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That’s two separate issues . . .

I agree with Pete that encouraging Ryan to enter the race is to fall short of endorsing him. It’s even a kind of desperation move based on pessimistic premises. Despite his lack of managerial experience and all that, Kate in the thread below is right to say Ryan talks like a manager, and he acts like a guy who could lead. Despite the TEA PARTY, his particular issue—telling the truth about our entitlement situation and really explaining how we have to act accordingly—is not one that’s likely to cut in the Republican direction. But, if nothing else, Ryan will raise the other Republicans above the vague blather of cutting big government, cutting taxes, and growing jobs etc. And, we can add, elections, particularly for president, do have a strong personal dimension. Maybe Ryan (as did Obama) can convince America he’s someone they can trust and look up to. The man himself might be the change people can believe in. Let (the cruel) vetting process begin.

To Carl and others in the thread about aristocracy and democracy: Tocqueville’s claim is that the ruling class sort of imposes its morality—largely just by being “role models” (or ladies and gentleman) on society as a whole. And so the South has a always fading “perspective” that more about warriors, heroes, the connection between virtue and deserved success (as well as the connection between virtue and living well with undeserved defeat), a kind of anti-commerical bias, a preference for nontechnical and dignified modes of speech, a love of leisure and adventure (and so a corresponding disdain for real work), guns, agriculture that’s neither subsistence nor industrial, poetry and literature that are romantic and deeply nostalgic, tradition, Stoic (as opposed to techno-Lockean) philosophy, hunting, true (or nonprogressive, noninstrumental) religion, and the “aristocratic” (meaning great man) theory of history. All these qualities Tocqueville describes as aristocratic, in fact, and they are defended to some great extent by TRUE GRIT the novel and even more by the eloquent Confederate (and I don’t mean racist at all) defender of the book by Portis over the Coens’ movie.

That these qualities have been democratized and were never purely aristocratic in America is obvious. Sir and ma’m are universalized in the South now, including, of course, blacks. But at one point, we have to tell the truth, the South was, in part, an aristocracy that included all white people. And that recognition, of course, is why “the rednecks” so vehemently opposed the abolition of segregation. The more economically privileged whites were far less about that hate and adjusted quickly to integregration, because they thought of themselves as much more than merely white men.

So I can’t flesh all this out and am trying to provoke discussion through assertion.

I will add, to Bob Cheeks, the pro-Voegelian South was, in some large measure, the literary construction of writers moved, in some large measure, by the memories (necessarily selective) of dispossessed aristocrats. I don’t deny (as I suggested above) that they had real material to work with.

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