Conservatives and "Personal Autonomy"


At the Cato Institute blog, David Boaz calls out Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker for assuming that, because he is a Republican, former Sen. Rick Santorum must be "pro-limited government." A little bit of Googling and Boaz digs up this gem from a 2005 interview with NPR:

One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. You know, the left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they touch each other. They come around in the circle. 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. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we've had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

Most conservatives understand that individuals can't go it alone? Societies are doomed to failure if governments refuse to "get involved in the bedroom"? If you can stomach it, Boaz also points to this video in which Mr. Limited Government "denounced America's Founding idea of 'the pursuit of happiness'" and rails against the "mantra of the left: I have a right to do what I want to do."