Rick Santorum v. Ron Paul on Constitutional Interpretation: Santorum Fail

|

Get this man away from our Constitution

An item over at the Weekly Standard blog quotes Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum as taking his rival hopeful Ron Paul to task for his too narrow interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the sanctimonious Santorum states:

My understanding of our founding documents and the purpose of this country is different. I would argue that [Paul's] understanding of the Constitution was similar to the French Revolution and the French understanding of the Constitution. 

So what does Santorum mean by this? Well, he suggests that he wants to incorporate the Declaration of Independence into his version of Constitutional interpretation. Why? Santorum argues:

Ron Paul has a libertarian view of the Constitution. I do not. The Constitution has to be read in the context of another founding document, and that's the Declaration of Independence. Our country never was a libertarian idea of radical individualism. We have certain values and principles that are embodied in our country. We have God-given rights. 

The Constitution is not the "why" of America; it's the "how" of America. It's the operator's manual. It's the rules we have to play by to ensure something. And what do we ensure? God-given rights. And so to read the Constitution as the end-all, be-all is, in a sense, what happened in France. You see, during the time of our revolution, we had a Declaration of Independence that said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, [that they are] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Hmmm. "Not about radical individualism?" Why not? Because Santorum claims: 

So we were founded as a country that had God-given rights that the government had to respect. And with those rights come responsibilities, right? God did not just give us rights. He gave us a moral code by which to exercise them. 

See, that's what Ron Paul sort of leaves out. He leaves out rights and responsibilities that we have from God that this Constitution is to protect. And he says, "No, we just have rights, and then that's it." No, we don't. America is a moral enterprise….

So Santorum goes on about "rights and responsibilities" allegedly derived from the Declaration of Independence.

However, you will not find the words "responsibility" or "responsibilities" in the text. You will find "right" and "rights" mentioned 10 times. For what it's worth "God" and "Creator" and "divine Providence" are mentioned once each. 

So what about Santorum's canard about Paul's failure to include insights from the Declaration as resulting in an allegedly radical French interpretation of the U.S. Constitution? Here Santorum demonstrates his historical ignorance again: 

The French had 21, I think, constitutions, but their constitutions were initially patterned after the American Constitution. Gave radical freedom, like ours does. But their founding document was not the Declaration of Independence. Their founding watchwords were the words, "liberty" and "fraternity." Fraternity. Brotherhood. But no fatherhood. No God. It was a completely secular revolution. An anti-clerical revolution. And the root of it was, whoever's in power rules.

Just like the French constitutions cited by Santorum, our Constitution does not mention God or any of His many euphemisms in its text. But what about Santorum's claim that there as "no God" mentioned in the French Republic's "founding document"?  Well, that's just wrong. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was adopted by the National Assembly in 1789 as it plainly states….

… in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being….

So both American and French declarations mention euphemisms for the divine, and both American and French constitutions do not. 

Seems like Paul knows a bit more about the Constitution than does Santorum. 

Advertisement

NEXT: Etta James, RIP

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. For crap’s sake, I almost just punched my monitor.

    1. har! My exact reaction below.

  2. I have noticed the Santorum likes to preface individualism with the word “radical”.

    The quotes in this post are not the first instance I have noticed of him doing that.

    There is nothing “radical” about individiualism to begin with.

    1. Unless you’re a collectivist.

      1. …or just a Pennsylvania douchebag!

      2. maybe dick santorum thinks we’re a theocracy? That would explain his jonesing to eliminate competing theocracies via military force.

        1. —“dick santorum”—

          Isn’t the dick part implied when speaking of “santorum”?

    2. Your just saying that because you want fuck sheep or other non-females.

      1. What about female sheep?

        1. What about female humans? Does Santorum envision a country of lesbians and celibate men?

          1. “a country of lesbians and celibate men?”

            Isn’t this a good description of Vatican City? Nuns (AKA lesbians who wear habits) and (supposedly) celibate men?

            1. You are a disgusting person.

    3. I have noticed the Santorum likes to preface individualism with the word “radical”.

      I like “property rights extremist”.

      Is that like eschewing human rights extremists?

      Oh, just sometimes we kill and torture them…

  3. WTF? Santorum is a fucking moron. If we actually were to somehow incorporate the Declaration of Independence into the Constitution, we’d be MUCH MORE radically individualistic than we are now. After all, if says that if some of us don’t like the movie, we can walk out.

    1. Hey frothy shit boy, what about this line:

      But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government,

      We have an executive that executes American citizens without any due process, Congress legislates much more than is allowed in Article I, Section 8. Since FDR, our judiciary essentially rolled over the the legislative and executive. Our Despotism is more like a slow tumor than say a bulldozer like Hitler.

      But back to my point. How does shitboy think about having the fucking duty to revolt?

      1. The funny thing is, Troy, most idiots that spew bullshit about American history, the Constitution, or any of the plethora of Founding texts and documents will have at least a superficial knowledge of them. Santorum’s not even worth addressing — he’s so fucking clueless, it literally made my head hurt. “Radical”-fucking-“individualism”? Does this fuckwad even know what country he’s in?

        If there’s a God, he invented car accidents for shitheads like Santorum.

        1. Seriously. If I were Censor–and I should be–he’d be stricken from the citizenship rolls and on his way to Greenland right now. “This is America, asshole! We invented crazed individualism!”

    2. Though the mills of socialism grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding fine;

  4. Well the good news is that Paul is leading Santorum by 5% in the latest poll, meaning Santorum is pretty much toast if he comes in 4th and will likely drop out.

    What do you think would be the best scenario for Paul? Gingrich wins on Saturday and stays in through Florida, or Romney wins and Gingrich and Santorum both drop out? With the former instance I think we’d see a pretty big contrast in the debates where Paul would be given more time, while in the latter the media would declare the race over and relentlessly pressure Paul to drop out or pledge to eventually support Romney.

    1. PERCENTAGE POINTS. Sorry, tic.

      1. I prefer “pps”

      2. Enjoy C.J. Wilson’s guaranteed post-season choke, suckas.

        Sincerely,

        A Rangers fan

        1. You forgot about the long and tragic decline of Albert Pujols. Even A-Rod’s contract will compare favorably to his by 2016.

          Ok, maybe not, but it’ll be close. But hey, continue to collect all those bad contracts, it’s not like the Yankees ever had any problems between 2002 and 2009.

          1. Yep that contract is retarded.

            1. It’s less about beisbol and more about business. They just want the ticket sales, merch, and publicity that will come with Pujols chasing the home run record.

              1. They may be right but it’ll take a lot of sales to make up for his contract. In the end winning is the best driver of sales not one particular star and in a few years that huge contract will hamstring them.

        2. Who needs C.J.? I got Yu, babe.

      3. Matt, I wish your head woudl pop up on TV every time someone makes that error.

      4. When I grow up Mr Welch I want to be just like you.

    2. My prediction:

      Gingrich – 35%
      Romney – 25%
      Paul – 20%
      Santorum – 20%

      Maybe Gingrich and Romney are reversed.

      1. In other words, Gingrich gains a tiny boost to a shitty, dying campaign, Romney fails to give a fuck because he’s the front-runner anyway, and Paul keeps going strong and gaining support.

        1. If Gingrich wins like that, he will be the front runner, in terms of delegates.

          SC is 2 to the winner in each congressional district (7 districts, 14 delegates) and 11 to the winner of the state. With no unpledged delegates (they lost those 3 as part of the 50% penalty for early primaries).

          1. Has there been any polling by district? Is it possible for Paul to win any? You would think that this would be something the press would focus on since the delegates are what matters.

            1. How much time has the press spent on estimating the Iowa delegate count?

              About none at all.

      2. I’d be giddy if Paul gets 20%+. I think beating Santorum is a more realistic goal.

    3. I hope Gingrich loses some voters. It’s only been a day since his ex-wife’s interview so maybe some of that will percolate through.

      I’d like to see Paul surprise everyone and get 20% of the vote and take second in S.C. (or 30% and 1st but that is even less realistic).

      However, I’ll be happy if he gets 15% and beats Santorum (or Gingrich) by at least 2-3% points.

      In the long run, Paul will be much better if both Newt and Ricky drop out so he will get many of their voters.

      And can run against Romney as Obama-lite.

  5. Seems Santorum’s major beef with Paul is that Paul claims that individual rights simply exist, and fails to claim that they originate from the Invisible Man.

    1. I’m fine with him saying the natural rights spring from God, so long as he advocates civil liberties and limited government. Which he doesn’t, of course.

      Paul is religious, so I imagine that he sees God as the ultimate source of liberty, etc. Doesn’t really matter.

      1. Maybe that’s why the D of I mentions a Creator, so that it could mean God, Buddha, or your parents.

        1. The Prime Mover Unmoved.

          1. i’ll move your prime

          2. Zodiac Mindwarp back to the 1980’s with Prime Mover!

        2. or the singularity of matter from which this universe sprung.

        3. Well, probably not Buddha.

          1. Thank Buddha it’s Friday!

        4. Most likely it meant “God” in the sense of the Great Clockmaker who created the universe and everything in it and then let things go as they would, while he went to smoke a j. Most of the Founders were deists, not christians.

          1. And the primary author of the Declaration, TJ, might have been close to atheist. I don’t think he was full-blown god denier, but he certainly was not very religious. He used terms such as to “divine providence” and “creator” – which leave wide open many possibilities – rather than “The Almighty Father” or “God” or anything.

            And in fact, the opening sentence of the Declaration states that “the laws of nature, and of nature’s god” were what entitled the United States to “assume among the power of the earth” a separate and equal station.

            I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of re-reading that document – it truly is some amazing, masterful writing. Who writes like that these days?

            1. And the handwriting is intense.

        5. Yeah, Buddha isn’t a god, he’s revered but not worshiped.

      2. I’m with you. I am an atheist, but I am not an anti-religionist.

        If someone wants to say individual rights come from their invisible friend, that’s fine with me as long as they will defend them.

          1. These evangelicals don’t want peace because it would mean postponing Armageddon. That’s why their leaders oppose Ron Paul.

            I never thought of it that way, but that guy might be on to something.

            1. Sounds like the logic of suicide terrorists…Obama going to fire up a drone over the next repub debate site…in the interest of nat sec and all?

          2. That’s a creepy but I’m afraid accurate article.

            Too many of them find solace and joy in the thought of mass slaughter that they constantly believe is right around the corner.

            1. I grew up in a fundie church, and yes it is creepy.

              These people take great joy in the notion that everyone who has not accepted Jebus whatshisface into their hearts as their Lord and Savior joined their club will die a terrible death.

          3. That’s a good bitch slap.

  6. And with those rights come responsibilities, right?

    [face-palm] Ugh, no you fucking idiot. Rights, at least negative rights, are prescriptions against the government from impeding my “radical” liberty. I am not part of the equation you stupid fucking twit. God, and this moron wonders why he is now a synonym for frothy shit.

    1. Indeed.

      We have negative rights and negative responsibiles.

      There is nothing such thing as affirmative rights or affirmative responsibilies.

      1. “There is nothing such thing as …affirmative responsibilies.”

        Not a priori anyway. You can certainly get yourself into situations where you do, though.

      2. There is nothing such thing as affirmative rights or affirmative responsibilies.

        But, but, but if that’s true then you can’t use threat of violence to extort money from one group and give it to another, or use threat of violence to get people to act a certain way in the privacy of their home!

        Where’s the fun in that?

    2. Well I dunno – I believe that with great liberty comes great responsibility – and so did the Framers. Maybe not necessarily the kind of responsibility Santorum is talking about – i.e., not an obligation to read the Bible, attend church and pray. But certain a responsibility to defend your neighbor’s rights as you would your own. Else you’re being a big, fat hypocrite.

      John Adams: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

      Of course, Adams was a borderline monarchist.

      And this one from Franklin is kinda cool, actually:

      “You yourself may find it easy to live a virtuous Life without the Assistance afforded by Religion; you having a clear Perception of the Advantages of Virtue and the Disadvantages of Vice, and possessing a Strength of Resolution sufficient to enable you to resist common Temptations. But think how great a Proportion of Mankind consists of weak and ignorant Men and Women, and of inexperienc’d and inconsiderate Youth of both Sexes, who have need of the Motives of Religion to restrain them from Vice, to support their Virtue, and retain them in the Practice of it till it becomes habitual … If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?”

      Of course, Franklin also wrote: “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

      Anyhow, to my mind, the notion of great responsibility accompanying great liberty is what in fact separates a libertarian from a mere libertine.

      1. By the way, I don’t mean a duty to be enforced by government; more like a mutual responsibility to be conscious and respectful of the rights of others as you exercise your own, just as you would expect them to be with regard to yours.

      2. Franklin is here assuming that “Religion” is an unfettered force for virtuosity and against vice. While I have no less respect for religion than any of the other delusions that we require to trick ourselves into getting up each morning, the historical data is not entirely on Ben’s side there.

        Religion can just as easily encourage evil conduct as good.

      3. The bible says to never accept authority. It says those who accept walk in darkness and lack understanding, and that they accept the wicked.

        Which is exactly what you see in religion.

  7. A bit OT, but if you needed any more reasons to be suspicious of Romney:

    In the 2012 campaign, Romney has not spoken as forcefully against bailouts as some of his GOP rivals. During an October 2011 debate, Romney said he didn’t like the idea of another Wall Street bailout, but he did leave the door open to that possibility.
    “There’s no question?that the action that President Bush and that Secretary Paulson took was designed to keep not just a collapse of individual banking institutions, but to keep the entire currency of the country worth something and to keep all the banks from closing and to make sure we didn’t all lose our jobs,” Romney said.
    “Was it perfect? No. Was it well implemented? No, not particularly. Were there some institutions that should not have been bailed out? Absolutely,” he said. “But?this approach of saying, ‘Look, we’re going to have to preserve our currency and maintain America and our financial system’?is essential.”

    You heard it here first, folks: without the bailouts, we’d be living in Mad Max world.

    1. Well, they were telling congressmen that there would be chaos in the streets and martial law if they didn’t pass TARP.

  8. Santorum has it exactly backwards: the French Revolution was about unlimited, centralized authority. This of course is what Santorum supports.

    To suggest that Santorum has even a smidgen of credibility on the Constitution in comparison to Ron Paul is like comparing me to the heavy weight champion of the world: it’s laughably pathetic.

    1. Santorum thinks people still hate anything “French” like they were supposed to in 2003. That’s why he went there.

    2. I suspect Santorum is just saying what he thinks his potential voters want to hear at this point.

  9. Congrats, Rick. I now officially hate you more than Newt.

    1. That’s such a tough call, though, isn’t it? Cumfarts has his twittery, defensive self-righteousness, his rage with nonchristofags wrapped up taught and sarcastic. Meanwhile, Newt jiggles like a balloon full of diarrhea and grandiosity.

      If I had to choose just one for ruler of the universe, I guess I’d go with the coil o’ catholic guilt over the bacchian wine lord.

      1. a balloon full of diarrhea

        I’m calling this band name.

      2. If someone held a gun to my head and made me choose between these two, I’d welcome the sweet embrace of death.

        1. Unfortunately, I’m worried whichever doesn’t survive the next few votes will endorse the other and that other will gather enough combined support to beat Romney and Paul.

          Romney sucks but those two are just flat out awful. At least unprincipled, spineless jellyfish can be shaped in the right direction.

          1. It’s good to see you guys coming along to reality…

  10. The reason France has tried multiple times to draft a constitution is because like all humans, including Santorum, they believe they are soooooo smart that they can ‘fix’ those ‘problems’ the US Constitution didn’t address correctly.

    For instance, one can no longer write a simple premise like this government shall make no law against freedom of speech, but instead it has paragraphs to explain how some speech is harmful and isn’t ‘free’, like corporations spending on politics, while other….

    You see the issue is, in their genius, they over-complicated easy issues by thinking about all the technical issues and loopholes.

    Whereas the US Constitution was minimal. As it should be really as a constitution should not be a legal document, but a philosophical one which should contain guidelines, not technical details.

    Think if the US had to rewrite the constitution…. anyone think easy things like Congress shall make no law would pass?

    Why not?

    Cause we’re just that much smarter. We see the things the founders couldn’t have seen, like corporations with money, or people with guns….

    I could easily be wrong, but from what I see, a lot of that failure seems to be in the complexity today’s humans seem to think needs to exist to ‘fix’ the wrongs of the past.

    1. The greatest thing the British gave us was common law as opposed to civil law.

    2. I would dread a constitutional convention called now.

      Healthcare and education would become inalienable rights. And you would have the inalienable right to pay for it all.

      1. You are not kidding Jim. A convention would be insane. Lets see, who do you trust to write a constitution, the political class of the late 18th Century or the one we have now? Are you nuts?

    3. But the vagaries of the constitution are exactly what are exploited to enable big government and big brother. It’s been like this from the beginning. Every other act of congress is hundreds or thousands of pages long. They entirety of the law they have to follow is a few pages of easily ignored vagueness.

      1. You have to really strain yourself to call most of the Constitution “vague”. Of course, any text is going to have vagueness and ambiguity in it, but the Constitution is a model of clarity.

        And, here’s a dirty little secret from a professional obfuscator:

        Since ambiguity is inherent in language, the more words you use, the more vagueness(or, at least, opportunities to create disputes and manufacture evasions) you create in your document.

        1. But RC, they started fighting about its meaning pretty much the day it was enacted. Washington’s first cabinet was at each other’s throats. There is clearly more than one reasonable way to look at it.

        2. Ok, then, if you don’t call it vague, then it gives absolute power to Congress.

          To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes

          Absolute power to regulate all commerce within the US.

          The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare

          Absolute power to do anything as long as it doesn’t single people out and even then they can if they word the law right.

          To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

          They can do whatever they want to the money any time they want to.

          The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

          Anything they want to define as an income is fair game. They can take any or all of it.

          If the constitution is not vague then it is totalitarian.

        3. professional obfuscator

          Oh, I need to use that. Consider it borrowed.

        4. the more words you use, the more vagueness(or, at least, opportunities to create disputes and manufacture evasions) you create in your document.

          My favorite is when a lawyer will draft a doc with some big long paragraph explaining a provision, and then the write another sentence to clarify it all by starting, “For the avoidance of doubt…”

        5. You have to really strain yourself to call most of the Constitution “vague”.

          Keep in mind, most of the constitution isn’t violated by the current federal government. No one is bent on misinterpreting the age limits for the president, senators, or representatives, for example. The parts we disagree with them on are some of the more vague parts: “general welfare”, “unreasonable search and seizure”, etc.

          Plus there are a few more parts where we have read some extra stuff of our own into the text that wasn’t there when it was written, particularly the first and fourth amendments.

      2. I dunno, “shall not be infringed” sounds pretty unvague to me, for starters.

        1. The problem is what you might consider to be an “infringement” upon your “right” might not meet everyone’s definition.

          Is it an “infringement” on your right to “keep” and “bear” “arms” to limit the capacity of a detachable magazine to no more than 10 rounds? I’m a huge Second Amendment fanatic (i.e., strongly pro gun rights), and I have to admit I’m not so sure it would be. The government would not be denying you, or even hindering your right to “keep” or “bear” any “arms.” It would be limiting the number of round that gun – which you can freely and legally buy, own and carry – can hold. There is no Constitutional right to a gun of any particular capacity or caliber.

          There certainly are parts of the Constitution that are pretty clear and unequivocal – e.g., the Presentment Clause, which says when Congress presents the President with a bill, he has two choices: sign it or return it with his objections, period. Unfortunately, the Second Amendment is not one of those nice, clear parts.

        2. But what “shall not be infringed”? You can’t go complaining that sentence fragments are plainly obvious in meaning when the trouble comes from another part of the sentence.

  11. In Santorum World, Pursuit of Happiness is defined as telling other people how to live.

    Am I reading this right?

    1. i’d like to pursue his happiness

      1. Nobody can resist the sweater vest.

  12. So why isn’t America “a moral enterprise” based on 18th-century Deism? The Creator in the D of I doesn’t sound much like the Abrahamic God.

    1. Yes he does. He is just not the cartoon Abrahamic God that is usually presented. The Abrahamic God is a mystery and generally only known to man indirectly through his works. When Moses asks to see God, God metaphorically turns his back and doesn’t let Moses see his face. What that metaphor means is that human beings are not intellectually capable of understanding God directly. God is being and existence. A bit analogous to Plato’s cave shadows.

      1. By god, you’re right! Plato should be able to shut down any website that features that bible stuff, and he should get the royalties from all those bible sales! Plato’s an MPAA member, right?

        1. Well he is a published author.

      2. Right, he created humans with the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and then started commanding them to kill and imprison each other.

        He got all bitchy with King David for not exterminating the Canaanites down to the last woman and child, remember?

        1. You are assuming you have any idea what God is thinking or can grasp his motives and understand him the way you do a human being Tulpa.

          You are just looking for a nice old man in the sky. Sorry but that is not God.

          1. John — does “God” will what is moral because it morally good, or is it morally good because God will it?
            The classic horns of a dilemma.
            If the first is true, God has no choice and is rendered otiose; if the latter, all our common sense standards
            of justice and ethics are subject to the whims of some suprasensible Agent
            beyond rational scrutiny — no thanks!
            When you start removing attributes from `God’ (so as to avoid rendering Him non-mysterious and understandable in human terms) you encounter the paradox of a Philosopher’s God who might as well be placed alongside Camus’s Benignly Indifferent Cosmos.

            “There is no answer; there ain’t never gonna be any answer — THAT’S
            the answer!” — Gertrude Stein

          2. You are just looking for a nice old man in the sky. Sorry but that is not God.

            Why would it be? We reportedly were fashioned in God’s image. He might not be any nicer than we are.

            1. “John” might go for the ploy of insisting that what is most defining of human nature qua human is REASON/RATIONALITY and “therefore’ humans are created in that image —- anyway the original has “Elohim” which is plural, so the whole argument is problematic from the jump.

              G. Stein was right!

  13. Santorum is by far the worst candidate in the field. Romney and titties are power hungry jackasses who should be nowhere near the white house but Santorum is a true believer statist at a philosophical level. Titties has a bit of that in the sense that if only he were in charge he could solve everyone’s problems but it’s not nearly as bad. I guess I can understand why RP has been less adversarial with Romney (beyond the tactical reasons), he at least conceivably could be convinced to support something if he thought it would get him elected/re-elected since that seems to be the only guiding principle he has.

    Fuck.

  14. Santorum is like most of the SoCon clowns with their need to use the Declaration because the word “god” appears in the text, therefore they must have meant Jesus, and so we must all bow down to their biblical interpretation of how to live in this country. His lack of knowledge about the constitution astounds me so much I had to rant about it yesterday to a much greater degree than I could do here. It has the fairly straight forward and factual title of “Just to be Clear, Rick Santorum is an Idiot”: http://www.libertariansjustlik…..idiot.html

  15. I feel like joining the Santorum-haters here.

    Paul has made explicit that he believes in the Declaration of Independence and its doctrine of God-given rights.

    And when people have rights, free from arbitrary government, it’s easier for them to form voluntary associations – businesses, mutual-aid associations, etc. I saw my great-grandfather’s membership info in a fraternal organization – he had to aver that he didn’t drink, if he wanted to get their benefits. How is that radical individualism?

    Wow – people looking out for each other without a French-style Santorum welfare state bossing them around. How radical!

  16. I feel like joining the Santorum-haters here.

    Paul has made explicit that he believes in the Declaration of Independence and its doctrine of God-given rights.

    And when people have rights, free from arbitrary government, it’s easier for them to form voluntary associations – businesses, mutual-aid associations, etc. I saw my great-grandfather’s membership info in a fraternal organization – he had to aver that he didn’t drink, if he wanted to get their benefits. How is that radical individualism?

    Wow – people looking out for each other without a French-style Santorum welfare state bossing them around. How radical!

    1. Ah, the squirrels have turned their attentions to me – I had been feeling lonely.

      Many of Paul’s supporters are secular-minded – I don’t know if that’s the case with Santorum, but it shows an ability to build coalitions without surrendering his core beliefs.

  17. i wish Crayola made their crayons taste like their colors because the one I’m eating now tastes bad.

    1. A brown one then?

    2. You could always go back to eating school paste, Rather. 🙂

  18. His whole “French interpretation” thing is just bizarre. Can anyone make any sense of it?

    1. He secretly envies their centralized welfare state and the way local governments are simply “departments” created by the central authorities and bound to do what the central authorities want.

      I don’t agree with the meme that he’s a closet gay, but he’s a not-very-far-into-the-closet European-style social democrat. Interestingly that he basically projects this onto others.

    2. Romney speaks French. Ron Paul favors the French view of the constitution. Gingrich does French monogamy.

      It’s like “French” becamse the mudslinger’s insult of first resort.

      1. It was used against Kerry, also. Not that I have any sympathy for that…thing…but the ability to speak French is not some kind of damning trait.

        Curious they felt that it was bad when Kerry did it, but the base doesn’t much seem to care that ROMNIAC is also programmed with that language.

        1. Statement: Meatbags do not care how many languages a protocol droid speaks.

      2. Couldn’t he have just done what liberals do and called Palin stupid or said “Faux News”?

    3. Can anyone make any sense of it?

      He’s just trying to make himself look learned. Nothing more.

    4. He’s just grasping for straws. The guy does not know how to shut up and has to respond to every perceived slight.

      It probably has something to do with the French Revolution’s explicit atheism and oppression of the Catholic Church.

  19. a lot of that failure seems to be in the complexity today’s humans seem to think needs to exist to ‘fix’ the wrongs of the past

    “Congress shall make no law” could become “Congress shall not, will not, can not, may not, is expressly forbidden to, and is explicitly denied the ability to make any law”.

    Complexity failure, not.

    1. “And any individual citizen or group of citizens is empowered to kill them if they do.”

    2. (Corrupt Congressman reads this): “But
      you didn’t say, `positively not.’

  20. Is it OK to say that Santorum is a dipshit? ‘Cause he is. He should get out now before he does any more to earn his nasty synonym.

    1. Not only is it okay; it’s encouraged.

  21. I agree with uncle Santorum.

    With great freedom comes great responsibility.

    1. Correct. Enjoy our products responsibly.

  22. “We have God-given rights.”

    Where the insertion of God into this statement does not imply the responsibility that Santorum wishes it did, it does imply something else; that, being God-given, no one (e.g. a king) could rationally claim to possess a God-given right to take away the rights of another.

    1. This is it right here.

      It’s not that God gave me the rights and therefore I’m obligated to do what he tells me to do. It’s that God gave me the rights and WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TO TRY AND TAKE THEM AWAY?

      Or to put it another way, if God created me and gave me the free will to reject him, then dammit I can reject your meddlin’ government’s authority over me, too, fuckface.

      1. I have dibs on Santorum should a violent revolution occur, but for that comment, West Texas, you’ve earned the right to take a swing or two at him.

        1. Whoa, hold on a second here. I negotiated a deal with someone like a month ago allowing them to claim Santorum in exchange for me getting Hannity and Olbermann. Contract yo, how do they work?

      2. No, that’s not how it works. It’s like God bought us dinner so now we have to sleep with him.

        And considering he also paid for dessert, we owe him some anal too.

  23. The stopped clock is right this time, but he still doesn’t know what time it is.

    If our rights are God-given, then were does that leave people who believe in different gods or no God? Are they just shit out of luck? And if rights are God-given, and if God is not an impartial observer, but has preferences about our behavior toward each other and our view of Him, then how is Santorum wrong in saying that God-given rights come with God-given responsibilities attached?

    1. An activist god (partial observer?) is where I come out strongest on the hard atheist end of the spectrum (as opposed to the soft-atheist/apatheist end). I don’t see how you can believe in an active god and not think that god is a total dick.

      1. Maybe the next CNN sponsored “debate” should involve relentless questioning of
        Santorum vis-a-vis his solution to the
        classical Problem of Evil — that would
        be hilarious.

    2. a) It leaves them in a position to get their minds right. Uncle Rick will be happy to help, I bet.
      b) Until they pass (a), who knows? We’ll need to ask Rick.
      c) For what reason would responsibility be contingent upon the receipt of rights? An omnipotent creator surely could not be restrained by any notions of justice held by his creation.

    3. If our rights are God-given, then were does that leave people who believe in different gods or no God?

      No. Because all men are created equal and are equal before God. That means they are equally liable to judgment. But that is God’s business not ours. From our perspective, everyone gets the same rights and the same dignity as a human being.

      1. Is was really more of a question for Ricky Cumfart, but you have the right of it.

      2. Ok squirrels, answer me this: How does John’s post(2:40) appear here instead of between 0x90(2:27) and aSBoR(2:43)?

    4. If God doesn’t use the government to grant rights, why would he use it to dole out responsibilities? Why not use moms, or priests, or blog commenters?

    5. Even for a theologian, he sucks.

      God did not give us rights. You will not find in the Bible a Declaration of the Rights of Man.

      He gave us free will, to with what we want.

      1. But God also set down rules. And one of those rules was that all men are equal before the eyes of God. It follows therefore that all men have a right to be treated with the same dignity.

        1. Sure. That’s why David can sleep with a guy’s wife and then have him killed without any personal punishment against him, but a couple of kids who yell “Thou baldhead!” at Elisha get eaten by bears.

          1. Don’t spoil it for him — he probably
            has some weird justification for Exodus
            21:12 also.

            From an utterly irrational premise,
            no cogent and reasonable conclusions
            are possible.

          2. Uh Tulpa, David did a lot of things that I consider sinful and got away with it, but sleeping with Bathsheba was one of the things he actually did get punished for.

            1. Some harmless sexual pleasure and the poor guy gets singled out for Divine Wrath and Retribution?

              There is no answer; there ain’t never gonna BE any answer — THAT’S
              the answer! — Pal of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, aka Gertrude Stein

  24. I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Four candidates diverged in a field, and I,
    I took the one less statist by,
    And that has made all the difference.

    1. Whose woods do ya think these are, buddy?! Vote for the candidate who best
      reflects your best judgement on what’s
      best for the country!

  25. So, why wasn’t the original Constitution amended with a list of eight or so enumerated responsibilities concluding with something like “the enumeration of certain responsibilities does not deny or disparage the existence of other responsibilities”?

    Santorum is so screwed up on this that even the FReepers are dissing him.

  26. The rights given to us are via an Agreement amongst us called the Constitution.

    If you wanna live in America, you should comply with these rules.

    The it mentions that our creator gave us the so-called inalienable rights. However, any of these inalienable rights can be taken away with an amendment.

    This is why I have absolutely no tolerance for religious people and why I never vote republican.

    1. Uhhh, no.

      The 9th Amendment disagrees heartily.

      1. The 9th doesn’t say that any natural rights exist, just that the first eight amendments don’t mean they don’t exist.

    2. You know they make a cream for that.

    3. The rights given to us are via an Agreement amongst us called the Constitution.

      Holy fuck, you couldn’t possibly be more wrong.

      1. So who gave them to us? God?

        Do animals and plants have an inalienable right to life/liberty/pursuit of happiness?

        No, neither do we. This is nothing more than an intelligent agreement between members of the Human Species.

        God did not assign us as the custodian of the world and all of the other animals. That’s a SPOT we took for ourselves.

        1. “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

        2. God did not assign us as the custodian of the world and all of the other animals. That’s a SPOT we took for ourselves.

          The book of Genesis, in the Bible, says He did. If you want to believe in that God in the first place, then you pretty much have to accept what the Bible says about Him.

      2. Right, God came down and gave us the right to have civil matters for amounts more than $20 tried by juries.

    4. You have no tolerance for religious people and never vote republican? Interesting. I have atheist friends that won’t vote for anyone but a religious person because they want the most powerful people in the country to at least BELIEVE that they’ll eventually have to answer for their actions. Seems logical.

      Although I’m always struck by the irony of thought and intellectual dishonesty possessed by the Atheist. They rant about irrational belief in something that can’t be proven all the while acting like their belief in no God is somehow proven. Guess what, Itchy Puss, a steadfast belief that there is no Higher Power requires MORE faith than a belief that there is one. A Higher Power can be used to answer every question while a failure to allow for the possibility of the existence of that power requires faith that the vast array of questions left unanswered by modern man will eventually be answered by him without resulting in anything resembling a Deity. Faith, pure and simple . . . faith in man.

      1. There’s something about ONE not having to “Prove a negative”. I can’t prove that the One-Arm-Armenian-Dorf god exists either. The burden of proof is upon the positive…and they can’t prove it.

        I, for one, don’t believe that there was ever a creation simply because the creation had to happen in a container of some sort.

        There is absolutely no evidence that the Human Being Supervisor exists either. Or, that the so-called creator of all things prefers humans over bees.

        No Virginia, there is no such thing as Santa Claus.

        1. Plus, God was just used to scare people into believing that there is an accountability after human death and so that we can’t commit suicide to escape our slave-master.

          It is obviously made up.

          Look at Orthodox Jews:
          They wear their religion all around and still frequent prostitutes and will rob you or anyone else in commercial transaction like its nothing.

          Look at the Roman Catholic Priest:
          Talks a bunch of bla-bla-bla about homosexuals while jerking off in the back to a bunch of alterboys.

          And the Muslims, they speak for themselves.

          1. You’re not an atheist so much as… well, moron, bigot, retard, pick one.

            1. They are all a bunch of hypocrats.

              Larry Craig from Idaho votes down various pro-gay measures just to be caught playing dick-doctor with an undercover cop in an airport.

              Look at the ultra orthodox Jews. Them, anyone that is non orthodox (including Jews) are no different than the common cat. They don’t even consider robbing non-jews as even a sin.

              1. It’s hypocrites, not “hypocrats.”

          2. Yes, because a miniscule percentage of assholes constitute valid sample size with which to accurately portray entire religions with adherents in the billions.

            This is a very rational position.

      2. Sure, you have a Faithometer and it measures the intensity, right? Right?

        People who wouldn’t know metaphysics if it bit them on their ass but are ready to explain the entire history and
        nature of the Universe, complete with a handy rule-book. Unbelievable.

  27. If you looked at Santorum real close last night, you can see an arrow in his knee.

    1. I’d rather see one through his head.

    2. But do I get to bugger with impunity if I’m a Thane of the Jarl?

  28. The article is good, but the crazed picture of Santorum reminds me of Newsweek’s crazed picture of Michelle Bachmann, which is not fair. Surely one can find a crazed picture of Ron Paul, as he is sneezing or something.

    1. I’d like you to find one picture of Santorum where he doesn’t look like a crazed douche. You can’t erase a punchable face.

      1. Seriously I saw him in the debates, and there were a lot of normal pictures. I don’t like his policies and won’t vote for him, and besides I think he’ll lose anyway because Huckabee did in 2008 winning strong in states like Kansas, but pictures have got to be fair.

  29. That guy has a face even a mother could punch.

    1. So many monitors have died for that asshole.

  30. The French Revolution was founded on the idea of the people being one and the same with the state. The idea that the state is the people and therefore cannot commit a crime against or harm the people, since it cannot harm itself is from the French Revolution.

    The French Revolution was not about radical individualism. I knew Santorum was stupid. But God.

  31. The French Revolution was founded on the idea of the people being one and the same with the state. The idea that the state is the people and therefore cannot commit a crime against or harm the people, since it cannot harm itself is from the French Revolution.

    The French Revolution was not about radical individualism. I knew Santorum was stupid. But God.

    1. “The idea that the state is the people and therefore cannot commit a crime against or harm the people, since it cannot harm itself is from the French Revolution.”

      Viva la suicide!!!

      1. You were either a citizen or an aristocrat. If you were a citizen, you were part of the collective whole and good to go. If you were an aristocrat, you were done. And what station in life you were actually born into had nothing to do with the question. Lots of people born aristocrats killed common people in the name of the Revolution.

    2. Vive le squirrels!

  32. Santorum’s statements are a variation of the SoCon carnard that liberty doesn’t mean libertinism. He’s one of those people that think the only legitimate use of a person’s freedom is to obey God’s laws as interpreted by people like himself. Therefore it is a proper role for government to enact laws that mirror God’s laws so those that abuse their freedom by disobeying God’s laws can be punished accordingly.

    So once again we have a self professed Christian whose actions more aptly reflect the actions and attitudes of the Pharisees than that of Jesus Christ.

    For many Christians here and elsewhere (and Santorum seems to fit in here), their basic message to the rest of the world is: Don’t believe in God/Jesus, that’s your choice. Don’t plan on practicing Christian mores, you go to jail.

    1. Nicely put, Randy.

      1. Yes, indeed.

    2. the SoCon carnard that liberty doesn’t mean libertinism.

      That’s not a canard. You can support liberty and inveigh against libertinism.

    3. “”Don’t plan on practicing Christian mores, you go to jail.””

      Except for believers, then you are forgiven by God.

      1. Maybe or maybe not — but He forgives you either in jail or out on bail.

  33. Isn’t Reason’s attacking of Santorum, and the subsequent piling-on in the peanut gallery, a bit too much like midget wrestling? Discuss.

  34. The only inherent responsibility any of us has is to respect the equal rights of others. That’s it. Here’s a helpful quote, Santorum, you stupid mother-fucking petty tyrant:

    “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

    1. I DARE this piece of shit to publicly denounce Thomas Jefferson, or John Adams, or John Stark.

      1. I personally denounce John Starks

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..re=related

      2. Rich. White. Slave. Owners.

        1. An excellent thing then that the soundness of their principles has nothing to do with their wealth, ethnic background, hypocrisy in owning slaves, or gender — but were a prime source of much of the best to be found in the Universal Charter of Human Rights and of the eventual dismantling of the Peculiar Institution, etc.

            1. Someone posting as “HCCarey” on the Atlantic was trying to convince me last week that the manifest hypocrisy of some of the most notable Founding Fathers vis-a-vis slavery “therefore” absolutely undermined the entire useful
              substance of Liberal/Libertarian philosophy — recommended American Slavery—American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virgina by Edmund S. Morgan
              (W.W. Norton, 1975) — started reading it & yes, an excellent account AS FAR AS IT GOES but nothing can rescue the
              classical “Genetic Fallacy” and neither can Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale
              University, no matter his good intentions, scholarship in other regards, other insights, crisp writing style — the lot. So HCCarey deserves the credit somewhat for suggesting a crazy website that headlined an article
              (No Lie): “Why Libertarians Love Slavery” — hence really provoking the ROFLMAO response etc. Idiots, especially ones just well-read enough to be interestingly confused, are a good spur to further reflection.

  35. Randy|1.20.12 @ 2:28PM|#

    Santorum’s statements are a variation of the SoCon carnard that liberty doesn’t mean libertinism.

    You’re saying liberty *does* mean “libertinism”?

    I’ve never figured out why “french for ‘Duck'” means “misleading suggestion” in English usage.

    Maybe the french are always following ducks around?

    1. Here, lazy.

      French, literally, duck; in sense 1, from Middle French vendre des canards ? moiti? to cheat, literally, to half-sell ducks

      1. I’m still unsure why selling half a duck is misleading.

        1. It’s half-selling a whole duck, you fool. You have to think like the French to understand, and your soft human brain just can’t do that.

          1. How can you half-sell something? That sounds like being half-pregnant. Its either sold or its not. Fuck, I hate the french, and I don’t like their ducks either.

            1. Just enter “fraud” in the search engine
              or take a look at a textbook on the law
              of contracts — you would be amazed by what you can sell that isn’t “really there” — Credit Default Swaps, Ponzi schemes, it never ends.

              1. I fail to see what that has to do with amphibious quacking birds.

            2. How can you half-sell something?

              By collecting the money and then ducking your responsibility to deliver the duck?

              1. I think you mean ducking the sale of half a duck.

                Dear god, the french almost have options trading markets on Duck Portions, apparently. You can buy calls on 2/3 a potential future duck these days. Billions are traded annually on Duck speculation without any actual Anatidae species of birds physically changing hands. I never realized how significant ducks were in French commodity msrkets.

                1. I will add that my local fish dealer has been entirely unable to fill my recent orders for Red Herring. I think there is some false advertising going on.

    2. I’m saying that’s how some Christians look at liberty. It should only be used to walk the narrow religious path.

      What an honest Christian should say about liberty and libertinism:

      Liberty is not libertinism for the follower of Christ.

      1. Im pretty sure Ive said that, or equivalent, so, Thanks, Ill take that as a compliment.

      2. I’ve usually heard it expressed as Liberty is not License – meaning in actual practice that one is free to do as one pleases as long as it isn’t something disapproved of by the one expressing the thought.

  36. The people collectively have rights. Obviously God endowed us as a group with these rights, and if any one of us gets out of line, He wants the group to set that stray sheep straight, at the point of a gun if necessary. (God would force the issue Himself if He could.) The Founders understood this.

  37. What makes me queasy is the way he leaps from moral responsiblity to legal obligation.

    1. That’s why I call guys like him a Pharisee. That was part and parcel for them.

      1. He killed Christ! The bastard! Santorum? No, Satantorum!

    2. It’s not a leap for him: if a thing is wrong, it’s wrong, and the government, which is placed in authority by God, is the proper tool for righting it.

      1. So this is divine right of politicians, then?

        1. The concept of representative government really does throw a wrench into the works, doesn’t it.

  38. Fist of Etiquette|1.20.12 @ 2:39PM|#

    The people collectively have rights. Obviously God endowed us as a group with these rights…

    …and he endowed *some* of us with a little bit extra. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Oh yeah. Bow chicka wow wow….

  39. As someone said above, this ought to give pause to anyone calling for a Constitutional Convention. The people writing the new ones, rather than Governor Morris and Alexander Hamilton will be Rich Santorum and Cass Sunstein. That doesn’t make me sleep well at night.

    1. I see two possibilities:

      1. It turns out well (

      1. Lets try again, without less than signs.

        I see two possibilities:

        1. It turns out well (1%)
        2. It crahses the system rapidly.

        Not exactly a win-win.

        1. Could you imagine what a clown show a Constitutional Convention would be? Think of the losers what would be connected enough to get elected to such a thing.

          1. Ive said if it ever happens, I will do whatever it fucking takes to make sure Im elected.

            The first thing I will propose is that it be closed to outside media/visitors and no one can discuss what goes on inside until final document is released.

            1. Even during the last convention, they basically had to do it undercover. Arguably, the Constitutional Convention was a bit of a coup d’?tat.

              1. That is the precident for doing it in private. It can never get done if CNN/Fox/etc are commenting on random day to day suggestions.

                Read the diaries from the convention, there was some crazy shit in there at some points in time.

            2. If it does come to the point where we are actually desperate enough to hold a constitutional convention, the odds are good that the country would be on the kind of death spiral that would be obvious to many of the delegates. They might demand an escape clause, like nullification or legalized secession.

                1. Isnt the double s that big capital B thingy?

                  I agree with the idea, but spelling is important.

                  1. You know who else used an ? to write double s?

                  2. I doubt the new Constitution will use the long s at all, so it’s a moot point.

                2. Preparation is the key to success.

                3. I think the next Constitution should make me King. I won’t ask for much. My own Versailles outside of Washington along the Blue Ridge. And the following powers

                  To Veto five bills a year
                  To commute any federal or state prison sentence and grant pardons to the same

                  To bring any elected or law enforcement official before “the King’s Lord Chancellor” to answer for the crimes of fraud or violation of the people’s rights”

                  1. And I fully expect that elected and law enforcement folk will have as hard of a time understanding the definitions of your words as the do with the founders’.

  40. C.S. Lewis answers Santorum:

    For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands ‘Thus saith the Lord’, it lies, and lies dangerously.

    1. That is a great quote.

      1. Its from Willing Slaves of the Welfare State. I think Lewis’ best political essay.

        If I ever run for office, my platform is in that essay:

        To live his life in his own way, to call his house his castle, to enjoy the fruits of his own labour, to educate his children as his conscience directs, to save for their prosperity after his death — these are wishes deeply ingrained in civilised man. Their realization is almost as necessary to our virtues as to our happiness. From their total frustration disastrous results both moral and psychological might follow.

        1. I would get my vote. That is if I could vote for you before the rest of the world crucified you.

        2. One note:

          My hard-printed copy says “…wishes deeply ingrained in white and civilised man….”

          [bolding mine]

          Every version on line seems to have edited that out. I dont know if Lewis edited it, or his editor down the line sometime, or what, but its in my printed version.

          Pointing that out for those wanting to call Lewis or my campaign racist.

    2. I’m a fan of christian anarchism – meaning that any law made by the government is at best redundant, and at worst oppressive.

      I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have government, but the idea highlights the fact that individuals are moral, laws aren’t.

  41. The scary thing is that this douchebag actually went to law school and yet still thinks the Declaration of Independence has some sort of legislative standing.

    It has fuck-all to do with setting up or limiting the power of the federal government, and that was true even of the Articles of Confederation government, which was created more or less contemporaneously with the DoI.

    1. If the DoI is supposed to be some kind of adjunct to the Constitution, what was that whole Civil War thing about?

      1. Legally? Nothing. Let’s secede.

        1. The ones specifically listed in the other Amendments, and nothing more.

      2. The DoI doesn’t come out in favor of every rebellion, only those that are justified.

        But I agree about it having no legal standing. Of course Santorum totally misunderstands it anyway so that’s irrelevant.

        1. The ones specifically listed in the other Amendments, and nothing more.

        2. By its standards, though, justification is pretty simple–state oppression means ta-ta! Certainly, by the justifications used by that document, any state or even smaller grouping could secede right now with legal justification. Of course, we saw how well that worked during the Civil War.

        3. The DoI doesn’t come out in favor of every rebellion, only those that are justified.

          Justified according to who?

          Oh, that’s right. The winners.

          1. That is how life works RC. What is with the bitter confederate routine?

            1. I don’t think RC is referring to the past.

              1. I’m not a bitter Confederate, John.

                Just pointing out the obvious.

      3. It is hardly uncommon to think of it as being so. If the DoI isn’t an adjunct, just what rights is the 9th Amendment talking about?

        1. The 9th amendment is just saying that the Bill of Rights doesn’t trump the enumerated powers doctrine… ie, the fedgov is not permitted to start exceeding the powers given to it. It doesn’t actually enforce any rights in itself.

          1. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes

          2. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

            That is the general right to be left alone and it includes all of our economic liberties. That comes straight out of the DoI and is exactly the rights not mentioned in the Bill Rights but meant to be protected by the 9th.

            1. My argument is the 9th covers all of natural law not specifically stated. Which, is: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

              1. True. And the DOI, something that was legislatively enacted, shows that they meant natural law when they wrote the 9th.

                1. Legislatively enacted, but not legislation. Big difference.

                  1. Not in this case it is not. It shows what they were thinking when they said “rights”. It is odd. I have never heard of the idea of the DOI being an effective part of the Constitution really questioned.

                    1. Not in this case it is not. It shows what they were thinking when they said “rights”.

                      There were many, many documents produced in the United States during that period that mentioned rights. Are you claiming that they all have force of law due to the 9th amendment also mentioning rights?

                      Of course, the 9th doesn’t even say any rights exist, it just says that listing some doesn’t cause others not to exist.

            2. “”Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.””

              Up to the point the government decides otherwise.

              1. life – death penalty
              2. liberty – too long of a list to comment
              3. Pursuit of happiness – see #2.

              If the DoI had any weight as far as rights, the death penalty would be struck down and thousands of laws would be invalid.

        2. It’s uncommon for lawyers, judges or anyone involved with the legislative process to think of the DoI as having any sort of legislative effect, the way the Constitution itself does. It simply does not.

          The DoI is nothing more–or less–than a very long “Dear John” letter to the King of England. Not a legislative document.

          It’s even difficult to use the DoI as a form of “legislative history” for interpreting ambiguous terms in the Constitution. The DoI was drafted a decade before the Constitution and largely by different people.

          The DoI is amazing document and one of the greatest political works of all time. However, it does not guide constitutional interpretation the way that the Federalist Papers and Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention do.

          1. the way that the Federalist Papers and Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention do should, but, sadly, no longer do.

            1. Those are different because they were written by the same people who authored the Constitution at the same time. So they are helpful in interpreting some of the vague parts.

              A document more than a decade old, written under very different circumstances by someone who played no part in the drafting of the Constitution is another matter.

          2. Yes it does. It is just not as complete. It was base document for the Constitution. Sure it was also a Dear John letter. But it was more than that. It showed what they thought “natural rights” were.

            1. There are no mentions of “natural rights” in the constitution.

              1. The 9th Amendment does.

              2. “Natural rights” is too vague and inaccurate. There are no natural rights, just rights created by humans, for humans.

                The natural right to life has always cracked me up becuase no where in nature does the right to life exist.

                In nature, there is a responsibility to survive.

                1. You are positing a “nature” wholly without respect to human values. Humans
                  are capable of rational self-awareness and hence the rights are a pact against a
                  Leviathan state. That’s the short answer.

  42. It’s like Santorum blacked out every word in the DoI except for “God”. Heck, even where that word occurs, it doesn’t even specify the Christian God, but “Nature’s God”…and the famous line about life, liberty, etc refers to them being endowed by “the Creator”, a formulation any natural-law-accepting deist or freethinker would be happy to accept.

  43. I think also what is going on is the use of the word “France”. In republican circles it has negative connotations, especially with regards to socialism. So by calling Ron Paul French, he is slamming Ron Paul. Which is strange because France is associated with socialism.

    1. Not strange at all. No, Ron Paul is neither a socialist nor is he licentious Frenchman, but Santorum would love to have that association take root in the minds of the electorate. Fact is, Santorum is the true socialist. For him every liberty the individual exercises must be justified by it accordance with the interests and desires of society or of God – as they are determined by Mr. Santorum or his ilk. Jennifer Abel, over at her blog refers to him as the Catholic Taliban. Very apt.

  44. The problem with acknowledging our rights come from a Creator (or anyone else) is that it implies that they our not truly ours and can be taken away. Our rights are inherent in our existence.
    Also, santorum claiming that the difference between the French revolution and ours is that theirs was secular? Ours was secular! That was the point. The philosophy of the American Founding was the first to be based in the value of the individual, rather than a divine being. It was radical individualism, and the idea that it should be feared rather than promoted is utterly ridiculous and frankly, pretty damn depressing.

    1. Re: Matt,

      The problem with acknowledging our rights come from a Creator (or anyone else) is that it implies that they our not truly ours and can be taken away.

      You should read more Larry Niven novels, especially Ring World, specifically the part where the puppeteer hid his eyes in fear after realizing the awesome power of the Ring builders.

      Really, do you think you can simply take something from a Creator? And if the Creator wishes to take something from you, do you think you can stop Him? Unless you have a very different concept of what a creator is supposed to be like compared to humans who fancy themselves as gods – like Rick Rantorum.

    2. It may have been a failing of the age. Since you were declared subject of a ruler, whose right to be such was claimed to be descended from God, there would have been a strong tendency to make sure it was explicitly stated that “hey, you didn’t get anything from God that I didn’t get too.” With enough foresight, your above point could have been predicted, and I don’t doubt was by many thinkers, but things went the way they did.

      Perhaps interesting, though, would be to consider how it would be written today. The current claimant to rights over the individual is not a king, appointed by God, but society itself, appointed by virtue of its own existence. In this case, you can’t use the same logical trap: if the symbol used is God, nobody can claim to supersede it, except by divine revelation or theological reasoning. If that symbol is society, though, any claim at all may be made, since through the vote, society is purported to speak with its own voice. Which is to say, we are already deep into Twilight Zone territory with respect to individual rights, at this point in time.

      1. If that symbol is society, though, any claim at all may be made, since through the vote, society is purported to speak with its own voice.

        That happens only if people fail to realize that “society” is not an organic whole. Or to put it another way: We ain’t all one.

    3. Look up “inalienable” in your dictionary.

      Once created, they cannot even be voluntarily expunged.

  45. It’s been my tagline throughout this primary season. It’s so fun, seriously. You should try it. Whenever he begins to answer a question, what you do is you say aloud, “…because I’m Newt Gingrich, bitch!”, and all of the sudden he’s a fantastic entertainer, rather than a true megalomaniac with an apparently half-realistic shot at taking The Crown from Obombya.

    Santorum’s is “ram it up the poop chute”. For instance:

    Q: Senator Santorum, how do you propose to force all Americans to adopt the same morals as you?

    You say: Ram it up the poop chute.

    Romney’s: “which camera am I looking at?”

    Paul doesn’t have one. What you do when he starts to talk is simply start yelling over him, “Uh-oh! Looks lahk we got arselves a READER!”

    1. Oh shit, I’m glad I have a proper office with a door that I keep closed, because if I were in a cube farm, everyone around me would be wondering why I’m suddenly laughing my ass off in the otherwise very quiet office.

      1. I’m Newt Gingrich, bitch. What you call an “office”, I call “that place where my bitches blow me”.

  46. “”Seems like Paul knows a bit more about the Constitution than does Santorum. “”

    True, but Santorum knows it in the way that many republicans like.

  47. Even the Declaration of Independence is misread all the time. The only actionable part is the final paragraph. The initial section is all philosophy and an explanation of beliefs. The second section is all about the “why” they are going to do something and presents the case against the King. It’s not until you get to the final paragraph where it states “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united (note the “u” is NOT capitalized and signifies the original intent of 13 sovereign nations bonded together that was destroyed by the Civil War and Lincoln) States of America, . . . appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world (demonstrating a belief in The Divine) . . . do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies (all done in the name of the people, not the governments), solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States . . ..” It then goes on to lay out the powers that are to be assumed, all of the powers of sovereign nations.
    It isn’t a document that directs the nation and has no legal bindings that remain. It does, however, provide a mindset and a belief system held by our Founding Fathers that is undeniable and infused everything they did from that point forward. A belief in freedom, God, and State sovereignty. Anyone who would deny their beliefs need do nothing but read their words.

    1. Yup. And a lot of people can’t keep straight the difference between what is written in the Declaration versus the Constitution.

      I had a brief disagreement with a guy a couple weeks ago who kept asserting that “the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was in the Constitution, which also made it clear that those rights came from GOD-duh. After I heard him say it a couple times, I quietly told him that actually, “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” comes from the Declaration, not the Constitution, and that the word “god” does not appear in the Constitution.

      He looked like I had just told him that his mother was a snake-eating space alien. Stunned silence for a second, and then he said, “no – the preamble…” and I said, “yes, the preamble to the DECLARATION, not the preamble to the Constitution.”

      His eyes glazed over as he scratched his memory trying to see it, but he said, “are you sure? I know it’s in there.” To which I replied, “yes, I definitely am sure. The whole concept of rights endowed by the creator, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, etc. – that comes from the Declaration, not the Constitution. And the Constitution never says anything about rights coming from god.”

      He shrugged and said, “well, I don’t know – same thing. I’ll have to check.” And I could see he was a little worried and obviously still didn’t believe me.

      1. I’ve had that same arugment many times. With the same outcome of course.

  48. Even if Santorum’s point were correct, what is his conclusion–that the government should legislate morality? that is clearly wrong. Morality should come from private and/or religious institutions–not from the government.

    1. Actually, the only thing you CAN legislate is morality. By virtue of saying something cannot be done, you are defining it as “wrong”. Now whether that belief comes from society’s agreement or a religious belief system, there’s no way to separate a law from a moral statement. “This is wrong”, “that is right”, etc.

      This was the entire point behind extremely limited government. Every time you pass a law, you remove a freedom. Now, that’s not to say that every law is bad any more than it is to say every freedom is good. For instance, there are easy-to-identify cases where someone’s assumed “freedom” to do anything would immediately infringe upon someone else’s “right”. Murder, for example, is generally agreed upon to be “wrong” because it takes away someone’s “right to live”. But by declaring it “wrong” and issuing a punishment, we’ve legislated morality and removed a freedom from those that would otherwise murder.
      Where Mr. Santorum is wrong at EVERY level is when he steps outside of the enumerated powers of the FEDERAL government to have his discussions about morality. The States are free to have those discussions bound by their respective constitutions. 90% of these debates center on topics that should be “N/A” for the office of the President.

      1. By virtue of saying something cannot be done, you are defining it as “wrong”.

        No, you’re not. You’re defining as something you be punished for doing.

        Laws don’t define morality.

      2. I would argue that laws are reflective specifically of ETHICAL codes, rather than simple moral assertions. There is an important difference.

  49. A sphincter says:

    “Ron Paul has a libertarian view of the Constitution. I do not. The Constitution has to be read in the context of another founding document, and that’s the Declaration of Independence.”

    Never mind that about 13 years separate these two documents plus the Constitution was ratified as a replacement to the Articles of the Confederation. Besides, I don’t understand what difference can there be with a libertarian interpretation of the Constitution since the document is written in plain English, that is, not subject to any interpretation.

    1. Santorum’s still smarting because a Libertarian candidate wiped the floor with him during a televised debate in 1994.
      Get down on your knees and pray that Romney doesn’t pick this turd as his
      veep running mate.

    2. Well, be careful about that though. Even with several years separating the documents, some of the most involved people were common between the two. In fact, 16% of the signers of the Constitution also signed the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration, helped write the Constitution, and George Washington was present for both. There is a lot of overlap between the documents when it comes to using one to understand what was meant by a certain term or phrase. The people writing the documents didn’t change their vocabulary in a decade.

      1. Yeah, but they’re like, a hundred years old, and junk.

  50. I bet Ron Paul knows the bible better too.

    1. He would help me with the cracks in the leather seats on my airplane, too, I’ll bet. He’s in big with the saddle soap lobby. Also, with the carnuba polish, the baby oil, and the linseed oil lobbies. If he don’t, I’m afraid the heat might bust ’em right open.

  51. Quite frankly, I have no idea what in bloody hell Santorum is talking about, and have no intention of even attempting to figure it out.

  52. Santorum is a complete tool….

  53. That picture of Rick looks like he has a mouth full of BS that he’s ready to spew any second!

  54. Rick Santorum, Newt the freak Gingrich and Mittens Romney are all so full of shit I smell them all the way out here on the west coast when the wind shifts right.

  55. “Seems like Paul knows a bit more about the Constitution than does Santorum.”

    I appreciate the background info and analysis, but really, was there ever any doubt? My travel mug knows more about the constitution than does Santorum.

  56. Ron Paul supporters: go to http://www.VoteRonPaul.us/ if you haven’t already and “vote” for him. If the media doesn’t want to believe he can win, take a look at the map that is shown. We’ll show our support when we turn it completely red.

    Please, pass this link on to all supporters!

  57. Santorum is an ass. The Declaration of Independence is just that and nothing more. It was written to be grandiose. It is not, nor was it ever meant to be a legal document.

    As far as God-given rights, it is ridiculous for a Christian to say such a thing. The Bible makes no mention of rights, or of anything resembling them. Those alive during the period in which it was written would have been incredulous if given the idea of rights. If constitutional rights are God-given, then where was God throughout the rest of human history? Where was God when people were being imprisoned and executed without even the illusion of due process?

  58. Anybody want to guess who Rick picks as God’s messenger on Earth? The guy who he wants to actually be in charge of deciding what our responsibilities are?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.