New Job, Same Anti-Libertarian Santorum

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“I’m sorry,
I didn’t think I was going to talk about ‘man-on-dog’ with a United
States Senator — it’s sort of freaking me out.”

That reaction
came from an Associated Press reporter during a 2003 interview with
Sen. Rick Santorum, right after Santorum explained that he didn’t
have any problem with people’s orientations, just so long as they
didn’t act on them, say with a goat or a laid-back Shar-Pei.

With a knack
for freaking out an ever-growing multitude of people over the ensuing
three years, Santorum stumbled into the November 2006 election,
according to the polling firm Rasmussen Reports, as the nation’s
“most vulnerable incumbent.”

Ranking dead
last in voter approval in the U.S. Senate at the time of the election,
Santorum’s drubbing at the polls by Bob Casey, 59 percent to 41
percent, was statistically the biggest win by a Democrat Senate
candidate in Pennsylvania history.

In his new
job, Mr. Santorum is an employee of the Ethics and Public Policy
Center, a Washington-based think tank. “Our mission is to explore
how the Judeo-Christian tradition applies to public policy,” explains
the center’s president, M. Edward Whelan.

More specifically,
Santorum will create and run EPPC’s new “America’s Enemies” program.
“It’s a stark name,” says Santorum, “but we wanted to be candid
about the fact that America really does have enemies and to point
out that the nature of these enemies is much more complex than what
people realize.”

Note that we’re
dumb — again. Just as we were moral pigmies when it came to understanding
the gathering man-on-dog storm, now we’re foreign policy pygmies
when it comes to recognizing that America “really does have enemies”
and that “the nature of these enemies is much more complex” than
we dumbos realize.

“I was left
after the election with a very clear sense of two things,” explains
Santorum. “Number one, the more I looked into the threat that confronts
us, the more concerned I was about the gravity of that threat. And,
number two, the more convinced I was that the American people didn’t
understand it.”

The ex-senator
is “convinced,” in short, that we just don’t get it, don’t see the
“gravity” of things, don’t “understand it” — just as too many of
us didn’t understand his make-em-suffer prescription for helping
the poor. “Making people struggle a little bit,” he maintained,
“is not necessarily the worst thing.”

We were also
too dumb to “understand it” when Santorum suggested that our time
alone wasn’t exactly none of the government’s business. Asserting
that “the right to privacy doesn’t exist, in my opinion, in the
United States Constitution,” Santorum blamed the Supreme Court for
our overly-libertarian notions about individual freedom and privacy:
“It all comes from, I would argue, this right that was created,
created in Griswold — Griswold is the contraception
case — and abortion.”

Griswold
is the 1965 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution
protected a right to privacy. The case involved an 1879 Connecticut
statute that outlawed the use of “any drug, medicinal article or
instrument for the purpose of preventing conception.”

Start by giving
married couples the right to use contraceptives, and the next thing
you know it’ll be man-on-dog, a full-blown barnyard free-for-all.

“What I’d like
to do,” explained Santorum, “is have these kinds of incredibly important
moral issues be decided by the American public, not by nine unelected,
unaccountable judges.” Mob rule? No Constitution? No birth control
if the majority of Americans become Quiverfulls?

The Quiverfull
movement draws its inspiration from Psalm 127: “Like arrows in the
hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the
man whose quiver is full of them.”

In any case,
John J. Miller, National Review’s national political correspondent,
reports on how Santorum views his new “America’s Enemies” job: “One
of his focal points will be religious liberty and how people of
faith might confront radical Islam.”

On the liberty
part, Mr. Santorum might want to begin by studying what the Founding
Fathers had to say — for starters, this thought from Thomas Jefferson:
“Reading, reflection and time have convinced me that the interests
of society require the observation of those moral precepts only
in which all religions agree.” Or this, also from Jefferson: “I
would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much
liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

February
7, 2007

Ralph
R. Reiland [send him mail]
is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University
in Pittsburgh.

Ralph
R. Reiland Archives

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