Douthat, Santorum and Tolerant Hate

Monday, January 9, AD 2012

The mocking of the Santorums for the manner in which they grieved over the death of their new-born son Gabriel Michael Santorum by Alan Colmes and Eugene Robinson has been explored in two previous posts here at TAC, and they may be read here and here.  Ross Douthat tackled the subject in the New York Times:

But if the attacks on the Santorums’ personal choices were incoherent (so incoherent, in fact, that both Colmes and Robinson soon backtracked), they were also entirely characteristic of our moment. This is the second consecutive election cycle in which a Republican politician has endured a bizarre obstetrics-related controversy; last time, we had the various conspiracy theories surrounding Sarah Palin’s pregnancy and her Down syndrome son.

In a sense, one could say that these kinds of invasive debates become inevitable once the traditional zone of privacy around public figures collapses. But it would be more accurate to say that the zone of privacy has collapsed precisely because of the deep moral divisions that these kinds of controversies reveal.

Privacy is a luxury of moral consensus. Nobody would have thought to politicize the premature birth and death of John F. Kennedy’s son Patrick, because abortion wasn’t a polarizing issue in the America of 1963. But if a white politician in the Jim Crow South had married a black woman, the relationship would inevitably have been seen as a political gesture as well a personal decision.

Today, we are less divided over race, but more divided over sex and reproduction. In a country that cannot agree whether fetuses are human beings, even questions like how to mourn and bury a miscarried child are inevitably freighted with ideological significance. Likewise, in a country where the majority of Down syndrome fetuses are aborted, the mere act of carrying a child with a genetic disorder to term — as both the Palins and the Santorums, whose daughter Bella has Trisomy 18, have done — feels like a political statement.

Go here to read the rest.  The column is a good restrained look at this issue.  What is truly interesting however, are the comments reacting to the column.  Almost uniformly, they are completely unsympathetic to Santorum and his family, and most say that his beliefs against gay marriage and abortion are so despicable that he is fair game for this type of criticism.  A random sample:

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5 Responses to Douthat, Santorum and Tolerant Hate

  • Many liberals are purely evil. We need to help them.

    In Christian charity, we need to work to bring them to virtue. We need to bring them the good news.

  • The militant homosexualists and abortionists have little fear of showing their true colours now. It may be a little late but war to the knife should be the order of the day when dealing these people. Trying to understand them, or to persuade them of the reasonableness of the Christian position is a pointless errand, as what enrages them is the mere existence of committed Christians. And when it comes in a package as attractive as Sarah Palin, it infuriates them even more, driving them into a fury like the sans culottes who paraded around with human heads on pikes.

  • they hate anything that recognizes the humanity of unborn children. pray for them.

  • I skipped through 155 comments on another site this morning about Mr Santorum. Their comment section was closed. I was amazed at the venom poured on the Santorums. At least one wrote as if they brought this up for political gain, seemed not to know it was in answer to a question on the campaign trail, upset his wife visibly. Others seemed to act as if the decision to accelerate the birth was an attemoted abortion, but ended in a premature delivery of an already dead baby. Not a fetus, bhy the way, but a baby. One OB GYN physician wrote that the drug given was perfectly normal. We all know the principle of double effect, we can do something to relieve a condition in the human body, even if it may result in death, whether the patient is a single man swith a specific medical condition or a mother with a difficult pregnancy. I know that dirty politics did not begin with the 24/7 news and the ingternet, blogs and social media. However the sickness is so much more evil today with hat 24/7 spread of hate, lies and one-sided attacks. The only cure is civilised discourse but I am off to drain the Atlantic before I tackle that one.