Ryan's Remarks

At the risk of seeming sycophantic, I post this video of Congressman Paul Ryan's remarks on the floor from last evening. 

Still, there's a reason we keep mentioning Paul Ryan here on the blog.  He's one of the few voices in the national Republican Party that regularly delivers a cogent message with some intellectual heft.  Last night, he presented the most coherent, principled argument in objection to the passage of the health care legislation.

He's right.  It's going to be a very steep climb.  But more than ever before in my life, I think I'm ready to throw on my hiking boots and start making the rough ascent that awaits.

President Obama referred to the legislation as a positive reflection of our national character.  Frankly, I can't believe he had the gall to do so.  If anything, passage of the bill betokens just how dependent and complacent we've become, how far we've fallen from any semblance of a nation that had a bit of self-sufficiency, principle, and grit in its character.  A nation of individuals that didn't play the victim.  A nation of individuals who could find a way forward without the indignity of resorting to an official helping hand.  Obama, like most Democrats, confuses informal and meaningful charitable altruism, a valuable hallmark of our culture, with a need to enact government mandates and centrally planned solutions that corrupt and calcify that spirit.

Paul Ryan was on to something in his allusion to natural rights as one of the fundamental conceptions of our founding documents.  Too many people get hung up on the fact that he mentions "Nature's God" - immediately he's a veiled religious zealot throwing a bone to the religious right.  It's far more than that, though.  It's an areligious recognition that our government, as it grasped for its independence, knew from the tyrranies of the past that it had to be humble - it was merely instituted to protect preexisting liberties that sprang from our humanity, not its loins.  It was brought about to provide a bare minimum of order that we might be able to fully enjoy our liberties.  It was designed, even when the Constitution strengthened the nation after the Articles of Confederation, as a limited institution.

Nancy Pelosi tried last evening to construe a mandate for individuals to buy health insurance as part of that arrangement.  Few things could be further from the truth.  The health care legislation was and is about compulsion, profligacy, and sleight of hand.  Its irresponsibility and its potential to corrode core strengths present in our way of life are infuriating.

But I'm ready to swallow my anger and disbelief and engage.  It is indeed going to be a very steep climb.