The following is an edited transcription of Brian Vanyo’s speech at a Romney/Ryan Rally at Pen Park, Charlottesville, VA on October 15, 2012. The rally was a local event—not sponsored by the Romney campaign or the Republican National Committee.

I fully support the Romney/Ryan ticket—and I thought I’d explain why in the context of some of the founding principles that I wrote about in my book, The American Ideology.

Before getting to that, though, I think it’s important for us to understand just how important this election is. It is, in my opinion, one of the most important elections in our history. And I know we hear that every 4 years—but, it’s true. Because every 4 years, our federal government grows larger and more wasteful, our national debt increases, and the number of restrictive regulations multiplies. So every 4 years, we lose a little more of our liberty. And that is why this election is so important. If we have any hope to pass on a free nation to our children, then we must stop the federal government from encroaching upon our sovereign power. And I believe that Mitt Romney will do just that.

The theme of my book is that we must take back our country with the philosophy of our founding fathers, which is the idea that our rights to life, liberty, and property are gifts from God, not government. This is what I call the American ideology, because even though Natural Law theory had been around for centuries, the American people were the first ones to actually reduce these principles to practice. Everyone who fought for liberty in the American Revolution believed that they were destined by God to be free—that they were endowed with natural rights that no government could arbitrarily take away. And when they won their liberty at last, our Founding Fathers did not design government so that a group of elites in power could determine what is best for us all by taxing, spending, and regulating every aspect of our lives. They instead created government to unite a free people in society under laws that would best preserve our natural rights. Government under the Constitution was supposed to be limited in scope and decentralized in design to maximize our liberty.

We have since departed from that design. In some cases, the Supreme Court has led us astray by failing to uphold the Constitution. But really, we have paved the destructive path we’re on by our own political choices. And I’m not just talking about 2008 and Barack Obama. We strayed from the course set by our Founding Fathers almost a century ago when we accepted the progressive idea that government can serve as a benevolent provider of the people. The unconstitutional spending and regulatory programs that began in the 1930s have only grown larger in time, and they are propelling us closer toward bankruptcy today.

We know where our current president wants to take us. His campaign slogan, as many of you know, is “forward.” He actually wants us to continue forward down this path that his own Treasury Secretary twice declared is fiscally unsustainable. We can’t continue down this path.

We have to change our course, and I’m confident that Mitt Romney will do it. He wants to cut wasteful spending, remove restrictive regulations, and lower taxes to grow our economy. These are changes we have to make if we want to move our country back in the right direction.

But I have to say that these changes alone are not sufficient if we hope to truly restore liberty in America. Our Founding Fathers taught us that even the best government is not enough to preserve liberty going forward. Virtue is very important to lasting liberty. If we can’t govern our own behavior in society, then we really can’t govern ourselves. And I thought I’d underscore this point with some quotes from my book:

  • Richard Henry Lee, who was one of the first U.S. Senators from Virginia, once said that, “a popular government cannot flourish without virtue in the people.”
  • Samuel Adams wrote that “neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”
  • And James Madison wrote that if “there is not sufficient virtue among men for self-government,” then “nothing less than the chains of despotism can restrain them from destroying and devouring one another.”

Now, I don’t think that our society has devolved so far that people need to be locked up in chains. But I do believe that our government has been corrupted by its unlimited power. It often disregards its fundamental duty to preserve our natural rights, and there is no virtue in that. So what we need to do is elect representatives who will bind themselves by the chains of the Constitution—people of virtue who will serve our interests, and not their own.

I see that virtue in Mitt Romney. Throughout his lifetime, whether he’s giving a church member his counsel, a friend his time, or a complete stranger his money, Mitt Romney has shown how dedicated he is to helping others. And he’s not the kind of person who wants to draw attention to himself—to show to the world how wonderful he is. He simply does these things because they are the right thing to do. He leads by example.

That is the kind of example than we desperately need in the White House today. It’s a big reason—one of many—why I am supporting Mitt Romney for president. And I hope you will do the same, because we cannot wait another 4 years to change our government. We are losing our liberty. John Adams once said that “liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” So we have to start making these changes now. Let’s start this year, on November 6th, and elect Mitt Romney President of the United States.


  1. Throughout his lifetime, whether he’s giving a church member his counsel, a friend his time, or a complete stranger his money, Mitt Romney has shown how dedicated he is to helping others.

    Mitt Romney has dedicated himself to getting rich by buying and selling businesses, whether it’s hurt the workers in those businesses or helped them (how it affected them was incidental). Then he’s hid his income offshore and given to charity a tiny portion of what he didn’t need. If he was dedicated to helping others, he’d give until hurt, like a whole lotta middle class people do. The parable of the widow’s mite puts Romney’s “virtue” into perspective.

  2. Ken:

    A “tiny” portion that Romney gave in 2011 was $4 million, or 30 percent of his income. By comparison, Obama gave $170,000 or 22 percent of his income.

    I don’t mean to suggest that Romney is somehow a better man just because he gave more (frankly, I think this kind of information should be kept private and is none of our or anyone’s business). But he clearly donates a lot of time and money to good causes, and that’s a sign of his character.

    A better judgment of character is what a public official does with other people’s money. Obama has squandered over $5 trillion in 3 1/2 years. Is there any virtue in this?

    Thomas Jefferson regarded fiscal restraint to be “among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” In his Farewell Address, George Washington instructed the nation to pay down the national debt and avoid “ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen which we ourselves ought to bear.”

    Our national debt is a moral issue, and Romney framed it as such in the first presidential debate–that we are enslaving our children to the massive debt we are building today. His words: “I think it’s, frankly, not moral for my generation to keep spending massively more than we take in, knowing those burdens are going to be passed on to the next generation. And they’re going to be paying the interest and the principle all their lives. And the amount of debt we’re adding, at a trillion a year, is simply not moral.”

    The parable of Greece today puts Obama’s “virtue” into perspective.

  3. Mr. Brain,Sir:
    I agree with you, it is really no one business on how much someone donate. And yes you are correct with your last statement. Beside what Obama has done, there are too many count city, county and state government in US that following exact path that Greece and Obama have set as example.

  4. Brian, I’m not defending Obama, but like I said, Romney gave away only a tiny portion of what he actually needed to live a life of great comfort. Remember too that that his 2011 income comes on top of the many millions he already has, and that he gave just enough to get a tax break, and that he paid less in taxes than many middle income people.

    Middle class people give out of what they could put into their retirement fund for the blows of old age, or towards their kids’ college education, or towards that once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation they may never be able to afford. Romney gave out of his largesse. That is not the behavior of someone who is dedicated to helping others. It’s helping a little, hoarding a lot. Yes, in his private life, he has been helpful towards individuals. But again, so have enormous numbers of people who could less afford it that he could. And you guys like to scoff at Obama’s community organizing job, but that that was a sign of character as well, to take a low-paying job when he could have made a bundle elsewhere.

    Obama has not “squandered other people’s money.” He has spent in accordance with liberal principles – which, like conservative principles, have virtue, although you guys refuse to admit it – having been elected by running as a liberal. This is not your country. It belongs to all of us, and your side lost an election.

    George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, for all the good they did, weren’t moral sages – don’t forget that Jefferson left his family deep in debt. But I agree that the debt is a moral issue. It just isn’t the only moral issue we face in regards to national finances. And if Romney saw it as a moral issue himself, he wouldn’t bow to Grover Norquist and refuse to raise taxes even if they were offset by much higher spending cuts. Serious economists agree that we need spending cuts and ax increases to get out of debt. If you guys are morally serious about the debt instead of just mad at the government, you’ll face that fact.

    On the national debt, as on abortion and immigration, Romney has zero credibility and zero integrity, because he changes his tune to fit his audience. The Ryan plan wouldn’t even cut into the debt for years to come. Obama can be faulted for many things. But that doesn’t make Romney a paragon of virtue.

  5. Oh, and speaking of people who don’t draw attention to themselves and set the kind of example we need in Washington, did you see that Paul Ryan and his wife went and “washed” clean dishes at a soup kitchen just for a photo op?

    From the Washington Post:
    The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week “ramrodded their way” into the group’s Youngstown soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall.

    “They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.

    He added that the incident had caused him “all kinds of grief” and that regardless of whether Ryan had intended to serve food to patrons or wash dishes, he would not have allowed the visit to take place.

    “Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted. … But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture,” Antal said.

    — Now why isn’t this all over the Drudge Report?

  6. “The Ryan plan wouldn’t even cut into the debt for years to come.”

    Oh, and continued debt spending from no matter either what political party would?

    Sheeesh, tell us how you’d handle it Ken.

  7. spade, please learn to follow an argument using simple logic. My criticism of Ryan’s plan doesn’t imply that I think continued high spending is good. To say that cutting spending alone isn’t enough doesn’t mean that spending shouldn’t be cut at all. Simple logic.

    tell us how you’d handle it Ken.

    Hmmm. How about that combination of spending cuts and tax increases that economists say is necessary?

  8. Who would you like to see the receive the tax increases or spread them around? Or as someone once say — “who do we give the shaft to this week.”

  9. Economists agree that spending cuts coupled with higher taxes on the wealthy alone won’t get us out of debt. That means increasing them on you and me. That’s not giving anyone the shaft, it’s sharing the pain.

  10. Are we all not sharing the pain. How much more are we expected to give? Another 5, 10%, how much more to fix a problem that no one from DC down to local level is willing to stand up and do something about instead of placing the blame on tea party or ciziten groups that say no more!

  11. What do you suggest doing instead? No one’s blaming the Tea Party for the problem, only for standing in the way of the solution. I blame the Left as well.

  12. We the citizen are part of the problems for all demands we have made on government by giving it alive upon it own. However I am not smart enough to come up with a workable solution. First the budget, have outside group come in and review it and see what is really needed. But that will never happen.
    Again, I am not smart enough but I know in my heart we can’t keep going down the same road we are presently on.
    As far as Tea Party, local, city council has done good job of blaming them, along with Occupy group, IMPACT, C’ville Democrat party, young black man at their last rally, he tried to get physical with several individuals.I know there is a middle of road solution without giving everyone the shaft but I am just not smartest enough to figure it out.

  13. Area 58 you are right. I agree you are probably not smart enough to figure this out. Neither are most Americans. This is what a candidate like Mitt Romney is counting on. Tell you what you want to hear, offer a few fear smears for the President, then fill his pockets, those of his close friends while the rest of us pay the bills for it all

  14. Optimus Prime:
    No they have and never will tell me what I want to heard. The current President is ass and there is nothing to do is vote him out. Romney got some good ideas but that is all they are, ideas! I know what I can do, but I have no great desire to try and figure out a mess that I as a citizen help create by just voting. Other part of mess is the individuals who get jobs that don’t require to be voted in. No accountably.

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