Rick Santorum in his own words.
In an NPR interview in the summer of 2005, Santorum discussed what he called the “libertarianish right,” saying “they have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulation low and that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world, and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone…”
No, I don’t believe people can go it alone that indeed what civil society is for going back to the days Ugg who was good at fishing made a deal with Ogg who was good at hunting to their mutual benefit. But that isn’t what Santorum is talking about is it? He expressly mentions government here.
“I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to women. I think it’s harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. And I think we’ve very, very harmful longterm consequences to our society. Birth control to me enables that, and I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our country.”
I strongly suspect he isn’t talking about the side-effects of the pill when he says “harmful to women”. Certainly because he goes on about society immediately. He mentions society three times and country once in that paragraph. Let’s re-write it…
“I don’t think it works. I think it’s harmful to the poor. I think it’s harmful to our society to have a society that says that free-markets are something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. And I think we’ve very, very harmful longterm consequences to our society. capitalism to me enables that, and I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our country.”
… And behold the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of the authoritarian “right” and the authoritarian “left”. Both simply want to impose a worldview on a thing they call society and both believe government has a driving role in that. Try you’re own re-write - smoking, drinking, drugs, big-cars…
Anyway, back to what he actually said.
Well the thing that immediately springs to mind is it is incredibly patronising. Leaving that aside (it’s too easy a target) note how quickly he leaps from contraception to sex outside marriage and promiscuity. His attitude to contraception as an enabler of sluttishness is much the same as a mullah who believes the lack of a hijab encourages rape or those who want to ban firearms because people get murdered or beer because people get drunk and start fights. This is a depressing view of humanity. It’s essentially Hobbesian and, if we go back to the first quote, clear Santorum see government as the Leviathan to control our “urges”. Different authoritarians worry about different urges of course but they still see it as the duty of a government to control them (or try. It is always the antithesis of civil society and deeply corrosive to how individuals (or organisations or businesses) interact. Culture and society evolve (Santorum isn’t too keen on Darwin either) bottom-up, not top-down - recall my example of Ugg and Ogg trading food above!
I guess partly what I’m trying to say is that a “social conservative” isn’t just conservative in a moral sense in terms of individual conscience (and surely conscience is one of the most individual things we have) or the beliefs and rules of whatever religion they do or don’t belong to but also a believer in society as an entity in and of itself in much the same way any good Marxist is.
Quotes from wikipedia (but they and many similar can be found all over the web). Just be careful Googling his name!
PS. My next post ought to be “What’s Really Wrong with Mitt”. but that’s like fisking the Cheshire Cat. Perhaps that ought to be my start-point.