Monday, August 13, 2012

Paul Ryan: Fierce Libertarian and Staunch Catholic?

Paul Ryan presents himself as driven by two fundamental faiths: the economic vision of Ayn Rand and the moral vision of the Catholic Church.

But, says this week's The Atlantic, given his voting record, "If Paul Ryan Were an Atlas Shrugged Character He'd Be a Villain".

And, given that serving the poor is a prime tenet of Catholicism, the American Council of Bishops unsurprisingly finds Ryan's proposal to completely dismantle the social safety net - accompanied by huge tax cuts for the rich - counter to that founding spirit (his response: the church hierarchy just doesn't really "get" Catholicism).

Fiscal responsibility is about even-handed thrift, not kneecapping the poor and middle class while shifting more and more wealth to the military–industrial complex, bankers, and CEOs. And morality is about treating others as you'd be treated, not forcing your rigid values and beliefs on them.

Though the current fervid crop of Republicans* wrap themselves in the garb of Libertarianism and morality, they merely co-opt those symbols to further a clearly radical agenda which is neither Libertarian nor moral.

Paul Ryan's Christian Budget Cuts

* - not that Romney himself is fervid about anything other than his own advancement...but he's shown no interest in standing up to extremists. Quite the contrary, given his appointment of Ryan.


Jojo the Hun said...

Serving the poor is important to most Christian denominations. There is a difference between advocating for people to help the poor, and advocating for governments to tax people to help the poor. It's funny, your own description of morality seems to exclude the latter.

I'd like to see the quote of Ryan claiming that the church hierarchy doesn't "get" Catholicism. Is it possible that this is the gist of his dissension? Or is it along more practical lines of thought.

Jim Leff said...

The characterization wasn't mine; it was from the American Council of Bishops. I got that from (among other places) the link I included to this, plus the colbert video at the bottom of the article (and for that matter, the Colbert segment that came immediately afterward). That Washington Post piece also includes details on Ryan's response.

As for Ryan being a Libertarian who doesn't think government is the solution, that belies a long voting record wherein he deems government the solution for lots of things that don't involve helping poor people. It's just the whole "helping poor people" thing where he suddenly turns Libertarian. Which is quite convenient (and the point of my slog entry).

And even if he were a true Libertarian, rather than a half Libertarian ("Remove safety net for the poor: check! Slash defense and corporate welfare and increase personal liberty: ah...not so fast!"), yes, I understand Libertarians believe that the good currently being done for the poor by the social safety net would be suddenly and magically replaced by philanthropy in a seamless transition once stuff like taxation and regulation are removed, because that's what rich people do when they get more money: first, hire lots of new employees just because they're, like, richer, and, then once they get even more money, they start, like, feeding people. I even agreed with this nonsense at one point, though I grew out of it by age 20.

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