More on Ryan

August 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

My friend, Chandler Davidson, alerted me to an August 6, 2012, New Yorker article about Paul Ryan by Ryan Luzza.  Here is a link:  Ryan .

This is a very well written portrait and recent history of Paul Ryan’s capture of the GOP.  It reminds me of the way Vladimir Lenin engineered a successful overthrow of the Kerensky government by his Bolshevik minority faction and took control of the Soviet government in 1917 and ’18.   He, like Ryan, was committed to a kind of ideological purity from which he never deviated. [Well, ok, Ryan deviated a few times, but he now says he regrets it.] He never stopped writing and arguing and scheming and plotting, despite imprisonment, exile, rejections and defeats.   Finally, partly as a result of happenstance and events over which he had no control and partly as a result of the weakness and indecision of his adversaries, his time came and he was ready.   His victory was total and sudden.  Only Trotsky remained as a challenger and he took care of that with an ax to the head wielded in Mexico by an assassin.

I don’t expect Ryan’s path to power will be as dramatic as that, but Luzza’s description of Ryan’s immersion in the ideology of Ayn Rand, Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises and the way he has doggedly tried, and is still trying , to reshape  the United States government according to the teachings of these writers demonstrates how vulnerable a democracy is.

This afternoon I watched two different political rallies where Ryan and Romney spoke.  The contrast is remarkable.  Ryan is young, vigorous, articulate and passionate.  Romney stands by, a smile frozen on his face, watching and listening as the crowd responds to Ryan’s rhetoric.   I can only wonder how Romney feels, after a decade of slogging through one political ordeal after another, driven by his dream of the presidency, as he watches this upstart grinning kid effortlessly get the kind of adulation that has never been his.    Late at night, in his hotel bed, does his wife hold him as he whispers, “Why don’t they love me?”  Or, is he the cool manager who winks at her and crows, “I think this young stud is going to talk and charm our way into the White House.”

Unfortunately for him and fortunately for the rest of us, I still have enough faith in our country to believe that the good guys will win.  But, after reading the New Yorker piece, it is plain to me that, win or lose, Paul Ryan will never stop pushing and manipulating the power levers  toward his vision of a government that exists only to protect property, promote the accumulation of wealth, reward those who are useful toward those ends, and is either indifferent or hostile to anything that hinders them.


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