Moochers and looters

Paul Ryan is out promoting public universities in Ohio. His public university, of course, didn’t spring from the ground entire the blessed day of Paul Ryan’s birth. People who came before Paul Ryan had the forethought and sense of the common good to build that university and support it with tax dollars. He just showed up, got what he needed, and then went out to launch his career trashing public investment.

Later, he told the crowd, “Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government.” He says there is a clear contrast between the two candidates in this election.

I don’t know where his “rights” came from, but I do know where his benefits came from: people who believe in a public university system. People who are not libertarians or radical conservative ideologues.

A group of protesters gathered outside the rally. They claim Romney is not in touch with Americans. In the morning, some Miami University students also held an anti-Romney/Ryan press conference. They say Romney’s economic plan would double interest rates and cut funding for students.

Hey, Paul? You didn’t build that. How about pitching in to maintain it so it will be there the next time a lawyer’s son wants an affordable high-quality college education?

Paul Ryan also loathes the stimulus, says it was a waste and didn’t work, although he was happy to lobby hard to grab his share with sappy love letters to the Secretary of Energy.

Here’s what Miami University, the public school Paul Ryan attended but didn’t build and doesn’t support funding, got in stimulus funds:

MIAMI UNIVERSITY
DUNS Number: 041065129
OXFORD, Ohio 45056
Congressional District: 08
$29,814,769

Total Funds Awarded

See All Awards
As Prime Recipient
Number of Awards 19
Total Funds Awarded $5,275,300
As Sub Recipient
Number of Awards 5
Total Funds Awarded $24,539,469

Must be nice to be a libertarian or radical conservative. Liberals build the commons, conservatives and libertarians use and benefit from the commons, then they launch lucrative careers dedicated to destroying the commons. When Ryan walked out the door, diploma in hand, that university must have sunk into the ground only to rise again when the next good Republican showed up needing an affordable, high quality education.

Sorry the comments are off. It wasn’t intentional. John will fix it, I hope.






90 replies
  1. 1
    rlrr says:

    Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government.

    The idea everyone has rights seems to be a fairly recent development…

  2. 2
    Emily says:

    If our rights come from nature and God, not the government, how come we needed a revolution in 1776? Why do we need the 2nd amendment?

  3. 3
    rlrr says:

    @Emily:

    Or the Constitution?

  4. 4
    Sly says:

    “Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government.”

    Given how the rights of people in the United States had to be expanded over time due to severe restrictions placed on them at the outset, and by the mechanisms of government no less, I suppose it then can be said that God is really fucking terrible at granting people rights.

  5. 5
    scav says:

    So, basically, we didn’t build those Rights (so where does that leave ‘Mercan Exceptionalism and Our Greatest Export(tm) ?)

  6. 6
    Martin says:

    @Emily: Remember, the Constitution is a divine document:

    “I established the Constitution of this land,” said the Lord, “by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80).

    Our Father in Heaven planned the coming forth of the Founding Fathers and their form of government as the necessary great prologue leading to the restoration of the gospel. Recall what our Savior Jesus Christ said nearly two thousand years ago when He visited this promised land: “For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth” (3 Ne. 21:4). America, the land of liberty, was to be the Lord’s latter-day base of operations for His restored church.

  7. 7
    eric says:

    @rlrr: if the rights are god given and the right to vote is a right, why are they getting in god’s way?

  8. 8
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Hmm, what’s this in the Declaration of Independence?

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

    And yet these are the people who consider themselves the true keepers of the Constitution.

  9. 9
    Chris says:

    Liberals build the commons, conservatives and libertarians use and benefit from the commons, then they launch lucrative careers dedicated to destroying the commons.

    Better. Liberals build things (not just commons like public universities, but virtually everything worth having in this country), conservatives oppose them every step of the way, and then, when conservatives lose and the liberal thing is finally shoved down their throats… they demand credit for it. (E.g. the balanced budget of the nineties, e.g. civil rights, e.g. that idyllic 1950s society they all want “back.”)

  10. 10
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    O.K., after African-Americans, Hispanics, women, the LGBT community and senior citizens, we can add “college students” to the ever-growing list of groups that the “dream team” of Romney & Ryan are pissing off. Can you say “landslide”, boys and girls? I know you can.

  11. 11
    scav says:

    @eric: They know better than God, He gave us free will, including the wimminz and doctorz, but they’re not about to let the wimminz and doctorz exercise it, no how.

  12. 12
    Valdivia says:

    I would want someone to go ahead and try to connect the Thomist position of Ryan (this guy sounds like he is reciting from The City of Man, The City of God, circa 13th century–and btw for that century it was an advance, today? totally atavistic) with that of our constitution and separation of church and state.

    I am no expert but it sounds like an assault on that.

  13. 13
    Chris says:

    Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government.

    Never understood this logic. Wherever your rights come from, what the fuck do you think those rights would be worth if you didn’t have a government there to guarantee them for you? You’d think conservatives of all people would understand this, as they’re the ones constantly harping on about how without the soldiers and other assorted people-in-uniform, we wouldn’t have any freedoms or rights or whatever. But somehow, the military’s always managed to be detached from “the government” in their minds – go figure.

  14. 14
    Svensker says:

    @Emily:

    No, the concept is that humans have rights by their nature as humans, not granted to them by the government of the day. Whether humans are able to exercise those rights is always an issue, of course.

  15. 15
    Yutsano says:

    @scav: Yesbut…TEH BEBEHS!! WHY DO YOU LIBTARDS NEVER THINK OF TEH BEBEHS??

    (until the little moochers are born, then it’s pull yourselves up by your bootstraps you lazy takers!)

  16. 16
    Cacti says:

    If our rights come from God, he really cocked things up on that whole slavery thing.

  17. 17
    rlrr says:

    @Cacti:

    Especially considering slavery is a God approved institution…

  18. 18
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Martin: Mitt Romney’s got an awesome plan for New Jerusalem…erm, sorry, America.

    He’ll let you know what it is, via a string of executive orders, as soon as he wins.

  19. 19
    hueyplong says:

    Romney has apparently said today that every year he has paid “at least 13 percent in taxes.” Note that it’s always the generic “taxes” and never “federal income taxes.” I’ll go first and speculate that the 13 percent figure is state and federal combined. It would be irresponsible not to speculate, seeing as how he controls the proof and refuses to release it.

  20. 20
    Valdivia says:

    @Cacti:

    actually this is one of the whole problems with Aquinas, his defense of slavery in City of Man.

    Not to sound too nerdy here but I am gobsmacked that a person within striking distance of the office of the Presidency in this country is citing fucking Aquinas on the trail. Even fucking Strauss got beyond that in his book on Natural Law.

  21. 21
    Kane says:

    Howard Fineman asks what happened to the predictions that Ryan would elevate a more serious, substantive tone in the campaign:

    “Well, for one, Ryan turns out, upon closer inspection, not to be a purifying ideologue, but rather a young, power-hungry, ladder-climbing trimmer — less Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman and more Karl Rove and George W. Bush.

    Ryan’s principled opposition to big government and the welfare state would be more convincing, and give him more leverage and interest in serious debate, if he hadn’t voted for a wide swath of the Bush-era expansion of big government and the welfare state. He even sought to shovel federal money back to Janesville, as his family business had done for generations.

    He shifted to the right out of ideological remorse, I’ll grant him that, but also out of calculation, once Barack Obama loomed on the horizon. Ryan has been amassing a war chest of his own ever since, and now has more money on hand than any other GOP member of the House. Looking back on it, it is remarkable that he didn’t run for the Republican nomination.

    This is no debate society guy. He is a 42-year-old spreadsheet-reading attack dog. That is all his budgets were about. He knew they couldn’t become law. He rarely passed any laws. He wanted Tea Party cred, and to advertise himself to the conservative money.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....84446.html

  22. 22
    muddy says:

    @Chris: They want everything back from the 50’s except the tax rates.

    Republicans: They love rights so much they want to take yours.

  23. 23
    quannlace says:

    but virtually everything worth having in this country), conservatives oppose them every step of the way

    I can just imagine how conservatives reacted when the idea of National Parks were first proposed in the early 1900’s.

  24. 24
    Bulworth says:

    If our rights come from God how is that Freedom Isn’t Free!

  25. 25

    @Chris:
    I think their point is that humans have no right to change the list of rights, to add more or take away others. It’s just another piece of gibberish that sounds good, so they get a gut feeling they’ve proven that anything liberals do is illegitimate. It sounds like it fits in with their similarly gibberish claims about state’s rights and original intent, so they feel like they have a consistent philosophy – even though it’s actually paper-thin rhetoric. As an added bonus, it dog whistles Confederate racists and Christianists.

  26. 26
    Yutsano says:

    @Valdivia: It’s actually a logical move by Ryan since he’s trying to show he’s given up on his teenage crush over Ayn Rand. Of course citing a Catholic philosopher is gonna hurt with the Baptists.

  27. 27
    Valdivia says:

    @Yutsano:

    I can see that, I just wonder why he didn’t use any of the easy plabum and instead went specifically for the Thomist tradition–lots of bad repercussions towards govt institution within that world-view.

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    Later, he told the crowd, “Our rights, they come from nature and God, not from government.” He says there is a clear contrast between the two candidates in this election.

    Hmmm. That’s not what Ayn Rand said.

    A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.
    __
    The concept of a “right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.
    __
    Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive—of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
    __
    The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible.

    A Randroid does not recognize either a deity or nature or society.

    Paul Ryan is a crappy VP choice and an inconsistent acolyte of even libertarian principles.

  29. 29
    GregB says:

    @Kane:

    Shorter Fineman:

    Ryan, once a brown-noser, always a brown-noser.

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @muddy:

    Tax rates, and union power, and government regulation. They want all the benefits back without any of the things that made them possible. Sounds about right.

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Where’s that finite list of rights that none of us are allowed to add to or subtract from, though? The Constitution doesn’t purport to be it (it explicitly states that it isn’t, in fact), nor does the Declaration of Independence (also states that almost as explicitly with the line “AMONG those”).

    They got nothing.

  31. 31
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Martin:

    @Emily: Remember, the Constitution is a divine document:

    Wow. Seriously, wow.

  32. 32
    jrg says:

    I say we give the baby Jesus a machine gun and ship his ass off to Afghanistan.

    Spread some Democracy, bitches! Freedom ain’t free!

  33. 33
    Cacti says:

    I think Ryan is taking away Gingrich’s mantle of “A dumb person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like”.

  34. 34
    NonyNony says:

    @Valdivia:

    Not to sound too nerdy here but I am gobsmacked that a person within striking distance of the office of the Presidency in this country is citing fucking Aquinas on the trail.

    Some say that Republicans want to drag us back to 1950. Others say that’s wrong, and Republicans really want to drag us back to 1850.

    Apparently there’s a wing who want to drag us back to 1250. Which, as I think about it, isn’t all that surprising.

  35. 35
    Steve says:

    This is all pretty basic Declaration of Independence stuff. Our rights as humans come from God (or nature or whatever), and we form governments for the purpose of securing those rights. You can believe in a God-given right without believing that God is going to personally show up and stop anyone from taking it away.

    Government is obviously not the source of human rights, because then it wouldn’t make any sense to talk about human rights violations in China. We’d simply say “the Chinese government doesn’t respect that right, so I guess people in China aren’t entitled to it.”

  36. 36
    scav says:

    The mistake was probably seeing Ryan as an acolyte of any principles, beyond that of whatever advances his career. He’s sounding more and more like a Willard-clone.

  37. 37
    Cacti says:

    @Brachiator:

    Paul Ryan is a crappy VP choice and an inconsistent acolyte of even libertarian principles.

    Ryan said he was inspired into public service by Ayn Rand.

    Rand would have expelled him immediately for heresy.

  38. 38
    NonyNony says:

    @Brachiator:

    Paul Ryan is a crappy VP choice and an inconsistent acolyte of even libertarian principles.

    Ryan denied Ayn Rand three times before the cock crowed once he figured out that her atheism was going to be a millstone around his neck.

  39. 39
    patrick II says:

    @Emily:

    And God said “let them have guns”, and they had guns.

    Genisis, Amdendment 2, para 1.

  40. 40
    Auguste says:

    @quannlace: Google Ralph Henry Cameron. Also, Yellowstone was established as a National Park in the 1870s – here’s a difficult-to-read gif of the debate. Unsurprisingly, the main voice against it essentially argued that man would not be capable of destroying natural beauty because nature is simply too magnificent to be damaged. Sounds familiar.

  41. 41
    Cacti says:

    @scav:

    The mistake was probably seeing Ryan as an acolyte of any principles, beyond that of whatever advances his career. He’s sounding more and more like a Willard-clone.

    He’s like Willard’s wimpy son.

    High voice, suit too big, looks like he might burst into tears at any moment, can’t give details on any of his “big ideas”.

  42. 42
    KG says:

    @Bulworth: look, freedom isn’t free, it just costs a buck o’ five… which really, isn’t that much, is it?

  43. 43
    Valdivia says:

    @NonyNony:

    It is true that some Tea Partiers in NH wanted to make sure all laws were based exclusively on the Magna Carta. I see this is a theme.

  44. 44
    Roger Moore says:

    @muddy:

    Republicans: They love rights so much they want to take yours.

    I really think they take a zero sum view of rights and freedom. They want to take away from other people so there’s more left for them.

  45. 45
    Mike in NC says:

    @quannlace:

    I can just imagine how conservatives reacted when the idea of National Parks were first proposed in the early 1900’s.

    And today thanks to imbeciles like Glenn Beck, conservatives think TR was a dirty hippie.

  46. 46
    scav says:

    @patrick II: And the Lord looked at the ensuing violence and God saw that it was good.

  47. 47
    Yutsano says:

    @Valdivia: Which cracks me up, since not even all British law derives from the Magna Carta. Hell it’s barely a declaration of rights, just the nobles telling King John he’s no longer the Big Man of England.

  48. 48

    @Chris:
    It’s the finite list they think they know that they’ve been told was in the Constitution by their leaders. Because they’re hazy on the list it can change radically whenever they need it to, so they can claim the Founders wanted corporations to be people or health care is an infringement on their freedom.

    Do not try to apply logic here. This is not a consistent or logical or deep or researched argument. It is rhetoric, words that sound good and make them FEEL like their point is proven. They don’t have to acknowledge or use logic at all. Humans are not inherently logical, only capable of logic. Right now the conservative movement is operating on full lizard brain.

    EDIT – @Roger Moore:
    Again, human psychology – the narcissist is screaming at the world ‘You’re not the boss of me!’ That is at LEAST half of the GOP base’s thinking right there. For example, ‘you can’t tell me I have to let gays marry’.

  49. 49
    japa21 says:

    Pierce did a take down of Ryan when Ryan said he is not influenced the most by Rand, but rather Aquinas. Pierce then started quoting Aquina:

    Things which are of human right cannot derogate from natural right or Divine right. Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man’s needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man’s needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor. For this reason Ambrose [Loc. cit., 2, Objection 3] says, and his words are embodied in the Decretals(Dist. xlvii, can. Sicut ii): “It is the hungry man’s bread that you withhold, the naked man’s cloak that you store away, the money that you bury in the earth is the price of the poor man’s ransom and freedom.”Things which are of human right cannot derogate from natural right or Divine right. Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man’s needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man’s needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor. For this reason Ambrose [Loc. cit., 2, Objection 3] says, and his words are embodied in the Decretals(Dist. xlvii, can. Sicut ii): “It is the hungry man’s bread that you withhold, the naked man’s cloak that you store away, the money that you bury in the earth is the price of the poor man’s ransom and freedom.”

  50. 50
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Martin:

    @Emily: Remember, the Constitution is a divine document:

    Explains Romney but Ryan is a Catholic. “divine constitution” is laughable for a Catholic perspective since it would mean the Founding Fathers were taking their orders from the Pope.

  51. 51
    Chris says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Do not try to apply logic here. This is not a consistent or logical or deep or researched argument. It is rhetoric, words that sound good and make them FEEL like their point is proven. They don’t have to acknowledge or use logic at all. Humans are not inherently logical, only capable of logic. Right now the conservative movement is operating on full lizard brain.

    Oh, sure.

    I read Hannah Arendt’s stuff on totalitarianism the same year the teabagger movement was in full swing, and remember thinking how much of what she was writing about the psychology of totalitarian movement also applied to the teabaggers. Not the only movement you could say that about I’m sure, but it was still striking when I was reading it.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    TenguPhule says:

    Our rights, they come from nature and God,

    So they would be the right to burn heretics, hang witches, shit on the environment, have priest orgies, rob, rape & steal what isn’t nailed down (unless they’ve got a lever, in which case the nails are gone too)

  54. 54
    Valdivia says:

    @Yutsano:

    I know, they had to scarp it later because someone made clear to them what a clusterfuck it would be.

    @japa21:

    I had no idea someone had already gotten to the Aquinas ref. Aquinas was pretty progressive for the 13th century but the whole assumption of where authority comes from and how one relates to it is simply inimical with democracy.

  55. 55
    Chris says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    It should be laughable not only laughable but idolatrous not just from a Catholic perspective but from any Protestant one, including the fundiegelicals. And even if you don’t literally believe that the Constitution and America were inspired by God, the degree to which conservatives idolize both those things to the degree of placing them above right and wrong would be blasphemy in most orthodox theologies that I’m aware of.

    But what the hell, as Franken said, don’t look for logic here.

  56. 56
    Brachiator says:

    @hueyplong:

    Romney has apparently said today that every year he has paid “at least 13 percent in taxes.”

    Let’s see now. He is going to tell us what is in his taxes, but not show us his taxes.

    Because he is afraid the Democrats might attack him.

    Is he going to tell us what he might say in a presidential debate, but not actually participate in the debates because he is afraid that Obama might challenge him?

    Romney keeps digging the hole deeper. He must be really, really afraid at what the American people might find out if they can look into his tax returns.

    If he keeps refusing, perhaps he should drop out of the race and let the GOP select a more open, honest, transparent candidate.

  57. 57
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @hueyplong:

    It would be irresponsible not to speculate, seeing as how he controls the proof and refuses to release it.

    Sir,
    Don’t you know Ann Romney has MS? Your speculation about Mitt Romney’s taxes, like your speculation about Mitt Romney’s joy over laying off workers while at Bain is thugish and uncivil.

    All Mr Romney wants is an adult conversation on why Obama is the black Hitler. Is that to much to ask for?

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    The idea everyone has rights seems to be a fairly recent development…

    And in another 200 years, maybe the American South will even begin to accept that.

  59. 59
    eric says:

    @Cacti: translation: I was compelled into public service as a vehicle for my personal enrichment by reading the teachings of Rand.

  60. 60
    TenguPhule says:

    perhaps he should drop out of the race and let the GOP select a more open, honest, transparent candidate.

    One of these words is not like the other. One of these does not belong.

    (Answer: GOP)

  61. 61

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:
    I thought Obama was the black metrosexual Abe Lincoln? Because I would vote for that guy in a SECOND.

  62. 62
    The Bobs says:

    @Emily: Why do they love the Constitution but hate the government that it created?

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @hueyplong:

    Romney has apparently said today that every year he has paid “at least 13 percent in taxes.”

    My guess is that this means 13% of Adjusted Gross Income; it ignores all the stuff he managed to shelter using fictitious business losses, off-shore corporations, etc. IOW, it’s yet another completely meaningless figure.

  64. 64
    Chris says:

    @Brachiator:

    I keep thinking that it’s possible, maybe not likely, but possible, that he saw what Obama did to Donald Trump with the rope-a-dope about his birth certificate and is trying to do the same thing here.

  65. 65
    hep kitty says:

    Right to do what and to whom?

  66. 66
    Roger Moore says:

    @TenguPhule:

    And in another 200 years, maybe the American South will even begin to accept that.

    They do accept that! They just deny that personhood extends beyond rich, straight, white men and the unborn.

  67. 67

    @Roger Moore:
    My guess is it’s a flat out lie like all his other flat out lies and it’s a sign of how weak he is that it took him this long to just say it. Regardless, his tax returns are deeply suspicious and he is still refusing to release them – thus defying the standard set by his own father that has become universally accepted. We can’t accept his word. We need to see them.

    EDIT – @Chris:
    Can’t do it. If he were a smooth and brilliant campaigner and Obama clumsy, maybe. No matter WHAT is in his tax returns, even if he is guilty of all specific accusations made, there is something that looks bad in there. We know that because there were things that look bad in his limited release. No matter what the returns say, Obama will have ammunition to keep attacking. It would take a much, much better campaigner than Romney to turn the tables from that weak position.

  68. 68
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @Chris: Objection. Assumes facts not in evidence.

  69. 69
    NancyDarling says:

    I just hate to be superficial and OT at the same time, but there is a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ going on at another blog I read about this Shutterstock photo used in a story about Mitt’s coming dinner in Little Rock—and a very expensive dinner it is by Arkie standards. We think he’s glad to see us.

    http://www.arktimes.com/Arkans.....erComments

  70. 70
    KG says:

    @The Bobs: having been on the inside, it’s not the government created by the constitution they so despise… it’s the government created by the constitution to respond to the industrial revolution, circa 1932, that they despise. They’d be fine with the government created by the constitution circa 1795, though most will say 1865 so as to avoid the whole slavery issue.

    ETA: actually, going back to what I’ve been saying for a while, a lot of these folks are really Anti-Federalists at their core, so they’d say 1795, but I’m not sure they’d really believe it.

  71. 71
    Martin says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Explains Romney but Ryan is a Catholic. “divine constitution” is laughable for a Catholic perspective since it would mean the Founding Fathers were taking their orders from the Pope.

    Actually it’s a view loosely held by a lot of other Christians and Catholics. They don’t need to take orders from the Pope – they weren’t agents of the church. Rather, God ensured that these men would come together at this time and be inspired to create that document for a larger goal. That the Constitution was divinely inspired, not that it was part of church doctrine. And you especially see that from the folks (and there are a lot of these too) that reject anything past the 10th amendment. Apparently the bill of rights landed soon enough after the Constitution to still be divine, as did the 11th but after the 12th the window closed. Certainly the 13th & 14th amendments are examples of men meddling in affairs they know nothing of…

    And people will justify that through all sorts of means – the US being necessary to stop the spread of fascism and communism, being instrumental in the creation of Israel, and so on. And the farther the Founders fade from our living memory the more legendary and mythical they become. We are Gods army.

  72. 72
    hep kitty says:

    You have the right to die without food, shelter or healthcare!

  73. 73
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Valdivia:

    Any hardline Catholic with any sort of intellectual pretensions is going to claim that Aquinas represents the very pinnacle of human thought: Nobody has ever done better than him, it’s all been downhill since him. It’s de riguer with that bunch.

  74. 74
    1badbaba3 says:

    @The Bobs:
    Not to mention all those yearning to be free types it attracts.

  75. 75
    hueyplong says:

    Roger Moore, I completely agree that the manner in which Romney arrives at the number on which the 13 (or lower) percent function is performed is likely to spark some annoyance among the populace.

    It’s difficult not to think about those “I am the 39 percent” bumper stickers and laugh about how some of the moochers who aren’t paying any federal income taxes are “above” the driver instead of “below” him/her in terms of class status.

  76. 76
    Chris says:

    @Martin:

    And people will justify that through all sorts of means – the US being necessary to stop the spread of fascism and communism, being instrumental in the creation of Israel, and so on. And the farther the Founders fade from our living memory the more legendary and mythical they become. We are Gods army.

    Yeah, that’s one of the single biggest problems in the American mentality, IMO. When contemplating their current political issues, the British don’t sit around asking themselves “is this what the people who signed the Magna Carta would have wanted?” The French don’t sit around asking themselves “is this what Danton and Mirabeau and all those other revolutionaries would have wanted?” Because as nice as those people were, they were only people, with ideas, and some of them were good, but some of them were not, and as the world moves on it keeps throwing problems at us that their example tells us nothing about how to solve.

    When America can get past the notion that the Founding Fathers are some sort of gods and that all the problems in the world can be solved by genuflecting on their altar and trying to summon their ghosts, maybe then we can start actually addressing our society’s problems. Until then I have my doubts…

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    Roger Moore says:

    @Chris:
    Even if we assume the Founding Fathers were geniuses, one and all, it completely ignores two critical points:

    1) Part of their genius was to acknowledge their own fallibility. They knew perfectly well that they weren’t going to get the Constitution right on the first try, which is why they included an amendment process and used it 12 times within the first 20 years the Constitution was in place.

    2) Even if we aren’t as wise as the Framers, we do have an extra 220+ years of practical experience in self government. At the time the Constitution was written, it was a genuinely novel experiment in self-government and implemented a whole bunch of ideas that hadn’t been tried before. Now they have been tried, both here and elsewhere, as have a whole bunch of other approaches to running an elected government. That extra experience has to be worth something when compared to a completely theoretical ideas, even if the original theorists were really smart.

  78. 78
    1badbaba3 says:

    @Chris:
    Fortunately it’s not all Americans. Most of us know the history and keep current. It’s just those pesky few that can’t seem to make it past 1863.

  79. 79
    Sir Nose'D says:

    Kay nails it right here:

    Liberals build the commons, conservatives and libertarians use and benefit from the commons, then they launch lucrative careers dedicated to destroying the commons.

    Q.E.D. bitches.

  80. 80
    Svensker says:

    @NancyDarling:

    Very happy to see everybody!

  81. 81
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    @Yutsano: As I recall, the Great Charter did define certain rights, but only rights granted to the Aristocrats. This seems to be a Republican theme these days.

    Of course, since I am an Aristocrat, I really have no objection.

  82. 82
    Brachiator says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Even if we aren’t as wise as the Framers, we do have an extra 220+ years of practical experience in self government. At the time the Constitution was written, it was a genuinely novel experiment in self-government and implemented a whole bunch of ideas that hadn’t been tried before.

    To the contrary, the Founders looked at thousands of years of government, from the Greeks and Romans to the British and French and Italian models, as well as new thinking about social contracts and individual rights and synthesized what they thought was the best, and most resistant to tyranny.

    And even here, part of the practical experience finds that democracy can be remarkably fragile. This is one of the points of Lincoln’s remarks at Gettysburg:

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

    We seem to be testing the proposition again, as the Republicans seem to be asserting that the nation belongs to corporations and oligarchs, not to the people.

  83. 83

    @Roger Moore: The founders also made some collossal blunders, not the least of which was the formation of the Senate. They didn’t take into account the creation of states with less population than mid-size cities would have, and created *exactly* the sort of problems they were trying to avoid with an over-represented south (leading to the 3/5 compromise)

    Another one was allowing states to set their own voting laws in federal elections. This was partly about the difficulty of coordinating two sets of elections, but largely another compromise to keep the south, who was afraid blacks would be allowed to vote.

    Basically, the south was a rotting appendage from the start that is still killing us from gangrene.

  84. 84
    PurpleGirl says:

    @NancyDarling: Read the comments, and they are good. From looking at the angle of the picture, it looks like he has his hands wrapped around his knee. But it is a bad angle for a picture.

  85. 85
    g says:

    Wonder whether the Miami U Alumnus, Paul Ryan, supports his Alma Mater with donations.

  86. 86
    Carl Nyberg says:

    It’s exasperatingly ignorant to claim that rights come from God.

    They come from people believing that rights exist and then putting in place mechanisms–fucking government in most cases–that protects these rights from being violated by those in power.

    It’s all well and good to say God gave you some rights. Let God enforce your rights.

  87. 87
    gluon1 says:

    Also, the Boston Herald (?!) points out that Ryan, who has never stopped saying that the Recovery Act never created jobs, is also one of those Republicans who wrote letters asking for stimulus money because it would create jobs.

  88. 88
    jl says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: @Valdivia:

    I hate to be cynical, but I doubt Ryan knows or cares much about Aquinas at all. He needs some standard and respectable religious authority to cite to get the stink of Ayn Rand off of him. That is all.

    Maybe next time Hume interviews Ryan on Fox, Hume can ask how any speck Rand’s economics can be reconciled with Aquinas’ economics, in any conceivable universe.

  89. 89
    bcinaz says:

    @Emily: or The Bill Of Rights

  90. 90
    A Farmer says:

    Miami University was created through an act of Congress, so Miami traces its roots to the feds, not just the state (and was a requirement of a government land privatization project):

    The foundations for Miami University were first laid by an Act of Congress signed by President George Washington, stating that an academy should be located Northwest of the Ohio River in the Miami Valley. The land was located within the Symmes Purchase; Judge John Cleves Symmes, the owner of the land, purchased the land from the government with the stipulation that he lay aside land for an academy. Congress granted one township to be located in the District of Cincinnati to the Ohio General Assembly for the purposes of building a college, two days after Ohio was granted statehood in 1803; if no suitable location could be provided in the Symmes Purchase, Congress pledged to give federal lands to the legislature after a five-year period. The Ohio Legislature appointed three surveyors in August of the same year to search for a suitable township, and they selected a township off of Four Mile Creek. The Legislature passed “An Act to Establish the Miami University” on February 2, 1809, and a board of trustees was created by the state; this is cited as the founding of Miami University. The township originally granted to the university was known as the “College Township”, and was renamed Oxford, Ohio in 1810.

    I’m sure that History for Moochers (Conservapedia) would have some bizarro creation myth to protect Ryan from reality.

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