Prof. Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
Fall 2019
University of Notre Dame
MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm


Principles of Governance is a 30000-level Political Science class taught by Professor-of-the-Practice, Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. This class will explain the principles on which Prof. Ryan built his governing and legislating career, which came to a close following his retirement before the 2018 mid-term elections.

Prof. Ryan knows how serious of an investment a college education is—he made his name as a “fiscal hawk,” after all. That’s why this course draws heavily from Prof. Ryan’s personal experience in government, including telling people he is a “fiscal hawk” with enough frequency and vigor that Mitt Romney asked him to run for vice president.

Most of the learning in this course happens outside the classroom. Prof. Ryan has fond memories of his days as a student, standing around kegs with his fraternity brothers, dreaming about capping the Medicare growth rate. That Prof. Ryan did not successfully take away insurance from 14 million Americans should not discourage students. Rather, his immediate acceptance into elite academia should come as great encouragement to any Notre Dame-types worried that they might be judged by their track record.


Your evaluation in the course will be broken down as follows:

  • Class participation: 5%
  • Discussion responses: 10%
  • Times quoted without scrutiny in POLITICO: 18%
  • The degree to which you remind Prof. Ryan of a “young me”: 45%
  • Gains: 15%
  • “Spunk”: 20%
  • Drafting legislation: 2%

There is no curve in this class. Curves are “the hammock that lulls able-bodied students into dependence and complacency, draining them of their will.” Prof. Ryan said that in 2012 about food stamps. Students who failed to recognize that quote are encouraged to read the attached packet of glossy Prof. Ryan profiles, or, alternatively, Atlas Shrugged.


By the end of this course, students will have mastered:

  • Boot-strap pulling
  • Beginner-level execution of the Half-Windsor knot
  • Just getting a damn job
  • Sponsoring over 70 bills and amendments
  • Passing precisely three laws as primary sponsor, one of which renames your local post office
  • A total, undying focus on lowering the top marginal tax rate
  • Sleeping at night



Barring a reasonable excuse, failure to complete posted assignments in a timely manner will result in a late penalty. Acceptable excuses include: “I haven’t yet seen what the professor posted,” “I just don’t see what a formal response to the professor would accomplish,” and “Trust me, very influential learning is happening behind the scenes.”


Civility is a civic imperative and must be preserved at all costs. For example, last year, a Prof. Ryan-aligned Super PAC ran ads characterizing Rhodes Scholar and African-American Democratic candidate Antonio Delgado as a “big-city rapper” opposed to “upstate New York values.” People on the internet were quite upset at Prof. Ryan and called him “scrote-man” and “walking turd” and all hurt Prof. Ryan’s feelings very much.

Prof. Ryan asks that students refrain from using such divisive rhetoric online.


Prof. Ryan technically promised to administration a fully revenue-neutral curriculum by the end of spring semester. Despite no material benefit to such a policy, Prof. Ryan asks that students remain healthy enough to adhere to new reduced infirmary hours, which have been slashed to avoid “the class devolving into literally Greece.”


Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged: Prof. Ryan doesn’t worship Ayn Rand, but in a course about principles, she stands above all: the power of individualism over the collective; the rightful place of sociopathic industrialists over people whose poverty is kind of gross.


Statement of Corporate Governance, FY19, FOX Corp., March 2019: Prof. Ryan feels this might be a good time to mention he’s also on the board of FOX Corp. Moving on!


WEEK 1: Introduction

WEEK 2: Tribalism
PAPER DUE: Why are all of you people so mean to me? Discuss.

WEEK 3: Class trip: South Bend Soup Kitchen
NOTE: Washington Post will be in attendance for “Prof. Ryan Gets a Lesson in Humility” feature in development. Only attractive or diverse classmates need attend class.

WEEK 4: Midterms
Prof. Ryan doesn’t really make plans past midterm weeks anymore.