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Perugino: Consensus of future not divisive warfare
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On Aug. 19, Maurice Carter wrote an article entitled "Drawing a new battle line" in which he accuses Paul Ryan of supporting only individualism and fighting against collectivism for the common good. Carter goes on to say that Paul Ryan blindly follows the philosophy of Ayn Rand to the exclusion of a focus on the welfare of the U.S.

This commentary is wrong on so many fronts that I must respond to Maurice's allegations for fear of some readers being falsely influenced by the incendiary writing.

To begin with, our country does not need to conjure up another new issue to paint the Republican Party as divisive and the Democrats as righteous for the collective good.

Carter draws a vague connection between Paul Ryan's affection for the novels of Ayn Rand and his political philosophy of life. This is a shameful and ludicrous analysis of a dynamic patriot dedicated to leading our country out of the economic and governmental nightmare we find ourselves in.

It is political fashion today to denigrate American exceptionalism and rugged individualism. A real time example of that painful attitude is the statement recently made by President Obama while speaking at a campaign rally: "You didn't make that. Someone else did."

Unfortunately, that selfish and volatile behavior of class warfare has been brought to Newton County by Maurice Carter.

Congressman Paul Ryan was the only individual with the intelligence, courage and strength to write, propose and present a Federal Budget that would preserve Social Security and Medicaid in a viciously brutal and dangerous political environment.

Did Congressman Ryan do this for an Ayn Rand philosophy of life for individual gain?

Obviously not. We all know the extreme criticism and outrageous accusations made at him because of his courageous effort to put our country on a positive direction. Senator Harry Reid refused to even allow the budget to go to the floor of the Senate for a vote. Where was the collectivism for the good of the country then?

Mr. Carter goes on to say that: "Our Society adheres to individualistic principles of Capitalism because we know no better way."

This is such a stunning and breathtaking statement describing our heritage that I am ashamed and bewildered that an educated citizen of Newton County would proclaim that position in public print.

In our desperate economic times in Newton County, it will be the rugged individuals who will not be afraid to oppose popular propositions to spend taxpayer dollars for unnecessary projects that we cannot afford but are promoted and popularized by special interest individuals and groups. It takes courage on the part of the individual to fight against those programs that do not improve the common good.

The U.S. is exceptional because of its universal founding principles. At the heart of these principles is the belief that people are free by nature and possess inherent rights. The use each of us makes of these rights will naturally be different, and the outcomes of those choices will naturally differ too. But the choice remains ours.

Freedom is thus inextricably bound up with living our lives as we see fit. This is self government in the truest sense of the term. We the people need not slavishly defer to experts. We can be trusted to govern ourselves.

As John Adams stated: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." In the U.S., government requires not merely the consent of the governed. It rests ultimately on the ability of the people to govern themselves. The first role, the first duty of the people is to ensure that they remain virtuous and free.

William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at