Reason’s Matt Welch criticizes Rand Paul for Paul’s assertion that the right to healthcare implies slavery. While it is true that in minds of many, the term “slavery” specifically refers to chattel slavery as practiced in the United States prior to the end of the American Civil War, the term itself is not so limited. And this is not the first time that a prominent person has used the term in regard to employment restrictions: Curt Flood was well known for saying “A well paid slave is nonetheless, a slave.” The same applies here. Indeed, I have compared modern attitudes and events to slavery myself, more than once. Of course, there are critical differences between Rand and Flood and myself, with melanin levels likely being the most important one. But just as Flood’s comparison in the past was apt, so to is Paul’s comparison in the present an accurate description. It is easy to see that there have been far worse tortures in the past than waterboarding, or even beatings, but I would certainly still call the latter “torture.” So, too, would I call forced labor of any sort “slavery.” Wearing a smock rather than rags does not change the name.
One way of identifying a person’s ideology is by referencing that person’s “favorite war.”
If you can get your average American to admit that both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars were wars against secession, the next heady notion to contemplate is that, just perhaps, the U.S. took the wrong side on at least one of them.
I’d guess that most Americans’ favorite war is World War II. Americans fought against three obvious evil empires (Nazi, Italian fascist, and the Rising Sun), and, in the end brought them down. The worst thing most people I’ve talked to will admit of the war is that “three out of four ain’t bad” — recognizing that the U.S allied itself with the worst of the four regimes then extant, and then fought a Cold War for forty-some years because of that dangerous alliance.
But surely the Civil War has nearly as many (or more) “buffs.” And the Civil War certainly exerts a great deal of influence over our (varying) sense(s) of allegiance.
For instance, I often talk up secession, refer to it as a basic right and an obvious foundational aspect to any free federal union. It may be traumatic, but it is as necessary as divorcing an abusive spouse, or as satisfying as telling a crazy boss to “Take this job and shove it.” The usual argument against secession is a knee-jerk “but the Civil War settled that” routine. How many times have I heard this? Must be dozens.