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The candidate and the senator both talked about growth of government and threats to freedom.
JILL NANCE | The (Lynchburg) News & Advance
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul addresses Liberty University students on Monday at the Vines Center in Lynchburg.
JILL NANCE | The (Lynchburg) News & Advance
Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli emphasized that a vote for him would be a vote against the federal overhaul of health insurance.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
LYNCHBURG — Republican Ken Cuccinelli brought his quest for governor to Liberty University on Monday, urging its student voters to back him next Tuesday so he can continue to be “a prudent defender of families and of marriage and of life.”
Speaking on the Liberty University’s convocation stage with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Cuccinelli said he has “positive plans to shrink government and increase your freedom, your liberty.”
Cuccinelli renewed his campaign charge that his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe, has no solid plans for governing Virginia.
Jerry Falwell Jr., university president, gave Cuccinelli a toy dog with a collar tag reading “No Plan” Terry — based on a Cuccinelli zinger aimed at McAuliffe during their debate in Blacksburg last week.
“It was the top Twitter comment of the debate,” Cuccinelli said, describing a moment when he said McAuliffe’s campaign was about cute phrases that were “all puppy and no plan.”
Cuccinelli also hammered the federal health care act.
“On Nov. 5, if you want to send a message to Washington and vote ‘no’ on Obamacare, I need your vote for governor,” Cuccinelli said, after noting he was the first attorney general to file a lawsuit against the act. The suit was not successful.
Cuccinelli, who trails McAuliffe in most polls by 7 to 10 points, also made campaign appearances with Paul later Monday in Virginia Beach and Fairfax.
Falwell spent five minutes introducing Paul to the convocation audience, describing the Kentucky senator as “the type of politician our founders hoped would lead America.”
The university president also recalled LU students voted heavily for Paul’s father, Ron Paul, during the Republican presidential primary in 2012. Mitt Romney, the eventual nominee, was the only other candidate on the GOP ballot.
“The more I have learned about Rand Paul, and especially after meeting him this morning, the more I thought to myself, ‘I sure hope he runs for president,’ ” Falwell said.
Paul kept his remarks to the students focused on two themes.
One theme was based on government invasions of privacy depicted in George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
The second theme used the 1997 science-fiction film “Gattaca” to describe the potential results of DNA testing and genetic selection to produce designer babies through an authorized eugenics program.
Paul mentioned National Security Agency surveillance programs that he said log “a bazillion” phone calls, then asked what else could happen under the Patriot Act, which he said “allows the most unpatriotic of acts.”
Government can search and seize items without judicial warrants, urge people to report on neighbors, and perform invasive searches of airplane passengers “without probable cause,” Paul said.
Drone technology already exists that could allow a small camera and listening device to hover noiselessly outside a bedroom window, Paul said.
“Could it happen in America? Decide for yourself,” Paul said.
He then noted scientists have mapped the entire human genome.
“Hopefully that leads to great progress in combating disease, but keep an eye on who controls that technology,” Paul said.
He described a scenario like the plot of “Gattaca,” in which people are genetically tested to determine their potential for achievement. “DNA plays a primary role in determining social class” in the movie, Paul said.
Those who don’t test well are placed in menial jobs. Others can be placed in desirable jobs without any testing for ability or achievement, based on swabbing the inside of their cheeks.
“Imagine a world in which disease and disability are eliminated,” Paul said.
“Man is able to select against all of this,” Paul said, “but hopefully somebody will stand up and say, ‘Wait a minute, not so fast,’ ” Paul said.
“Didn’t we try that? Didn’t we learn what can happen when you let the state select for perfection?” he asked, apparently alluding to eugenics programs that justified sterilizing people in Virginia and a few other states from the 1920s through the 1970s, until the idea was discredited.
Paul, who was an ophthalmologist before he ran for the Senate in 2010, said he’s not opposed to science.
“I’m a physician; I’m for it,” he said, noting scientific studies have reduced infant mortality in the past century from nearly 15 percent to less than 1 percent, and increased life expectancy well beyond 40 years.
But, he asked, “Will we be sorry when we eliminate those who have premature deafness, such as Beethoven?
“Will we perhaps eliminate some part of our humanness, some part of our specialness, in seeking perfection?
“My hope is that we don’t lose our appreciation of the miracle that springs forth from tiny strands of DNA.”