Action Alert!

Slandering Ryan

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 14, 2012

Since charity begins at home, we can count on the bloggers of the Catholic left to treat their fellow Catholic Rep. Paul Ryan with respect, even if they disagree with him. Right? Wrong.

A National Catholic Reporter blogger sets the tone, comparing Ryan with Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Suggesting changes in Medicare, it appears, is tantamount to promoting suicide. But on the Commonweal blog, Luke Hill went further, voicing his fear that Ryan’s foreign-policy influence would approximate “the Reagan administration’s (criminal) Central American policy—a policy that abetted not only the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, but also the killing of American nuns and lay missionaries, as well as Jesuit priests and their housekeepers.”

Actually Archbishop Romero was murdered in March 1980—8 months before Reagan was elected. The brutal murder of four female American missionaries took place in December of the same year—after the election, but before Reagan entered the White House. For that matter, the Jesuits in El Salvador were killed in November 1989, several months after Reagan’s retirement. So it's not clear how any reasonable person could hold the Reagan administration responsible for those atrocities.

But we've been put on notice. The assault on Ryan will not be reasonable—let alone charitable.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Aug. 17, 2012 1:34 PM ET USA

    It is not unusual for a young person to have read one of Ayn Rand's novels or even to be fascinated but as Paul Ryan said her philosopy of Objectivism is by definition atheistic and untenable for a Catholic. That's when he said he prefers Aquinas.

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Aug. 15, 2012 9:51 AM ET USA

    I read one book from Ayn Rand back in high school -- so what? Does that makes me a social Darwinist today? No. I wish the media and the Catholic press (specifically the left-leaning Catholic press) had done this kind of vetting of then-Senator Obama in 2008.

  • Posted by: bnewman - Aug. 14, 2012 10:22 PM ET USA

    I think it better to use the expression "alleged fascination" with Ayn Rand, rather than "apparent fascination". The fascination in question is much less apparent to me than is Obama's early "fascination" with revolutionary groups in Chicago and also his "fascination" with an ususual Church pastor for 20 years in Chicago . I remember reading that Alan Greenspan was one of the earliest members of Ayn Rand's group: it did not seem to influence his later career significantly.

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Aug. 14, 2012 8:03 PM ET USA

    There has been a very reasonable critique of Ryan on very reasonable grounds from Mark Shea and others over Ryan's apparent fascination with Ayn Rand. He told National Review that he doesn't buy Rand's philosophy and prefers Aquinas, but one has to wonder how that can be when he's made such strong statements in favor of Rand and even spoken to a society of her devotees. That's legitimate criticism.