Ever since Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate, there has been a small but incessant screech, occasionally muffled to hyperactive handwringing, from assorted elements on the right (namely Lisa Graas and assorted Catholic writers) that Ryan is a disciple of Ayn Rand, therefore at best loathsome and far more likely bearing the Mark of the Beast. Because, you know, as a disciple of Rand and therefore a frozen-hearted capitalist/objectivist he’s going to push Grandma off a cliff, burn the orphanage with the kids trapped inside, shut down the soup kitchens and throw sacks filled with puppies and kittens into the river while carving “not one dime of government money for social services!” into Washington’s forehead on Mount Rushmore. And that’s a warmup exercise before breakfast.
Much of this stems from not only Rand’s aggressive atheism, but a sudden fidelity to assorted American bishop’s edicts about how taking care of the poor is somehow a government mandate. Given how said bishops are currently experiencing collective butthurt over lavishing praise on Obamacare only to discover Obama stabbing them in the back with his birth control funding mandate, adding to this how said writers have routinely lambasted said bishops over assorted and occasionally sordid leftist leanings, one wonders why now. Guess that demon Rand’s hand reaching from the grave unites far more than divides. Never knew Atlas Shrugged was that powerful a text.
Yes, I am Catholic; and yes, I respect Church authority. I also have a functioning brain and refuse to not use it. It has been painfully clear lo these many decades that America’s bishops individually and collectively did not study economics in college before entering seminary. They do not understand the broken window fallacy, they do not understand the principles of limited government (you’d think they would after the aforementioned birth control brouhaha, but apparently not) and they do not grasp that all their bleating about social justice is so much socialism, an economic and political theory that in practice has miserably failed, bringing not equality but universal misery and corruption. Every. Single. Time.
The bishops know nothing of how the free market works. Instead, they live in a liberal illusion where everyone wins, everything is fair and everyone gets a prize for participating. They do not understand that in the real world, whenever people make economic choices someone wins and someone loses. Nor do they understand that most businesses fail, sometimes due to circumstances beyond the business owner’s or owners control but far more often due to the same reason that in athletics some people and teams win while others don’t. All are created equal, but all are not guaranteed an equal outcome. Some people and organizations are better than others. They provide better services and goods than their competitors. They are the ones who not only survive, but thrive while the competition either continues to struggle along or give up the fight. Or, improve their goods and services so they can better compete with others going for the same consumer’s dollar the competition currently gets. The opposite of this view is an attempt at an economy version of Aldous Huxley’s brave new world, one in which there are no genuine human relationships but instead mindless sex with whoever comes along, everyone does it with everyone else and no one is, or becomes, committed to anyone else.
There is a difference between living in love and living in a land of lollipop dreams beneath a cotton candy sky. Living in love means living in reality and truth, for even as God is love He is also reality and truth. No room for make believe and wishful thinking. And thinking that government – any government – should be a dispenser of benevolence is wishful thinking in the extreme. A straightforward federalist understanding of American government reveals its foundational structure, i.e. the Constitution, is clear about the federal government’s role in public charity. It doesn’t have one. It is up to the states and the people. This has been overshadowed with ever-increasing, deeper reaching government programs in the past century: Social Security, Medicare and now Obamacare among others.
Ryan’s critics are relentless in their insistence that his budgets would demolish the government safety net. This is a lie. Watch the House Budget Committee videos. Ryan lays out, clearly and cleanly, how his proposals would not destroy Social Security or Medicare – which, by the way, his mother is on – but rather save them, preserving them for future generations in lieu of their present self-destructive course of unaffordable obligations.
It is bitterly ironic that those who protest daily how they uphold the love of Christ are now daily preaching hatred under the guise of opposing hatred. This is not love. This is not following Christ. This is whiny butthurt, as opposed to the naïve butthurt American bishops are self-inducing. The whine stems from the fact that many of the Ryan demonizers were and are Rick Santorum worshipers, still incapable of accepting that not only did he not win the Republican nomination but graciously bowed out and has thrown his entire support behind Mitt Romney. And Paul Ryan. One can only imagine how different their reactions would be were it Santorum choosing Ryan as his running mate.
Back to government’s role in social caretaking. There is no record of Jesus ever going to Pontius Pilate and demanding Rome take better care of the poor. Instead, He told His followers, “You take care of the poor. You take care of each other.” The government does its thing. You do yours. Namely, do as Christ commands us.
There are legitimate criticisms of Ryan. He voted for TARP, among other things. He’s made mistakes. He’s human. What he is not is a disciple of Ayn Rand or a heartless practitioner of systematic crushing of the weak and poor beneath his heel. The only people playing the heels are those continuously sniping at Ryan for sins he has never committed. Which is, in the final analysis, the only sin presently being committed. That, and as long as it continues that alone, is the only unforgivable thing going on.
ADDENDUM: Thanks to Adrienne’s Corner for the link.