Rick Santorum: Enemy of Liberty

by oracleofreason

Despite their riding the waive of unpopularity of the Obama Administration’s economic policies I thought Congressional Republicans forgot the reason why they were put in near control of the U.S. Congress to begin with. In the shadow of the Supreme Court on the verge of taking up the Democrats’ healthcare law, Republicans on the Hill will be taking up repealing all or parts of the Affordable Care Act. While I do not like the timing on this as I would have preferred them taking up the health care issue earlier, however, since the Supreme Court case puts the issue freshly in people’s minds putting off addressing Obamacare until now might help slingshot the issue to the forefront in the Presidential race.

In 2010 it looked as if the Republicans had learned the lessons they from their 1994 Revolution flopping and had grown some backbone. It seemed that the champions of limited government and individual freedom were finally the victors in November. No such luck and with the Republican Presidential nomination race GOP voters feel that not only are all four of the candidates boring and uninspiring but also mealy-mouthed, has-been compromisers who are used to making empty promises and will deliver again once elected.

Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is the second place holder in terms of votes and delegates, demonstrates the kind of candidate the Republican Party should not nominate and is an example of what I mean. He has received considerable attention due to the string of Primary wins he has obtained in the Southern U.S. but also his near victory against Mitt Romney in his home state of Michigan. Party social conservatives are quite happy with Santorum’s record in Congress as well as his focus on issues of importance to them such as banning gay marriage, abortion, and (more recently) pornography.

Since (as Ayn Rand points out) capitalism is the only social system based on the recognition of individual rights, Santorum is, at best, an enemy of liberty because of what he stands for. At first glance he seems to embrace a decent amount of economic freedom. His economic plan calls for enacting more free trade agreements, a host of tax cuts, and entitlement reforms but what I find troubling is his reasoning behind taking such stances.

One section of Santorum’s website states: Senator Santorum believes that at its core, America is a moral enterprise, but that foundation is quickly eroding. As President, Rick Santorum commits to rebuild that foundation and lead the way on restoring traditional American values. It is underneath the section of the website I found this quote that he lists specific proposals grounded in typical social conservatism. Essentially, Rick Santorum wants to maintain the strength and power of the nation in which free enterprise is the means of achieving the ends of a strong economy which will mean a strong people obtained for the common good ultimately through faith.

As a result of his outlook Santorum holds little regard for individual rights and has openly reeled against personal choice on a number of issues. Like any conservative Rick Santorum is anti-abortion and has made some of the most outlandish accusations and comments. For example, in 2003, Santorum compared homosexuals to pedophiles, just recently he compared the dissemination of contraception with promoting sexual promiscuity, and also reeled against the freedom of the internet calling for its regulation.

New York Times columnist David Brooks put the right definition of Santorum’s philosophy in an opinion piece published January of this year. Brooks stated:

Communities breed character. Santorum argues that government cannot be agnostic about the character of its citizens because the less disciplined the people are, the more government must step in to provide order.

The only time it is proper for government to step in to provide order is when government identifies and is called upon to halt threats to the rights of the innocent such as in cases of when criminals burglarize homes, rape innocent women, rob people for money at gun point, or if someone is in the process or on the verge of conducting an act of terrorism. It is not government’s role to play the role of parent in terms of the realm of peaceful, personal, individual choice.

In a 2008 interview, Santorum is quoted as saying:

There is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

If Santorum understood the nature of rights he would know that rights are an extension of individualism. It took hundreds of years of development in philosophy and law in order for Western societies to have the civilization we have today. Such notions enabled the overthrow of monarchs which rendered much of the decision making on the part of monarchs and nation-states to the governed. The Declaration of Independence is the best expression of such sentiments and established the foundation of the guiding philosophy of the United States which is one based on individual rights.

Since Senator Santorum is against the idea of individualism, any semblance of freedom in conservative thought as well as in the Republican Party, and the influence of the Tea Party it makes sense that he takes the policy stances he does. He may embrace certain issues related to liberty but only because they are viewed by him as a means to an end for the society he envisions.

I suppose the most refreshing thing about the Republican contest for President is that Rick Santorum is still behind Romney in terms of delegate count and Primary Election wins. The disappointing aspect of the race is that Mitt Romney is the victor and his outlook is just as anti-freedom as Santorum. Santorum can still have an impact as being the second highest vote getter but the more I watch Santorum’s campaign the more it reminds me of Pat Buchanan’s 1992 campaign against President George H.W. Bush. If so that means any influence Santorum has in the GOP will quickly disappear because of his losses and, hopefully, spells a potential comeback for Newt Gingrich.

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