August 30, 2012

AYN WHO?:

Ryan vs. Rand? (Peter Lawler, August 30, 2012, Big Think)

Let me call attention to the his speech's three-paragraph theoretical moment, where Ryan explains what his country is all about: 

Our different faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life there is goodness; for every person, there is hope. Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of Life.

We have responsibilities, one to another - we do not each face the world alone. And the greatest of all responsibilities, is that of the strong to protect the weak. The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.

Each of these great moral ideas is essential to democratic government - to the rule of law, to life in a humane and decent society. They are the moral creed of our country, as powerful in our time, as on the day of America's founding. They are self-evident and unchanging, and sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government.

There's a lot I want to say about each of these beautiful and deep paragraphs.  But for now:

Notice that Ryan begins with the faith that all American believers share, the foundation of their "moral creed."  Each person is unique and irreplaceable, a being endowed with irreducible personal significance as a creature of God.

So most basic is the responsibility we have to one another.  The strong (contra Rand etc.) have a responsibility to the weak and vulnerable, and any society is judged most truly by the quality of its care.  To what extent that care comes from government and to what extent from charity or altruism or families and friends or voluntary caregiving is a question.  But the question has to be asked in a way that acknowledges our responsibility as relational beings who aren't intended "to face the world alone."

Responsibilities are prior to rights.  

Posted by at August 30, 2012 8:16 PM
  

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