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What’s Really Wrong with Rick.

Rick Santorum in his own words.

On libertarianism…

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.

On contraception…

“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.


  1. smokervoter says:

    Thanks for the eye-opening peek into this guys thick cranial cavity. Early on in the debates he tore into Ron Paul with bargain basement jingoism at every opportunity.

    My gut feeling was that he was a control freak and a swot and this confirms it.

    And to top things off, he looks a lot like Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford.

    They do screen “Leave it to Beaver” reruns on the telly over there don’t they? If not, disregard that last sentence.

  2. Lynne says:

    Sounds more like Rick Sanctimonious to me…

  3. NickM says:

    I am currently – it’s 2:30am – amusing myself recovering a striped RAID array. So, like what ever I’ll join Rick in his Sanatorium and the two of us can blow chunks together…

    This is working mind – so far. I’m copying it all to an external*. But Christ almighty – these things were sent to try us!

    *via, I think – for reasons now beyond my ken USB 1 – slooow. I’m losing all rationality. Tea, ciggies, and the vicious noise of the WD Raptors is all that’s keeping me together and the worst thing is I don’t even know exactly how I managed it in the end. It might have been the sacrifice of a ham sandwich to Baal or something. But hey ho! I thought that data had joined the choir invisible! So kiddies remember to back-up!

  4. Paul Marks says:

    I have already written on this in the thread on Sam’s post.

    Rick Santorum was taught that libertarianism is atomistic individualism – the denial of civil society.

    It is NOT (as Catholic libertarians, such as Thomas Woods, could tell him).

    However, many libertarians (including you Nick) are as ignorant about Santorum as he is about them.

    For example, this post implies that Santorum wants to ban contraception – he does not and never has.

    When he talks Catholic ethical philosophy (on contraception, or homosexual acts) you think he is talking LAW – he is not.

    Of course (as political dog soldier) I want to hang myself (“figure of speech” Rick, spare me the lecture on why suicide is wrong) when I hear the man answer a theological question (the media know he will always fall into the trap of replying to a theological question), or (even more) when years ago he used to make speeches to Catholic universities (oh yes he did that… “last week the guest speaker was Bishop …. this week Richard Santorum will be delivering the lecture on the theology of….. students”) lots of lovely lines to quote out of context.

    And it is not just theological questions – it is also legal one (yes – he is a lawyer as well as theologian).

    For example (as I have just said) Santorum does not support the banning of contraception (never has).

    But simply ask him “was the 1962 Supreme Court case on contraception rightly decided?”

    Romney would reply to that by saying “contraception should be legal” (that is not replying to the actual question – but most voters will not understand that).

    Ask Santorum the same question and he will say “no” (and then explain, quite correctly, the errors of legal reasoning).

    As I have often said…..

    This is called (in my non theological terms) – committing political suicide.

    However, Rick Santorum would simply reply to me that it is his moral duty to answer a question fully and honestly.

    Nick – how does one deal with a politician like that?

    Avoiding giving a straight answer to a straight question is the first thing a politician learns.

    One does not need to lie (exactly) just dodge. But he will not – no wonder Glenn Beck likes him.

    And no wonder Rick Santorum will LOSE.

    By the way (and I have already said that it surprises me that I would cite this).

    If you actually want to know about Santorum (rather than just do the Jon Stewart style thing you have done here), you could do worse than read Joe Klein’s article in this week’s “Time” magazine.

    I have hated Klein for many years – however the article is basically right.

    The Santorum presented in the article is the Rick Santorum I have heard for years – from his Fox News days (before, during and after he was officiallly working there) and from the Glenn Beck show (and from other sources).

    A passionatly honest and honourable man. Someone who lives his faith (in everything from homeschooling his children to standing by the hadicapped). And incredibly brave (if there is a mob out to kill you – Rick Santorum wil not be leading that mob [as libertarians might think] no he is going to be the person standing between you and them).


    Nick is right – Romney will win (he is outspending Santorum by a huge margin).

    And YES – perhaps it is a good thing that Santorum will lose.

    He can not speak the language of modern people (or refuses to speak this language).


    Meeting Romney is not something I would want to do (why would anyone want to meet him?).

    But I would like to meet Rick Santorum – face to face.

    And debate libertarianism with him.

    Libertarianism as it is – compared to what he has been taught it is.

    The man is interested in ideas and always willing (all too willing) to talk – and he goes to conferences (to talk and to listen – not for photo opportunties).

    So perhaps I will meet the man one day (although it is unlikely given my age and circumstances – and state of health).

    I think I could get Rick to see the light.

    I would not bother trying with Mitt.

  5. Gar says:

    I try to avoid getting into Rick debates. He rankles me because of his faith. In your long winded, albeit well written essay, the one thing I like about it is the fact you’ve considered meeting politicians.

    I’ve always said I’d much rather go out for a drink with Clinton rather than Bush. With one I’d get a chance to witness some cool pick-up lines and the non-standard use of a stogie. With the other, I’d get to hear what’s wrong with America. Anyway, bravo with wanting to meet Rick face to face rather than relying on the media.

    I’d like to meet him too. I’d like to ask him why he wants to amend the constitution to make same sex marriages illegal.

    If he can explain that one using ideas and not faith, then I’ll be surprised. A man with that much faith has no choice but to bring it into the government.

    “The man is interested in ideas”… Really, you need to watch Dogma. I think the man has too many beliefs to be open to ideas.

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