Another View: The Ryan budget will destroy the quality of life for all Americans
Republican voters are the inheritors of the faux anger, resentment and rage that has been propagandized by Fox News and others for the last 40 years. Lack of emphatic response to the suffering of others and the inability to see themselves in another persons situation is something that is taught and is necessary for complete objectification to take place. It's a small step from deeming people as unworthy, to eliminating them.
This is a form of self-centeredness and selfishness that is at the heart of Republican philosophy and propaganda. By demonizing helpless and powerless groups of people, Republicans give their base something to rage at while political operatives loot the treasury and destroy every vestige of goodness in American life. The dehumanizing aspects of slavery, predatory capitalism are the direct result of the Calvinist doctrine of being God's chosen people. Being chosen by God as entitled and superior to others, justifies the suffering imposed on others, which is at the heart of Republican philosophy.
Republicans talk a lot about God, but essentially they are nihilists. Existential nihilists don't believe in goodness or caring or any sense of commonality or shared experience in nature, in society, and in politics. Revenge and punishment have become Republican values. Moral nihilists assert there is no inherent accepted moral values such as goodness or a belief in a shared commons, unless through a corporate/faux Christian/Fascist prism.
Modern Republicans would say non-ideological and moral ideas of goodness are abstractly contrived and therefore should be not be considered. Knowledge is rejected and even a shared sense of reality does not exist to morally bankrupt Republicans.
The Paul Ryan budget destroys the safety net and will plunge tens of millions of people into desperate poverty. This will be the outcome of Republican policy decisions based on greed, resentment, scapegoating and ignorance. Austerity policy makers instead will argue economic necessity. The economic necessity is the Republican expanding budget deficit that feeds the bloated military and the industrial machine that drives it. The Republican Party and Trump are the scavengers and parasites feeding off the American people. Social Security is sustainable and always has been and always will be with minor changes.
According to Republican orthodoxy, safety net beneficiaries are dependent and need the freedom of extreme poverty to get their act together. The millions of people who will be threatened by Republican policies include 20 million or more on the Affordable Care Act, tens of millions of veterans who will be threatened by the specter of privatization, tens of millions of people who receive Social Security benefits, the disabled, and of course tens of millions of Medicare recipients. Almost half of the American population will be negatively affected.
The number of tragic consequences resulting from Republican economic policy decisions will be limitless. Laws that protect clean water, air, food and the will be eliminated. This will result in what some commentators have referred to as culling the herd. Cruel economic disenfranchisement will enable the continuation of the extreme concentration of the wealth and power, using privatization and deregulation as the weapons of choice. Having an authoritarian buffoon as head of state, who will sign anything in front of him, always helps.
When Paul Ryan ran for vice president, he was asked about his enthusiasm for the writing and philosophy of objectivist Ayn Rand, which Ryan has referred to many times. Ayn Rand is one of Ryan's mentors and inspiration. Ryan then qualified his passion for objectivist philosophy which endorsed plutocratic rule by monied elites. This Ryan qualification was partially shame based because of the blatant cruelty behind Rand's thinking. That was 2012.
Many Republicans in 2017 have no reservations about demonizing the non-wealthy and powerless. Understanding the perception of greed and cruelty inherent in Rand's work, Ryan began touting his Catholicism. The Romney/Ryan ticket received more Catholic votes in 2012 than Obama/Biden.
Not many voters understood what objectivism really is, a philosophy of culling the herd. The Catholic Church under Pope Francis has recommitted for the weak and powerless, but within the Church, there has been a retrenchment, a reaction and rejection to the progressive values of Pope Francis. This retrenchment is represented by politicians such as Ryan and ideologues such as Steve Bannon. These two Irish Catholic boys have more in common than they realize. Bannon's apocalyptic worldview of a Western war with Islam and the destruction of institutional life in the United States is the opposite of Francis's compassion for the powerless and poor. Ryan sees no contradictions in any ideological view he may have politically, to a Catholicism based on sacrifice and goodness that combats racism, environmental exploitation, economic cruelty and preserves the dignity of each individual human being. Republican contradictions and hypocrisy are constants, like gravity.
Virginia Wyoming and Stephen Belczak live in Westminster. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.
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