like the Dear Leader, are transplants from elsewhere and that the province is actually one of the most socialistic places one could imagine.

  14. lenny

    What’s with some Albertan’s incessant need to substitute the word “Alberta” with “the West”? Does in help them to believe their views represent a larger swath of Canada, or is it because it makes them feel like The Man with No Name rather than some twat living in the suburbs?

  15. What’s with some Albertan’s incessant need to substitute the word “Alberta” with “the West”?

    Using “the West” instead of “Alberta” is actually just a cheap way for insecure, faux-macho Hummer jockeys like Tom Flanagan to magnify their provincial stones. It’s rather hard to swing your dick convincingly when your province is named after a girl.

  16. Having grown up on Vancouver Island, pretty much everyone else in Canada is a “damn easterner” to us… even sometimes, the folks on the Lower Mainland!

    It’s all relative I guess.

  17. Lars

    …the province is actually one of the most socialistic places one could imagine…

    I could imagine lots of places far more socialistic (Jeez, is that even a word?) than Alta, rt, but it’s right up there near the top when it comes to ensuring that corporate costs get socialized as much as possible. Profits, of course, remain privatized.

  18. I was thinking more of the time when I lived there and enjoyed free healthcare (no premiums like in BC), no provincial sales tax, well-funded recreation centers in every community, excellent schools that never seemed wanting for anything (unlike in BC where we were always been dunned for books, fees, trips, etc.), parks and recreation facilities aplenty, and unlike Ontario, for example, you weren’t nickeled and dimed by the government for every little service. It really was a great place to bring up kids.

  19. “It really was a great place to bring up kids.”

    All those freebies are long-gone, courtesy of Ralph Klein – with the exception of Healtcare Premiums, which Klein reinstated and Stelmach eliminated (late in the last boom.

    Everywhere else in Alberta, you are nickled & dimed.

  20. Well, that’s too bad, because it was a great place to live in the late 80s and 90s when we were in Calgary and Edmonton. Very “family-friendly” if I can put it that way. Guess I should stop defending it as, despite all of its staunchly conservative rhetoric, being secretly “progressive” on the down-low, huh?

  21. Lars

    I’m afraid that A the Y is correct, rt.

    We got that second boom and we pissed all of that away too.

    This is a lousy place to be poor now.

  22. I’m really bummed to hear that. I’ve been defending Alberta for years based on my pleasant experience living in that province and am truly sorry to hear that many of the positive aspects of the way it once generously delivered government services to average working families have been systemically eradicated.

  23. p.s. Lars: Be more careful with your HTML tags. If you don’t close them off properly it screws up all subsequent comments. If you place the “/” after the “i” then everything from thereon will be in italics.

  24. Roland

    I keep finding myself surprised by how much I agree with some of Ron Paul’s sentiments.

    For example, while I don’t want us to go back on the gold standard, but it’s certainly no longer stupid for someone to suggest it. Fifteen years of Greenspan/Bernanke undisciplined soft money policy, and the repeated asset value bubbles which result, have undermined the credibility of “independent” central banks in a fiat money system. When the monetary authorities lose their self-control, a commodity-backed currency begins to look like the lesser evil.

    The nonstop interventionism and creeping imperialism of US foreign policy has been one of the biggest disappointments of the post-Cold War era.

    And there has to be something intrinsically unhealthy about a society devoting over 15% of GDP to drugs and medical care–demographics be damned.

  25. Anyone who advocates a return to the Gold Standard does not understand the roots of the Great Depression or even basic monetary economics …

  26. Roland: I just can’t get my head around the gold standard from a practical standpoint. That said, there’s no question that the Fed System has been utterly debauched for the past 20-30 years, most especially during the tenure of Greenspan — yet another one of these insane people in influential positions that has been completely wrong about almost absolutely everything.

  27. tofkw

    RT, reading his post I’m fairly certain Roland’s comments were not advocating the gold standard because of it being ‘less bad’ than Greenspan’s “hands-off, the almighty markets will correct themselves” approach. Rather it read to me more like which medication was best for a patient in critical condition; arsenic or cyanide?

  28. A return to the gold standard would be a bad idea because as much as people complain about inflation, a little bit of inflation is healthy for an economy, and deflation is far worse.

    If money becomes slightly less valuable tomorrow (moderate inflation), you’ll spend money at a fairly normal rate and so will everyone else and the economy will keep chugging along. If money is nearly worthless tomorrow (hyperinflation) you’ll blow through all of it as soon as you can, hoard goods and be reluctant to trade them for money, and the economy will sputter. If money is worth more tomorrow than it is today (deflation) you’ll hoard your money and wait to see how much more you can get for it, and the economy will choke.

    Gold, almost by definition, invites deflation because there is a limited amount of it. If the economy needs more money to avoid deflation and nobody can find new gold reserves or exploit existing ones more quickly, then deflation will happen. With fiat money, however, we can respond to the needs of the economy at will and print enough money to avoid deflation.

    Though overinflation and low interest rates can invite Hayekian malinvestment in the form of asset bubbles if the economy isn’t properly regulated, it’s still a far lesser evil than deflation, and therefore it’s far better to stick with fiat money.

  29. Under the Gold Standard, the world economy sputtered from one crisis to another – constantly. Some downturns in the 19th Century lasted decades …

  30. I’ve never been able to get my head around a global system of currency pegged to the value of a commodity that is, by definition, rare and extremely finite. It just makes no sense to me at all.

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