Will a Weakened American Character Defeat Paul Ryan?
The Republican vice-presidential candidate, Congressman Paul Ryan, is the Democrats’ political version of the Anti-Christ. He believes in self-reliance; the left believes in reliance on the state. His moral values are shaped by religion (Catholicism); the left is frightened by religious Christian politicians (and athletes, and members of the armed forces, and talk show hosts, and, for that matter, clergy). He believes in individualism; the left believes in collectivism. He believes in small government and powerful citizens; the left believes in large government and dependent citizens.
Nevertheless, the Democratic Party claims to be overjoyed at his selection as the Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The Democrats’ glee — even if exaggerated — emanates from their belief that Americans will reject Ryan’s economic and social plans to reduce the American debt, unleash private economic growth (the only type there is), and reform unsustainable government programs such as Medicare.
Democrats believe that if Americans perceive that their entitlements may be affected — even if only beginning a decade from now, and even if the American debt is thereby cut by one third, and even if they, as well as the country, will ultimately benefit — so many Americans have become so used to government benefits, the Republicans stand little chance of winning the upcoming elections.
In other words, and tragically, the left and Democrats are relying on the decline of the American character that left-wing policies have produced (not only here but in Latin America, Europe, and everywhere else). The Democrats are hoping that older Americans are (irrationally) frightened by Medicare reform even though these reforms will not affect them, and that younger Americans will likewise reject these reforms because they are counting on receiving Medicare as it now exists.
Left-wing social policies are predicated on giving more and more Americans more and more benefits and demanding less and less from them.
The left’s party, the Democratic Party, seeks to have the state pay for Americans’ health care, give record numbers of Americans food stamps (now in a form similar to ATM and credit cards so that no stigma be involved), provide their children with school meals and provide women with child care and contraceptives, while enabling more and more Americans to pay no federal taxes to pay for any of these benefits.
The negative impact these policies have had on the character of Americans is indisputable. Every parent — and probably most adults who are not parents — knows what giving things they have not earned and demanding nothing from them in return produces: spoiled children.
Left-wing, Democratic Party policies have negatively impacted the American character in another way. Whenever possible, the left and the Democrats have de-stigmatized irresponsible behavior.
One example is women who give birth to and raise children without fathers in their children’s lives. This past Sunday’s New York Times opinion section featured another attack on those who stigmatize out of wedlock birth and single motherhood.
Another example is the cultural left’s glorification of graffiti — once regarded as vandalism of public and private property — as “street art.”
A third example is how difficult the Democratic Party and the left-wing education establishment have made it for teachers and principals to discipline disruptive and foul-mouthed students. The Department of Education has just declared education the “civil rights” issue of our generation” because black students are disproportionately suspended and otherwise punished by school officials. The effect? Black young people who abuse their teachers and schools feel empowered to continue their anti-social behavior.
At the same time, the left works to weaken the single most effective device for character building in American history: Judeo-Christian religions. Increasingly, the American motto “In God We Trust” has been replaced by “In Government We Trust” and “In Experts We Trust.”
Since the Democrats could not win any national election with the votes of liberals alone — according to Gallup, self-described liberals constitute just 21 percent of the electorate — the great question of the 2012 American presidential election is this: Have the left and Democratic Party sufficiently weakened the character of enough Americans to enable the demonization of Paul Ryan to lead Barack Obama to victory?
I don’t believe so. But given the enormity of the national debt incurred by this administration, its spectacular failure to improve the nation’s economy, and its commitment to weakening American defense, if there were a better explanation for a Democratic victory, I would welcome it.
Dennis Prager’s latest book, “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph,” was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of PragerUniversity.Com.
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