The Virtues of â€˜Ryanismâ€™
Since the 2008 election, American conservatism has been in a struggle to define itself. Now the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate is helping to resolve that struggle.
For years, the political left has tagged conservatives as out-of-touch anarcho-capitalists, all while enjoying a Republican party that, in reality, has demanded little more than a marginally more efficient administration of the welfare state than what the Democrats want. Conservatives have tried in vain to find a voice that refutes both caricature and reality.
Now, Paul Ryan has found what may be the right approach, and Mitt Romney has installed it at the center of the Republican party before it is too late to save the country from a European-style debt crisis.
“Ryanism” celebrates private entrepreneurship, demands lower taxation, and is willing to take on the hard issues of structural reform to programs, including out of control entitlement spending. It seeks to protect the social safety net by limiting it to the truly indigent and not to allow it to become a source of middle class entitlement (as it has over the last few decades). It does not "end Medicare," but rather makes changes to the system for those under age 55 so the program is solvent and does not rob our children. It is unashamed of America's powerful position in the world and recognizes that military spending is—when pursued prudently and not wastefully—a public good and not just another government boondoggle.
In other words, the Ryan approach is conservative and, very likely, workable. That is why it is so feared and loathed by the left.