Janet Daley, the incisive columnist for the UK Telegraph, points out that this year’s U.S. presidential election has momentous significance for political philosophy worldwide. In her column, “We should tune in to the Romney and Ryan show.” she writes:
Whatever the outcome of the American presidential election, one thing is certain: the fighting of it will be the most significant political event of the decade. Last week’s Republican national convention sharpened what had been until then only a vague, inchoate theme: this campaign is going to consist of the debate that all Western democratic countries should be engaging in, but which only the United States has the nerve to undertake….
What is being challenged is nothing less than the most basic premise of the politics of the centre ground: that you can have free market economics and a democratic socialist welfare system at the same time. The magic formula in which the wealth produced by the market economy is redistributed by the state–from those who produce it to those whom the government believes deserve it–has gone bust…. (T)he myth of a democratic socialist society funded by capitalism is finished. This is the defining political problem of the early 21st century….
(Romney) took the startling step of appointing Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, and the earth moved. If Romney was the embodiment of the spirit of a free market, Ryan was its prophet. His speech at the convention was so dangerous to the Obama Democrats, with their aspirations toward European-style democratic socialism, that they unleashed their “fact checkers” to find mistakes (“lies”) in it….
(T)he message coming out of Tampa was…a reassertion of the basic values of American political culture: self-determination, individual aspiration and genuine community, as opposed to belief in the state as the fount of all social virtue.
Photo ©Austen Hufford