According to Paul Ryan on ABC’s This Week, the health care reform law should be repealed because Government does not grant rights. Those rights are handed down by God:
“What Ms. Kennedy and others were saying is that this is a new government-granted right. We disagree with the notion that our rights come from government, that the government can now grant us and define our rights. Those are ours, they come from nature and God, according to the Declaration of Independence — a huge difference in philosophy.”
Let us consider another quote, this one directly from 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, —
The mind boggles. Why would Ryan hang his argument on a document which explicitly debunks his logic? It can only be that he does not know what the Declaration actually declares.
First off, if Ryan’s take on the Declaration was what the founders meant, they would not have mentioned Government in conjunction with rights at all. They would have simply overthrown the British, and then it would have been every man for himself. God will protect your rights because Government doesn’t really have anything to say about it in Ryan’s vision. Ryan would be very happy as a citizen of Somalia, where I’m quite certain God would see to his freedoms and rights.
Ryan’s vision of God given rights obviously does not comport with what the founders intended so we are left to wonder what he was thinking on ABC. It’s like he has no clue what is actually in the Declaration of Independence.
Can you imagine citing some widely known document which you obviously do not understand in order to justify your logic? It would be like me declaring, based upon the Hippocratic oath, (which I know next to nothing about) that doctors must be baptised Christians. Imagine how gobsmacked I would be to find that the original oath read:
I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:
I think the most realistic reason for Ryan’s blunder is that he knows that his target audience, low information conservatives, will just accept anything he says with an approving nod without actually knowing what the hell he is talking about. Especially when the opinion is in opposition to President Obama, for which no opinion or statement in opposition is too outlandish or far fetched from their perspective.
For incessantly paying fealty to the constitution and our founding fathers it is shocking how little the right wing actually understands about the subject matter. They insist on a sort of selective amnesia. From the modern conservative perspective anything the founders might have thought or lived which does not comport to the modern conservative mindset can not be true. Many founding fathers owned slaves, but the modern conservative does not want that to be true so they simply rule that history books must exclude that fact. So low info conservatives must positively love Ryan’s version of the Declaration. It is an attack on President Obama and it fits nicely with their take on the role of government, no matter how wrong headed their understanding of what it is that the signers actually signed.
Whatever the case may be, Ryan’s take is completely laughable. In fact if Ryan thinks the patient rights conveyed by health care reform are God given, he has supplied the best defense yet for the bill. Securing those rights is precisely the reason governments are established according to the Declaration of Independence.