Not Yet Begun to Fight

Friday, April 24, AD 2015


Bravo to David French at National Review Online who states eloquently my position:

I must admit, my first response to the notion of “strategic withdrawal” is less intellectual and more visceral. Retreat? I recall John Paul Jones’s words, “I have not yet begun to fight,” or, more succinctly, General Anthony McAuliffe’s legendary response to German surrender demands at Bastogne: “Nuts!” In reality, Christian conservatives have barely begun to fight. Christians, following the examples of the Apostles, should never retreat from the public square. They must leave only when quite literally forced out, after expending every legal bullet, availing themselves of every right of protest, and after exhausting themselves in civil disobedience. Have cultural conservatives spent half the energy on defense that the Left has spent on the attack?
 After all, the theological base is still strong. As I’ve pointed out before, not one orthodox Christian denomination is even contemplating shifting its stance on sexual-revolution issues like same-sex marriage and abortion, and the traditionalist faiths are holding the line in membership or growing. By contrast, the mainline, progressive churches are collapsing in membership, continuing a long slide that could see some of America’s historic denominations essentially vanish in our lifetimes. The grassroots of social conservatism are not just strong but increasing in strength. The cultural Left has lost one high-profile cultural clash after another. From the Chick-fil-A “boycott,” to Hobby Lobby’s legal and cultural triumph, to the recent windfall and triumphant reopening of Memories Pizza, when the cultural Right actually bothers to mobilize, the cultural Left tends to lose. And while pop culture produces prodigious quantities of leftist propaganda, the surprising box office of God’s Not Dead, the overwhelming success of American Sniper, celebrating the life of a Christian warrior, and the consistent ratings for Bible-themed television demonstrate that there remains a large-scale appetite for works of art that advance, whether by intention or by effect, a substantially more conservative point of view.

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4 Responses to Not Yet Begun to Fight

  • Let us imitate in our zeal the Maccabean brothers who stood fast together against evil similar to what we may yet face!

  • Great advice Mr. McClarey.
    Only one chance to engage the enemy while we can breathe. Once we are called away from this Church Militant our Earth confrontations are most likely over.
    Fight while you can.

  • The Dreher point of view need not be interpreted as a refusal to fight the so-called “culture wars.” Instead it could be viewed as a call to fight the fight on better ground. Right now the “debate” if you can call it that, is totally framed by the language and values of the secular, radical left. By the power of the institutions which they control; media, education, entertainment, and increasingly, major corporations, they totally determine the agenda and what questions should or shouldn’t be asked.

    Adoption of the “Benedict option” could prepare Christians for the true spiritual battle that is coming, rather than wasting time, trying to win minor skirmishes here and there. It could also prompt Christians to focus our attention where it should be, on Christ our Lord, rather than responding to the latest of the never ending outrages of the secular radicals.

  • how do we stand against a goof ball pope doing the global warming putsch? Who in our Church will listen?

13 Responses to Religious Kook Talks About Evil Existing in the World

  • Thanks, Paul Z.! I can’t watch the video at work, but I will tonight. I was, however, able to share it on Goggle Blogger and Facebook by using my i-Pad and personal wireless hot spot. There have been a whole series of excellent posts coming out of TAC from you, Foxfire, Donald, Jake and others over the past month or so. I have to write very little at my own blog. Keep it up. You’re irritating the liberals! 😉

  • Thanks Paul. Doing my best.

    By the way, the link at Right Scoop has a shorter version of this video in case you don’t want to watch the entire speech.

  • That was almost 20 years ago. People in the West still believed in evil, and even Satan.

  • I’m sure it was said/written a thousand times before I heard it in a horridly violent movie. Something to the effect that Satan’s greatest coup was to convince mankind he does not exist.

    I desire moral courage.

    Think of the crown of sharp thorns that was forced down on Our Lord’s sacred head and the patience with which He endured the pain for our sins.

  • Wasn’t that C.S. Lewis in Skrewtape Letters?

  • What crazed right wing zealot prayed this prayer during one our wars? (No fair using google!)

    “And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

    With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy.”

  • Don: I’m guessing it was right wing nutcase FDR.

    I watched what is probably the last (thank you, Lord!) GOP debate tonight and do you know what? I think 3 out of 4 of the men on that stage are capable of beating Obama (sorry, Paul fans). Mitt sounded much better than usual, but Santorum and Gingrich had good moments too, although they both have had better nights.

    I will vote in good conscience for whoever the nominee is. (Once upon a time the Wisconsin primary actually meant something. ) Heck, after the HHS directive, I actually think I could even vote for Paul, if it came to that. (It won’t.) Why? Because Paul’s foreign policy views are no crazier than Obama’s, and his take on fiscal issues is far more sensible. At least Paul (or Rick, Mitt or Newt) wouldn’t persecute my Church. ABO!

  • BTW, on a secular site, the Santorum haters were wondering why Newt and Rick didn’t have ashes on their foreheads. Don’t know about Newt, but apparently Santorum went to Mass this morning and, well, first of all, it’s ash, not paint or magic marker. Secondly, both men had to have makeup applied for TV and I assume any remaining ash was removed by the makeup artist, which I don’t think is any big deal. The haters said “removed by the makeup artist? Are they now trying to hide the fact they’re Catholics?” To me, what would have been much worse is having the ash wiped off, the makeup applied, and the ash then REAPPLIED. That would have struck me as terrible, phoney pandering.

    Of course, had either man appeared with an ash cross on his forehead, there would have been plenty of snide remarks and jokes about that. You just can’t win with the bigots.

  • “Don: I’m guessing it was right wing nutcase FDR”

    Correct Donna! It was from his D-Day radio broadcast.

  • OK, last night I watched the debate and commented here afterwards. I did not look about on the Net to see what people were saying about it until this morning. I have been less of a Santorum fan than many, but I thought he did OK last night, although it wasn’t his best. I’m a bit baffled by all the people who are proclaiming that Mitt outshone everyone else and Rick was terrible. I simply didn’t see that, although I thought Romney did well. I was happy to see them all firing at Obama, instead of directing all the heavy artillery at each other.

    My political instincts must be way off-kilter, I guess.

  • It was an interesting debate last night Donna, especially since it highlighted the Weathervane, Doctor Delusional Alliance. Romney and Paul and their wives are close friends, Paul has said he would be honored to be Romney’s veep, although I doubt if Romney would be so foolish, and last night Paul was Romney’s pitbull against Santorum. CNN helped this strategy by having Santorum sandwiched between Paul and Romney. Additionally the Mittbots stacked the debate audience. The Arizona Republican party helped fill the hall and they are in the Romney tank, and La Mesa where the debate was held has, I believe, the second highest Mormon population in the US.

  • No tv for Lent, so gee darn I missed all the excitement. The twitter consensus was the Santorum didn’t do well, though it doesn’t sound like anything significant took place. The unholy alliance of Paul and Romney for really much of this campaign has been a sight to behold.


The Goldilocks Conservative

Friday, February 17, AD 2012

Rick Santorum has come under fire from right-wing critics for being not conservative enough on fiscal and economic issues, while simultaneously being too conservative on social issues.  In my mind, he’s just right.

On the matter of fiscal policy Santorum has been portrayed as some kind of big government statist.  As a Senator he did cast votes for raising the debt ceiling, for Medicare Part 2, No Child Left Behind, and other big spending programs.  He’s admitted erring on a couple of these votes.  Overall, though, Santorum’s record as judged by free market policy institutes is fairly solid.  The Weekly Standard ran a piece on the National Taxpayer Union’s grading of Santorum, and he compares very favorably to most of his colleagues.  

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35 Responses to The Goldilocks Conservative

  • “Of course the Democratic spin machine will demagogue Santorum to death,”

    They will attempt to, but I am beginning to doubt that will be effective. Some politicians grow in stature after a time in the political wilderness after a defeat, and I think that is what happened to Santorum after his defeat in 2006. He has thought hard about the issues, has well-articulated positions and is unafraid to speak his mind and defend what he believes. As he said recently, voters may not agree with all that he believes, but they will never doubt that he believes what he says he believes. If I were an Obama political flack, I would much prefer to go up against Romney. A politician of conviction can be hard to beat, once people begin to listen to him and begin to realize that he is truly seeking the common good, even if they do not completely agree with him.

  • Wow, never heard the term populist described the way you describe it. But according to that definition I am definitly a populist. I guess that describes why I never felt comfortable with the the socially liberal, economic conservatism the republican party seems to be heading.

    Santorum is now my guy, I was a naysayer but he won over. Originally being from Pa I know how much he is disliked by “independents” in Pa. I still have some serious doubts about the general election and his ability to get the independent vote. But he has shown he will fight for it, and he won’t shy away from the great moral issues of our time. He has my vote.

  • They need to demagogue-to-death any GOP nominee.

    Until there is nothing left for them to steal, they must distract us from the fact that the entire population is going to the poor house.

    I’m an independent (small i).

    The only potential candidates for whom I will not vote are the useless POSes currently destroying our country and our way of life, i.e., the ones with (D) behind their names.

  • Of course, for me, Santorum’s position on social issues is a huge plus. My concerns with him are in the foreign policy area. No question that he is better than Obama, but is he good enough to pull the lever for standing on his own merit? That is my current dilemma, and will keep an open mind.

  • Thank you, Mr. Zummo! It’s refreshing to see a look at Santorum that’s not attempting to paint him as crazy or creepy.

  • “personal moral judgments are not those that are going to be reflected in public law, nor should they all the time. Not everything that is immoral in this country should be illegal or should be within the governance of the federal or state government, or any government.

    Santorum must be brushing up on St. Thomas Aquinas. Here is a quote from the Summa about “whether it belongs to human law to repress all vices”:

    “… law is framed as a rule or measure of human acts … laws imposed on men should also be in keeping with their condition … law should be “possible both according to nature, and according to the customs of the country.

    Now human law is framed for a number of human beings, the majority of whom are not perfect in virtue. Wherefore human laws do not forbid all vices, from which the virtuous abstain, but only the more grievous vices, from which it is possible for the majority to abstain; and chiefly those that are to the hurt of others, without the prohibition of which human society could not be maintained…”

    Santorum is showing some pretty good theological grounds for his position.

  • Nicholas, not only are his points on good theological grounds, but also on simple logical grounds, which I think speaks to more people ultimately. He seems to know the boundaries of the office and he seems to be articulating them well. While I don’t like the fact that he has and will vote to fund contraception from a Federal level, as I don’t believe that anybody truly needs free contraception, and I would hope that he would make a push to make sure that no Title X funding goes to abortion providers, his reasoning is sound and I think will resonate with a great number of voters. Let’s just hope he is successful in communicating his position. That is, let’s hope the media allows him the platform to accurately communicate his position.

  • That is, let’s hope the media allows him the platform to accurately communicate his position.

    And I’ll hope my cats start pooping Gold Double Eagles.

    We have about an equal chance of seeing our hopes fulfilled.

  • Reagan received some of the worst press imaginable in 1980. He spoke over the heads of the media to the American people. Santorum will have to do the same. The difference is that Santorum will have a host of new media available to help him get his message out. Santorum of course is no Reagan, but in 1980 the popular perception of Reagan outside of conservative true believers like me, was that Reagan was a senile, washed up Grade B actor, with crazy right wing views, way out of the mainstream. This perception continued until Reagan devastated Carter in their one and only debate a few days before the election. Reagan was vastly misjudged and underestimated and the same is true this year of Santorum. If played properly, such a misperception can give a candidate an advantage as people begin to realize that what the media has told them about the candidate simply is not true. Santorum would do well to remember Reagan’s ending in that debate:

  • I think there is a mistake in thinking that Gingrich is for a ‘mandate’ like Romney and Obama. First, everything government does is a mandate, so it is a stupid thing to take offense to, unless you are an anarchist. Newt is in favor of ensuring that those that can qualify for and afford medical insurance get some; rather than wait until they need it and go to the ER and stick the rest of us with the bill. They will either raise prices at the hospital or raise taxes through government programs. Libertarians will disagree, but they are wrong. What we need is the availability of inexpensive critical illness and/or hospital insurance, which the market (without government mandates of coverage) will provide at low rates. Young healthy people can pay cash at the physicians office, its the hospital that costs so much. They need to cover this so the rest of us don’t have to.

    Additionally, the whole sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi is a canard, please drop it. There are much better things to disagree with Newt about. WTO, GATT, China’s MFN status, etc.

    I’ve also heard Rick back-peddle away from strong family and anti-contraceptive stances. He has said he stresses the family ONLY because it is good economically. I don’t think he actually thinks that, perhaps it is political pandering, but he did say it. He has also said that contraceptives are fine and that it is a personal choice not to use them. That sounds pretty libertarian and again, I don’t think he believes that.

    He is also a little thin-skinned and gets a little pissy when challenged. Facing Obama that will not be good (ironic because Obama is even more thin-skinned.) I know this from personal experience. I challenged him on the fact that he and his fellow Republicans were far from conservative in the compassionate Bush years. I like Rick and I think he is good and faithful man; however, his flaws (like the rest of us) are a problem – the rest of us aren’t running for president though.

    Newt is also a faithful Catholic and as a re-vert/convert myself, I can tell you we tend to be very, very passionate because we came to the Church later in life. That is not to say that those blessed to be raised in the faith are not passionate – so don’t get your panties in a bunch.

    Newt has the skills and the stature to get things done. Conservative things. Things to repair the damage. You are going to have a president who has to work with a not-so-conservative Republican establishment in the House and (probably) a Democratic Senate. Newt can do that, I am not so sure Rick can. Furthermore, Newt can attract libertarians where Santorum probably cannot because of Newt’s developing stance against the Fed and his gold commission. If this is about delegates, and I suspect it will be, Newt can gain Paul’s.

    Nevertheless, I think Rick can be a good president, certainly better than the other three options (worst to least bad: Obama, Romney, Paul.) But, given where we are, Newt is still a better option and he is smart enough to come back again.

  • Obumbler and his minions have nothing to run on except to attack the opposing candidate. They have nothing, NOTHING to run on regarding Obumbler’s record. Obumbler is an extremist left wing hack and is surrounded by the same. if empty headed “independents” are put off by some of Santorum’s social views, which have no chance of being enacted into Federal law or as a Constitutional amendment, then they are as guilty of ruining this country as the political Left.

    I know what would be pure political gold. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, a former daily communicant at St. Mary of Mercy in downtown Pittsburgh – I know this because I saw him at nearly every 7:30 AM Mass – supported Obumbler in 2008 and was rewarded by being appointed Ambassador to Ireland. I know not what Mr. Rooney thinks of Obumbler now, but Mr. Rooney would be required by protocol to submit his resignation to a President-elect Rick Santorum – who would certainly ask Mr. Rooney what he found so attractive about Obumbler.

    So many people seem to think of Santorum as a right wing social extremist and a big spender – just check Red State, who blames Santorum for Rick Perry’s demise as a candidate. Obumbler is the social extremist, not Santorum. Oh, and Rick Perry’s demise was due to Rick Perry. Perry jumped in far too late, debated terribly and allowed Michele Bachmann to beat him up over Gardasil. Erick Erickson would do well to remember that.

  • “Are you better off then you were four years ago?”A question all persons ought to answer before voting.

  • Santorum’s problems have nothing to do with policy matters on balance. As a unabashed conservative I just don’t want him selling my brand. He has courageously taken up the fight but there’s nothing in him which inspires confidence.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Paul.

    Clarification, please:

    You say there are conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and populists?

    And you define and distinguish between them…how, exactly?

    I ask because your definition of “populists” seems to match neither the strict definition of the name nor the behavior of any group distinct from “social conservatives.”

    And then you call them the flip-side of libertarians, saying that “they are socially conservative but economically more liberal.” This presumably means that libertarians are socially liberal but economically more conservative.

    But that’s rather confused, if that’s how you describe libertarians.

    Pro-life libertarians, who’re about 35% of the whole libertarian lot and constitute a solid majority of the libertarians in my home state of Georgia, are typically quite socially conservative if you’re talking about how their personal behavior aligns with traditional morality. The only way in which you can call them “socially liberal” is that, except for abortion, they do not believe in using the coercive power of the state to make everyone obey their traditional mores. (Abortion is the exception, of course, because it involves an assault on an individual’s rights, which, libertarians believe, is exactly what state compulsion is intended to prevent.)

    But is that really “socially liberal?” I don’t see how it can be, because “socially liberal” is also used to describe the statists behind the HHS mandate…and they are using compulsion to make everyone behave as they think they should by forcing everyone to pay for contraceptives. A libertarian would never do that. So how can they both be described as “socially liberal?”

    The fact that libertarians don’t use compulsion in most matters related to sexual mores does not in mean they’re “socially liberal.” Rick Santorum says he doesn’t want to outlaw condoms and wouldn’t lock up homosexuals for homosexual acts; does that make him a libertarian? Does it make him a social liberal?

    I think that if you’re going to break down the American electorate, the only sensible way is to ask them, of any given question affecting human behavior,

    (a.) How ought people to behave in this area of life?

    (b.) Are you willing to exert state compulsion to make them behave that way? Or only try to persuade them to adopt your view voluntarily?

    The “how ought people to behave” answer can either be in accord with Catholic teaching or not.

    The “compulsion” answer will be (at the extremes) either totalitarian or libertarian.

    So a Catholic monarch of the Middle Ages or Byzantine Emperor would presumably have been fairly totalitarian in imposing a Christian moral code, but it would have been a Christian moral code.

    Mao imposed a non-Christian code, but was totalitarian in doing so.

    A Christian libertarian holds a Christian code of behavior, including marital one-man-one-woman fidelity and almsgiving to the needy. He tries to persuade his neighbors to do likewise. But he doesn’t compel them.

    A non-Christian hedonist libertarian holds a non-Christian code of behavior, including smoking pot and spending his money only on himself. He probably doesn’t give a frog’s fat fanny what his neighbors do. But he doesn’t compel them to do as he does.

    A left-liberal progressive holds a Christian view on almsgiving, but an anti-Christian view on sexual matters, and he’s also a statist: He believes in compelling almsgiving via the welfare state, and he believes in compelling contraceptive-buying through the HHS. He is, in a word, an authoritarian on his way to becoming totalitarian.

    I imagine there are also folks who are totalitarian about sex but not economics, and hold Christian views about sex. These folks would outlaw condoms but desire a free-market. There may be such folks, but none of them are running for office.

    Likewise there may be folks who are totalitarian about sex but not economics, and hold anti-Christian views about sex. These folks support the HHS rule changes but are free marketers. I don’t see many of those, either.

    My point in all this is: Libertarianism is NOT defined by a particular view either of sexual morality or economic morality. Those are add-on modules which you must supply yourself. Libertarianism does not claim to have a complete moral compass built in.

    All that Libertarianism says is this: It is immoral for you (or government on your behalf) to use force to compel your neighbor to behave as you wish, unless the compulsion is being used to deter, halt, or punish a violation of the rights of an innocent person (which is to say: a wrongful imposition of force or fraud on that innocent person).

    Libertarianism, then, is (and only claims to be) about a tenth of a philosophy. It supplies the answer to one particular question: When may I pull a gun on my neighbor to make him behave as I wish? If you answer this question as libertarians do, you’re a libertarian. How you answer all the other moral questions determines whether you’re a Catholic libertarian or some other kind.

    Narrowly, on the matter of contraception, Rick Santorum does indeed appear to be a libertarian: He doesn’t believe in using state compulsion either to force people to buy contraceptives, or to force them not to. He’s a Catholic libertarian (on that issue), so he personally opposes them buying contraceptives, but since he won’t use state compulsion to prohibit it, he’s still libertarian on that issue.

    Whether he’s libertarian on any other issue depends on when he does or does not propose force to ensure compliance with his views on that issue.

    Is Rick Santorum a libertarian on abortion? That’s the trickiest one, because libertarians are divided. Pro-life libertarians say Santorum is libertarian on abortion, because he believes in prohibiting an assault on human life, which is one of the things libertarians agree the government is supposed to do. (Libertarians are not anarchists.) They say pro-choice libertarians are hypocritical and have lapsed into anarchism on the topic of abortion.

    Paul, I realize this really wasn’t the main point of your piece, which I liked overall.

    But we Americans on the right are typically believers in limited government, which is why we so often take a libertarian stance on any given topic.

    So, we really ought not misuse the term libertarian. We ought to define it correctly. This will help us keep as many libertarians on board the anti-Obama bandwagon as possible, which is a good thing strategically. And, more importantly, it’ll mean we’re accurate and truthful in how we reason together.

  • BTW, my last note was in reply to Paul Zummo, not Paul D.

    Sorry for any confusion!

  • Zummo, this is what is going to happen to Santorum (and I apologize to Don McC who is not a sports fan):

    Imagine going to see a Red Sox vs. Yankees game (or, what is more to my preference, a Red Birds vs. Brew Crew game – I am trying not to be provincial though.) Imagine all the umpires coming out in Red Sox caps and cheering every time the Sox score a run. Imagine every single hit of the Sox being called safe, even caught fly balls. And every single hit the Yankees hit is called foul. A Yankees runner steals home 3 full seconds before the ball reaches the catcher- but it’s an out, according to the umps.

    Gee, I’m getting angry just IMAGINING such a game. Apply this to the *ha* MSM “rules” governing the behavior of GOP candidates- and you’ll appreciate what Santorum is up against.

  • R.C. : a couple of things. First off, as I said above, this four-pronged layout was admittedly simplistic. I was trying to categorize the ideological breakdown of the nation in a very broad manner.

    As for the libertarian-conservative thing, I might be putting up another post this week that clarifies the distinction. Long story short, conservatives who believe in limited government are not necessarily animated by the same principles as libertarians. Hopefully I will have time to expand on that later on.

  • As for the media backlash against Santorum, as Donald mentioned, there are new media outlets that will provide Santorum (or any GOP candidate) more favorable coverage than existed in the time of Reagan. Of course the counter to that is that there are also an abundance of left-leaning new media that will work in concert with MSM outlets.

  • True Paul, but we have the added advantage, contra the claim of the “reality based community”, that this year reality will have a distinct conservative bias. Many apolitical people I know have told me with what scorn they react to the meme in the mainstream media that “the economy is recovering”. The days when Walter Cronkite could say “Well, that’s the way it is.” and be believed by most Americans seems as far away as the First Punic War.

    In regard to leftist new media outlets, somehow the phrase Vox Nova came to mind, I am confident that conservative new media will more than hold their own.

  • Paul, good luck clarifying “the libertarian-conservative thing.” Modern usage of the terminology complicates things and the American perspective complicates things even more.

    My experience with libertarians is that many of them are deeply idiosyncratic and will defy any attempt to clarify their “ideology.” For many, it ends up being more personal preference than ideologically consistent. Conservatives understand that freedom is limited by human nature, traditionally taking their guidance from a faith-based understanding of human nature, i.e., virtues vs. sins. The Garden of Eden is the quintessential basis of this limitation. God gave us free will; but not free reign.

    Of course, within the American context, the limitation of freedom must be done within constitutional limits. Libertarians mistakenly believe that our Founders were libertarians. They were not. The Founders were conservatives, but uniquely so for their time, who believed in limiting the authority and power of government, especially at the national level, but devising a system of constitutional (written) self-government in which a virtuous people limit their own freedom within those constitutional guidelines.

    As for the Romney-Santorum thing, I am increasingly of the opinion that, given Republicans deeply self-destructive behavior of late, that neither candidate can beat Obama this fall. Santorum, if he is the nominee, and after the media is done with him, will win fewer electoral votes that McCain did in 2008. As bad as the Obama presidency has been, and by our inability to get our act together, we are handing him re-election on a silver platter.

  • “Imagine going to see a Red Sox vs. Yankees game…”

    Or worse yet, imagine going to a Cubs-Cards game at Wrigley where the Cubs have a 10 run lead going into the 6th or 7th inning and they STILL find a way to lose…. that’s what I fear the election may end up being like.

  • I know have told me with what scorn they react to the meme in the mainstream media that “the economy is recovering”.

    Whether they are scornful or not, real domestic product began to increase in June of 2009 and the private-sector labor market ceased imploding in December of 2009. Our most salient problems are prospective (given the wretched state of public finances in most occidental countries and the undercapitalization of European banks) or they are chronic conditions not much influenced by the business cycle (crony capitalism, crony philanthropy, ill-structured welfare programs, &c.).

  • Thanks American Knight for your commentary. The vitriol unleased against Newt speaks volumes…he is feared. Newt is a visionary who can accomplish the ” rebuilding of America.” All forward thinkers are marginalized in their day precisely because they are ahead of their time. Why do people laugh because he envisions America to take the leadership role in space? China and Russia want to own the moon! What kind of world will this be if China and Russia are the global authority and power? We need a forward thinking president who identifies faith in God to be central to leadership. As a recent convert to the Catholic Faith (2009), Newt (not Santorum) proclaimed “marriage is a sacrament” and he was the first to identify religious liberty as a core issue. Like Wayne, my conern with Santorum “Mr. Family Man,” is that he will vote to Federally fund contraception. This, to me, reveals his lack of authenticity. Genuine faith informs decisions- it does not leave it on the doorstep!

  • The vitriol unleased against Newt speaks volumes…he is feared.

    Who fears Newt? I’ve personally defended him from some of the more scurrilous attacks against him. He is not my current favorite pick for the nomination, but he’s certainly preferable to Romney and Paul.

    As a recent convert to the Catholic Faith (2009), Newt (not Santorum) proclaimed “marriage is a sacrament”

    Do you really want to go there? Do you suppose that the once-married, father of seven has a less concrete understanding of the sacramentality of marriage than Newt? Really?

    Like Wayne, my conern with Santorum “Mr. Family Man,” is that he will vote to Federally fund contraception.

    Again, you’re really going to go with Newt Gingrich over Rick Santorum on the issue of contraception?

    As I said, Newt is not so bad. It’s just that he’s not as conservative as Rick Santorum, not as electable as Rick Santorum, and has a much more checkered personal life.

  • Paul Z: As I said, Newt is not so bad. It’s just that he’s not as conservative as Rick Santorum, not as electable as Rick Santorum, and has a much more checkered personal life.

    Paul, it is probably safe to say that people of good will like both Newt and Rick; however, I see many people of faith overlooking some of Rick’s problems (whether real or merely rhetorical). I tended to think he is more ‘conservative’ than Newt, but I am beginning to think he is not as politically confident, which renders him less likely to stand against the Obama machine. As for ‘electability’ (whatever the heck that means), I have spoken to many liberals and liberal-leaning independents who think more fondly of Newt than any other Republican because of the success he built with Clinton, whom they love. I think that makes him more appealing and therefore more electable.

    As for the checkered past, I think that makes him more real and easier to relate to, we must also remember that God prefers to use imperfect instruments. We know that sinners who are aware of their fall are more likely to see the good and humbly accept their role. We live in cynical times and a candidate with previous falls that he has overcome can be more attractive.

    The real difference is in the potential effectiveness. Newt has a strong record here. He has the skill-set to not only articulate conservative principles in a pithy and down-to-earth manner, but he is also willing to break with Republican dogma and express his convictions. He was the first to come out in defense of religion and the Church and he applies the doctrine in a practical manner that appeals to non-Catholics. I think we can do well with either Rick or Newt, but it seems that from a practical perspective, Newt can get more done and sooner. Rick can continue to grow and may very well be the one to sustain the turn-around that Newt can bring.

    We need different men at different times. Often, the visionary who starts a new enterprise is not well suited to continue the work after start-up and rapid growth. I think this may be the same for us now. We need big, radical and effective change and Newt is more capable of that than Rick. There is no question that Newt can mop the floor with Obama and that is the most important step for without that nothing will change.

  • “Whether they are scornful or not, real domestic product began to increase in June of 2009 and the private-sector labor market ceased imploding in December of 2009. ”

    The Illinois unemployment rate is 9.8% Art. I did more bankruptcies last year than any single year in my career, and the pace is picking up. For Illinois, talk of recovery is a sick joke.

  • “There is no question that Newt can mop the floor with Obama and that is the most important step for without that nothing will change.”

    Newt can’t even mop the floor with Romney, and I say that as someone who has written several favorable posts on Newt. As always, Newt’s greatest enemy is himself, as he illustrated in this campaign.

  • As for ‘electability’ (whatever the heck that means), I have spoken to many liberals and liberal-leaning independents who think more fondly of Newt than any other Republican because of the success he built with Clinton, whom they love.

    I remember tales of liberals who said they could happily vote for John McCain. Who did they really vote for when push came to shove? Barack Obama. They will do the same this year. A great example of this was a left-leaning friend of mine who claimed all year in 2008 that she would vote for McCain over Obama. In the end she of course voted for Obama. Why? It came down to Vice Presidents. Since neither McCain or Obama would likely survive their term (McCain would die of old age and Obama would get assassinated), then she had to choose Biden over Palin.

    Never discount the mental contortions people will go to in order to justify voting behavior.

    I’m not a fan of discussing electability, but there’s no getting around the fact that Gingrich is enormously unpopular with the electorate. Santorum, on the other hand, appeals to voters in swing states like Michigan and Ohio. We can never know exactly how things will play out, but I think Santorum would have a slight advantage here.

    There’s also the matter of debates. I think Newt is horribly overrated. I’ve been saying since the beginning, before I had determined my order of preference among the candidates, that Santorum was much better substantively than Gingrich. Gingrich is all show and drama, and I’m not sure that will play in a general election debate. Besides, if presidential elections were actually decided by debates, well, our election results in recent times would have likely been different.

    Otherwise, I’m not going to argue too much about Gingrich. I think that some of his more “out there” tendencies of thought will be restrained by a Republican. I even agree that his moon colony idea is not a deal breaker. He would most likely make a fine president, and I could live with him if he got elected. But I prefer Rick, for reasons already stated.

  • I think this discussion says a great deal. It is easy to idealize a candidate before they run and then act disappointed in the options. The fact is we have two really good choices and I suspect that most of us would be happy with Rick or Newt. I give a nod to Newt, you give a nod to Rick, but none of us are that invested one way or the other and not because of lukewarmness or mediocre candidates, but because both are strong.

    I think Newt has done very well in the debates. I agree that he was derailed by Romney in Florida because I don’t think Newt was expecting Obamaesque lies out of a ‘colleague’, peer, or whatever. Do debates make a president? No. But, it certainly will play when Obama and the Rep nom go head to head. Romney loses, Paul has a minority appeal (fervent as it is), Santorum will look angry and combative – Newt will reveal Obama for the hollow fool that he is.

    As for show, well, this is a celebrity obsessed and fickle culture, so that has some play; however, Newt backs it up with substance and he has delivered in the past. Additionally, his ouster was orchestrated by Republicans who could not handle the necessary negotiation with Clinton and the RINOs who did not want to be restrained. Look what the compassionate conservatism that is Republican policy after Newt was discharged has cost – sickening.

    He does not only lay out a big picture that is conservative, American, faithful and probably populist; but he tells us HOW he is going to get it done, which I suspect is something professional campaign managers detest. The simple fact is that America is headed toward severe decline unless big changes back toward our principles happen and happen now. I am hopeful that we will come out better for it. The Roman Republic’s battles between the populares and optimates preceded a period of Republican stability long before the rise and fall of the Empire.

    I think we can agree that Romney is useless, Paul, although he has some merits, is ideologically a libertarian materialist (doomed to eventual failure) and Obama is extremely dangerous (incompetent as he is). Gingrich/Santorum works for me, and I accept Santorum/Gingrich. I suspect that is the case for most of us.

  • For Illinois, talk of recovery is a sick joke.

    Even in the most prosperous times, there are depressed areas.

  • As for the checkered past, I think that makes him more real and easier to relate to,

    I seem to recall his lieutanant William Paxon, who had been in politics his entire adult life, said he was motivated to seek a career change due to listening to Dr. Gingrich yapping about himself one evening. Mr. Paxon did not actually use the term ‘narcissist’, to be sure…

  • No question that Newt has an issue with pride (hubris) and being enamored with his own prowess. Then, again, which of us in a position of leadership with natural competence doesn’t have to struggle with that? I was most certainly a self-centered egoist until God knocked me down a few (hundred) notches. I came back to the Church of my infancy.

    Newt has grown into the Catholic Church. Rarely does one choose to become Catholic, especially later in life because it is easy or satisfies your ego. What other Church demands such a total submission? Far easier for an egoist to remain comfortably Protestant.

    It is easy to confuse confidence with pride. I see a man who has been humbled and matured. Does he still have egoist tendencies? Probably. Grace builds upon nature. Newt’s temperament has not changed; however, it seems that his character has and to what does he attribute the change? The Holy Eucharist.

  • It is overly simplistic to make the inference that the number of children one has renders a concrete understanding of the sacramentality of marriage. Santorum correctly identifies a core problem affecting America’s society today- the destruction of the family. Contraception destroys confidence in God because it says that we do not trust God to design our families. Contraception has the potential to destroy human life that is just beginning in the womb. Santorum, in supporting federally funded contraception, is sanctioning its use.
    The funding of contraception services by people of faith is the way that the HHS mandate is attacking religious liberty. It is by no coincidence that contraception services is the instrument chosen to destroy religious liberty. John Paul II wrote in his Encylical “The Gospel of Life,” “Here though we shall concentrate particular attention on another category of attacks, affecting life in its earliest and its final stages, attacks which present new characteristics with respect to the past and which raise questions of extraordinary seriousness. It is not only that in generalized opinion these attacks tend no longer to be considered as ‘crimes’; paradoxically they assume the nature of ‘rights’, to the point that the State is called upon to give them legal recognition and to make them available through the free services of health-care personnel. Such attacks strike human life at the time of its greatest frailty, when it lacks any means of self-defence. Even more serious is the fact that, most often, those attacks are carried out in the very heart of and with the complicity of the family-the family which by its nature is called to be the ‘sanctuary of life’.”
    This is the very crossroads we find ourselves in today with this current HHS mandate… the legislation of reproductive rights. Most all other Christian faiths have embraced the contraception mentality. The rejection of “Humane Vitae” by prelates in the American Church is the issue that is rearing its ugly head. It is not an issue to relegate to the back. In my opinion, it needs to be front and center for the survival of this country. Finally, we export the contraception mentality to poor nations by attaching contraception services as a requirement for them to receive essential assistance such as food and medicine.

  • God knows, you can’t please everyone. Go, Rick!

    I am with him on defending the family. But for you, Paul Z, I’ll let it ride.

    God bless.

  • I dunno.

    It seems an Iowa poll has Obama beating Newt Gingrich 51 to 37. However, pharaoh loses to the others, including Ron Paul.

    I’m shocked.

    Where is the corn belt gratitude for keeping ethanol in 10% of all US gasoline and running up the prices of farmland into the stratosphere?

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.