Sanders sets Paul straight

We talked yesterday about Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) imaginative understanding of political philosophy related to Americans’ right to health care. What I didn’t realize is what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in response.

To briefly recap, Paul, a self-accredited ophthalmologist by trade, said those who believe in a right to health care also believe in “slavery.” He went on to say physicians, in a system in which a right to health care exists, can be taken from their homes involuntarily and forced against their will to treat patients.

Ezra flagged Bernie Sanders’ response, which quite effectively made Paul look ridiculous.

I’d note that Salon‘s Alex Pareene covered the same exchange, and noted that Rand Paul appears to be “America’s dumbest senator.” The senator’s argument is “so self-evidently dumb that a college freshman who just discovered Ayn Rand would be embarrassed to have said it.”

Jon Chait also had a good piece on this, noting that we’ve established that seniors have a right to health care — the system does not enslave medical professionals — and every other advanced country around the planet guarantees care for its citizens, without “instances of police abductions of medical personnel and their support staff compelling medical procedures performed at gunpoint.”

Chait added that Paul, an “utter nutball,” doesn’t seem to understand that establishing health care as a basic right is “not to say they have a right to decide that a particular person must furnish them with medical services.”

As best as I can tell, Rand Paul doesn’t care about being the subject of widespread ridicule, and is so confident in his bizarre worldview, he seems to take some pride in the volume of mockery.

That should help make the next five years or so much easier on him.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.