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This is What a Contradiction Looks Like

August 25, 2012

John McCain’s disastrous vice-presidential pick aside, we all know that a presidential candidate’s running mate, in the long run, really has no bearing on many people’s voting decision. It sure does give some insight into the candidate’s mind, though.

Mitt Romney choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate only confirms everything we already know about Romney: he’ll say or do anything he thinks will get him more votes.

Does this distinguish him from most politicians? Probably not. I have to believe that there are a few who remain sincere, who are principled, and will only say what they truly mean and truly mean what they say, but they are certainly few and far between.

The fact that Paul Ryan appeals to any American voters is beyond troubling, but apparently he is especially popular among the fringe Tea Party. (To be clear, I am referring to Tea Party as a whole as “fringe”, not just part of them.) This is not surprising given their penchant for contradictory views on everything from taxes to abortion. The Tea Party wants to have their cake, eat it too, and blame the “liberals” when they start to gain weight.

Mr. Ryan is an outspoken admirer of Ayn Rand and also an apparently devout Catholic. There is nothing wrong, I suppose, with having political opinions that are dramatically different from what your faith teaches and encourages you to practice. It’s clearly very difficult though, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Ryan, and his ilk, have chosen to ignore those contradictions as well as the separation of Church and State and instead to simply legislate their beliefs. This makes them both poor representations of Christians as well as admirers of a woman who would have despised them.

Ayn Rand said: “If any civilization is to survive, it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject.” So basically, you can’t give a shit about the well-being of others in order for a civilization to survive. It’s each man for himself. I’d say we’re getting pretty close to that these days, and while we may be “surviving”, are we thriving? Shouldn’t the goal of any civilization go beyond just mere survival?

Contrast her words with the words of Jesus: “You lack one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” So, basically the exact opposite.

So how does a Christian, like Mr. Ryan, justify cutting services to the poor so that he can give more to the rich? How does he justify claiming to believe that the federal government has no business reaching into our personal lives while attempting to legislate control of women’s bodies?

(And, as an aside, did he seriously say that he was a huge fan of Rage Against the Machine? Is he seriously that dumb/obtuse/unaware to not have realized that he perfectly typifies the machine against which they are raging?)

I don’t understand it and I never will. Taking care of the “least among us” is not just a Christian value. It is an ethical value that transcends all cultures and belief systems. Without the interference of patriarchal consumerist societies, it is something that all humans would inherently do.

So, will the American people elect a man who chose as his running mate a person whose stated political and personal beliefs are diametrically opposed? Since Romney’s choice was clearly part of an effort to win over voters, what does this say about his opinion of the American people? Does he think we are too silly/misinformed/ignorant to realize that Paul Ryan’s ideas on everything from economics to politics to family planning are contradictory and unethical?

Is Mr. Romney right? Are we?

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