It didn’t take long for libertarians to condemn Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan may have required his staffers to read Ayn Rand’s novels, but he’s no John Galt. Over his nearly 14 years in Congress, Ryan has cast several votes unfit for an advocate of limited government. He voted for TARP, auto bailouts, and Medicare expansion. He also voted for No Child Left Behind, and twice voted for stimulus spending.
The criticism of Ryan is a classic example of the saying, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” And it comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of how our system of government operates.
The Founders’ great achievement — an achievement that today is often ignored and even dismissed by the cynics in our education and media establishments — was to protect the people from tyrannical government. States’ rights, the separation of power between the legislative, judiciary, and executive branches, and a system of checks and balances were carefully designed to prevent any one person or party from acquiring a monopoly of power.