Rick Santorum: Family, Faith, and Freedom

A while back, the most fabulous Goodnight Vienna (aka @Suse1111) from the Calling England blog asked me about the difference between Rick Santorum and Ron Paul.  GV is impressed with Ron Paul, as are so many on this side of the pond, and is convinced that he is “just what America needs.”  As readers of this blog know, I’m not convinced of that.  Not even close.  In fact, I’m pretty convinced that Ron Paul is (just about) the last thing this country needs, so when GV asked why, in effect if not in words, I support Rick Santorum over Ron Paul as the (more) conservative choice, I volunteered to post about it.  And what better time to get around to doing that than now, when the BO administration is doubling down on its assault on religious freedoms.

Getting the Ron Paul is a lunatic on foreign policy point out of the way, I’d rather focus on Santorum and why I prefer him not only on foreign policy but on Constitutional and founding principles. For me, it comes down not only to the role of government but to the role of citizens in our Constitutional Republic.  As such, I’m always uncomfortable with the libertarian (the near-anarchist version) view of a government so limited that heroine, prostitution, gay marriage, and who knows what else is legalized (as Paul states repeatedly, and with a nonchalant shrug, they should be).

And Paulites, before you freak out at that, yes, I’m very aware that Paul couches this in 10th Amendment terms–I just don’t buy it any more than I buy BO wrapping his commie anti- and un-American treasonous crap in the Bible and “who we are as a people.”  

We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We’ve staked the future of all our political institutions upon our capacity…to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” James Madison (1778 to the General Assembly of the State of Virginia)

In January, Santorum caused quite a stir when he said the following:

Ron Paul has a libertarian view of the Constitution. I do not. The Constitution has to be read in the context of another founding document, and that’s the Declaration of Independence. Our country never was a libertarian idea of radical individualism. We have certain values and principles that are embodied in our country. We have God-given rights.

The Constitution is not the “why” of America; it’s the “how” of America. It’s the operator’s manual. It’s the rules we have to play by to ensure something. And what do we ensure? God-given rights. And so to read the Constitution as the end-all, be-all is, in a sense, what happened in France. You see, during the time of our revolution, we had a Declaration of Independence that said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, [that they are] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

So we were founded as a country that had God-given rights that the government had to respect. And with those rights come responsibilities, right? God did not just give us rights. He gave us a moral code by which to exercise them. See, that’s what Ron Paul sort of leaves out. He leaves out rights and responsibilities that we have from God that this Constitution is to protect. And he says, “No, we just have rights, and then that’s it.” No, we don’t. America is a moral enterprise….

My understanding of our founding documents and the purpose of this country is different. I would argue that [Paul’s] understanding of the Constitution was similar to the French Revolution and the French understanding of the Constitution. The French had 21, I think, constitutions, but their constitutions were initially patterned after the American Constitution. Gave radical freedom, like ours does. But their founding document was not the Declaration of Independence. Their founding watchwords were the words, “liberty” and “fraternity.” Fraternity. Brotherhood. But no fatherhood. No God. It was a completely secular revolution. An anti-clerical revolution. And the root of it was, whoever’s in power rules.

Now, this garnered some scathing commentary from libertarians and Paul supporters, but I happen to agree with Santorum and think that what is missing from Paul’s view of our country and the role of government is any kind of firm moral, (yes, I dare say it) religious foundation.  Granted, Paul has argued against the war on Christmas and has spoken up on this most recent BO attack on religious freedom, but he doesn’t seem to have any idea how to combat it except by getting government out of the way.  Unfortunately, that’s just too little, too late.

In my post, God and Country, I discussed the role of religion, of God, in our society, culture, and republic.  Santorum’s view of the Constitution and our Founders’ intent is more in line with my own beliefs, with my own understanding.  With Paul, I get the sense that “anything goes” unless it is expressly detailed in the Constitution, but I don’t think that’s anything even close to what our Founders had in mind.

“I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them…we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible; for this Divine Book, above all others, constitutes the soul of republicanism.Benjamin Rush 

 As citizens, we protect our freedoms and republic by adhering to the moral underpinnings of our Judeo-Christian founding.  This doesn’t mean, of course, that each American citizen must be a Jew or a Christian (as lunatics on the libertarian and far-left progressive sides claim); it means that our republic, our civilization, is dependent on those values and morals.  Western atheists (most of whom grew up, of course, immersed in Judeo-Christian culture) seem to imagine that such values and morals are inherent in the human condition, that they can be gained in the absence of religion or of a religious foundation . . . somehow.

They argue that they— atheists one and all–are moral and have values, but seem to miss the fact that this is because they were raised understanding that the terms “morals” and “values” and how those terms are defined come from Judeo-Christian teachings.  It’s as if they honestly believe that their own moral value system wasn’t at all influenced by the culture in which they learned said morals and values.  I think that’s simply absurd (and alarmingly lacking in self-reflection or the most basic levels of critical thought: “murder [stealing, lying, cheating] is wrong,” an atheist might say. “why?” we might ask.  “um, it just is.”  Oh, okay, that makes loads of sense).

Apart from this (rather significant) difference, I also think that Santorum is right about the threat posed by Islamofascism.  Where Paul rambles about “constant bombing” and gee, no wonder they hate us waaaah, Santorum understands what I’ve come to understand, Islamofascism is evil, and its adherents seek to murder and destroy in the name of some global caliphate.  This is not new, and it has nothing to do with our foreign policy (as I’ve noted elsewhere).  Paul doesn’t get it.  Santorum does.

The current attacks on Santorum regarding pork spending are worrisome, no doubt about it, but Paul’s sneakiness on the pork he shoves into bills and then votes against the bills (knowing they have sufficient votes to pass) is just appalling.  His defense of this unethical behavior is laughable.

Whereas Santorum is a staunch defender of American exceptionalism, Paul seems to waver between “blame America first” and BO’s I think we’re exceptional just like Greece thinks they are exceptional, etc. This ties in with one of my pet peeves about Paul: his insistence that America is an “Empire.”  What twaddle

Paul is, by almost anyone’s definition, an isolationist.  He wants to roll back the clock and calendar and batten down the hatches, bury his head in the sand and pretend the world is different than it really is.  Scary.  Santorum, on the other hand, doesn’t pretend that we can just draw a line in the sand and demand a “do over” from the world.  He understands that we must deal with the world as it is, not as he would have it be.

Santorum has a clear plan to deal with the southern border, while Paul has an incoherent tangle of strange pronouncements and stranger ideas about things like border fences (they will be used to keep Americans from fleeing to Mexico. Or something).  Santorum, hands down, on immigration and the border.

At the end of the day, Ron Paul is just too far out there, too much the ideologue, too myopic, too . . . just too.  Santorum, on the other hand, while certainly flawed in many ways, is–to my mind–the most conservative candidate still in the race.  As such, he has my support.

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11 thoughts on “Rick Santorum: Family, Faith, and Freedom

  1. @Kerry, thanks! Yeah, me, too. I really can't get behind either Newt or Romney (both are far far more big government than Santorum, especially Newt).

    @Teresa, thanks 🙂

    @TCL, thanks 🙂 I've blogged a lot about Romney and a few times recently about Newt, but I've not said much about Ron Paul (mostly because I don't take his candidacy even remotely seriously). I, too, am scared of his foreign policy (if you can call it that since it's really just “We're soo sooo sorry for everything that's ever happened in the world. We'll leave you alone and hope you leave us alone. Oh, and World, don't call us if you need anything. Ever. Pretend we never existed and don't now.”).

  2. Thanks for this, Fuzzy, it
    makes interesting reading. Our msm doesn't give much info on Santorum (but it's slightly more than they initially gave on Paul – who's now dropped out of the headlines) so it's good to hear it from you. I actually get it now!

    I really shd do more reading on it – the thing I got about Paul was that he believes people, not government, are responsible for their own decisions, that he abhors war and wants to bring back the troops. I don't disagree with any of those positions.

  3. @GV, you're so welcome! I know what you mean, if it hadn't been for your and other of our conservative British cousins' blogs back during Cameron's election, I'd have had a very different view of him.

    As for Paul, he does believe all that (as does Santorum . . . and me), but for me, the problem with Paul's worldview is that it, like socialist-progressivism and communism, removes and replaces God in a way that was never intended at our nation's founding. Instead of putting government in the “supreme” role, Paul puts the individual, the self. That, to me, is just as dangerous and destructive–in a different way, of course, but still hugely problematic.

  4. Santorum is too big government. He is one of those “compassionate conservatives” who thinks the federal government has a role in fixing society's ills. It does not. He believe in social engineering just like the left. We would just approve of what he would use the money for more. But at the end of the day, it is still social engineering. His voting record and public statements speak for themselves.

  5. @JACG, I think you are right that this is how Santorum's record reads, but I think, too, that like Jim DeMint (on pork), he's realized that he was wrong. We are down to four candidates, three really (who counts Ron Paul?), and of them, Santorum is by miles the better choice. Too big government? Okay. I agree. But Romney and Gingrich are even bigger government (Newt taking the progressive cake, commie prize, and most bestest totalitarian on that one). Whom, then, do you support? I guess that's the question we all face?

  6. They all suck. Harsh but true. I will not vote for Romney under any circumstances. The other three I would vote for reluctantly. But truly, they all suck.

    I lean Newt only because I don't think he is looking for a second term, which means he can piss people off and get the job done.

    I applaud you for being honest about his big government tendencies. I keep getting told that he isn't. He is. Clearly his record shows that.

    DaTech Guy said about the same thing. At CPAC I told him to convince me. He didn't succeed, but I give him credit for being honest about it.

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