There's a reason they shut up, and it's right here:
Ryan should hammer that message home every single day. It should go to the top of his stump-speech, not the middle. That 'from God and [of/by] nature' is the core of Conservatism's political philosophy. And by the way, it's known and understood by the vast majority of people in this country, even those who resent it.
It's been noted that Ryan's statement is a quotation from John Locke.
Deneen has a few words to say about Locke:
Locke is widely regarded in the academy as the great originator of liberal secularism. Yet, it was Locke - in a less-read work called The Reasonableness of Christianity - who argued that reason alone was insufficient to arrive at certain moral precepts held to be true by modern man, above all the belief in the inherent dignity of all human beings. What Locke knew - that reason provided insufficient basis for a belief in human dignity - many of Locke's epigones have forgotten.
But Deneen is no fool; Locke's philosophy has its problems, too.
...At the most fundamental level, as modern Americans and intuitive Lockeans, we begin with the assumption that we are naturally free and only secondarily and artificially constrained. Beginning with that assumption, all morality must be understood to be legislated, since in our natural condition there is no legislation and no "morality," only freedom. We understand societies to exist to preserve maximal amount of individual freedom and provide only the minimal amount of constraint in order to provide some security and stability.
That assumption is a fallacy, of course, even though it's adopted by both the Left and Right.
...For the political Left, these libertarian assumptions are thought to apply to our personal and especially sexual lives. An example of this assumption can be seen in the argument that is typically used against conservative advocates of teenage sexual abstinence (evinced in the visceral hostility to Sarah Palin): "teenagers are going to do it anyway, so we should teach them about birth control." It underlies the contemporary insistence that the innate, genetic sources of homosexuality should be regarded as despositive in any further arguments regarding sexual behavior: if it's natural, it will and needs to be acted upon.
What you see is the shadow of "positive law."
...The truth is, you really can't "legislate morality" - either of the sort that would seek to force us to restrain our hedonistic personal pleasures or the sort that would seek to force us to be socially responsible in the economic realm
...The sad irony is that our false liberal view of human nature - that one advanced by Hobbes and Locke (Bertrand de Jouvenel waggishly commented that such a philosophy was obviously imagined by "childless men who had forgotten their childhoods") - in turn engendered further false views of human nature (in which we could altogether overcome our alienation from one another), such as that advanced by Marx. BOTH are species of an impoverished and false modern understanding of humankind. To move beyond the tired and (what has now stood to be revealed to be) false debate between the Lockeians and the Marxists, we need to re-discover Aristotelian and Thomistic understandings of humanity's true nature. It will not be easy, since Aristotle himself argues that habituation is a powerful shaper of men's mores, and we must acknowledge that most of our contemporary habituation - in the form of popular culture, deep philosophic presuppositions, national mythology, and ubiquitous advertising - instruct us that we are monadic bundles of appetite seeking satiation. We have a highly successful culture of anti-culture, and it is difficult to see how it can be assailed, short of the slow drip-dripping of arguments and practices against it...
So. While it is useful to recall Locke, there is far more to "nature and nature's God" than the cramped and utilitarian vision(s) of the "Left" and "Right."
Let's hope that Ryan remembers that, too.