It Takes A Family

Monday, February 27, AD 2012

I recently completed Rick Santorum’s It Takes A Family.  I quipped on Twitter that had I read this before the campaign started then Santorum would have been my top Rick pick before that other Rick entered the race (though I still maintain that Governor Perry would have been an outstanding nominee, but no need to go there).  At times Santorum slips into politician speak – you know, those occasions when politicians feel compelled to tell stories of individual people in order to justify some larger agenda.  And some of the book is a little plodding, especially when he gets into wonkish mode (which fortunately is not all that often).  Those quibbles asides, there are large chunks of this book that could very well have been written by yours truly.  That isn’t meant to be a commentary on my own genius, but rather a way of saying I agree with just about everything this man has to say.

The book title really says it all.  The heart of Rick Santorum’s political philosophy is the family, meaning that to him strong families are the heart of any functioning society.  The family has been undermined both by big government programs and by the culture at large.  Santorum mocks the “village elders” who view more government programs as the solution to all problems.  Santorum acknowledges that many of the problems we face don’t have quick and easy fixes, and often no legislative action can be taken.  Santorum offers a series of small policy proposals that are aimed at giving parents and individuals in tough economic circumstances some tools to help, but he also emphasizes the doctrine of subsidiarity.  Ultimately we must rely principally on local institutions, starting with the family.

Santorum understands what even some on the right fail to appreciate, and that is we can’t divorce social issues from economics.  The breakdown of the family coincides directly with economic hardship.  If we want a healthier economy, we need healthier families.  It’s a central tenet of conservatism that is somehow ignored by large swathes of the political right.

His approach to politics can be summarized in a passage on page 341 of the hardback edition:

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10 Responses to It Takes A Family

  • What a contrast from “Dreams from My Father”. I’m voting for Rick tomorrow, May his tribe be blest.

  • By the grace and mercy of almighty God, Rick will be our next President.

  • I completely agree. If I was judging Santorum based on his books and speeches, voting for him would be trivial. The problem is his voting record does fit with what he says. Correction, doesn’t fit enough with what he says.

  • I think you make a good point here Kyle. I had a conversation last night with a Ron Paul supporter, who is a very faithful Catholic. His contentions with Rick are his support for Title X funding for Planned Parenthood (and other organizations who both provide contraception and perform abortions), his support for the Iraq War (which has been declared an unjust war by both JPII and BXVI) and his support for the use of torture. These are not pieces that mesh well with what Rick says and what he writes (and, for that matter, with the teachings of the Catholic Church). If it truly takes a family and public policies should emphasize that priority, why are we spending tax payer dollars on contraception? What assurances has he given us to prove that he will stick to his morals and principles when making public policy. He fell down on those principles when voting for Title X. George Bush talked great before his presidency, too. He didn’t deliver in dealing head on with the great social issues of our time.

  • I had a conversation last night with a Ron Paul supporter, who is a very faithful Catholic.

    Ah yes, Ron Paul supporters. I wonder what his thoughts are on the fact that Ron Paul is on record as saying that social issues should be completely off the table in this election, and that he’s basically serving no other purpose than to be Mitt Romney’s lapdog.

    his support for the Iraq War (which has been declared an unjust war by both JPII and BXVI)

    Are we really going to go down this road again where we act as though support for the Iraq war signals a break with Church teaching? Both of the popes opposed the war, it is true, but in so doing did not speak with the magisterial authority of the Church. They gave personal opinions on the matter. That is all.

    his support for the use of torture

    Only true if you consider the use of waterboarding as torture. I personally do, but it’s not an open and shut case (and NO, this is not an invitation to go down this rat hole again).

    If you’re looking for policy perfection in your candidates, you’re not going to get it. Every single politician is imperfect because all of them, contrary to the belief of some Obama voters, are human beings.

  • Thanks for the response, Paul and I’m with you on all you said. In fact, I mentioned much of this to him as well. Though I didn’t know that RP wanted all social issues off the table during the campaign.

    I guess I want to make sure that what he is saying is really what he’s going to try to give us. Funding contraception (especially giving funding to places that perform abortions) should not be allowable in his administration if he is going to try to shape this country into one that supports and promotes the family as the building block of this society.

    I believe he very well could, I just want to be reassured. His voting record doesn’t completely do that for me, but I also don’t see a better choice in the field.

  • Here’s Jay Anderson’s post talking about Ron Paul’s comments. Actually he called social issues a loser, but the sentiment is the same.

    I understand your concerns. One of the things to keep in mind is that these issues are more visible than they were during the time that Santorum was a Senator. President Santorum in 2013 would likely treat these funding considerations differently than Senator Santorum in 2003.

  • Just promising us one thing TAC, that whoever wins the nomination, if it is other than Santorum, that the end of the Obama regime is favored over internecine sniping.

  • Well, I can’t speak for my other bloggers, though I suspect most will work to defeat Obama. Personally, I have no intention of supporting Romney, but I will likely simply remain mute on the election.