Randians on the Right

Monday, February 13, AD 2012

Speaking as a former Rick Perry supporter, I promise you that not all of us are petulant brats.  I cannot speak for others, unfortunately.

Red State’s all-out assault on Santorum comes as no surprise.  This is a blog that perceives all who fail short of achieving purity as a conservative (whatever that’s supposed to mean) as heretics.  So they have taken a few incidents where Santoum fell short – and in some cases, he did cast a wrong vote or endorsed the wrong candidate – and have now transformed Santorum into some kind of statist.

The shrill attacks on Red State are to be expected.  What’s disappointing is seeing an otherwise insightful blogger like Ace of Spades hyperventilate ignorantly about Santorum.  What set Ace off was this comment by Santorum from much earlier in the campaign:

One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea … Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay … contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal … but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

Ace is displeased:

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33 Responses to Randians on the Right

  • I don’t want to over-generalize here as there are obviously exceptions, but it’s hard to miss the deep resentment towards traditional morality expressed in certain quarters on the right, often by young, single individuals who are perhaps not as sympathetic to traditional conservatism as those who have moved on from that lifestyle.

    THIS.

    I’ve mentioned before– maybe not here, I’m not sure– but hard-line libertarianism seems to be ideology of choice for those who would be anarchists, but they like getting paid for their work.

    More sympathetically, it’s a lot easier to “win” with libertarianism– there are a few core beliefs, you don’t compromise on anything, and there’s not a lot of history to hold against it. It’s like “conservatism redesigned to use the liberal playbook.”

    Amusingly, I recently had a conversation with my husband that boiled down to him pointing out that people our age aren’t usually going to accept an obligation of the sort moral conservatism involves.

  • (You would not BELIEVE how much re-writing I put into those three paragraphs, and I’m still not quite satisfied. Five bucks says that someone shows up and decides to take offense, rather than trying to understand the point. I don’t think anyone would take the bet on your post, that’s a sucker’s bet.)

  • Paul:

    One major problem from a purely political perspective:

    One wants the GOP nominee to be able to rally the relevant camps within the GOP “big tent.”

    One of those is the libertarian-leaning portion, which at last look was about 15% of those who typically vote Republican.

    Now, the GOP-leaning libertarians are pro-life libertarians, largely. The Bill Mahr (or however that clod’s name is spelled) kind of “libertarians” define libertarianism so as to make it identical to libertinism, and all all going to vote for Obama in the end because they care only for sexual libertinism and not a whit for the liberty of the unborn or the infirm or for free markets.

    So it isn’t Santorum’s pro-life credentials that will turn off the libertarian-leaning portion of the GOP. Indeed, being pro-life is a requirement of libertarianism, if one is well-informed enough to know that a fetal human is a human.

    But Santorum has twice now stated his opposition to libertarians and libertarianism by saying they (and I quote) “believe in having no government.”

    This is a problem. It is basic ignorance of libertarianism.

    Libertarians don’t believe in no government. Libertarians believe in government’s use of violence or the threat thereof — which is to say, all government’s activity — to be limited to those areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified. And Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons. Libertarians believe that policies directly involved with such violations offer clear and sufficient justification for violence or the threat thereof; policies indirectly or tenuously involved with such violations offer only tenuous justification for government action; and policies not even tenuously involved with such violations offer no justification for violence at all and therefore no justification for government activity.

    That’s it, in a nutshell.

    And it’s a view which resonates well with Catholic teaching in at least some ways. It recognizes that violence (whether done by an individual, or the armies of a nation-state, or by the police) is always something requiring extraordinary justification — like the requirements of a Just War. (It is morally nonsensical to have a very high threshold of justification for holding prisoner another nation’s soldiers captured at war, but a very low threshold of justification for arresting a man captured in peacetime activity.)

    I don’t think Santorum knows that this is the libertarian view. At least, his public pronouncements show no recognition of the existence of pro-life libertarians (not a majority, but a large minority). He shows no recognition of the distinction between libertarian and libertine. He shows no understanding of what libertarians think.

    And he shows no recognition of the notion that maybe something being a morally wrong thing is not, by itself, sufficient justification for outlawing it. Since outlawing it requires empowering government to use violence (to lock up those who do the morally wrong thing, and to shoot them if they try to escape), it must not merely be morally wrong, it must be morally wrong and of a character for which forcible opposition is fitting.

    Generally, that means a moral wrong which is, itself, forcible. Rape may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Theft may be opposed by force; it is forcible. Fraud may be opposed by force; it is forcible (for to make someone, through trickery, do what they otherwise would not have done is to wield intellectual force over them). Violation of legitimate contract is fraud and is therefore forcible.

    Libertarians support strong government to oppose all these kinds of evils. Santorum’s comments suggest he’s unaware of this.

    So I fear that 15% of the GOP electorate, if Santorum is the nominee, will be turned off and possibly turned away for no better reason than that Santorum is ignorant about them, and consequently believes statists’ popular libel against them.

    And libertarians (and libertarian-leaning conservatives) consequently begin to believe Santorum is a statist, who hopes not only to outlaw abortion (which he should) and Federal funding for Planned Parenthood (which he should) but also sales of condoms…all while caring not a whit about crony capitalism and corporate welfare. They begin to suspect that Santorum is fine with government using its compulsory power to pick winners, as long as they’re supporters of conservative causes.

    I don’t think a GOP nominee can win the general election, if he shows utter disregard for that whole arm of the Reagan coalition. (An increasingly larger and more youthful segment, please note.)

    So that’s a political problem. A very solvable one, I think, if the man would just show himself aware of libertarian concerns and sensitive to the moral limits of government activity, instead of just repeating ignorant misunderstandings about libertarians.

  • They need to understand that Obama must be stopped.

    That probably means nominating a GOP candidate that constantly emphasizes jobs, jobs; is not 100% of the time pounding for legalizing weed, ending all “entangling alliances”, and abolishing the Fed. Not that that is bad. But, those are not the main threats to our liberty and our way of life.

    The ones I know are really nice people. And, the Fed certainly needs to be pushed back to being the clearing house and lender of last resort for banks.

    If he gets another term, Obama pack the supreme court and repeal the Second Amendment, etc. Health care will permanently retard economic growth: you will look back on full-employment as a dream of your youth.

    If the libertarians are turned off by the GOP, Obama will get four more years to finish us off.

  • If the media can paint Santorum as a guy who wants to take away everyone’s pills and condoms, not only libertarians but many, many Protestant social conservatives (who make up the majority of socons in this country) will stay at home or vote against him. Do you think a married Baptist in Alabama who uses the Pill and sees nothing wrong with that is going to read Human Vitae or the Theology of the Body and come around to the Church’s position on BC? Heck, while I don’t believe the Guttmacher figures stating 97% of Catholics use artifical BC, let’s be honest – many, many of them do. Outside of the Tridentine Masses, I don’t see a lot of families with more than 3 kids.

    I agree that Ace willfully ignored evidence which shows Santorum is not going to ban BC; however, remember that just last week he wrote a great critique of the HHS directive. And I believe the man is pro-life as well. He’s way overreacting here, but I wouldn’t call him a heartless Randian.

    We are falling right into the trap being set for us by leftists, who want to turn the discussion away from the violation of religious freedom and make it into a debate about “ooooh, my, scary, weird Santorum wants to take your birth control pills away! The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!” That keeps the focus off of Obama’s dismal economic record.

  • Libertarians believe that the only areas of policy in which violence or the threat thereof is morally justified are those involved in deterring, halting, or punishing the violation of one innocent person’s life, liberty, or property rights by another person or persons.

    And yet the arch-typical figurehead, Ron Paul, disagrees with this when he wants to push actually killing the most innocent people possible down to a state level. About the only libertarians I know who have a sizable minority of pro-lifers are the Catholic ones; even my husband went from being a Republican leaning Libertarian to a libertarian leaning Republican before he was pro-life for non-tactical reasons.

    I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.

    Donna V-
    so we fight the lies the media puts out. What else would we do? We know they’re going to lie like a rug, and it looks like there are libertarian conservatives who will gladly help them spread the false claim that Santorum is coming for your Pill.

    The Catholics want to impose a theocracy!

    *lightbulb* Hey, isn’t that an angle they used against JFK?
    Can someone who actually remembers back then maybe cook up some sort of a response based on that?

  • “I’ll gladly admit some cynical amusement– as long as I’ve been politically aware, fiscal conservatives have been haranguing the “SoCons” about how they need to accept candidates who don’t agree with them on social issues to fight the liberals. Time for some Gander Sauce.”

    Yep. What you said, Foxfier.

  • Ron Paul is a fair-weather libertarian apparently. When asked about the imaginary “right to privacy” created in the Griswold case and brought to fruition in Roe v. Wade, all Paul could weakly say is that there IS a right to privacy, referring to the Fourth Amendment, which of course, specifically refers to the right against illegal search and seizure.

    Now, for such a staunch “constitutionalist” I find this very ironic.

  • I agree with Donna. The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate. Saying that he only wishes to use the bully pulpit to speak out about the dangers of contraception is not, repeat not, going to reassure voters on this score. That’s not to say that Santorum is wrong on the issue. He’s not. But it’s still a view held by only a small minority of Americans. My hope is that Santorum understands this and that the comment Ace quoted was/will be an isolated lapse. Otherwise we could be in real trouble.

  • What Blackadder said. The administration is rocked back on its heels with the HHS mandate–focus on that as the social issue. Otherwise, stick with fighting on the economy and this administration’s cluelessness on it.

  • Santorum merely responds when asked about it that he supports Catholic teaching against contraception. He then notes that he has voted for government funding of contraception under TItle 10 and would not favor legislation seeking to ban contraception. The video below is from 2006:

  • Once again I will let noted Christian so-con Jeff Goldstein dismantle Ace’s arguments (language warning).

    Oh, and I see that Ace and his co-bloggers are doubling down today. Hell hath no fury like a blogger whose favorite candidate was scorned.

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

  • Of course you can Greg. I accept the teachings of the Church on divorce. That doesn’t mean if I were a legislator that I must lead a futile effort to ban divorce or strip funding from courts that hear divorce cases. I do appreciate the bleak humor of Santorum taking fire for being too hard and too soft on contraceptives. The simple truth is that there is no way on God’s green earth that contraceptives could be banned in this country at the present time, and that any candidate suggesting such would be committing political seppuku.

  • Mac, that would be a good politician.

    Santorum doesn’t have a chance.

    Obama can point to $1.81 gasoline prices the day before he took over and tout today’s $3.50 (earliest date gas hit that level)! It’ll probably be $5 a gallon by Summer. Yeah, that ought to him re-elected.

    Santorum doesn’t have a prayer.

    Obama can sing about improving unemployment rates when tent cities are rapidly expanding. That’ll get Obama re-elected.

    Hey, if they live in tents they don’t count.

    Walter Russell Mead: WH flubs BC compromise: “First the Obama administration managed to alienate both its liberal supporters and its religious critics by pushing and then pulling back its HHS contraception mandate. Now the White House has succeeded in hitting the political sour spot yet again by producing a compromise designed to placate the Catholic bishops…without consulting the Catholic bishops.”

    Briliant!

  • Let’s see., he says he stands by the Church teaching on contraception, but supported government funding of contraception. Sorry, Rick can’t have it both ways.

    If the line item is in an appropriations bill that funds the entire foreign aid apparat, it does create rather a dilemma for the legislator (unless he favors dismantling the foreign aid apparat).

    We had a similar controversy here in New York many years ago when the question arose as to whether the Right-to-Life Party (now defunct) should refuse to endorse legislators who had voted in favor of passing the state budget. New York was the odd state that had retained Medicaid funding of abortions.

  • The American people aren’t going to elect a guy President if he runs as an anti-contraception candidate.

    Depends on who he is running against, and what the ambient circumstances are.

  • tom: The right to privacy extends to the womb. Nature’s God does not allow invasion of privacy of the unborn in the womb. Any attempt to abort the unborn is a violation of privacy in its truest sense. A murdered victim, whose body is concealed in a closet, warrants search to be rescued from the crime/crimnal without the proscribed legal warrant, because the person is dead but not annihilated. Any evidence collected from such a search without a legal warrant, revealing a murdered victim to be set free, rescued, is evidence admissible in a court of law through the sovereign personhood of the victim. Searches to find jewelry, art or anything that is not a person is illegal.

  • Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning. You see, the Church allows civil divorce. Look it up in Catechism if you don’t believe me. Not the same with contraception. I was not talking about leading an effort to criminalize contraception, but voting IN FAVOR of forcing taxpayers (many of whom are Catholics) to pick up the tab for people’s contraceptive use. This is really not much difference in substance with what the Obama administration’s HHS mandate.

  • P.S. In fact, diocesan tribunals require that petioners present a civil divorce decree before they will even begin to process requests for decree of nullity.

  • wE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT CONTRACEPTION BAN. We are talking about the funding of contraception. On some level people using “the pill” know that it is wrong. It seems to me that they want to blame Santorum for their addiction to the pill. If they are honest, and Santorum removes funding for BC, they need to feel relief. It would not hurt if they realized that Obama’s math is different from their arithmetic. Funding for BC involves ten for Obama and one for the taxpayer. In this way, they could buy eleven times the BC for the cost of one from Obama. SANTORUM DOES NOT WANT TO BE AN ACCOMPLICE TO THEIR EMBOLISM.

  • Yeah, Ace has gone nuts on Santorum again today. I think I’ll be avoiding the HQ for a while. He did a lot of needlessly destroying of non-Perry candidates before he dropped out (I supported Perry to the bitter end. Sigh.) and now that he’s on the Romney bandwagon it’s death to the “unelectable” non-Romney’s. These threads are getting pretty vicious, too. And I’m seeing a lot of anti-Catholic and anti-general Christianity sentiment being expressed over there right now. Very disturbing.

  • “Oh, Don, you may accpet the teaching on divorce, but you certainly don’t understand it if you gonna go with that ridiculous line of reasoning.”

    Complete and total rubbish Greg, and betokens a fundamental lack of understanding of the Church on your part in regard to divorce. The catechism provisions demonstrate that:

    2382 The Lord Jesus insisted on the original intention of the Creator who willed that marriage be indissoluble. He abrogates the accommodations that had slipped into the old Law. Between the baptized, “a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death.”

    2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

    2384 Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery:

    If a husband, separated from his wife, approaches another woman, he is an adulterer because he makes that woman commit adultery; and the woman who lives with him is an adulteress, because she has drawn another’s husband to herself.

    2385 Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society.

    As recently as 2002 Pope John Paul II was stating that attorneys should refuse to undertake divorce cases:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/29/world/john-paul-says-catholic-bar-must-refuse-divorce-cases.html

    http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264xh.htm

    Your criticisms of Santorum would be equally applicable to all Catholic legislators who refuse to strip funding from courts handling divorces.

  • Mandy, I agree, Ace has come a little unglued. What’s striking is that on top of the ideological differences he is motivated by this fear that Santorum can’t win (funny, since not that long ago he was arguing against Romney’s inevitability). The thing about that: Santorum’s social conservatism is in line with the majority on most things. His personal feelings about contraception are another thing, and that’s why the Dems are pivoting hard on contraception.

    I don’t normally agree much with Dick Morris, but he’s right about the Dems ceding the ground on an issue like abortion where they are increasingly out of touch with where most people are headed, and are focusing on an issue where the public would seem to be in line with their beliefs. That’s what is disappointing about what Ace is doing. He is actually conceding leftist talking points and giving them more ammo. Because if this is a debate about religious liberty, Santorum is with a majority of the people.

  • Don, because civil divorce does not invalidate sacramental marriage, a civil dorce is morally permissible under certain circumstances.

    “2383 The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law. If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.”

    Sacramental marriage is indissoulable whereas non-sacramental marriages can be dissolved, hence the Pauline privilege. Strictly civil marriages do not carry sacramental weight.

    This citation you provide proves my point. Now, iunless you can provide something that says the same for contraception, I’ll save you trouble because you can’t, then your shilling for Santorum on this has absolutely no basis. Whereas my calling him out does.

    As to JPII’s urging attorneys to refuse to take divroce cases, notice the qualifer “should’ as opposed to “must”. THat’s the operative word there.

    Really Don, if you are gonaa accuse me of misunderstanding Church teaching on anything, please at least take the time to learn the difference between prudential judgments and doctrinal imperatives.

  • You still miss the point Greg. The Church is against adamantly against divorce. It reluctantly allows participation in it where it is the only way to protect other rights as listed in 2383.

    John Paul’s Discourse to the Roman Rota of January 28, 2002 which I linked to indicates that clearly in this passage:

    “Among the initiatives should be those that aim at obtaining the public recognition of indissoluble marriage in the civil juridical order (cf. ibid., n. 17). Resolute opposition to any legal or administrative measures that introduce divorce or that equate de facto unions — including those between homosexuals — with marriage must be accompanied by a pro-active attitude, acting through juridical provisions that tend to improve the social recognition of true marriage in the framework of legal orders that unfortunately admit divorce.”

    In regard to contraceptives actually the Church has allowed their use in very limited circumstances in regard to disease.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/22/world/europe/22pope.html

    As in the case of divorce, use is permitted where it is not undertaken to reach a forbidden end: divorce or contraception, but for other purposes, custody of children or to stop the spread of disease.

  • Paul Z.,

    What kills me is that he’s doing the same purity nonsense he’s accused others of. If you don’t agree with his brand of conservatism you’re a dirty statist. His comments to you were pretty out there and he went off on the poster Y-not as well; he gave her both barrels for supposedly trying to force him to convert to Catholicism. It was bizarre.

    The thing is, even though he wrote a really good piece about the contraceptive mandate the other day, I think his disdain for whoever is not currently his candidate- in this case the target is Santorum- is so palpable right now that he’s going way over the top in his attacks implying things that were never actually said. And in the comments section- and apparently on twitter- today he even went down the Karen-Santorum-is-creepy route, using her personal past to bash the both of them, which has been off limits as far as Mrs. Obama goes over there. Because, racism. So yeah, I think it’s got a lot to do with him being angry that Perry never took and now his next candidate of choice is faltering as well. It’s a gigantic temper tantrum. On a blog.

  • No, contraception is NOT allowed even for the purposes of stopping the spread of disease. This is something both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI made clear. In fact, when B16 made the statement regarding condoms in an interview with Peter Seewald that got spun as him giving his approval under those circumstances, he prefaces those remarks with saying that it is not morally permissible. Only that it might signal something positive regarding the INTENTIONS of those who take such a position. Don, you really need to do your homework on these issues.

  • Here is what Benedict XVI actually says. From page 119 of Light of the World:

    Question from Peter Seewald:

    “Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed to in principle to the use of condoms?”

    Answer from Pope Benedict XVI:

    “She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or thast case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.”

    And since condoms are the only form of contraception that even have the prospect of preventing disease, the idea that contraceptives, the idea that contraceptives are a morally permissible means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases even as deadly as AIDS, is not consistent with Church teaching.

    Now, Don please find a more reliable source than the NY Slimes if you are going to try and argue with me on matters of Catholic morality. Okay?

  • Actually Greg the story quoted the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here is a link to the note in which the Congregation explained the Pope’s remark:

    “This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarized succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae, when he wrote that “also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means.” The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead – and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) – humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.

    On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition – and indeed not only of the Christian tradition – to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: “Flee from fornication” (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.

    In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment – because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute “the real or moral solution” to the problem of AIDS and also that “the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality” in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom “with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.” This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father’s previous statement that this is “not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection.”

    Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/resources/note-of-the-congregation-for-the-doctrine-of-the-faith-on-the-popes-condom

  • Don,

    None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.

  • This is the week to save ‘intellectually dishonest’ for the proclamations of the Executive Branch.

  • “None this argues for the justification of the use of contraceptives even to prevent disease. Contraception is an intrinsic evil, whereas civil divorce is not. To equate the two as you have done is flat out intellectually dishonest.”

    Reading comprehension Greg is obviously not your strong point in this debate. The prostitute in the Pope’s example clearly was not engaging in an intrinsically evil act by using the condom to prevent disease. That much is clear from this passage in the note:

    “Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the “lesser evil”. This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.”

    None of that would have made any sense at all if the prostitute’s use of the condom to prevent disease was intrinsically evil.

Knives Out

Tuesday, January 3, AD 2012

The Hawkeye Cauci have arrived, and tonight we’ll watch in breathless anticipation to see which presidential candidate will walk away with the lion’s share of the precious 25 delegates being awarded tonight – a critical two percent of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination.  Rick Santorum has climbed up the polls and is a serious threat to finish third, if not win the caucus outright.  And as with all candidates who have experienced a burst in popularity, the knives have come out for Santorum.  Yesterday I linked to Alan Colmes’s disgusting mockery of the manner in which Santorum and his family mourned the loss of their child, but that is just a taste of the attacks that Santorum has experienced in the previous few days and will experience if he continues to be a somewhat viable candidate.

In particular the blog Red State has run a number of blog posts in recent days that have, to put it mildly, been very critical of Santorum.  Just scroll through the link and you can see that Erick Erickson in particular has been a busy beaver.  Now most (though not all) of the contributors to the blog are pro-Perry and they see Santorum as a threat mainly to Perry.  And for what it’s worth, I am sympathetic to Red State’s views.  Though I certainly think people should vote for the candidate they feel is best, as a Perry supporter myself I lament that Santorum will do more to divide the conservative vote and help nominate Romney than anything else.  Rick Perry is much better suited for a long run at the nomination than Santorum, so I have mixed feelings about Santorum’s rise in the polls as he is my second choice for the nomination.  In fact I’d be ecstatic if either Rick won, yet both candidates are basically evenly dividing the not-Mitt vote with Gingrich.

Red State’s takedowns of the other candidates, especially Ron Paul, have been very good.  The anti-Santorum stuff, on the other hand, has been very weak tea.  There’s but the vaguest hint of a scandal with a company that Santorum was associated with, and this attack on Santorum about not believing the President to be a Chief Executive is nitpicky at worst, and smells of desperation.  The most effective criticisms revolve around the issues I brought up in this post from about a month ago.  In particular, this post simply linking to Santorum’s video endorsement of Arlen Specter is just damning.  

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16 Responses to Knives Out

  • Anyone who can watch that Specter endorsement ad and still defend Santorum while pissing and moaning about frickin’ Gardasil needs to re-examine their priorities. The former is one of the, if not THE, biggest sell-outs of the pro-life cause by a pro-lifer in my lifetime. The Gardasil mandate that never came to be pales in comparison. They’re not even close to being in the same category.

  • “The problem with this defense, especially the bolded section, is that Specter was not needed to put Roberts and Alito on the Court. Republicans wound up with a more sizeable majority in the wake of the 2004 election.”

    True Paul, and Santorum had absolutely no way of knowing that when the primary was held in April. As the tight Presidential polls that year indicated, there was every prospect that 2004 was going to be a bad year for the Republicans. The Democrats had slightly more seats up than the Republicans, 19-15 in the Senate that year, but the playing ground was fairly even. On election night Kentucky, Florida and Alaska were fairly close, and South Dakota was won by a hair. Control of the Senate would have shifted if those elections had gone the other way, and they might well have.

    I think what Santorum did was reasonable at the time, assuming that one’s goal is to have Supreme Court justices on the Court that will overturn Roe. Bush lost Pennsylvania to Kerry, and I think it likely that Toomey might well have been defeated that year, considering that he only got 51% of the vote in 2010, the best election year for Republicans since Calvin Coolidge was in office.

  • I like Santorum and want him as the next president. I still can’t figure out why so many say “he is an unelectable candidate.” Can anyone offer some logic to this thought? Am I just getting the vibes from the anti-pro-life crowd?

  • True Paul, and Santorum had absolutely no way of knowing that when the primary was held in April.

    That’s a fair point. I remember that the Senate configuration was very much in doubt even all the way up to the eve of the election. I was more optimistic than most – and turned out to be right, but it very well could have gone the other way. As it turns out though, Specter’s vote and even presence really was not determinitive, and I think it’s fair to say that in hindsight. Again, you could be right about Toomey in 2004, but we’ll never know. Long story short, Santorum made the wrong call, and it cost him.

  • The Specter spectacle is forgivable as a a wrong call, placing pragmatic considerations over principle. A bigger criticism is his foreign policy is indistinguishable from Bush. If that’s what you want, then he’s your man.

  • c matt, I just learned Santorum’s foreign policy is much worse than Bush’s.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZJsq_hdlBU

    Unless Santorum comes out and says he believes the “Palestinians” have a right to vote as Israeli citizens, this goes too far for me. It’s as extreme as anything Ron Paul says about foreign policy.

  • I still can’t figure out why so many say “he is an unelectable candidate.”

    Because he lost 20 points to Bob Casey for the senate and he would not win Pennsylvania in a general election.

    I really like Santorum, I really do. He is a good man. I was in Pa during that Spector endorsement and was crushed by it, but have moved on from all that. He would make a secertary of HHS, Dept of Homeland Security or something similar, but he just wouldn’t win a general election.

  • In 2006 Christ could have been running statewide against Satan in Pennsylvania, and if Satan had a (D) after his name he would have won by 5 points. Casey ran as a fake pro-lifer, and capitalized on the high esteem in which his late father was held by pro-life voters, and quite a few Toomey voters decided it was time for payback. That Santorum was able to win two terms to the Senate in a blue state is actually a tribute to his skill as a campaigner. I have my concerns about Santorum: little charisma, a manner which seems to rub quite a few people the wrong way, not a great orator, etc. However, when looking at all the candidates currently, I think he is the best of a very weak lot.

  • That Santorum was able to win two terms to the Senate in a blue state

    I wouldn’t exactly call PA a blue state. It has traditionally been a battleground state, albeit one that Democrats have won with some regularity in recent presidential elections. But the parties have switched control of the governor’s mansion and the legislature. In fact now the GOP has a decided advantage in terms of its Congressional delegation, and I believe has a majority in the state legislature. And while Santorum really had little chance in such a wave election in a state that leans a little bit in the Democrat direction, he lost by nearly 20 points.

  • It’s as extreme as anything Ron Paul says about foreign policy.

    Rubbish. Most of the video in question appears to depict an attorney arguing with someone for sport. The principle he eventually asserts is that the disposition of the territory is properly at Israel’s discretion and not subject to claims of right by other parties. That is an arguable point. It is not extreme in the manner of Paul’s historical fantasy.

  • I wouldn’t exactly call PA a blue state.

    There was a measure of resistance to the New Deal in Pennsylvania, but if you look at the top of the marquee amongst the state’s office holders you see that from about 1944 to about 1972 the state returned either mainline Democrats or returned Republicans given to qualifying, accomodating, and amending the initiatives of the mode in the Democratic Party. Such a disposition was congruent with the main currents of thought within the Republican Party prior to 1972; afterward, the Republican Party nationally took on a more coherent, ideological, and above all inner-directed disposition. This was not reflected at the top of the ticket in Pennsylvania, which continued to return the same sort of chaps. Mr. Santorum is the only figure elected between 1972 and 2010 who reflected the main currents of thought within the Republican Party and one of just two figures elected during the entire postwar period whose disposition to the Democratic Party was one of vigorous resistance. (The other fellow last stood for election in 1952). In context, he has been an oddity in Pennsylvania, and aspects of his career something of a tour-de-force.

  • The odd thing about PA politics that no one’s mentioned is that there’s a strong pro-life element in the Democratic Party, and a strong pro-choice element among the Republicans. A pro-lifer has to make a lot of prudential decisions. Without getting into a whole double-effect conversation, it can get pretty complicated. But then again, I’m always defending Santorum around here. 🙂

    Alito was confirmed by a good percentage, but the committee vote was 10-8 along party lines. If that had been 9-9, I don’t know what the Senate would have done.

  • If [the Judiciary Committee vote to send the Alito confirmation to the floor] had been 9-9, I don’t know what the Senate would have done.

    Pinky

    The World’s Greatest Dithering Body would have let the Alito nomination die in committee, that’s what.

    Because Sen. Santorum’s reputation rests so heavily on how principled he is, his half-a-loaf-is-better-than-none argument falls flat. No way does it come close to answering the question you sold your soul for Arlen Specter?

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Minute Sixteen and Counting (Updated)

Wednesday, November 2, AD 2011

I wasn’t going to blog anymore about Herman Cain, but I cannot let this go without comment:

Mark Block, chief of staff for the Cain campaign, laid the blame for the leaks about the allegations about Cain squarely at the Perry campaign’s feet in an interview today.

“The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable,” Block told Fox News tonight. “Rick Perry and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology. Both the Rick Perry campaign andPolitico did the wrong thing by reporting something that wasn’t true from anonymous sources. Like I said, they owe Herman Cain and his family an apology.”

Asked if he had any evidence, Block mentioned the fact that Cain had told Curt Anderson (who now works for Perry) about the accusations during his 2004 senate run. Cain accused Anderson earlier today; Anderson denied that he was.

As with every other aspect of his campaign, Herman Cain has been unable to address this situation in anything resembling a coherent manner.  I could let that pass, but instead of addressing the issue – or even not addressing it – the Cain camp decides to avert attention away from this mess by hurling unsubstantiated claims against one of his Republican rivals.  Could the Perry camp have leaked the information?  It’s certainly possible, but it just as likely could have been the Romney camp.  Or, and here’s a wild guess, someone did a little digging and came across a publicly available story.

Look, I don’t know if there’s anything more to the original story than that it was a misunderstanding.  But Cain is doing himself no favors by reacting as wildly as he is.  First he played the race card.  If he had been a Democrat conservatives would have collectively rolled their eyes, and yet some conservatives, including one that I highly respect, are willing to indulge this fantasy.  And now this.

What’s sickening is not just the man’s basic ineptitude, it’s that he is inspiring the same kind of blind loyalty to a cult of personality that we mock Democrats for with regards to Barack Obama.  And for what?  A candidate who has nothing to offer except a silly campaign slogan that is, for the record, politically unworkable.  A candidate who couldn’t even win a Senate primary in Georgia, of all states.  Ah, but he sounds so authentic.

And therein lies the problem with the conservative movement.  Mitt Romney is the establishment candidate, and we hate the establishment.  So our counter-reaction to the establishment is to rally around the guy who mouths the most platitudes, all the while ignoring the substance.  It’s like watching the Hot Air blog come to life.  The main contributors are a collection of mealy-mouthed wimps who fear the rise of genuinely conservative candidates.  On the other hand, the commenters are a  collection of raving “THIS GOES TO 11!!!!!!!!” “purists” who make the Free Republic look like a haven of logical thought.  It’s something behold, but it’s also a sad reflection on the conservative movement as we seem constantly to have to choose between raving psychosis and stultifying boredom.

What’s even funnier about the Cain dead-enders is envisioning their reaction when he drops out and turns around to endorse Mitt Romney.  But at least we would have beaten the guy who said “heartless” in a debate that one time.  Good job.  Look what happens when the search for purity leads to the nomination of the most impure candidate.

Then again, not everyone is turning a blind eye to Cain’s collapsing campaign.  Even his biggest booster in the blogosphereis starting to sound a little worried.

The fact that Chris Wilson works for a firm that has been associated with Rick Perry’s campaign may confirm widespread suspicions about the origin of Sunday’s Politico story, but as matters now stand, such speculation is irrelevant to whether Cain can survive this. Whatever the motives of the Politico sources, Cain’s fate depends on the specifics of the accusation and the credibility of his accuser.

Then again, knowing the spitefulness that guides certain people, he’ll only ascend in the polls.

Update:  FWIW, here is Eric Erickson’s interview with Perry, in which he firmly denies having anything to do with leaking the story.  Notice that despite the umms and ahhs, it doesn’t take a team of detectives to figure out what Perry is saying.

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22 Responses to Minute Sixteen and Counting (Updated)

  • Can’t agree more.

  • That’s exactly how I feel about Republican support for Sarah Palin. Glad to see some more people realize that there’s a nutty wing in the GOP. My hope is that with a moderate Republican in the White House, the GOP nuts will stand down.

  • My hope is that with a moderate Republican in the White House, the GOP nuts will stand down.

    In case my post wasn’t clear on this point, I’d be no more content with Romney than with someone like Cain. Romney and Cain are equally distasteful candidates, though for opposite reasons. And my beef with the more strident conservatives has more to do with tone than substance.

    Unlike many, I do think there are several acceptable, conservative candidates. Let’s go with one of them, please.

  • Paul- What is your beef with Cain? Every time he is mentioned your reaction is similar to the Palin syndrome on the left.

    With conservatives like you, who needs left-wing, government loving statists like RR around?

  • My beef with Cain is that he is a substance free, incompetent candidate who can’t even speak without retracting or clarifying his statement at some future point. I honestly tried giving him a chance and liked him after the first few debates, but at some point you just have to stop giving guys the benefit of the doubt,

    As I said, there are several qualified, competent conservatives running. So my question to you is why the blind loyalty to this man when there are actually good candidates running?

  • “we seem constantly to have to choose between raving psychosis and stultifying boredom.”

    If that’s the case I will vote for boredom every time. The last thing this country needs is another exciting, charismatic candidate who lets all that fame go to his/her head and begins believing and acting as if they really are some kind of anointed political savior.

  • This is a game of attrition at this point. I don’t want Romney to be the last man standing and attacking Cain only serves to achieve this unintended consequence. For a liberal this is understandable but for a conservative it’s appalling.

    I’d love to see a guy like Santorum be President but it ain’t in the cards so you play the hand you are dealt. Do you see any truly viable conservative candidates at this stage in the game?

  • Do you see any truly viable conservative candidates at this stage in the game?

    I’ve said so twice. Either of the Ricks and Newt as well are all far preferable, and I believe that any of them would win in the general. Santorum is a long shot, but I’d much rather support him than Cain.

    By the way, if Cain is destroyed as a candidate I don’t see how that benefits Mitt. He absolutely needs a divided conservative field. If Cain falters, it’s probably down to just Newt and Perry as the anti-Romneys. Romney most likely needs at least three semi-viable conservative opponents, so unless Bachmann resuscitates her campaign he’d be in trouble.

  • By the way judging from this thread, Red State – hardly a bastion of establishment sympathy – is just about done with Cain as well.

  • Well we disagree on our political calculations in such case.

    Newt is a known quantity by the electorate and this electorate is not in the mood for political retreads no matter how high their IQ. Capturing the heart of this nation for a presidential bid is not a likely scenario for him.

    Rick Perry does not appear to be capable of withstanding the rigors of the debates. My greatest fear is that Obama would run rings around him. I don’t think he can win. I could be wrong.

    Regardless, were it Santorum, Perry, Bachmann or Newt currently neck and neck with Romney for pole position conservatives should be rallying around that individual in common cause. Watching Cain receive “friendly fire” from conservatives while he is under attack with what appear to be charges that are lacking any weight or seriousness is unbecoming of conservatives. That’s my concern irrespective of who it happens to be on the receiving end of a political hit-job, Cain or not.

  • “As with every other aspect of his campaign, Herman Cain has been unable to address this situation in anything resembling a coherent manner.”

    Bingo. I find his explanations of all this inherently unbelievable and incoherent. He had to know this was waiting in the wings, and he and his campaign act as if they are stunned ducks when it was revealed. Cain, although he has accomplished much in his life, was totally unprepared for a Presidential run, has attempted to wing the whole thing, and would be an absolute disaster in a general election campaign with the Obama lapdog media tearing into every aspect of his life. Next!

  • Jay Cost sums up the Cain campaign well:

    “What of Herman Cain’s response to this? In a word, it stinks. His campaign couldn’t get its stories straight, the final version does not square very well with the known facts, and worse Team Cain had known about this for more than a week, so it should have been prepared. This isn’t the first time I’d used a word like “stink” to describe the Cain operation, either. His tongue-tied answers on abortion and Guantanamo Bay stunk. His infrastructure in the early states stinks. His fundraising to date has stunk. You get the idea.” Politics isn’t a game, it is hard work and Cain and his staffers have shown no inclination to do the hard work necessary to win the nomination and the general election.

  • Cain doth protest too much. Or, to use another bromide, where there’s smoke there’s fire.
    Face it, Cain is not Able.

  • I think Ann Coulter put it best:

    “It is beyond insane that Herman Cain would have considered running for president if he had the tiniest skeleton in his closet. To be an out-of-the-closet black Republican, you had better be a combination rocket scientist/Baptist preacher.”

    to see AC following the MSM’s lead is sickening. Use to have respect for this blog, not anymore. You’re way to full of yourselves.

  • to see AC following the MSM’s lead is sickening. Use to have respect for this blog, not anymore. You’re way to full of yourselves.

    I wrote this blogpost because Herman Cain accused a fellow candidate of being the leaker without any evidence, and as a way to draw attention away from himself. This has nothing to do with putting credence in the allegations, but rather in the Cain camp’s reaction to the story. You Cainiacs are so invested in this guy that you are willing to overlook every stupid thing he does. So a little less sanctimony and a little more reflection, okay?

  • Oh give it a break Jasper! It is not following the mainstream media lead to conclude that Herman Cain’s campaign consists of winging it and making it up as he goes along. He had to know that the issue of sexual harassment would come up, and he obviously had no plan to deal with it. Rather than heap bile on the messenger your scorn is better directed at an obviously clueless candidate. TAC looks at facts straight on, whether the facts are good, bad or indifferent, and draws opinions and conclusions from the facts. We will not trim our analysis because someone is on “our side”.

  • OK, stipulating that Cain is finished as a viable candidate, Perry is being bashed left and right and none of the other candidates have much traction, who emerges as the front-runner? There’s a leadership void and someone must step up. If Gingrich steps up, it will take the media less than a news cycle to dredge up the since-discredited story about him visiting his cancer-striken ex-wife in the hospital and demanding a divorce.

    Is there anyone out there without baggage?

    Chime in, folks.

  • Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the GOP presidential nominating convention borrowed from history and actually showed some drama and uncertainty>
    Before the 1960s, the quadrennial gatherings were actually decision-making forums where the delegates met for four days to promote party unity, establish the party platform, vote for a presidential nominee, and then a vice presidential nominee.
    Many times delegates could not find consensus on candidates or platform. In 1924, Democrats cast 103 ballots before nominating John W. Davis, and in 1860 Stephen Douglas was finally selected after 59 ballots (and two conventions). Deadlock at the 1844 Democratic convention resulted in the selection of “dark horse” candidate James K. Polk, who was chosen on the ninth ballot, even though he wasn’t nominated until the eighth.
    The Democrats were bitterly divided in 1860 over the slavery issue. When delegates adopted Stephen Douglas’ plank that supported nonintervention with slavery in the territories, several delegates from the South bolted from the Charleston, South Carolina, convention in protest.
    While the early conventions often required more than one ballot, there have been only a handful of times in the past five decades that the conventions were nail-biters. In 1952, Adlai Stevenson triumphed over a “Stop Stevenson” campaign and won the nomination in three ballots. Stevenson created even more drama at the 1956 convention, when he declined to appoint a running mate, and the delegates chose Sen. Estes Kefauver over Sen. John F. Kennedy in two ballots. One of the closest races in recent history saw Gerald Ford edge out Ronald Reagan, 1187–1070.
    However, what with pollsters everywhere and the media mainly in charge of steering the dumb masses toward to lesser of several evils, I’m betting that by July/August of 2012 the GOP nominating decision will be preordained and someone will have it locked up.

  • Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the GOP presidential nominating convention borrowed from history and actually showed some drama and uncertainty>

    As a political junkie it would be exciting. But if the GOP doesn’t have a nominee by the time the primaries are done, it would be a disaster of epic proportions for the party.

  • Paul, why so? Reagan and Ford fought it out, as did Rockefeller and Goldwater, and the party not only survived but flourished. Of course, I can understand that the media likely would spin it as a sharply divided party, etc., but clear-thinking voters (I hope there are still some left) would look at a vibrant show of honest differences and in the end unity would prevail.

  • Divided conventions Joe usually presage defeat in November for a party in modern times. The last exception to that rule I can think of was when Eisenhower defeated Taft in 1952 at the Republican convention. Sometimes intra-party battles do strengthen a party long term: I certainly think that was true with Goldwater beating Rockefeller and Reagan beating Ford, but four more years of Obama would be too high a price to pay.

  • Joe, the party has been involved in intense bickering for months – just look at this thread! Imagine six extra months of this. Obama would love it.

    Furthermore, that’s six fewer months of fundraising for the eventual nominee, putting him at a tremendous disadvantage.