The Ryan Delusion
August 28, 2012 by Conor MacCormack
With the Olympic Games behind them, Americans have returned their attention to the stage of political theater. One of the opening acts of the 2012 election season will take place this week in Tampa, Fla., where serial flip-flopper Mitt Romney is expected to be anointed the executive standard bearer for the alleged “Party of Great Moral Ideas.”
Despite the plethora of evidence proving that he is cut from the same statist mold as Barack Obama, Romney continues to be hailed as a “great conservative” and the vaunted “lesser of two evils.” Republicans — as well as some libertarians and constitutionalists — point to Romney’s selection of Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for Vice President as a sign of his commitment to limited government principles. Upon closer inspection, Ryan — who has been touted as the “intellectual leader” of the Republican Party and a budget hawk — has all the trappings of a textbook neocon.
Ryan faithfully toes the chicken hawk foreign policy line of nation building and bloody foreign interventions. He voted to invade Iraq in 2002, voted against any attempt to establish a withdrawal date from Iraq in 2007 and voted for “emergency” appropriation of $78 billion dollars to fund the illegal and immoral wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In keeping with the foremost neocon prerequisite, Ryan is more than happy to send young American soldiers off to fight and die while he, as a healthy and able-bodied American patriot, could not be bothered to carry a rifle and fight for the principles he claims to hold near and dear to his heart.
For someone who is being embraced in some circles as a libertarian, Ryan’s voting record shows that he harbors no love for the Bill of Rights — or any facet of individual liberty, for that matter. This is the man who voted for the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and its infamous indefinite detention provision, voted to make the Patriot Act permanent and voted in favor of using electronic surveillance on Americans without a duly approved search warrant. Under this criteria Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Generalissimo Franco, Kim Jong Il and Saddam Hussein were all staunch civil libertarians.
“Now hold your horses there, MacCormack,” some “libertarians” will say. “Paul Ryan may not be perfect, but at least he’s a staunch defender of free enterprise. The CATO Institute said so!”
Ladies and gentlemen, if CATO told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it? It should be noted that the CATO Institute is widely panned by genuine libertarians and freedom lovers as a peddler of the faux “libertarianism” advocated from within the Capital Beltway. In order to curry favor with the Washington establishment, CATO has stumped for the following: torture, expansion of the surveillance state, a war with Pakistan, and the fiat currency factory known as the Federal Reserve.
But I’ve digressed… back to our buddy Ryan. Contrary to CATO’s claim, his voting record proves that he is more a Keynesian than a disciple of Ayn Rand. In 2008, he voted for the Bush stimulus bill, TARP and the auto bailout. Ryan even took to the House floor to pathetically beg his colleagues in Congress to support TARP. He echoed George W. Bush’s convoluted logic, stating:
Madam Speaker, this bill offends my principles. But I’m going to vote for this bill — in order to preserve my principles, in order to preserve this free enterprise system…. I believe with all my heart — as bad as this is — it could get a whole lot worse, and that’s why we have to pass this bill.
If only it ended there. Ryan also backed the disastrous No Child Left Behind Act, which essentially bribed the public schools into passing their most deficient students in exchange for government goodies. The proof is in the pudding for that one: Just ask any American student who George Washington is. And for the grand finale: Paul voted in favor of Bush’s massive expansion of Medicare which, coupled with Romneycare, set the precedent for Obamacare.
No genuine libertarian, constitutionalist or freedom lover of any kind believes in any of the nonsense supported by collectivists like Ryan and his keeper, Romney. All of the passionate “anybody but Obama” rhetoric notwithstanding, a Romney/Ryan Administration would serve only to slow America’s drive off the cliff into moral and financial bankruptcy down from 100 mph to 90 mph. Ryan’s much-ballyhooed budget would continue massive deficit spending for another 25 years at the least. But, of course, he and Romney “aren’t quite as bad” as Obama.
The bottom line is: There was only one man named Paul who was worth supporting this year. I think you know who I’m talking about.
“Oh here we go again, MacCormack,” I hear many of you whining. “That crazy kook had no chance! We’ve got to vote for the lesser of two evils! Romney’s not so bad!”
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. To think otherwise is downright foolish. After all, the Bible says in Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness.”
“Well then, what’s your solution, big shot?” you’ll retort. It’s simple: Don’t vote. When you pull that lever for Collectivist A or Collectivist B, you are giving your consent to their respective liberty-destroying agendas. As Lew Rockwell so astutely observed in a recent column:
How does voting change the situation? Neither of the candidates for president wants to do anything about the problem. On the contrary, they want to make it worse. This is for a reason. The State owns the “democratic process” as surely as it owns the Departments of Labor and Defense and uses it in ways that benefit the State and no one else.
On the other hand, we do have the freedom not to vote. No one has yet drafted us into the voting booth. I suggest that we exercise this right not to participate. It is one of the few rights we have left. Nonparticipation sends a message that we no longer believe in the racket they have cooked up for us, and we want no part of it.
You might say that this is ineffective. But what effect does voting have? It gives them what they need most: a mandate. Nonparticipation helps deny that to them. It makes them, just on the margin, a bit more fearful that they are ruling us without our consent. This is all to the good. The government should fear the people. Not voting is a good beginning toward instilling that fear.
This year especially there is no lesser of two evils. There is socialism or fascism. The true American spirit should guide every voter to have no part of either.
Consider those words long and hard before hightailing it to the polls this fall.