Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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28 Responses

  1. BlaiseP says:

    Both Romney and Ryan are now furiously back-pedalling from every position they’ve ever held. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Paul Ryan now repudiating Ayn Rand as an atheist.

    Well, Ayn Rand eventually broke down and surreptitiously applied for Medicare and Social Security in her declining years. So did Hayek. For all their snarling and carrying-on about the Virtues of Selfishness, they all end up taking the benefits anyway.

    I don’t begrudge the Libertarians and the Objectivists their Brave Tom Sawyer rhetoric, (obligatory Rush reference) and I really don’t expect Romney to talk honestly about society’s obligation to the defenceless. Neither Romney nor Ryan are serious about any of this. It’s not even hypocrisy, really, not until the parabola reaches its maximum, at the stratospheric heights of a presidential campaign. Paul Ryan is the apotheosis of this hypocrisy: his presence on the ticket means Romney’s bending the knee to the Tea Partiers.

    But Ryan’s would only be a vice president, though Romney says he’s the next president. Ryan wouldn’t have an substantive role beyond a tie-breaker vote in the Senate and Romney doesn’t really intend to govern as a Conservative anyway, as Obama never governed as a Liberal. Biden helped Obama get ACA through Congress and Paul Ryan will try to help Romney get his tax cuts for the wealthy through the same obstacle course.

    • James K says:

      Be careful not to conflate Rand an Hayek here. Hayek was actually in favour of some kind of government support for healthcare.

      • BlaiseP says:

        Hayek talked out of both sides of his mouth. He was a ferocious opponent of nationalised health care, of Social Security and all such schemes:

        “Though a redistribution of incomes was never the avowed initial purpose of the apparatus of social security, it has now become the actual and admitted aim everywhere. No system of monopolistic compulsory insurance has resisted this transformation into something quite different, an instrument for the compulsory redistribution of income. The ethics of such a system, in which it is not a majority of givers who determine what should be given to the unfortunate few, but a majority of takers who decide what they will take from a wealthier minority, will occupy us in the next chapter. At the moment we are concerned only with the process by which an apparatus originally meant to relieve poverty is generally being turned into a tool of egalitarian redistribution. It is as a means of socializing income, of creating a sort of household state which allocates benefits in money or in kind to those who are thought to be most deserving, that the welfare state has for many become the substitute for old-fashioned socialism. Seen as an alternative to the now discredited method of directly steering production, the technique of the welfare state, which attempts to bring about a “just distribution” by handing out income in such proportions and forms as it sees fit, is indeed merely a new method of pursuing the old aims of socialism.”

  2. Rodak says:

    I don’t know what to believe. Ryan may be a Catholic, pretending to be an Objectivist. But, even more plausibly, he might be an Objectivist, pretending to be a Catholic. I say “even more plausibly” because even the most dim-witted Catholic could not possibly read Ayn Rand and not see that she considers him to be a fool. By all accounts, while Ryan may well be wicked, he’s not stupid.

  3. Rod says:

    I’m not a Catholic and won’t pretend to be an expert on CST, but I’ve hung out with enough Distributists to know that what Ryan’s selling would make Pope Leo XIII roll over in his grave.

  4. Tom Van Dyke says:

    Dogmatic Christian socialism? Forgive my chuckle at the irony: the same “progressives” who eschew dogma and tradition in other social matters are the ones most likely to wield the Beatitudes like a cudgel and Leo XIII like sword. [the metaphor of hammers and sickles seemed too obvious, heh heh.]

    Natural law claims demand proof of their efficacy in the real world. If economic freedom per Adam Smith creates plenty for all, this is good. Rufinius called such proofs “demonstrations.” Not all good is conceived a priori in a prayerful and meditative state. Sometimes man stumbles onto good by accident.

    Liberty is one such example. Who knew?

    As George Weigel notes

    “There is no — repeat, no — direct line from the principles of Catholic social doctrine to judgments on levels of WIC funding, food-stamp funding, or Pell Grant funding, three issues on which the Georgetown faculty claims moral certainty when the relevant mode of moral analysis is prudential judgment.”

    Mother Church herself has absorbed “demonstrations” of natural law over the past 2 centuries, Her attempts at governing the world [the City of Man] a miserable failure. Benedict Pope Ratzinger knows this well, that the City of God can only speak to the hearts of men: RCCC political theology has determined that in our earthly matters, God gives sovereignty to the people, who in turn render it to their government as they see fit.

    And so, Benedict speaks wisely—and for the Church, such humility is admittedly a fairly new thing—that the Church cannot impose, only propose.

    “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States.”

    So, to those Catholics and others who would use the Beatitudes as a political bludgeon against Paul Ryan, I say vote for the other guys if that’s where your conscience takes you, but do not presume to speak for the Catholic Church against him.

    “I am aware of the ways in which charity has been and continues to be misconstrued and emptied of meaning, with the consequent risk of being misinterpreted, detached from ethical living and, in any event, undervalued. In the social, juridical, cultural, political and economic fields — the contexts, in other words, that are most exposed to this danger — it is easily dismissed as irrelevant for interpreting and giving direction to moral responsibility. Hence the need to link charity with truth not only in the sequence, pointed out by Saint Paul, of veritas in caritate (Eph 4:15), but also in the inverse and complementary sequence of caritas in veritate. Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence.”

    I believe we will be reading Pope Benedict for many centuries. Elegant, timeless truth.

    • Kyle Cupp says:

      Since you brought up Papa Benedict, I’ll take the liberty of quoting his praise of democratic socialism:

      “But in Europe, in the nineteenth century, the two models were joined by a third, socialism, which quickly split into two different branches, one totalitarian and the other democratic. Democratic socialism managed to fit within the two existing models as a welcome counterweight to the radical liberal positions, which it developed and corrected. It also managed to appeal to various denominations. In England it became the political party of the Catholics, who had never felt at home among either the Protestant conservatives or the liberals. In Wilhelmine Germany, too, Catholic groups felt closer to democratic socialism than to the rigidly Prussian and Protestant conservative forces. In many respects, democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine and has in any case made a remarkable contribution to the formation of a social consciousness.”

      I’ve long been a fan of John XXIII:

      “Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of illhealth; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.”

      “In addition, heads of States must make a positive contribution to the creation of an overall climate in which the individual can both safeguard his own rights and fulfill his duties, and can do so readily. For if there is one thing we have learned in the school of experience, it is surely this: that, in the modern world especially, political, economic and cultural inequities among citizens become more and more widespread when public authorities fail to take appropriate action in these spheres. And the consequence is that human rights and duties are thus rendered totally ineffective.

      The public administration must therefore give considerable care and thought to the question of social as well as economic progress, and to the development of essential services in keeping with the expansion of the productive system. Such services include road-building, transportation, communications, drinking-water, housing, medical care, ample facilities for the practice of religion, and aids to recreation. The government must also see to the provision of insurance facilities, to obviate any likelihood of a citizen’s being unable to maintain a decent standard of living in the event of some misfortune, or greatly in creased family responsibilities.

      The government is also required to show no less energy and efficiency in the matter of providing opportunities for suitable employment, graded to the capacity of the workers. It must make sure that working men are paid a just and equitable wage, and are allowed a sense of responsibility in the industrial concerns for which they work. It must facilitate the formation of intermediate groups, so that the social life of the people may become more fruitful and less constrained. And finally, it must ensure that everyone has the means and opportunity of sharing as far as possible in cultural benefits.”

    • Liberty60 says:

      I agree with you, Tom, in that the Gospel message does not directly give us guidance on how best to implement Christ’s teaching.

      And if we were debating the most efficient effective method of ensuring universal delivery of health care then no one would say that there is a moral difference between the parties.

      But we aren’t having that debate. We are instead, having a debate about whether we should deliver health care at all, to those who can’t afford it.

      • Tom Van Dyke says:

        Lib60, we’re not debating about providing for the sick atall, we’re debating policy. There is no moral difference between the parties. That’s the leftist slander. The only difference is on policy, how to best achieve caring for the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

        “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States.”

        As to Kyle’s cite of Pope Ratzinger, his wisdom must be taken in the light of the above quote from the Caritas in veritate encyclical.

        That self-professed post-modernists quote Pope Ratzinger as though he were the Gospel truth and the Bible as if it were an encyclical is an absurdity. This isn’t a game.

        • Kyle Cupp says:

          Everything’s a language game, Tom, but I’m not just playing with you here. You are correct that we can distinguish between historical analysis made by a pope (the quote from B16), which carries no authoritative weight, and statements from an encyclical (the quotes from J23), which have a bit more papal punch. Still, the question for us here not the degree of authority, but whether anything that has been quoted is true. And it’s important, perhaps, to note that while the popes don’t offer technical solutions, they can and do get specific, speaking, for example, of what qualifies as a right.

          • Ryan Noonan says:

            Still, the question for us here not the degree of authority, but whether anything that has been quoted is true.

            I’m not sure you totally understand exactly who your interlocutor here is.

          • Kyle Cupp says:

            One can never be too sure. But in this case I was addressing our good friend TVD, specifically his distinguishing papal statements of varying authoritative muster.

          • Ryan Noonan says:

            Then we at least agree on the person to whom you are speaking.

          • Kyle Cupp says:

            My underlying point is that a pope’s saying X, whether authoritatively or not, doesn’t make X true. Socialism is good or bad regardless of what a pope says.

          • Tom Van Dyke says:

            Kyle, socialism is fine under Catholic social science. But so is non-socialism. In fact, we may discover that the welfare state is harmful to the dignity of man, and must be rethought.

            As for playing with words, Kyle, please. Not fair. If one’s truth can only be stated with certain words or a certain formulation of words, that’s not truth, it’s sophistry. I don’t expect either of us to resort to that.

          • Kyle Cupp says:

            I disagree, Tom. Language both discloses and creates truth. Or put another way, both we and truth and situated in time and place, language and culture.

          • GordonHide says:

            “Socialism is good or bad regardless of what a pope says.”

            That depends on how you define socialism. If your version of socialism always includes state ownership of the means of production I would say socialism is always bad.

            If your socialism never includes free market economics I would say it’s almost certainly bad.

            If you define socialism as any system which involves redistribution of wealth I would say it depends on the degree of redistribution of wealth and the circumstances of the society concerned.

            So, what the pope considers socialism may be a good thing for one society and a bad thing for another.

        • The Left says:

          ” The only difference is on policy, how to best achieve caring for the weakest and most vulnerable among us.”

          Who in the GOP is offering a policy on that?

    • Chris says:

      Of course, one of Rufinus’ demonstrations was slavery.

  5. Liberty60 says:

    Ryan’s selection exposes the fundamental division within the American conservative movement, that began in Buckley’s time.
    That is, the division between Wall Street capitalism and Main Street cultural conservatism.

    All the things that Wall Street values- endless innovation, ruthless competition, creative destruction, aquisitiveness as the highest goal, self-interest; stand in direct opposition to the cultural values of Main Street- tradition, cooperation, preservation, abstinence, self-denial.

  6. Everyman says:

    Atlas Shrugged Part 2 will be in theaters October 12th, 2012.

  7. Chris says:

    Apparently he listens to Rage Against the Machine as well. So he’s a Catholic Randian Militant Marxist? 😉

    Seriously though, someone should link him to their reading list.

  8. GordonHide says:

    Does Ayn Rand’s Influence on Paul Ryan Matter? – Well, if he can be taken in by such an irrational view of morality it doesn’t speak well for him.