A number of national pundits have been mentioning what Congressman Paul Ryan said in “a speech in Oklahoma,” and we think it important to remind everyone that speech wasn’t just “in Oklahoma”; it was for OCPA! Long before Mitt Romney selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, the House Budget Chairman delivered a landmark speech at the 2010 Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs Citizenship Award Dinner in Oklahoma City. What he said that night rings as true today as it did March 31, 2010. Ryan’s nomination signifies a clear choice between two ideologies and paths for the future of our great nation, and that choice is why OCPA continues to be dedicated to its mission of free enterprise, limited government, and individual initiative. Ryan foreshadowed the journey we all will take this fall in deciding the future of our country when he said:
“Americans are preparing to fight another American Revolution, this time, a peaceful one with election ballots…but the “causes” of both are the same:
Should unchecked centralized government be allowed to grow and grow in power … or should its powers be limited and returned to the people?
Should irresponsible leaders in a distant capital be encouraged to run up scandalous debts without limit that crush jobs and stall prosperity … or should the reckless be turned out of office and a new government elected to live within its means?
Should America bid farewell to exceptional freedom and follow the retreat to European social welfare paternalism … or should we make a new start, in the faith that boundless opportunities belong to the workers, the builders, the industrious, and the free?
We are at the beginning of an election campaign like you’ve never seen before!
We are challenged to answer again the momentous questions our Founders raised when they launched mankind’s noblest experiment in human freedom. They made a fundamental choice and changed history for the better. Now it’s our high calling to make that choice: between managed scarcity, or solid growth … between living in dependency on government handouts, or taking responsibility for our lives … between confiscating the earnings of some and spreading them around, or securing everyone’s right to the rewards of their work … between bureaucratic central government, or self-government … between the European social welfare state or the American idea of free market democracy.
What kind of nation do we wish to be? What kind of society will we hand down to our children and future generations? In the coming watershed election, the nature of this unique and exceptional land is at stake. We will choose one of two different paths. And once we make that choice, there’s no going back.
This is not the kind of election I would prefer. But it was forced on us by the leaders of our government.”
Time will tell which vision wins and whether promises are kept. What is clear is the need for our nation to return to the vision of our Founders, lest we lose our true selves and the idea that is America. As Mr. Ryan noted:
“Now we are approaching a “tipping point.” Once we pass it, we will become a different people. Before the “tipping point,” Americans remain independent and take responsibility for their own well-being. Once we have gone beyond the “tipping point,” that self-sufficient outlook will be gradually transformed into a soft despotism a lot like Europe’s social welfare states. Soft despotism isn’t cruel or mean, it’s kindly and sympathetic. It doesn’t help anyone take charge of life, but it does keep everyone in a happy state of childhood. A growing centralized bureaucracy will provide for everyone’s needs, care for everyone’s health, direct everyone’s career, arrange everyone’s important private affairs, and work for everyone’s pleasure.
The only hitch is, government must be the sole supplier of everyone’s happiness … the shepherd over this flock of sheep.”
We must not accept the devious temptation of “soft despotism” by putting our faith in a government that has foolishly created a nearly insurmountable debt. If we do, we will assuredly meet the same fate as the failed republics before us. Instead we must return to the principles of free enterprise, limited government and individual initiative by once again embracing the idea of America.
OCPA accumulates, evaluates, and disseminates public policy ideas not just about the quality of life for future generations or the “end of Medicare as we know it.” We do what we do because we believe our nation will ultimately face a decision between carrying on the idea that is America, or the end of America as we know it. And we want that decision to be an educated one.
Mr. Ryan finished his speech with a sense of optimism. His enthusiasm for our people and the individual spirit is encouraging because it has unfortunately been lost in the eyes of some lately. We have overcome challenges in our past that have seemed impossible, and we have come out a better nation and people. Paul Ryan left OCPA with this:
“I am confident that the American character is up to every challenge. America is not over. This exceptional nation will not go down the way of mediocrity. Ronald Reagan used to say: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction … It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same.” We are that generation. The fight is our fight, and it begins now! The time is at hand to reclaim America for freedom.”
For our part, we agree wholeheartedly, and we are honored to be part of the fight. Join us in the fight today.
And, by the way, don’t miss the next OCPA event. As we continue offering speakers like Ryan and other national leaders, you will certainly hear from someone with an important voice in our nation’s future.