Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Paul Ryan at Georgetown

Paul Ryan gave an excellent speech at Georgetown last week. The full text can be found here at the Daily Caller. Speaking at the oldest Catholic university in the United States, Ryan defended his economic proposals in the light of Catholic social teaching. Some folks seem surprised that Ryan is actually a Catholic (I saw a commentator describing his faith as newly discovered; I assume he "newly found" Christ and his Church in his bassinet).

Ryan addressed the issues using themes familiar to people who know Catholic social teaching, themes like the preferential option for the poor. Ryan notes that it's not synonymous with a preferential option for government spending. He urges that solidarity, concern for the common good, must be acted upon in a manner consistent with subsidiarity, respecting the rights and autonomy of individuals, families, churches, and local communities, that policies should be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Far too long, people have summarized Catholic social teaching as dictating as much spending as possible in practice, and that is simply not the teaching.

Obviously, he believes that his plan offers the best chance for lifting people out of poverty and improving the common good. Whether he's right or wrong, Ryan urges an ongoing dialogue, time and again, throughout the speech. My fervent hope is that people who oppose him, such as the President and his supporters, take Ryan up on his offer of dialogue, instead of their current tack, which is to demonize him as a Randian Objectivist who wants to push Granny off a cliff. Unfortunately, I'm pessimistic that this will happen at all in the current environment.
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