Monday, March 05, 2012
Blogging about the GOP candidates before Super Tuesday; to Santorum, jealousy is probably a virtue
Today, on my Book Review blog, 12 hours before the polls start to open for Super Tuesday, I posted a detailed review of Rick Santorum’s book “It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good”.
About eight years ago, there was a big debate as to whether such a review would have been viewed as a hidden “political contribution”. A federal judge had left the question open in 2002, leaving to speculation (more or less in the 2004-2005 period) and op-ed wars (between the Washington Post and Washington Times) as to the likelihood that the FEC would have to shut down a lot of bloggers because of the campaign finance reform laws. (There really were essays in early 2004 called "the coming crackdown on blogging.")
That did not happen, thankfully, and the FEC got the issue quieted down in mid 2006.
I didn’t write it to support the former Pennsylvania Senator, and in fact I am quite concerned about the implications of his anti-Libertarian views. Were he to actually be elected, he could (and probably would) undo the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell” and would probably go back to asking.
As I indicated in the review, I do understand Santorum’s concern that people are losing sociability and I get his (partly religious but partly intellectual) reasons for people that individuals should not expect to “go it alone” in life and expect to find just what they want, even in “responsible” adult relationships. But ultimately, so much of his logic comes down his connecting an elevated position for (traditional heterosexual) marital coitus with sustainable social structures (and infrastructures). That ultimately harms those who don’t “participate”. He also believes that people don’t have “fundamental rights” even in the (consensual adult) private choice areas when these “choices” don’t actually promote the welfare of others with respect to the “Common Good” (such as by remaining open to procreation). And while I understand how he thinks “subsidiarity” keeps political leadership from moving into authoritarianism, I also believe that in any ethical system that focuses so heavily on the welfare of “the people” or the group, or even the well-being of others in one’s immediate family, it’s all too easy to exclude or wall-off people whose “purposes” are not those accepted by the group—and have no moral accountability for doing so. In Santorum’s world you get involved with others in a personal level; no one is beneath you. You don’t play “alien anthropologist” and run off to you laptop to blog about people's problems, or (in your dorm room) write social networking software to model their lives online. If you don’t enter the chess tournament, you’re not allowed to gawk and kibitz over the blunders of others.
There is a real bifurcation in the moral issues of the culture war. I’ve always wondered why I was considered more of a threat if I wasn’t going to have children or sex with women at all, than if I instead could really compete for someone’s wife or girlfriend. I could certainly never need contraception, let alone create the circumstances for abortion. I have the luxury of living a life without jealousy (soap opera style), but in Santorum’s world a little jealousy is a virtue.