The Corner

Paul Ryan’s Moving Story That Explains the Difference Between Hard Work and Dependency

“People don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity — of self-determination,” Paul Ryan said at CPAC this morning. “A life of equal outcomes is not nearly as enriching as a life of equal opportunity.” He told a story that captured the point:

This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.

“That’s what the Left just doesn’t understand,” Representative Ryan said. “People don’t just want a life of comfort; they want a life of dignity — of self-determination. . . . The party that speaks to that desire, that tries to make it concrete and real, that’s the party that will win in November.”

Patrick Brennan was a senior communications official at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Trump administration and is former opinion editor of National Review Online.


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