I recently asked Senator Rand Paul if he’d write a replacement column for me. I’d been under the weather and had fallen behind on my freelance writing chores, so I hoped he might, as a public servant, help me out. But I was hesitant to seek a favor from him. After all, he’s a person of importance and I’m but a lowly scribbler. Our politics are worlds apart, and besides, he doesn’t know me from a load of hay.
But nothing ventured, nothing gained, as I always say. So I contacted Senator Paul’s office and made my request. Imagine my surprise when he agreed to do this favor for a man who was neither a constituent, nor a campaign contributor. I received the Senator’s copy within two days of requesting it, and that right there is a rebuttal to people who say you can’t count on politicians to get anything done. Not only did Senator Paul’s column come back to me PDQ, it also turned out to be pretty darn good. More to the point, Dr. Paul said I could keep whatever might be paid for the piece since he didn’t really need the money, and was only too happy to have his message spread.
I knew no editor in his or her right mind would turn down a column written by so innovative a thinker and such a newsworthy public figure. I immediately began shopping his guest comment around in the draft you see below:
Guest Commentary: Making American Good Again
By Rand Paul
Four score and seven years ago, back in 1926, Calvin Coolidge presided over the kind of prosperity never seen when the Democrat Party is in control, stomping out individual initiative and hamstringing those productive people who are always being held back by lesser mortals. When I was starting out, two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference. If I hadn’t taken the less traveled road, I’d still be an ophthalmologist instead of a Senator and, in all probability, your next president.
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. As I told a crowd of supporters in Louisville just last week, a government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights. Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution. The only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off. That’s why we must fight regulation of business and industry with all our might. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think, and money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil, and that’s why we must never compromise; that’s why we must resist the Republicans In Name Only because they are evil.
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission—which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history: rule by brute force. Under Obama, we’re nearing that stage.
I hope you’ll share my view that wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think, and the most depraved type of human being is the man without a purpose. If you can think of a better purpose than amassing wealth, I’d like to hear it—because only the man who does not need it is fit to inherit wealth, the man who would make his fortune no matter where he started. Just ask Donald Trump, or any of the other men who should inspire us to emulate them—those who amass wealth without obvious advantages.
Man’s unique reward, however, is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself. So we must resist the global-warming hoaxsters, the environmental extremists, and the socialistic government regulators who would prevent us from adjusting the planet to our needs, and deny us the reward due to our species.
That was Senator Paul’s guest column, sent to several editorial page editors. To my amazement, the rejections began arriving immediately, informing me that nearly the entire column had been plagiarized, mostly from things written by Ayn Rand.
I’ve never considered myself to be naïve. I knew politicians were often larcenous, but it never occurred to me that their thievery might extend to stealing