You Mean Rick Santorum is Not a Libertarian? Burn Him at the Stake!

Thursday, January 12, AD 2012

I’m going to need to recant my placement of RedState at the top of my favorite blogs list.  Now that Rick Santorum has emerged as probably the leading not-Mitt candidate in the GOP presidential sweepstakes, they, along with a few other conservative websites, have gone absolutely bananas over the prospect of Santorum becoming a leading candidate.  Sure, they all hate Mitt Romney, but can we truly tolerate a candidate who says extremist things like this:

This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. 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 regulations low, 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.

My goodness.  I can just see Santorum delivering these remarks on a balcony with a hammer and sickle proudly displayed behind him.  Did he also poound a shoe on the podium, because the man must surely be just shy of being an out and out Communist.

Jeff Emanuel has unearthed two more shocking quotes that reveal Santorum’s obvious Stalinist tendencies.

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16 Responses to You Mean Rick Santorum is Not a Libertarian? Burn Him at the Stake!

  • If only his foreign policy was less interventionist, he would be pretty close to the perfect candidate. Certainly better than Romney, but I still have concerns.

  • I, too, am getting tired of “not libertarian” being conflated with “not conservative.” Libertarianism is easier to identify and defend rhetorically, it just stinks on ice when you apply it to all of reality, instead of idealized reality…..

    I don’t think Santorum is very conservative, BUT there’s a difference between “wrong on this, that and the other thing” and “a lefty.” There’s some overlap, of course, but– like Bush– I think his wrong points are well meant. Meaning well doesn’t solve everything, but it beats a cynical desire for power.

  • Maybe traditional conservatism was more paternalistic but with advances in economic understanding, thanks more to Milton Friedman than Ayn Rand, American conservatism has become more economically libertarian.

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  • In other words, don’t use that charity stuff to cede everything to unlimited government.

  • I think there is a genuine fear of more federal expansion disguised as compassionate conservatism. The author’s belief is much of the Santorum’s writings along with his legislative history advocate federal intervention where lower levels of government, or better yet non-government, institutions can do better. It’s not that federal management is always bad, but the “federal government first” attitude leads to expansion of power. I think the author would prefer governance closer to the principle of subsidiarity.

    While he did criticize Santorum’s view of governance, he also complimented him on his desire to want to help.

  • I think Jeff Goldstein knocks it out of the park here:

    GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum defends capitalism, defends Mitt Romney’s earlier engagement of capitalism on capitalistgrounds (as opposed to Romney himself, who appealed for a defense to progressive corporatism), and yet the GOP establishment and its attendant media — as well as an increasing number of sober, pragmatic, “it’s time to rally behind a single candidate” members of the conservative base — tell us that it is Santorum who is unelectable, and throw their support behind the candidate who enacted state-run health care, and who can’t even defend his own engagement in capitalism without retreating to a progressive defense.

    More at the link here.

  • Jeff, I would love to rally around Santorum, but 8 years of compassionate conservatism was hard enough to take. As crazy it sounds, sometimes I feel like rolling the dice with Romney or Ron Paul. And yes, that is crazy! Still hoping for Perry despite his having to work against media mis-portrayals of every word he says. That includes much of conservative media.

  • Read points two and three, because Jeff’s point is precisely that Santorum is not the nanny stater in this contest.

  • My opinion is based on his legislative record. He’s less a nanny stater than Romney and certainly Obama.

  • I just came across this interest article discussing the Santorum & federalism problem. It uses the issue of marriage between homosexuals to illustrate a point.

    http://formidablecourage.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/perry-santorum-and-the-evangelical-dilemma/

  • On economic paternalism, Santorum is mostly wrong. Better to alleviate the destruction of creative destruction than to prevent the whole thing. I understand his point that it has social dimensions but even taking that into consideration, protectionism is more harmful than free enterprise.

    On moral paternalism, Santorum is mostly right. We punish immoral behavior to the extent that it prevents more harm than it creates. We also promote moral behavior in a limited way by keeping it free from impediments. While the state may legitimately actively promote moral behavior, I don’t think the track record is great. In Europe, churches live in a culture of dependency where they get government handouts without having to work.

    Where I’m not sure what role the government should play is in quality-of-life paternalism. Smoking bans, trans fat bans, healthy eating campaigns. I.e., limiting or subsidizing amoral choices. One can argue that this sort of paternalism degrades personal initiative. On the other hand, they’re things I may admit that I am weak at controlling and therefore want some help with. Is there any CST guidance on this?

  • There is no perfect candidate and we can’t dig up Reagan and run him again. I feel like Santorum is the best candidate and I will continue to support him. one thing we must all understand is that Congress must be changed. Congress is the root of our problems. Our elected officials have been allowed to corrupt the system and continue to bankrupt our country and our childrens heritage. Don’t compromise on a Presidential candidate, support the person who best represents our beliefs even if some overpaid pundits say he/she is unelectable. And more importantly get rid of the entrenched Congresmen and send some new blood to Washington.

  • There is no perfect candidate and we can’t dig up Reagan and run him again.

    We’re Catholics. If we can dig up a pope and strip him of his vestments, this should be a small matter. Heck, I can’t see how any corpse could be a worse president that the one we have and most who are running, but Reagan’s corpse might do a pretty impressive job.

    🙂

  • Sometimes, Paul Zummo, rhetorical hyperbole just leaves one looking hyper. I found your defense of Sen. Santorum and his big government conservatism unpersuasive.

    RR’s comments here make a lot of sense to me and RR’s mention of Milton Friedman should remind us all of the Invisible Foot.

    Sometime in the previous century, the federal government went beyond helping localities provide a safety net. Federal provision increasingly became a hammock for those who learned to exploit the system and is now often a sticky spider’s web that traps those who come into contact with it due to a temporary hardship. I have news for Santorum et alia, the Great Depression ended almost 70 years ago. Cease rendering the poor unto Caesar.

  • RL hits it out of the park.

    Any one of the GOP hopefuls is 100% better than that Obama nobody. Two out of three know Obama and his gangsters are very bad news for America.

    Tip to all. Cut the attacks against each other.

    The one with the best depiction of how the Obama wrecking machine is killing America is the most electable.

    Obama must go.

Big Government? No. Big Exaggerations? Yes.

Wednesday, January 4, AD 2012

Now that Rick Santorum has basically tied Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucus, the knives are really out for Rick.  On the one hand, he will undoubtedly experience a surge in the polls and in fundraising.  On the other hand, as every conservative who has ascended in the polls has before, he will face a firestorm of criticism from both left and right.  I discussed this in my post yesterday, and now things have only gone into overdrive.  As someone who reads secular conservative blogs, there is a lot of concern that Santorum is some kind of “big government” conservative.  I think this is absurd, as does a pretty famous conservative figure not known for particularly liking big government types: Rush Limbaugh.  Here’s what he had to say about the big government charge on his program today:

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13 Responses to Big Government? No. Big Exaggerations? Yes.

  • Santorum voted for Medicare Part D. He believes in a bigger government than I do. But that’s not what bothers me most about his economics. Government spending may not be a major concern for him but the political climate has made him change his tune enough to be considered a fiscal conservative. What bothers me is his central planning. It can be called “big government” but it might be more accurate to call it liberal or socialist or market intervention. He wants to pick winners and losers. He’s not a pure capitalist. And I think that’s worse than being a big spender.

  • great observation–” Too often conservatism is dumbed down to being simply anti-government. ”
    that hated entity, the Government….. oh if only that mystical corpus could be what it is called to be– free to do the good!

  • Equating “big government” with only domestic social programs is also a bit of rhetorical ju-jitsu. Another area of big government, particularly from the “conservative” side, is the military-industrial complex of which none other than Ike warned. In that context, Santorum’s foreign policy would seem to fall into the big government category.

  • Yes, Santorum is not Ron Paul. He is a mainstream Republican with regard to foreign policy and the role of the US military. I don’t think his views differ materially from any of the other GOP candidates, aside from Paul, in these respects.

  • As much as I love Santorum on social issues and many fiscal issues, I don’t think he is the best candidate to be chief executive. He is another candidate who believes government is inherently good, and the problem has been government just hasn’t had the right person at the helm. Big government is bad.

    Erik @ Red State stated it well in a piece on Perry…
    “If Rick Perry leaves the Republican race, there will not be a candidate in the field who authentically represents smaller government.While many conservatives don’t mind activist government so long as the ends are conservative, the willful use of activist government for conservative ends leaves in place a government perfectly capable of activist liberal government when conservatives lose.

    There are other issues popping up about Santorum that worry me.
    “In the 104th Congress Sen. Santorum joined all Democrats and a minority of Republicans in voting to filibuster the bill S. 1788, the National Right to Work Act of 1995.”

    He’s also a big supporter of subsidies like ethanol subsidies. (One theory Perry did so poorly in Iowa is his stand against ethanol subsidies.)

    I like Santorum’s victory speech and the answer he gave Shep @ Fox on homosexuality, but he needs to get vetted, which he hasn’t before, before I could support him.

  • is the military-industrial complex of which none other than Ike warned.

    If I am not mistaken, the ratio of military expenditure to domestic product during the Eisenhower Administration averaged around 0.11. As of now, it is about .057.

  • Kyle, while I think the big government charge being levied against Santorum is wrong, I do agree with you that Perry is the better overall candidate. I might post on this in coming days and elaborate, but he is better on federalism issues, on foreign policy, and of course executive experience – and please don’t give me the line about Texas being a weak governor. He has been governor of the second most populous and second largest state in the Union for 12+ years, LT Governor for 6 more.

  • Paul, I referenced “big government” because of the article’s subject, but I prefer Erik’s interpretation as “activist government.” Here are some issues unearthed before the Iowa vote.
    http://www.redstate.com/erick/2011/12/28/no-surprise-iowa-social-conservatives-are-about-to-shoot-us-all-in-the-foot-again/

    I agree. People often confused “Texas governor weaker than governors in other states” as “The Texas governor is weak.” That’s not true.

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  • “He is another candidate who believes government is inherently good,” ? ? ?
    I do think it is good to have government….I don’t think it is a necessary evil, but of course positive if it is in fact good governance

  • Sorry. The way governments have worked in history, I think it is a necessary burden, and I don’t mean the good kind. I mean like the natural requirement of the body to periodically go to the bathroom to expel waste.

    Even God wasn’t very enthusiastic when Israelites wanted to setup a king to join the party of the governed as was in neighboring countries. (1 Sam 8:10-18)

  • From Federalist 51:

    “It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

  • If I am not mistaken, the ratio of military expenditure to domestic product during the Eisenhower Administration averaged around 0.11. As of now, it is about .057

    First, this is government accounting, which is more based on the heisenberg uncertainty principle, mixed in with voodoo, than it is on sound accounting practices. Second, military expenditure is only part of the picture. When US national interests become equated to US corporate interests, the machinery of government (inlcuding the military) merely becomes another tool for market expansion/dominance. It is the cozy relationship driving policy decisions, not merely the expenditures, that represents the dangers.