Ryan's constitutional cognitive dissonance

Oct 12 2012 Published by under [Politics]

A lot was said at last night's debate and I don't really want to slog through all of it. But one thing that I think is really important for people to understand is that the GOP ticket and much of the conservative platform has a significant cognitive dissonance when it comes to reconciling their religious beliefs and the Constitution.

From the transcript of last night's debate, emphasis mine:

Now, you want to ask basically why I'm pro-life? It's not simply because of my Catholic faith. That's a factor, of course. But it's also because of reason and science.

That's why -- those are the reasons why I'm pro-life. Now I understand this is a difficult issue, and I respect people who don't agree with me on this, but the policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother. What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they're doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They're infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals.

I'm not sure what "reason and science" Ryan is referring to exactly, to defend his stance, but these two paragraphs are taken from the same respons to Raddatz's question about the two men's stance on abortion. Ryan is making it clear that his own religious beliefs are a major factor in policy that the GOP wants to enforce on the entire nation. At the same time he complains that churches from HIS religion are having their freedom impinged upon. The Catholic myopia here is astounding and should terrify anyone. The fact that he refers to "our first freedom" instead of the First Amendment only reinforces my belief that Ryan thinks the Constitution is an iPhone ap.

Contrast the above to the words of the VP, also a Catholic. Again, emphasis mine:

My religion defines who I am, and I've been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who -- who can't take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to -- with regard to abortion, I accept my church's position on abortion as a -- what we call a (inaudible) doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life.

But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the -- the congressman. I -- I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women they can't control their body. It's a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I'm not going to interfere with that. With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital, none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.

That is a fact. Now with regard to the way in which the -- we differ, my friend says that he -- well I guess he accepts Governor Romney's position now, because in the past he has argued that there was -- there's rape and forcible rape. He's argued that in the case of rape or incest, it was still -- it would be a crime to engage in having an abortion. I just fundamentally disagree with my friend.

Biden's position is that he has his beliefs but realizes that there are other religions and other value systems represented in our country. He does NOT believe his office gives him the authority to impose personal, religion-fueled, values on the populace. I think if Ryan looked at the First Amendment, it might turn out that Biden's views actually align with our Constitution. That, ya know, might be a big deal.

At its core, this election has become a decision between one camp that recognizes the diversity of the US population and one that thinks its own value system is the only one that should be protected and enforced. That, to me, is an enormous cause for concern as we move forward as a country.

5 responses so far

  • chall says:

    I do think there is going to be a reminder soon about the difference between "immoral" and "illegal" - at least I think that is long overdue. It's fairly commonly known (i thought?) that societies have wanted to legalise against immoral things since the age of time, since they are "imimoral and dangerous to the impressionable youth [and feeble minded women and poor people]". However, with more acceptance on variety and the notion that peope are diverse, many people now realise that problems arise when you try and dictate what's immoral rather than focus on what should be illegal, based on more rational grounds of reasoning. And, as you so nicely show, the difference between "I find it immoral therefore it should be illegal" and "I find it immoral therefore I don't do it".

    In short, I think we should have a true ideological debate. I think Biden started a little of it yesterday, but my dream would be for someone not in the direct presidental camp to bring it up to the table; what exactly does the Republican party stand for today? [seeing that they like govermental regulations when it comes to banks, but not for schools for example... it's clearly not that simple as in the Reagan years ]

  • Drugmonky says:

    Why do the Republicans hate America so?

  • Mori says:

    The modern, mainstream Republican party has long sold its own soul to Christian Dominionists in America. Dominionists, to put it shortly, believe that government should be religious in nature, at at the core, are no different from organizations or movements such as the Taliban.

    The Dominionists believe "freedom of religion" means "freedom to be Christian without persecution". That is how they interpreted the founding of the United States. Dominionists believe it is their duty, and within their authority, to dictate how society should be run, using the bible as their justification. The GOP is in bed with them, pandering to them, because the Dominionists represent old money and a solid block of voters who move as one, turn as one, vote as one.

    The problem is that society is becoming every more rational, and ever more disillusioned with religion as an organization, as a quasi-government. The Dominionists, who preserve a society centuries past its expiration date, have ever-fewer uneducated citizens to hoodwink into acting as their foot soldiers. The GOP meanwhile, has done everything in its power to turn itself into the "angry old white southern man" party, further making itself look decrepit and out of date. Paul Ryan is the kind of eager young sycophant of these people who is invited into the fold in the hopes of projecting an image of youth and vigor by association. The problem is that the party is not about ideas and new things, but about holding on to a dead past and jiggling the corpse around on a stick. Therefore, Ryan is a paper tiger. There's nothing behind him.

    One person recently said it best:

    "I used to see politics as being about nothing more than trying to mitigate damage. Picking the politician who lies the least, who is owned by the least destructive special interest group or corporation. But this time, this time something is different. For the first time in my adult life, I feel we are facing a choice between the past and the future. Maybe even between good and evil."

  • whizbang says:

    This is why I (jokingly?) asked my spouse what country we would flee to if the GOP wins the presidency and both houses of congress.
    More frightening than anything I can think of right now.

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