Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Jonathan Swift: Republican Hero" By Paul Ryan

Since its St. Patrick's Day I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite political philosophers, the great Irish writer Jonathan Swift. I want my Republican colleagues to read his work. Even though he lived almost three centuries ago, Swift's vision of liberty and free enterprise are the keys to renewing this party and this country today. How?

First, Swift believed in market-based solutions. During his time, horrible economic conditions were all around him. And what he realized was that heavy regulation was holding back the poor of Ireland. The government had laws in place - some of them quite ancient - that prevented ordinary entrepreneurs from reaching a practical and obvious solution to their crisis. People know how to solve their own problems if you let them. The government just gets in the way.

Second, Swift believed in not ducking the tough calls. He anticipated that people might criticize his proposals. He knew some would see them as harsh, maybe even radical. But leaders have to lead. Our party must continue to have the courage to implement solid pro-growth policies. Swift wasn't trying to make friends. He was trying to find answers.

Third, Swift believed in families. Today people are criticizing Republicans for their social conservatism. But we know that traditional families are the building blocks of our civilization. It takes a man and a woman to make a marriage, because it takes a man and a woman to make a baby. And babies are the key to a vibrant economy. Jonathan Swift knew that, and he wasn't afraid to say so.

"Men would become as fond of their wives during the time of their pregnancy," he wrote, "as they are now of their mares in foal, their cows in calf, their sows when they are ready to farrow..."

It's about a thing called values, okay?

Finally, and most importantly, Jonathan Swift believed in people. He knew that when you trusted people to act in their own rational interests, they would find a way to thrive. When you take the restraints off capitalism, you free up the spirit and creativity of these folks. Everyone can find their own way to buy into the market and build capital. Because everyone has something of value to contribute. We here in Washington forget that. We're constantly picking winners and losers. Ordinary families... they should be doing that. It's the only way.

In the coming months I'm going to be refining my plan for recovery. And I'll tell you right now, it's inspired by Swift's writing. Especially about the power of trusting in the men and women and children of this country. Particularly the children.

I hope you'll see that. I want everyone - everyone - to say:

"Paul Ryan's plan is made of people."

12 comments:

  1. If we only had Charlton Heston to deliver that message!

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    1. I know! I was trying to find a way to work that in, since he's a conservative himself. But it was too much. I'm glad you caught the joke.

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  2. What a great way to get the women vote, equate them to horses and pigs and keep them pregnant,,,,,,nice

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    1. I feel like you're missing something here.

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  3. Wow. It's like reading some 9th grader's entry to an essay contest titled "What America Means To Me."

    Ryan needs to stop reading ideolog fluff and sociopathic fiction and start reading up on the history of the government that employs him and of the laws it has already written.

    And I don't know about you, but I think this country has had more than its fill of capitalist enterprises "spirit and creativity" - and that's with the feeble (and constantly attacked) regulations we do have in place.

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    1. Um, satire alert.

      Actually, it validates my belief that humanity is essentially unchangeable. Many people took Swift's Modest Proposal seriously as well - and approved of it.

      It also is a statement on Ryan's public persona that people could actually believe that this is his writing.

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  4. I have a modest proposal. . .let's implement one of Swift's market based solutions on Paul Ryan.

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  5. That quote from Swift is from his satirical essay, "A Modest Proposal" in which he offers a solution to Ireland's starving populace: fattening up Irish babies to be served at the dinner table.

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  6. Ah, yes. Always looking backward to find the answers, and comparing wives to cattle. He doesn't need you to like him or his ideas. If you don't, tough luck, so be it. Good ole Paul Ryan. He ranks right up there with the slightly deranged and delusional Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, etc. Future for the right doesn't look bright. Too many dim bulbs!

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  7. Swift had a lot of insight into the culture of his day, most particularly - as I recall -- about kings and courtiers, doctors, lawyers, and university professors, and I'm sorry to say that IMHO those professions have not improved much since that time.

    You'll find much of it in "Gulliver's Travels" - the original (freely available on the web), not the watered-down children's version, and it's well worth your time to explore. Here's one of my favorite passages, from "A Voyage to the Houyhnhnms":

    "As to learning, government, arts, manufactures, and the like, my master confessed he could find little or no resemblance between the Yahoos of that country and those in ours... He had heard indeed some curious Houyhnhnms observe that in most herds there was a sort of ruling Yahoo (as among us there is generally some leading or principal stag in a park), who was always more deformed in body and mischievous in disposition than any of the rest. That this leader had usually a favourite as like himself as he could get, whose employment was to lick his master's feet and posteriors, and drive the female Yahoos to his kennel; for which he was now and then rewarded with a piece of ass's flesh. This favourite is hated by the whole herd, and therefore to protect himself, keeps always near the person of his leader. He usually continues in office till a worse can be found; but at the very moment he is discarded, his successor, at the head of all the Yahoos in that district, young and old, male and female, come in a body, and discharge their excrements upon him from head to foot. But how far this might be applicable to our courts and favourites, and ministers of state, my master said I could best determine."

    Enjoy!

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  8. I'm sorry, I can't resist one more - please Mr. Moderator, let this one through; it's one of Swift's best passages:

    I said there was a Society of Men among us, bred up from their Youth in the Art of proving by Words multiplied for the Pleasure, that White is Black, and Black is White, according as they are paid. To this Society all the rest of the People are Slaves.

    For Example, if my Neighbour hath a Mind to my Cow, he hires a Lawyer to prove that he ought to have my Cow from me. I must then hire another to defend my Right, it being against all Rules of Law that any Man should be allowed to speak for himself. Now in this Case, I who am the right Owner lie under two great Disadvantages. First, my Lawyer being practiced almost from his Cradle in defending Falshood; is quite out of his Element when he would be an Advocate for Justice, which as an Office unnatural, he always attempts with great Awkwardness if not with Ill-will.

    The second Disadvantage is, that my Lawyer must proceed with great Caution: Or else he will be reprimanded by the Judges, and abhorred by his Brethren, as one that would lessen the Practice of the Law. And therefore I have but two Methods to preserve my Cow. The first is, to gain over my Adversary's Lawyer with a double Fee; who will then betray his Client by
    insinuating that he hath Justice on his Side. The second way is for my Lawyer to make my Cause appear as unjust as he can; by the Cow to belong to my Adversary; and this, if it be skilfully done, will certainly bespeak the Favour of the Bench.

    Now, your Honour is to know that these Judges are Persons appointed to decide all Controversies of Property, as well as for the Tryal of Criminals; and picked out from the most dextrous Lawyers who are grown old or lazy: And having been byassed all their Lives against Truth and Equity, are under such a fatal Necessity of favouring Fraud, Perjury, and Oppression; that I have known some of them refuse a large Bribe from the Side where Justice lay, rather than injure the Faculty, by doing any thing unbecoming their Nature or their Office.

    It is a Maxim among these Lawyers, that whatever hath been done before, may legally be done again: And therefore they take special Care to record all the Decisions formerly made against common Justice and the general Reason of Mankind. These, under the Name of Precedents, they produce as Authorities to justify the most iniquitous Opinions; and the Judges never fail of decreeing accordingly.

    In pleading, they studiously avoid entering into the Merits of the Cause; but are loud, violent, and tedious in dwelling upon all Circumstances which are not to the Purpose. For Instance, in the Case already mentioned: They never desire to know what Claim or Title my Adversary hath to my Cow; but whether the said Cow were Red or Black; her Horns long or short; whether the Field I graze her in be round or square; whether she was
    milked at home or abroad; what Diseases she is subject to, and the like. After which they consult Precedents, adjourn the Cause from Time to Time, and in Ten, Twenty, or Thirty Years, come to an Issue.

    It is likewise to be observed, that this Society has a peculiar Cant and Jargon of their own, that no other Mortal can understand, and wherein all their Laws are written, which they take special Care to multiply; whereby they have gone near to confound the very Essence of Truth and Falsehood, of Right and Wrong; so that it may take Thirty Years to decide whether the
    Field, left me by my Ancestors for Six Generations, belongs to me, or to a Stranger three hundred Miles off.

    In the Tryal of Persons accused for Crimes against the State the Method is much more short and commendable: The Judge first sends to sound the Disposition of those in Power; after which he can easily hang or save the Criminal, strictly preserving all due Forms of Law.

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