The Right Opinion

Will a Weakened American Character Defeat Paul Ryan?

By Dennis Prager · Aug. 14, 2012

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.



Capt. Call in New Mexico said:

Good article, Dennis; but don't you mean, "Democrat Party?" As I recall, "Democratic" is an adjective, and "Democrat" is a noun.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Bharris in Dallas, TX replied:

Thank you, Capt. Call, (one of my favorite characters from my favorite movie, BTW) for making a point that I find myself silently asserting nearly every day. I'm edified to know that I'm not alone in seeing the importance of the distinction. They are, on balance, not "democratic" whatsoever, but remain Democrats nonetheless. They certainly don't deserve being referred to as a Democratic Party. Nothing in the world wrong with the statement, "the Democrat Party".

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Abu Nudnik in Toronto replied:

The official name is the Democratic Party so the author is right. Really! There are serious issues here. To trivialize this and underestimate opponents just to get the "rat" joke in there... you need to read Sun Tzu. Never underestimate an opponent.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Bharris in Dallas, TX replied:

Chock full of assumptions on your part, Abu. You assume we've not read Sun Tzu. You assume that one remarking on the significance of a smaller point is tantamount to underestimation. You assume the intention of a "rat" joke, whatever that means. You fall prey to the fallacious thinking that any amount of focus on a less significant point disrupts focus on the more significant. Note: it really is possible to fight small battles and fully comprehend that a larger war remains to be won. The poster's original point has validity and value; he resists letting Democrats take linguistic liberties. You don't see it? Pass on then, and cease your chiding.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 9:49 AM

WCJ in Texas said:

My father grew up poor in the 1930's. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1947. He was in the Signal Corp. While serving in Japan he fell off a communications tower, a 30 foot cliff and into the Sea of Japan. He was in a coma for about three months. My mother was told he probably wouldn't live. He did pull through and 20 years later retired from the Army. Anyway, due to his fall he suffered some paralysis on the left side of his face. In the 1970's my dad was telling "war stories" with a fellow veteran and told of his accident in Japan and the paralysis resulting from the fall. The guy he was talking to suggested that my father could possibly get some disability for the effects of the accident. And now for the point of the story, which points out the difference of that generation and now. My dad said "no he wouldn't do that because someone else worse off than myself could use that money."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 7:27 AM

veritaseequitas in Fightertown, USA said:

Let's not be the Party of Doom and Gloom here. I am seeing A LOT of that on the comments pages. Romney selected Ryan precisely for the qualities that you point out he has, and Romney does not strike me as stupid.
I believe the American people as a whole are sick to death of what we have become as a nation. We were not created to be a socialist state and that is the thing about Barack Obama that a lot of people are starting to realize - he will only love America after he has destroyed it and re-made it in the image of HIS ideal. His remark in Iowa proved this when he said that the Romney/Ryan vision is one that HE profoundly disagrees with. The Romney/Ryan vision is one of freedom, wealth and a beacon of light to the rest of the world - all good things, all things that we have been in the past, until the left started their creeping rot over this country. And Comrade Obama disagrees with this vision? Huh. Shame on him.
Yes, there will be those gutter rats who are too lazy to work and produce and do for themselves and who want to feed off the producers like a bunch of parasites. But, I believe there are MORE of us than of them.
We need to stop the pessimistic crap and get behind this team in order to defeat the cancer that is Barack Obama.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 8:24 AM

Robert Farlee in North Carolina replied:

Amen to that, very well spoken!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 4:22 PM

wjm in Colorado said:

We have a choice, freedom or marxist statist tyranny. The Democrats are the party of Marx, and his communist manifesto. Their goal is the transformation of the country. FORWARD was the slogan of Stalin, very revealing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:15 AM

JHenry in NYSS, USSA replied:

Demonrats are the party of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Che, Ahmadinejad, Castro, Chavez, Mao, Je$$e, Franken, Farrakhan, Pelousy, Reid, Øbama and just about every other enemy of America.

Liberalism needs to be eradicated like the disease it is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Robert Farlee in North Carolina replied:

Especially Reid and Pelosi!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Gregory in Yakima Wa. said:

Painting the political landscape as "us" vs. "them" may be helpful in enlisting the "us" to partisanship but that doesn't help the country.

It's the job of leaders to rise above partisan politics to achieve mutually identified goals. President Obama is not a Marxist or a wild eyed socialist. He's trying to make our country better. You may not agree with his goals or policies but try to be constructive.

Americans like balanced transitions guided by wisdom, not excessive zeal. Many people will admit the need to reform social spending but Ryan's budget and proposal to provide vouchers to Grandma scares them. I'm guessing the Romney/Ryan team are seen as too extreme to win in November. It's probably too late but things may turn out better for conservatives if they remember that half a loaf is better than none.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:50 AM

J.W. in Glendora, CA replied:

Get serious! I have never heard a more "us" vs "them" than in the speeches made by the sitting president. He has demonized anyone with an idea that just may save medicare & social security. I guess you also have not been reading any of the text or listened to those who have regarding Ryan's plan for medicare and social security. Seniors, of which I am one, are not affected, but it will impact those much younger than the grandma you are referring to. And the impact will be that they will have something to look forward to instead of a bankrupt system with absolutely no payouts for what was paid in. This isn't partisan politics, this is about the survival of a nation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 11:32 AM

txranger in Texas replied:

1) The current president is the most divisive person in poitics, and is the master of "us" vs. "them".
2) Yes, he is BOTH a Marxist and a Socialist, and those ARE his policies.
3) Yes, we like transitions guided by wisdom, which is why we do not like what Obama did vs. what he promised.
4) Ryan's proposal most emphatically does not "provide vouchers to grandma" (no one over 55 has any change to Medicare as it is today), so they have nothing to be scared of, do they?
5) And finally, as a typicakl liberal, you insist that conservatibves settle for half a loaf. Excuse me, but up yours. We have been letting liberals steal half our loaf for decades, so that they can give it away to their favorite parasite. We are done with that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:11 PM

wjm in Colorado replied:

More insantiy from the queer in WA. You delusional fool, Obamao is all about us vs. them, he has a record of failure, just like every marxist before him. How about the excessive zeal of the founders, who fought Obama like tyranny? The only folks scared by Ryan are those who believe the lies of the socialist marxists, in other words the Democrats. Half of nothing remains nothing you useful idiot. Yet again, you display the delusion of the left.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado replied:

Half a loaf? Are you serious? If Obama wins he has no intention of giving up anything. Don't forget he said he would have more flexibility after the election. You don't see Obama as "extreme" and you will vote for him no matter what. So be it. His vicious attack ads on Romney and Bain Capital are based on lies. Even CNN exposed the lies about Romney being responsible for that woman's death. You don't see it. Go ahead - drink the Kool-Aid.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

JHenry in NYSS, USSA replied:

Øbama is far more of a Marxist than he is an American. It IS us vs. them. They want to destroy America and remake it in the vision of its enemies, no more, no less. Are you calling what Øbama has done over the past three and a half years a "balanced transition?"

People who share your viewpoint are a big reason we're in this mess today.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:18 PM

G Dub45 in Lee's Summit, MO replied:

I can appreciate your comcern - but, I believe that Ryan possesses the level of intelligence and integrity that will come across very well in public speaches and political video to alay the concerns of those now 55 and older - as well as - convince many of those now per-55ers, who still have semblence of a thinking brain, that they actually should be better off under his plan.
Afterall, the alternative is either a Statist 'do as I say" edict from the ilk of the current Moron-in-Chief or or an empty Medicare coffer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 3:16 PM

India in GA replied:

Great comment, G Dub.

I would add that if people are scared of "Ryan's budget and proposal to provide vouchers to Grandma", it will be because they have accepted what the media has spoon-fed them, not because they have made any effort to understand what the "Ryan Plan" entails.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Bruce R Pierce in Owensboro, Ky replied:

Just by saying he is not a Socialist or even a National Socialist. Look up and read the 25 goals of the National Socialist Party and see how many of them mirror the goals of the Democratic Party. If that is not enough look and see how many countries there are or were with Socialist in their names. Then tell me with a straight face the Democratic Party is not Socialist, by all other definitions, except yours and others not knowing who or what they really are, the President and the Democratic Party promotes Socialist values. So Yes the President and the Democratic Party are Socialists.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Stealth in MO replied:

Anyone that does not see Obama and the Democrats as Socialists or worse simply do not know history! That's because the liberal Socialist public schools teach that Socialism and Communism is just another good form of government. Our young are being brainwashed with our tax money!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 9:39 PM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA replied:

"Us vs. Them" is his own words ....

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” Barack Obama in July 2008

“I want you to argue with them and get in their face!” Barack Obama, September 2008

“Here’s the problem: It’s almost like they’ve got — they’ve got a bomb strapped to them and they’ve got their hand on the trigger. You don’t want them to blow up. But you’ve got to kind of talk them, ease that finger off the trigger.” Barack Obama on banks, March 2009

“I don’t want to quell anger. I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!” Barack Obama on ACORN Mobs, March 2010

“We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick.” Barack Obama on the private sector, June 2010

“A Republican majority in Congress would mean ‘hand-to-hand combat’ on Capitol Hill for the next two years, threatening policies Democrats have enacted to stabilize the economy.” Barack Obama, October 6, 2010

“We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” Barack Obama to Latinos, October 2010

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 7:48 PM

BJ in St. Cloud, MN said:

Yeah, Mac, why the racism? I'm going to report you to the congressional black caucus, black entertainment TV, the black miss America contest, the affirmative action people, REVEREND al sharpton and jesse (I'm a victim) hijackson. And I'm calling eric(will not prosecute colored folks)holder.
My experience has been that the first to scream racism, is usually the racist.
And, the first to scream racist is the party needing to redirect the conversation. Is it not just a little racist for the leftmedia to refer to George Zimmerman as "white hispanic"
If there is something more racist that 90% of the black and part black citizens in America voting for the bamsterscum because he's maybe 1/2 black-someone tell me. Without just one of special interest groups votes, democrats can't win. After all, democrats version of American values include: late term/partial birth abortion
regular on demand because I'm irresponsible abortion
homosexuals in the military
homosexual marriage
larger federal govt.
more dependency programs that rob people(especially blacks) of the American dream
pipe dreams and money laundering thru solar energy companies
more dependence on energy other than our own.
the slaughter of the family, religion, and all morals so their big brother vision can be implemented
stop me when I get to a real American value.
The big problem is that the left couldn't have put us in this position without the go along to get along/rino/and BS repubs we have in DC.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Brian in Newport News said:

Does any thinking adult in this country not understand what is happening right under their noses? The left has sold out to communism with the goal of dragging the whole country left! It is happening now! The evidence is right before us:

"This past Sunday's New York Times opinion section featured another attack on those who stigmatize out of wedlock birth and single motherhood."
Communist Goal #40: Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

"Another example is the cultural left's glorification of graffiti -- once regarded as vandalism of public and private property -- as "street art.""
Communist Goal #23: Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

"At the same time, the left works to weaken the single most effective device for character building in American history: Judeo-Christian religions."
Communist Goals 27 & 28: Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch." & Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

A vote for the dems on the left is a vote for communism!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 2:42 PM

India in GA replied:

Agreed, Brian.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:31 PM

John Di Maggio in Highland Village, TX said:

With all due respect, no. The very premises of Dennis Praeger's Arguement are invalid. Supporters of President Obama do not believe in reliance upon the State. They believe that Government can be a force for good which can help to uplift People, giving them equal opportunities to pursue happiness. The left embraces religion, as long as the principles upon which America was founded, Freedom of Religion, & Separation of Church & State, are honored. The left believes in the strengths of both individualism & collectivism. The left believes in efficient Government which responds to the will of Free People, understanding that the potential for corruption exists equally with big & small Government. In truth, this is not a matter of Character, as Mr. Praeger has so disparagingly framed it. It is a matter of a Democratic Process where it is the responsibility of the voting public to access a wide variety of information sources, to debate among those of both like & dis-similar minds (and learn as a result), and to use their critical analysis skills in order to arrive at a decision which is not in their best self-interest, but rather in the best interests of the American People & these United States of America. It is then the responsibility of free Americans to act, to vote, and to hold their elected public servants accountable for representing their will. Many members of the left are fiscal conservatives who want to reduce our National Debt, while supporting socially liberal values of equality for all Americans. Before citing himself as an expert on what the free Americans who support President Obama represent, perhaps Mr. Praeger would do well to talk to some Obama supporters, maybe even consider their point-of-view. I would not expect him to change his opinion in any great fashion. I would only hope that he might come to understand what the left believes, and that there is common ground for compromise by both sides. "To know what is right, and not to do it, is the worst cowardice" -- Confucious. To act upon this teaching of Confucious requires true character & moral integrity (both sides would do well to reflect upon its meaning).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Bruce R Pierce in Owensboro, Ky replied:

Let’s be for real what you just described is reliance on the State, oh you user of "double speak” Freedom of Religion is not even close to how it was practiced at the start of this Country. Christianity was taught in Schools, the same Schools that on Sunday held Church Services. People that did not "swear on the Bible or to God" were excused from testifying in court because they did not believe in God at all; their word could not be trusted. What is promoted today is the freedom from religion not even close to the intentions of the Constitution. Before you say our Founding Fathers were "deists", they were not for they believed in the hand of providence helping and guiding their thoughts and actions, something a "deists" would never do. What is in the best interest of the People is not to be decided by a Government forcing the good, it is the People promoting their own interests.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Stealth in MO replied:

The left never compromises. If any party has compromised in the last 50 years, it was the wimps in the Republican party. That is the main reason we are falling apart as a unified nation!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Scotch62 in O-town FL replied:

You seem like a man of good intentions, which, of course pave the road to hell. Very nice, high-minded sounding progressive useful idiot speak. Nowhere in your comment did you mention liberty. As our country was founded on the principal of limited government and individual liberty, it is incumbent upon the citizenry to be people of character who will have a desire to provide for themselves and their families. Pragers article addresses his concern (and the democrats desire?) for the character of folks who are willing to live off the labor of others in society. Also, there is no way you can square efficient government with any democrat congress since 1965 and this administration, which has added more debt than all other administrations combined in only four years. Your collectivist ideals will impoverish our society as they have every other in history.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Scotch62 in O-town FL replied:

John- You believe government can be a force for good? I'll go with George Washinton. "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

"A government big enough to give you everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have...." Gerald Ford

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild, and government to gain ground." Thomas Jefferson

Many people on this site have yielded enough ($16 trillion in debt, $100+ trillion in unfunded liabilities), and that is the origin of the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Brian in Newport News replied:

If only the left truly acted/believed the way you describe. In truth, they are under-handed and will do anything to accomplish their goals DESPITE what the people want. LISTEN to what they are saying! Obama tells the Russians he will have more "flexibility" after his election. He tells the gun grabbing Brady folks he has to work "under the radar" to enact gun laws. Look how ObamaCare was passed! How about the broken promise of "transparency?"

And it is not l just Obama. What about congressmen who "don't worry about the constitution" or claim that congress "can do just about anything they want?" Or how about this gem: "We have to pass the bill to see what is in it." And some are just plain ignorant, like the congressman that was afraid Guam would capsize and sink under the weight of added marines and equipment! Seriously!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Just Saying in Idaho replied:

John, you have no idea what you're talking about, none whatsoever. Please go read on Socialism, and its evils.
I wish, how I wish that all the useful idiots would have the opportunity to live for a couple of years the life of a regular citizen in a socialist country...not the life of the leaders of the party, the little life of the cog in the machine.I bet you anything you wouldn't like it. How do I know? I lived 30 years in a socialist country, and it infuriates me no end to read inane comments like yours, born of ignorance, and idiocy. Ignorance is no crime, but persisting in it, and refusing to educate yourself as to what you're preaching here, is.
You want to be a slave to the State? To have all aspects of your life regulated by the "Dear Leader"? The problem is that you all think you're going to get to live like Bill Gates, have the same healthcare like Ted Kennedy, and the reality is far, far, from it. If you want to know how your life would be under the Socialist paradise that Obama is preparing for you, take a look at Cuba, Venezuela, former EEuropean countries...Talk to some of the people who put their lives in danger to come here, from communist/socilaist countries. Talk to people who came from the former soviet block...learn something, for crying out loud before you come here and spew your inanities!

Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 12:26 AM

BJ in St. Cloud, MN said:

That you can sleep at night illustrates how you are so out of tune with other Texans that you can't see how ashamed they are of you, and how ashamed you should be of yourself. You have had more than your share of the kool aid
Liberals are not our contemporaries and just the other political party. They are the left and in most countries would be referred to as commies. They are the collectivist cancer that has eaten away individual freedom and taken the incentive to advance away from the average working man who now gets a check in the mail, and business owners like me who are tired and looking for ways to quit supplying the opiate dollars to the dependence promoted by the marxists.
Trying to intellectualize the conversation does not douse the flame of freedom that burns in the hearts of the real Americans whose lives are being stolen by big govt required to support the voting leeches that keep democrats in power. No collectivist society is worth joining, no collectivist society has morals, big brother is a tyrant and you sir are a useful idiot at best, and willing and evil participant at worst.

and in some cases persecute

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Abu Nudnik in Toronto said:

Let's hope the author is right.

I see reasons for optimism: firstly, many voters are parents. Secondly, lazy bums can't be bothered to vote.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 6:45 PM