Rand Paul’s Libertarian Vision Apparently includes Freedom to Steal Others’ Works

What, exactly, does it mean for a Republican to be accused of plagiarism, anyway? Isn’t that pretty much what they do? I mean, all they do is copy from each other and crib from each other’s talking points anyway. But then, they’re only plagiarizing each other, which properly doesn’t qualify as “intellectual” property, anyway.

It seems that Ron Paul’s little boy, Rand, the Senator from Kentucky who seems more interested in promoting his own brand than doing anything for the people of Kentucky, is in a bit of trouble, because he apparently didn’t realize there was a difference between stealing talking points from a fellow Republican, and stealing the writings of other people.

Last week Paul was accused of stealing a whole passages from Wikipedia, which is really wrong on two levels. The first is, Wikipedia is a great source for finding sources, but to cite it first-hand is potentially dangerous, because it’s often inaccurate. Not that it matters in his case; he used the stolen Wikipedia passage to compare Obamacare to the plot of a truly bad movie, “Gattaca,” about a future vision of the world in which humans have been genetically engineered. Just for the hell of it, I searched for “genetic engineering” and “eugencs” in the Affordable Care Act and, perhaps surprisingly, found nothing.

But at a speech before the social engineering experiment that is Liberty University last week,  Paul decided to talk to them about eugenics. He claimed the country was getting close to killing off “undesirables,” and blamed liberals. Oh, by the way, you should know; the speech was at a rally for Ken Cuccinelli, making that sect of the speech both asinine and ironic. But back to the plagiarism. Twice in the speech he made statements that were nearly identical to the lines in the Wikipedia entry about the movie. For example:

“In the not-too-distant future, liberal eugenics is common, and DNA plays a primary role in determining your social class.”

and

“Due to frequent screenings, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way to achieve his dream of being an astronaut is he has to become what’s called a “borrowed ladder.”

From the Wikipedia entry:

“In ‘the not-too-distant future,’ liberal eugenics is common, and DNA plays the primary role in determining social class.”

and

“Due to frequent screening, Vincent faces genetic discrimination and prejudice. The only way he can achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut is to become a “borrowed ladder”, a person who impersonates a “valid” with a superior genetic profile.”

Time to fire his speechwriter, or at least buy him/her a thesaurus. Adding the word “liberal” doesn’t make the phrase unique. And let’s be real here; if you’re talking about actual, current events, some overlap in wording can be excused. But when you’re talking about a fictional event and using a work of fiction as proof of the fictional event, there’s simply no excuse. And the fact that he used one of the worst and most implausible films of all times doesn’t exactly help his case.

Paul denies the charges, and even plagiarized Zell Miller when he challenged Rachel Maddow to a duel based on the accusations. Unfortunately for Paul, he has an enormous ego that outweighs his intellect. Like Gary Hart did years ago, he dared reporters to follow him and prove that he was involved in some “Monkey Business,” which they did. Now, Paul has essentially challenged everyone to  check all of his speeches and writings, looking for any other example of idea theft.

As a result of this challenge, we now know this isn’t the first time Paul cribbed whole passages from Wikipedia. This article from Buzzfeed suggests that Paul and/or his speechwriters are far too lazy to look anything up, or even rewrite something using several sources. This tendency isn’t limited to Wikipedia and speeches, however. Buzzfeed also reports that, back In September, he apparently plagiarized sections from a column from This Week in an op-ed piece he “penned” for the Washington “Moonie” Times.

In that one, posted on Sept. 20,  2013, Paul wrote:

“America now jails a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country, including China and Iran, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year.”

Later in the piece, Paul wrote about a guy named John Horner, was given a 25 year sentence for selling painkillers, saying:

“John will be 72 years old by the time he is released, and his three young children will have grown up without him.”

Six days earlier, Dan Stewart posted the following on This Week:

“America now jails a higher percentage of its citizens than any other country, including China and Iran, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year.”

And later:

“He will be 72 by the time he is released, and his three young children will have grown up without him.”

Rand Paul had better come up with a time machine in the next week or so. If reporters have found this many examples of plagiarism in less than a week, imagine how many they could find by 2016.

It’s not like Paul has no imagination. Here’s a guy who once created his own oversight board to certify himself as an “eye doctor.” if he can make that up, he has the ability to fantasize…