It was University of California Professor Robert Reich who recently
explained what Paul Ryan in a position of real power would mean. "More than
any other politician today, Paul Ryan exemplifies the Social Darwinism at the
core of the today's Republican Party." And what is Social Darwinism? It is a
belief in the necessity of a struggle for survival where only the "fittest"
survive. Here is how William Graham
Sumner, the 19th century's leading American spokesman for this outlook, put
it. "Civilization has a simple choice. It is either liberty, inequality,
survival of the fittest or not-liberty, equality, survival of the unfittest. The
former carries society forward and favors all its best members; the latter
carries society downwards and favors all its worst members." This is may well be
Paul Ryan's version of the struggle between good and evil. By the way, liberty
here is defined as the freedom of individuals to pursue wealth in an unfettered
Following this ideology, a Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan presidency would most likely increase the pace of deregulation and destroy what is left of the country's safety nets. It would ultimately devastate the middle class, greatly increase the ranks of the poor and unemployed, do away with union rights, and reserve prosperity for the upper class alone. All of this will be done in the name of the liberty. And, it will be guided by an ideological paradigm that has already been historically proven to be disastrous.
We can speculate about popular reaction to these policies as time goes on. There will probably be eventual protest in the streets. Those in power will respond with red-baiting tactics and repression against the protesting victims of their policies. Also, keep in mind that these ideologues will almost certainly bring us a new set of wars. And, as we already know, in wartime repression comes easier. If the electoral system works, those responsible should be cast out of office in four to eight years.
All in all it is a pretty grim picture. It was George Santayana (1863 to 1952), a philosopher with both Spanish and American roots who said that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." We in the United States, so thoroughly attached to our local here and now, are certainly candidates for this fate.