Paul Ryan v. The Jesuits (Jesuits Win By Default)
“Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism….”
Well, I give Paul Ryan credit for his boldness—going to Georgetown to do intellectual battle with all those Jesuits and their defense of the “preferential option for the poor”, “solidarity”, and other such communistic…er…ahh…Catholic ideas.
What’s that you say? That’s not what Paul Ryan said yesterday at the Whittington Lecture at America’s first Catholic university? That’s what he said three years ago on his Facebook page? Oh. Well, in that case…never mind.
It turns out that Ryan did yesterday what American Catholic politicians from across the political spectrum have generally done for decades: attempt to defend his policies, proposals and votes as “consistent with how I understand my Catholic faith”. That is, of course, a loophole big enough to justify almost anything. (Welcome to the Catholic cafeteria, Paul. If you don’t want to eat your vegetables, you can go right to the dessert line….)
It’s not a terrible speech (full text as prepared for delivery here). But it should remove any illusions people have that Ryan is engaging with Catholic social thought in any but the most superficial of ways.
Ed Kilgore’s helpfully assessment helps put Ryan’s remarks within the larger context of his career, and his ability to be taken seriously “inside the Beltway”:
It’s definitely part of the pattern whereby Ryan has managed simultaneously to become the maximum hero of hard-core conservatives who view him as their champion in the effort to roll back the New Deal and Great Society, and a respected intellectual in Beltway circles with whom Democrats can conduct good-faith negotiations. I’ve wondered how he keeps pulling this off; it seems his secret is the ability to find and defend the tiniest scrap of common ground with people who ought to view him like a firebug in a library.