That Radical Ryan

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Carl Olson has an extensive post tackling the “radical” nature of evil right-winger Paul Ryan. He starts by quoting one of Ryan’s more extreme statements.

[We] will confidently proceed to unshackle American enterprise and to free American labor, industrial leadership, and capital, to create an abundance that will outstrip any other system.

Free competitive enterprise is the most creative and productive form of economic order that the world has seen. The recent slow pace of American growth is due not to the failure of our free economy but to the failure of our national leadership. …

Economic growth is the means whereby we improve the American standard of living and produce added tax resources for national security and essential public services. …

The American free enterprise system is one of the great achievements of the human mind and spirit. It has developed by a combination of the energetic efforts of working men and women, bold private initiative, the profit motive and wise public policy, until it is now the productive marvel of mankind. …

We will seek further tax reduction—and in the process we need to remove inequities in our present tax laws. In particular we should carefully review all our excise taxes and eliminate those that are obsolete. Consideration should be given to the development of fiscal policies which would provide revenue sources to hard-pressed state and local governments to assist them with their responsibilities.

Every penny of Federal spending must be accounted for in terms of the strictest economy, efficiency and integrity. We pledge to continue a frugal government, getting a dollar’s value for a dollar spent, and a government worthy of the citizen’s confidence.

Our goal is a balanced budget in a balanced economy.

Wow, that is extreme. What is Carl’s response?

Oh, wait. My apologies; the quotes above were all taken from the 1960 and 1964 Democratic Party Platforms. How did that happen? Whoops. Well, consider it a quick journey down memory lane.

• I actually started writing this post three days ago, not long after the news broke that the most right-wing, narrow-minded conservative in the history of the world had been chosen by Mitt Romney as vice-president candidate for the “Hate the Women!” party (yes, I’m struggling to control the sarcasm). A man so radical that in the early 1960s he would have been reasonably positioned and perceived as a moderate to conservative Democrat. A man so far to the Extreme Right that he is re-elected on a regular basis—by substantial margins—in a district that voted for Obama in 2008. Chew on that for a few seconds and then ask yourself, “Do the Dallas Cowboys have a shot at the Super Bowl this year? How much has changed in the U.S. in the past fifty years?”

Anyway, please read the rest.


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  1. Quote “the quotes above were all taken from the 1960 and 1964 Democratic Party Platforms. How did that happen?”

    As was noted in the Party Realignment post several weeks ago, political parties change over time. The Democrats between about 1939 and 1965 were strongly anti Marxist and had a basic pride in the American way whatever their policy failings. Of course they had had to kick out the far Left back at the end of the 1930s from both the Party and the Labor movement. By the late 60s though the Left started their reconquest of the Democrats, which was capped by the elections of 2006 and 2008. The differences between the first six years of FDR and the six years between 2006 and 2012 are not the mindset of the Left or the economic/political results – but the size of the Federal government and the attitudes of the citizenry. Given the current gerrymandered political environment however I think the Dems will stay far Left even if they are trounced this November.

  2. I missed the brohaha caused by Lisa G.’s post, but I must say, as someone who is familiar with Ryan’s district and has heard Ryan speak on a couple of occasions, I find the idea that he is some heartless Objectivist who wants the poor to starve and granny pushed off the cliff utterly ridiculous.

    Ryan’s district encompasses the southeastern corner of Wisconsin and includes part of the southmost Milwaukee suburbs down to the Illinois border. There are solid red spots on the Wisconsin electoral map – Waukesha (“Walker-sha”) County and Ozaukee are probably the reddest. Those counties are not in Ryan’s district. His district is rural and urban, Democrat and Republican, blue and white collar. Predominately Catholic and Lutheran. Lots of union folks, farmers and office workers who commute to Chicago everyday. It’s not an area where extremists at either ends of the spectrum florish.

    Ryan was elected 7 times. In 2010, he won 68% of the vote. 68%. He didn’t do it by being extreme and preaching the gospel of Ayn Rand to factory workers and farmers and white collar paper pushers, but by presenting his ideas in a reasonable and eloquent way. The portrait of Ryan I see being pushed by both the Dems and by people like Lisa Graas and Mark Shea is so off the mark it isn’t funny.

  3. One last thing: I find Lisa G., Mark Shea and the other anti-Ryanites are the flip side of libertarians. I once called myself a libertarian (now I call myself a Burkean Catholic conservative) and every so often I pop over to Reason to see what the libertarians are going on about. And it’s always the same: they want small government, but also want drugs, abortion and prOn and gee those awful social conservatives are ruining the GOP for them! So they’ll sit out the next election or write in Ron Paul or whatever obscure libertarian guy they wish could be president.

    Whereas Lisa, Mark, et al want the Big Nanny government taking care of everyone, but deplore abortion, drugs and prOn – so they’ll sit out the next election or write in Ron Paul (??) or Daffy Duck (’cause I’m not aware of ANY candidate who is both a fan of Nanny State and a social conservative).

    Both sides want their perfect candidates. Both sides will never get them. What the libertarians fail to grasp is that the lowering of morals and the “anything goes” instant gratification mentality has led to the entitlement state. What Lisa and Mark fail to grasp is that when government takes the place of private charity and encourages dependency, it also has the power to usurp the Church’s role and declare itself the ONLY authority on matters of morals. Don’t like abortion? Tough. Don’t like gay marriage – why you hater!

    Both sides can continue to live in their little bubble world, while convincing themselves they are the only ones who have it right.

  4. Excellent comments about Lisa Grass and Mark Shea – liberals at heart, the both of them.

    Peace, prosperity, social justice and the common good come AFTER repentance and conversion, AFTER righteousness and holiness, NEVER before. And government can never ever provide ANY of those things, and fools who pretend otherwise deify Caesar to godhead.

    This nation DESERVES a whoppin’ for its abominations (or should I say, “Obamanations”?): homosexual filth, infanticide of the unborn, rampant adultery and fornication, pornography, idolatry, theft of the tax payers’ money, etc. And Shea and Grass think that government redistribution of wealth can possibly help? All it does is impoverish those who are responsible enough to actually work for a living while rewarding the indolent with what they clearly did not work for.

    “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat.” 2nd Thessalonians 3:10.

    Death to the false gospel of social justice, the common good and peace at any price! No more handouts! Viva Cristo Rey!

  5. Donna,

    Excellent point. You’re actually hitting on something that I have been meaning to blog about for some time. The insufferable “a pox on both their houses” attitude is really an excuse to disengage from politics, with the excuse that no party or candidate meets your perfect expectations.

  6. probably the worst offenders, although of a different ideological mindset, are the folks at “The American Anti-Israe–” excuse me, “The American Conservative” online magazine. One columnist over there who I will not name seems constitutionally incapable of viewing any Republican, even ones with more unorthodox positions (unless it’s their hero Ron Paul of course,) as being anything other than a soulless neocon. I find Rod Dreher interesting but he’s a bit insufferable himself at times, and is essentially a social conservative who would’ve found nothing wrong with the Democratic Party of the past before they went all culture-lefty — I’m not aware of any conservative thought regarding economics I’ve read from him, and every regulation, tax, and Obama claim about Romney’s tax rate (nevermind it’s been taxed as corporate income) is given the benefit of the doubt.

    tangents. apologies for piling on random ppl

  7. I know you said Burkean meaning E. Burke– but I thought 🙂 R. Burke. whom we saw in Wisconsin on the big hill south of LaCrosse where he has estab. a shrine to Our Lady.
    I think Wisconsin is a pretty religious state

  8. “One last thing: I find Lisa G., Mark Shea and the other anti-Ryanites are the flip side of libertarians.”

    Hard to know. But judgments of morals is with the bishop of a given diocese (and not the USCCB). Here is the judgment of Ryan’s bishop about Ryan’s Catholicism:

    “But, as I’ve said, Vice Presidential Candidate Ryan is aware of Catholic Social Teaching and is very careful to fashion and form his conclusions in accord with the principles mentioned above. Of that I have no doubt. (I mention this matter in obedience to Church Law regarding one’s right to a good reputation.)

    I obviously didn’t choose the date for the announcement of Paul Ryan’s Vice Presidential Candidacy and as I express my pride in him and in what he has accomplished, I thought it best to move to discussion of the above matters sooner rather than later. No doubt it will be necessary to comment again on these principles in the days ahead for the sake of further clarification, and be assured that I will be eager to do so.

    Above all, let us beg the Lord that divisions in our electorate will not be deepened so as to have a negative impact on pre-existing divisions within the Church during this electoral season. Let there be the peace and reconciliation that flow from charity on the part of all. Thank you for reading this. God Bless each one of you! Praised be Jesus Christ!”

    Note in this the bishop judges Ryan’s approach to be consistent with Catholic teaching. Also note the truth that one may not damage a person’s good name – a teaching of the Church. Hopefully bloggers will not seek their own private judgment over that of the legitimate authority of the bishop of a diocese or of the Church Universal. Let’s hope they can set aside their own particular choices and join with the Church in respecting those with whom they disagree. Otherwise it is they who sin.

  9. “The insufferable ‘a pox on both their houses’ attitude is really an excuse to disengage from politics, with the excuse that no party or candidate meets your perfect expectations.”

    Santorum seems to meet Lisa’s perfect expectations.

    And as Mark always points out, his expectations are, not perfection, but not advocating grave evil.

    Do you think that “doesn’t advocate grave evil” implies “perfect”? Or maybe that, while Mark *says* he’d be happy with the former, he’s really holding out for the latter?

  10. Oh, and I’ll add that, while the pox-on-both-houses attitude certainly can be an excuse for disengaging from politics, I wouldn’t call either Mark or Lisa disengaged.

  11. I have to say two things with regard to these comments.

    1) Mark Shea isn’t a liberal. He occasionally believes that people who wear that label have something worthwhile to say. So do I.

    2) Mark Shea doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with Lisa Grass. Mark is capable of intellectually processing and responding to arguments that differ from his own. Lisa isn’t.

    I say this as someone who has clashed with both of them.

  12. Oh, and I’ll add that, while the pox-on-both-houses attitude certainly can be an excuse for disengaging from politics, I wouldn’t call either Mark or Lisa disengaged.

    Fair point, Tom. I should have chosen my words more carefully. If I ever getting around on writing the post, it should hopefully explain my position.

  13. The problem as I see it is that some people will take shots at good (as in conservatives good, liberals bad) persons throwing out for all to see some relatively minor, unimportant, and otherwise unknown “evils” (as in they ain’t CST enough or Obama ate dogs), and distort it, and exaggerate it, and repeat it over and over so as to detract from the good persons’ reputations.

    In today’s WSJ, a Duquesne U. econ prof and a DU theo prof wrote today that Vice President Ryan’s views on limited government likely are not mortal sins.

    Because in reality more government has resulted in fewer jobs and more misery.

  14. Mark Shea might not be a liberal, but ever since the Iraq War/waterboarding he seems to regard anyone who isn’t insanely paranoid about every single anti-terror measure to be, well, evil. his tone is similar to what Andrew Sullivan’s became on the issue and that’s why i can’t read the guy.

  15. though i wasn’t alive during that era the whole thing kinda makes me think of people who were radicalized by the Vietnam War and became fundamentally incapable of seeing the U.S. as able to do any good internationally after that.

  16. JParker: Same same here.

    My AS anecdote: the filthy lunatic accused Pope John Paul II of “traditional Catholic anti-semitism” for His Holiness’ opposition to the 2003 Iraq conquest.

    There are sins that can never be forgiven.

  17. Mark Shea doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with Lisa Grass. Mark is capable of intellectually processing and responding to arguments that differ from his own. Lisa isn’t

    You’ve transposed the two.

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