For too long, politicians of both parties have ducked our country’s ominous entitlements problems and have struggled to make incremental gains in position that have resulted in small, and sometimes only temporary, victories on peripheral issues by one or the other party, but have caused the nation to become completely bogged down in resolving the larger conflict of which entitlements represent a key component – to wit, the free society vs. the provider state.
In choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has paid the American people the supreme compliment of assuming that they are ready for a serious national conversation on some of the most serious threats to our political and economic freedom that we have faced in our history: run-away government spending, crushing deficits, the regulatory stranglehold of government on free enterprise, and the likely collapse of the social safety net in the absence of legitimate reform.
Whether the compliment is deserved, or whether many of us will wake up the day after the election to find out that we have been involuntarily enrolled in a national suicide pact, remains to be seen. But the line in the sand has been drawn, and I prefer to know sooner rather than later what kind of country we have become. Are we a nation whose citizenry is capable of making intelligent choices based on logic, genuine fairness and a veneration for our hereditary liberty, or are we just a heterogeneous mix of parlor radicals, self-perceived sans-culottes, and tractable sheep, wallowing in ignorance and envy, ruled by base emotions, and bawling for the heads of our mythical “oppressors”? Stay tuned.