Kentucky senator and GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul implored a group of college students to remember that they "don't have a right to pants" last Monday while laying out his criticism of fellow presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' brand of democratic socialism.
"Government was instituted among men to protect your rights, not to create rights," Paul said. "So you don't have a right to a chair, you don't have a right to shoes, you don't have a right to pants, you don't have a right to health care, you don't have a right to water — you have a right to be free."
"And then you have a right to pursue happiness, but nobody guarantees you happiness," Paul added.
Paul made the comments during an address to the "Students for Rand" group at the University of Minnesota.
Earlier in his speech, Paul explained his habit of linking Sanders to mass exterminations carried out by socialist regimes throughout history.
"People say: 'Oh, you're saying that Bernie Sanders is Pol Pot.' No, I'm saying that he's embracing the same philosophy of socialism that lead ultimately to the extermination of people," Paul explained.
"Stalin killed tens of millions of people," he continued. "They say, 'Well, Bernie's not gonna do that.' Probably not."
But Paul argued that Sanders's "democratic socialism" was not meaningfully distinct from other forms of state control.
"You know, it doesn't matter whether a majority takes your rights away, or whether one single authoritarian takes... So if a majoritarian, somebody who gets 51% — does anybody think slavery is less bad if a majority votes for it?" Paul asked. "So what if a democracy says: 'We're gonna have democratic slavery?'"
"No one would say that's right!" Paul concluded. "There are certain rights that are yours, that come to you from your creator, and no majority should take them away."
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Ilan Ben-Meir is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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