Libertarianism

Why Santorum and Libertarianism Don't Mix

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FFF was (is?) an underrated band

Speaking of Rick Santorum and libertarians, Cato Executive Vice President David Boaz tells Washington Post "Right Turn" blogger Jennifer Rubin why Santo gives us limited-gubmint types the creeps. Excerpt:

What scares you about Rick Santorum?

Being philosophically minded, what scares me most about Rick Santorum is not his specific policy mistakes but his fundamental objection to the American idea of freedom. He criticizes the pursuit of happiness! He says, "This is the mantra of the left: I have a right to do what I want to do" and "We have a whole culture that is focused on immediate gratification and the pursuit of happiness … and it is harming America." And then he says that what the Founders meant by happiness was "to do the morally right thing." He really doesn't like the idea of America as a free society, where adults make their own decisions and sometimes make choices that Santorum disapproves. In practice, I worry that he would continue and intensify Bush's big-government conservatism, a federal government committed to reshaping individuals according to a religious-conservative blueprint. […]

Is Santorum a fiscal conservative?

Santorum is broadly speaking a fiscal conservative. He did try to reform entitlements, both welfare and Social Security. He got As and Bs from the National Taxpayers Union on spending issues, ranking anywhere from top 10 to middle of the Republican pack. But he supported No Child Left Behind, the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, the massive highway bill of 2005 and even the notorious Bridge to Nowhere. He bragged about his pork-barrel spending and trade protectionism for Pennsylvania. As president he'd probably resist tax increases, intend to spend less than Obama and come up with lots of schemes to subsidize marriage, children and local schools.

I'm just gonna keep going there

Read Reason's Santorum candidate profile here, scroll through his Topic page, then check out these critiques, listed in reverse chronological order:

* "Ron Paul vs. Rick Santorum: Is the soul of the Republican Party even worth fighting for?", by Brian Doherty

* "Rick Santorum: Against contraception, against online gambling," by Nick Gillespie

* "Santorum Is Severely Wrong: The former senator from Pennsylvania is libertarianism's sweater-vested arch-nemesis," by Gene Healy

* "Rick Santorum v. Ron Paul on Constitutional Interpretation: Santorum Fail," by Ronald Bailey

* "Rick Santorum's Moral Delusions: Is America really on a downhill slide?", by Steve Chapman

* "Rick Santorum: The 10th Amendment Does Not Mean What It Says," by Damon W. Root

* "The Dreamy Thing About Rick Santorum Is That He Has Met the Enemy, and He Is Individual Freedom," by Matt Welch

* "Rick Santorum Is a Conservative Technocrat: If you favor an intrusive Republican government, he's unquestionably your candidate," by David Harsanyi

NEXT: $2 Trillion For a Decade of Expanded Health Coverage Under ObamaCare?

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  1. Why Santorum and Libertarianism Don’t Mix

    If you mix Santorum with water, you get jenkem. True story.

    1. At least by not winning the nomination, we’ll be spared some people (who will not be named) trying to convince us that voting against Obama is so important, and dems are so bad, that we HAVE to vote for Santorum if we care about liberty.

      It’ll be bad enough hearing it about ROMNIAC 5000.

      1. “Look, Jimbo, I’m totally not a TEAM RED shill and the fact that somehow I always advocate for voting for the TEAM RED candidate is merely a coincidence. If you say otherwise, I will spin and argue with you with utter tenacity as if my partisanship wasn’t completely obvious. So, you voting for Romney? Because it’s really the only choice.”

        1. ANARCHIST!!!!!

        2. Why note vote for Johnson?

          The LP gets on the ballot pretty much everywhere.

          As someone who has voted third party several times in POTUS elections it amazes me when people say I’m “throwing my vote away.” Since I have yet to recall a state’s electoral votes hinging on a single vote in my lifetime, I’m doing that either way. Might as well vote my beliefs while I’m throwing it away.

          1. And what if he doesn’t get the nomination?

        3. It’s astonishing how easily people forget that intentions don’t matter (unless you’re a liberal prog).

          “Well I voted for him, but I really don’t like him very much.” Hey, guess what? Your vote counts exactly the same as a rabid partisan. They don’t care whether you cast it reluctantly or not. If you vote for the standard GOP candidate, then I don’t care what you say online or how often you cry that you aren’t a republican…you are a republican.

          1. Yep, votes are counted not weighed. You’ll be the one ashamed and embarrassed later when the guy you voted for does something you despise.
            They’ll be all “well you voted for me after all.” I learned my lesson in 1968 with Mr. Nixon.

            1. Yeah my dad got burned on that one, too.

              “Well let’s see: I voted for a conservative, and I got the EPA, wage and price controls, and inflation out the yin-yang. Great.”

              1. Was Nixon all that bad? He made peace with Russia, albeit after that attack by Dr. Manhattan/space aliens.

                1. Stupid Dr. Manhattan, not having emotions and being all powerful and shit. Traveling to Mars just cause he can. What an asshole.

                  1. Hey, I don’t walk around throwing my blue dong in everybody’s face, so why do you have to? Keep it in the closet pal!

                  2. He kind of was an asshole, teleporting his colleagues away when he was done talking to them.

                    And yeah, disintegrating one.

                    1. Hey, DC is coming out with a series of Watchmen Prequels.

                      http://www.comicsalliance.com/…..dc-comics/

      2. I would still strongly consider voting for Santorum over Obama, but the difference isn’t as clear as MR vs BO.

        Santorum is a disgusting person with a loathsome philosophy but it’s unlikely he can actually do most of the loathsome things he wants to do. Obama’s eldritch agenda is much more easily accomplished in the current political environment since it comes down to buying off voters rather than trying to save their souls.

        1. Wow, that’s hilarious. I was literally planning on posting under a joke handle, “But Santorum won’t be able to do any crazy things so he’s better than Obama!”, and you beat me to it. Reality is better than fiction.

          A lot of people said Obama couldn’t do some of the shit he’s done. Secret assassination orders don’t have to have a public debate and pass through congress, so I’m sure Rickey could achieve some things you believe are impossible the same way (low-key executive decisions that are not announced before hand, and given bullshit legal dressing after the fact).

          1. Jimbo, SOYLENT GREEN IS SANTORUM!!!

            1. Somehow I doubt that food product would be quite so popular if that were the case.

          2. The secret assassination stuff (that’s not so secret anymore) and drum-beating for an Iran war isn’t what I had in mind. Any viable presidential candidate in the current environment is going to be bad on that stuff. And if you think Santorum could get away with starting wars and droning US citizens abroad, think again. The media would have his head.

            I’m thinking of the socialist economic policies of Herr Obama vs. the creepy social conservatism of Sour Man T.

            1. I only meant to use the assassination issue as an example of something crazy extreme that nobody in their right mind would have thought of before an election, but that the winner then finds a way to impliment, which is why I don’t buy the, “But he could never do that!” argument.

              1. Here’s one: Romney took a big, NFL level punt when he was asked to comment on the right to privacy, and Santorum has openly derided it. Apologists for conservatives around these parts like to defend this by saying “well, there’s caselaw and precedent in place on this so they would never be able to mess with this.”

                Yeah, the guy who appoints the people who make the caselaw and precedent could never mess with that…

                We’ve already got two justices on the SCOTUS who’ve openly mocked Griswold and would likely overturn if given the opportunity.

                1. I don’t think there’s a constitutional right to privacy either, so that dog don’t hunt. The 9th amendment wasn’t supposed to be a rights ATM, it was supposed to keep the enumerated powers doctrine in force. Read the federalists worries about how the existence of a bill of rights would be interpreted some time.

                  1. “I don’t think there’s a constitutional right to privacy either, so that dog don’t hunt.”

                    Tulpa, no offense, but you’re making my point for me here…I think most people stopped seeing you as a libertarian a while back.

                    1. Yeah, Tulpa and John are pretty much just neocons.

                    2. Neocon? You’re either stupid or talking out of your ass or both. I’ve been stoutly against all foreign intervention this century and welfare statism at home.

                    3. WTF does what he thinks the Constitution says have to do with whether he is a libertarian?

                      If I got to make the rules, contraception would be available for purchase but that doesn’t mean I think the Constitution says that this must be the case.

                    4. “Right to privacy” is way too vague for comfort. If asked, I don’t believe in one either, and I’m as libertarian as they come. Someone once wrote an analysis piece on the front page of LP News (national) explaining the same thing.

                    5. Tulpa, no offense, but you’re making my point for me here…I think most people stopped seeing you as a libertarian a while back.

                      Wow, complementing your fallacious appeals to authority with fallacious appeals to vox populi? I don’t give a crap what people here think; as far as I’m concerned, I’m one of the most libertarian commenters here. I’m one of the apparent few who thinks initiation of force is improper in response to someone calling your wife a slut. Also one of the few who doesn’t redefine “liberty” and “force” so as to drag their preexisting pet issues into the liberty discussion.

              2. The sociocon stuff Santorum might want to do could not possibly be done in secret, since it needs to be enforced on the public somehow. Also, it would be much easier to challenge in court since there are fewer questions about standing when you’re talking about people being forced to change their behavior than when you’re talking about money being spent in a certain way.

                1. I’m starting to enjoy Tulpa quite a bit.

                  Right below where he says he agrees with Santorum on privacy he then goes into the “well, he would never get any of that done!” line.

                  1. I don’t think there’s a right to privacy in the federal constitution.

                    I also don’t think contraceptives should be illegal.

                    Remember, I don’t operate from the axioms that you and your fellow “liberals” do: I don’t think the govt should be regulating everything the constitution allows them to.

                    1. I’m afraid I’m a bit distrustful of the government so I’d like to see it recognized as a right, thanks.

                    2. I’d like to see making up crap and acting as if it were in the Constitution not be a question of whose ox is gored, thanks.

                    3. I hope you mean in the “Constitutional amendment” sense. Because if it’s in the “just creatively interpret the Constitution, or think it of it as a guideline rather than fundamental law”, then you’re putting every explicit right at risk by making it more acceptable in our political culture for officials to “creatively interpret” those rights as being violable.

          3. “Gojira” is not a joke handle?!

            Secret assassination orders don’t require that they come from someone in elected office — or any office at all.

        2. “but the difference isn’t as clear as MR vs BO.”

          Yeah, we know you love Romney dude.

        3. I would still strongly consider voting for Santorum over Obama … Santorum is a disgusting person with a loathsome philosophy

          Do you even listen to yourself? The only way that could have been worse is if you had put those two irreconciliable thoughts in the same sentence, rather than adjoining sentences.

          1. It’s called choosing the lesser evil. Even you would do it in other circumstances.

            “I would strongly consider shooting the guy holding a knife out at me and demanding money in the dark alley…his wife and kids starving would be a terrible thing to have happen.”

            Any contradiction there?

            1. But you have more than two options when it comes to voting.

              1. Tulpa’s now going to tell you about throwing your vote away, and how this is THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION EVAH!

                1. Which is of course nonsense, since a single vote has never made a difference in a presidential election. Even the time it was close back in 2000, courts made all the decisions.

              2. You have more than two options when confronted by a mugger too. Run away; try to hit him with the gun; shoot the gun into the ground to show you mean business; etc.

                Now, most of these options are no better than simply giving him your money, but that doesn’t change the fact that you have options.

                1. not voting for Santorum > voting for Santorum

              3. Wait….WHAT?

            2. Wouldn’t the lesser evil be Johnson?

              1. You think Johnson is an evil?

                WTF?

              2. Johnson has the LP nomination already? I must have missed the convention coverage.

            3. You could have picked a stronger counterexample … a wife literally starving to death is not the usual consequence of her mugger husband dying.

              A really accurate counterexample would be where you have the choice between something that is not evil at all (the LP nominee) and two roughly equivalent evils (Santorum vs. Obama), and you choose one of the evils, say this:

              “Given the choice of running away and avoiding trouble altogether, shooting and killing a mugger and putting his wife and kids through some temporary hardships, or letting the mugger take the money from my wallet, I would …”

              Tulpa: BLAM! BLAM! “Die, you bastard!”

              1. Running away from a mugger is usually not going to accomplish anything, for reasons given in the Ron Paul Survival Report. They know their environment much better than you do.

                Sort of like voting LP accomplishes nothing, unless the LP has somehow gotten to the point where they can actually win something.

                1. And voting for “a disgusting person with a loathsome philosophy” accomplishes what, precisely?

                  1. It gets rid of the disgusting person with the more implementable loathsome philosophy.

                    1. Do you think Santorum will appreciate your reasoning?

            4. The lesser of the evils would be Obama.

  2. I’ve always said that in many ways liberals and libertarians have more in common than the latter and traditional conservatives. There’s a reason they have the same root in their titles. They both kind of derive from Mills view in On Liberty.

    Liberals just diverge from libertarians in that they think there are certain dilemmas and conditions, if you will, among people that limit their ability to exercise autonomy meaningfully, and these can only be addresed via “positive rights” or coercive measures imposed on some others. While some are just nannies, most liberals share an idea of increasing liberty, they just have different axioms and premises than libertarians.

    Traditional conservatives on the other hand are fairly explicit that they think a strong authority and conformity is best for society. At most they will talk about “ordered liberty.”

    1. There’s a reason they have the same root in their titles.

      Yeah, because socialists stole “liberal” from the classical liberals after the term “socialist” had been sullied beyond repair by their awful policy prescriptions. Sort of like they’re moving on to “progressive” now that “liberal” is a dirty word for most of the populace.

      1. Don’t confuse politics and politicians with political philosophy and philosophers Tulpa.

        Wait, it might be too late for me to say that to you 🙂

        1. Please explain how I’m confused…lest I confuse your accusation of confusion with a feeble attempt to dodge my point.

          1. I know philosophers who call themselves socialists and ones who call themselves liberals and they differ on quite a bit…It’s in today’s politics that those two things are simply equated.

    2. If liberals did operate towards empowering people to exercise their autonomy, I could agree with you. But most of what I see them doing is granting more entitlements and more dependency.

      Liberals empower individual autonomy to the same extent that conservatives shrink government.

      1. I know you’re not going to agree, and a lot of days you might be surprised to find I would agree with you, but they see the “dependency” you speak of as empowering people to exercise their autonomy. The idea is that if you have your basic needs assured you are more free to “be who you are” without fearing you will lose your job and starve to death and such…

        1. “but they see the “dependency” you speak of as empowering people to exercise their autonomy”

          That is hilarious.

          Or, it would be if it weren’t so fucking horrifying.

          1. Chupa, I dont think MNG is making that argument, I think he is explaining the liberal line of thought. But then, it is MNG so maybe….

            You are right, it is horrifying, more so than the socon’s school of thought, at least to me.

            Still, I confess the words HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT! went through my mind when I read “”This is the mantra of the left: I have a right to do what I want to do” and “We have a whole culture that is focused on immediate gratification and the pursuit of happiness … and it is harming America.”

            1. Yes, that is what the left says.

              The left really thinks it is promoting a culture of “doing with I want.” They think for example that if you give people condoms they can “do what they want” sexually without fear of getting disease or pregnant, that if you give people welfare they can “do what they want” without fear of going hungry, etc.

              Should they think a bit more about how they have to impinge on others to support people “doing what they want?” Sure. My only point is they really do want that as a goal.

              1. does the left ever consider that “doing what you want” ought to come on your dime? Welfare is not doing what you want; it’s other people subsidizing you doing what you want. THAT’s the evil of liberalism.

        2. Right. But the way liberals commonly propose those basic needs are assured is to abridge someone else’s rights, or confiscate someone else’s property. Hence, libertarians and liberals have a wide chasm to traverse.

        3. but they see the “dependency” you speak of as empowering people to exercise their autonomy.

          The Newspeak is strong in you, my son.

        4. “Enabling” autonomy, as you put it, is effectively nulled by actively taking away autonomy from others.

          You can’t give to one person, in order to take care of their most basic needs, without taking from another.

          The only way to effectively encourage people to be autonomous is to aloow them to be autonomous. Taking government handouts, for whatever reason, is not autonomous. It’s dependency.

          1. Like I said, different axioms, so I’m not surprised at your reaction to it…

            If your rich uncle died and gave you a million dollars, wouldn’t it “free” you up in many ways in life? That’s how liberals see government assistance as operating often.

            Should they think more about where its coming from and what it does to those people? Sure. But the fact is they focus on its “freeing up” aspects.

            1. And if we redefine the sun to be the moon, then the day would be darker than the night.

              1. Where’s the redefinition? Are all the people who would say they are “freed up” engaging in redefining?

                I’m afraid you don’t own the concept of liberty and what it means.

                1. Nazi policies freed up the Aryans by giving them more land to settle.

                  The problem with leftism and other encroachments on liberty is that the “freeing up” of some is accomplished by binding down others. Your rich uncle example is, as usual, inapplicable since it’s a voluntary gift, which no libertarian would have a problem with.

                  1. Did you miss the part about where I explained the difference between individual liberty and “race” liberty?

                    1. See, both liberals and libertarians say and think they are promoting individual liberty, not “race liberty” or some metaphor like that.

                      The two just pick avenues to get to it, and even ideas of what it is about, that are contrary. But they share in common that individuals should be “free.”

                      Conservatives are usually quite skeptical of individual liberty. It’s not a debate about means with them, but actual ends.

                      Don’t get me wrong, two sides with the same ends can get so far apart on the question of means it can be quite the gulf. That’s likely what’s happened between liberals and libertarians at this point.

                    2. Individual Aryans had more land to settle.

            2. If your rich uncle died and gave you a million dollars, wouldn’t it “free” you up in many ways in life? That’s how liberals see government assistance as operating often.

              But it’s not a rich uncle who died, and left you his estate. Liberals want to take the property from the productive and living and redistribute it mostly to their cronies, themselves, and then some of their supporters. Try a different metaphor.

              1. The analogy is focused on the “being freed up” by the money, of course the rich uncle voluntary gift/government transfer payment is a breaking point for libertarians. I was trying to explain how, if you didn’t get hung up on the second part you could see a payment to a person as “freeing them up.”

                1. I was trying to explain how, if you didn’t get hung up on the second part you could see a payment to a person as “freeing them up.”

                  The best way to “free up” a person is to give them freedom. Freedom to cut hair in their garage, freedom to sell hot dogs out of a truck, freedom to sell lemonade on the corner, freedom to sell their labor at mutually negotiated prices, freedom to educate their children how they see fit, freedom to drive whatever vehicle is most convenient, freedom to associate with whom they please. These are all examples of how people can be “freed up”, to pursue their dreams and realize their full potential. And the government didn’t have to “do” a thing, so it is cost effective as well.

            3. In a meta sense, you are right MNG. Having more money does inherently “free” you up to pursue other things.

              Where I, and many others, get so bent out of shape is the fact that liberals (and conservatives for that matter) focus on the part of the equation that makes them feel good and ignore the icky part where they kicked someone in the nuts to feel good in the first place.

              1. I don’t disagree with anything you say here DesigNate, you got exactly what I was trying to say here.

            4. It isnt how they see govt assistance operating, it is how they rationalize their power grabs.

    3. most liberals share an idea of increasing liberty, they just have different axioms and premises than libertarians.

      The Khmer Rouge* also wanted to increase liberty, just with a different concept of what liberty was.

      That doesn’t buy much.

      Traditional conservatives on the other hand are fairly explicit that they think a strong authority and conformity is best for society. At most they will talk about “ordered liberty.”

      And old-style conservatives are extremely rare in American political life. Authoritarian Democrats on the other hand comprise most of the Democrats in office.

      * Godwin-proofing…you know who I mean.

      1. Really? Since you mean the Nazis I’d be interested if you could point to evidence in their philosophy that they revered liberty and individuality. I seem to recall quite a bit of contrary rhetoric..

        “And old-style conservatives are extremely rare in American political life.”

        Er, don’t look now but one just won two state primaries yesterday.

        1. They had different definitions of liberty, MNG. Sort of my point. They wanted liberty for their race to expand and fill the eastern lands, which required some positive rights involving killing the people who already lived there.

          When you can re-define words and change premises on the fly, there’s no limit to what horrors you can disguise.

          1. Liberty for one’s race is pretty different than individual liberty. My point is that Mills and the liberal tradition actually argued for the latter, they just honestly think it is promoted by policies libertarians think restrict it.

            1. To be fair, Mill also advocated forcibly civilizing other cultures, although he may have been a product of his time. He argued that civilized outcasts like the Mormons should be left alone, but I have a feeling he might think that spreading democracy was a noble goal. (Of course, it’s impossible to predict how he would view our foreign policy today, but I don’t think he would necessarily be a peacenik.)

            2. Oh, so suddenly you think having different axioms is a big deal!

        2. And Santorum is in no way an old-style conservative if Edmund Burke and the monarchists of the 1700s and 1800s are your standard.

          1. Use Russell Kirk then. The thing about conservative philosophy is its not full of radical upheavals dude.

            1. Why not? Are you trying to use the traditional definition of “conservative” to prove something about people who are trying to change the status quo but happen to be called “conservative” because of historical accidents?

              1. I’m saying that conservatism has a consistent intellectual tradition, one that is skeptical of individual liberty and advocates strong institutional constraints on it so we don’t “devolve into license.”

                That hasn’t changed from Burke to Kirk to Santorum.

                On the other hand liberalism has at its roots and currently the goal of promoting individual autonomy, they just have a way of understanding that and promoting it that is contrary to libertarians.

                So it becomes an issue of convincing liberals on means, but conservatives on ends.

                As I’ve said though, what we see today as “movement conservatism” is something unlike any of the three traditions. It’s kind of a mix of liberalism and libertarianism, hence someone could actually appeal to PJ O’Rourke as some kind of definitional “conservative” thinker.

                1. hence someone could actually appeal to PJ O’Rourke as some kind of definitional “conservative” thinker.

                  Stop with arguments from authority Mingey. You just admitted below you are not an authority on conservative tradition. If you want to argue the reasons and ideas behind it fine, but appealing to historical figures is a weak argument.

        3. Well, they are technically, pretty rare. It’s not like there are a boat load of Santorum’s running around the Capital.

          1. No, but there’s a boatload of santorum running around the capital.

            1. “Running” as in runney? 🙂

    4. Maybe 35 years ago you could make this argument, but not today.

      A cardinal element of the faith of modern liberalism is that brown people, gender-confused people, gays, and women are actionably harmed by the things I think and say.

      That right there puts them squarely in the same category as the people who banned Tropic of Cancer. Sorry, it’s true.

      1. I certainly oppose that fluffy, and I think a lot of liberals would. For example, the ACLU is no fan of such things if I recall, and it’s the ACLU that is often used as the archetype of liberalism by conservatives for a reason…

        1. The ACLU, with the exception of guns, tends to advocate for classical liberalism far more than modern liberals.

          modern liberalism is almost the opposite of classical liberalism — not quite, but close

          1. My point is that the ACLU is closer to what liberalism is than, say, elected Democratic US Senators, just like certainly the Heritage Foundation is closer to what conservatism is than Orin Hatch…

            And if you compare the ACLU and, say, CATO, there’s going to be a lot of agreement. More importantly, there is going to be agreement that the main goal is individual liberty.

            1. The ACLU is selective about which liberties they advocate for, and occasionally take an anti-liberty stance such as on guns and economics, but if all Democratic politicians were clustered ideologically around where the ACLU was at, I would consider them to be a palatable alternative worth considering.

        2. . For example, the ACLU is no fan of such things if I recall, and it’s the ACLU that is often used as the archetype of liberalism by conservatives for a reason…

          Tell that to the many liberals who bitch and moans about Citizens United.

          1. I think he means that mainstream conservatives bitch and moan about the ACLU all the time.

            I think a lot of it flows from the idea that if hte police arrest you, you MUST be guilty, and they find it preposterous that you should still have “rights”. A lot of the ACLU hate I hear comes from criminal cases they participate in, and their opposition to the “no 4th amendment zone” the supremes have declared to exist within 100 miles of the border.

    5. Well, MNG, there’s a reason why people are careful to distinguish “classical liberals” from “liberals”.

      That’s because modern-day liberalism has only an accidental and occasional overlap with what Mills was talking about in on liberty.

      “Liberal”, as currently used, is a brand that a certain clique of statists have adopted as they pursue various policies that have little to nothing to do with classical liberalism.

  3. Phrasing!

    1. Do you want ants? Because this is how you get ants.

  4. I really don’t understand the David Brooks style big government conservative worldview.

    What is their view of the moral relationship between the government and its citizens? Is George Lakoff right that they see the government as a disciplinarian parent that can help shape the moral character of the “children”?

    1. As Brooks would tell you it’s an old version of conservatism with a looooong pedigree.

      Read Edmund Burke’s work. He wanted a very vigorous state when it came to establishing law and order, a state religion, suppressing dissent and such. The state had a fundamental role to play in protecting the “delicate moral fabric” that in his opinion any “ordered liberty” rests upon.

  5. I do think that liberals quest for increased autonomy via government assistance has led to so much nannyism and compromises that it creates that which what we today call “movement conservatism” with it’s “get government off our backs” mantra is often reacting to. I find these conservatives are usually clueless or profoundly dishonest about what major traditional historical figures and thinkers have argued. But these folks are tapping into the liberty rhetoric.

    It’s a bit complicated by the fact that while conservatives want to, wel, conserve things in the US our traditions are steeped in revolution and liberty, so you get a funny kind of conservatism here. But Santorum appeals to the kind of conservatism that you can readily trace back through Kirk to Burke…

    1. You could not interpret conservatism more incorrectly if you tried.

      Here, maybe this will help, but I doubt it-

      “The individual is the wellspring of conservatism. The purpose of conservative politics is to defend the liberty of the individual and-lest individualism run riot-insist upon individual responsibility. ”

      http://www.buildfreedom.com/tribute/o‘rourke/explain.html

      1. If you want to try to argue people like Kirk and Burke were individualists, I’d like to see that!

        They were pretty up front about their loathing of individuality, how it quickly devolves into “lisence” (Santorum didn’t pull that word from his ass, it’s a common word in conservsative literature) without the checks of healthy, strong institutions like the church, the family, the community and, yes, the state backing those institutions up…

        1. And MNG again bases his claims on semantics.

          Burke has very little to do with modern American conservatism. You may recall that we had a little falling out with the government he was a part of, no?

          If we were true to the terms’ original meanings, the Democrats would be the conservatives as they’re trying to conserve the statist status quo against all comers, and the Republicans would have a much stronger liberal streak (though they like the status quo to a great extent too).

          1. Don’t look now Tulpa, but I actually made your point a while back above…

            1. Look mingey, modern conservatives care more about individual rights than do modern liberals. Here’s a bit from the essay from O’Rourke which you ignored-

              The preamble to the Constitution states: “We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare…” It doesn’t say “guarantee the general welfare.” And it certainly doesn’t say “give welfare benefits to all the people in the country who aren’t doing so well even if the reason they aren’t doing so well is because they’re sitting on their butts in front of the TV.”
              (continued)

              1. A liberal would argue that those people are watching television because they lack opportunities, they’re disadvantaged, uneducated, life is unfair-and a conservative might actually agree. The source of contention between conservatives and liberals, the po int at which the real fight begins, is when liberals say, “Government has enormous power; let’s use that power to make things good.”

                It’s the wrong tool for the job. The liberal is trying to fix my wristwatch with a ball pein hammer.

              2. Again, using O’Rourke to argue that the conservative tradition is close to libertarianism is goofy dude. The guy is a libertarian more than a conservative, and has kind of said as much at times. That’s what Hugh was getting at above.

                1. Since when are you the authority on “conservative tradition”?

                  Gimme a break mingey. I’d accept you as an authority on conservative tradition the same day that I accept Santorum as an authority on magic mushrooms.

                  1. I’m not an authority, but I do know Edmund Burke is a bit bigger part of the conservative tradition than PJ O’rourke dude…

                    1. Since you now admit to not being an authority, perhaps you’d like to stop debating from a false position of authority.

                      I’m not debating the “who” of your definition of conservatism, I’m debating the “what”.

                      And again, conservatism at its core supports the idea of the individual -and more importantly individual responsibility– than does liberalism.

                      You ever admitted it up thread in your ridiculous millionaire inheritance analogy, liberals want the government to take from some individual A forcefully that which A had earned himself and give to B who did nothing to deserve it.

                      The idea that liberalism cares more for the individual is complete and utter insanity.

      2. I’m not convinced PJ O’Rourke is the best equipped to speak for “conservatism.” He has been a libertarian-leaning gadfly for as long as I have been aware of him.

        He might be an advocate of big tent conservatism, but I there seem to be conservatives out there for whom the individual is not the fundamental particle of society.

        1. “I’m not convinced PJ O’Rourke is the best equipped to speak for “conservatism.””

          Indeed, does anyone else remember his quote about hoping socons would “slither back under the rock from whence they came” or something like that?

          1. there seem to be conservatives out there for whom the individual is not the fundamental particle of society.

            And they are the core of Santorum’s voters.

            The libertarian wing of the Republican party is marginalized and tiny — Ron Paul has not won any state, which speaks volumes.

      3. BTW-

        I love P.J. O’Rourke, he’s hilarious and smart, one of my fav conservatives easily.

        But when I accuse conservatives of being clueless of their intellectual origins and you whip out PJ O’Rourke to counter Edmund Burke, you kind of prove my point there…

        1. PJ is undoubtedly a right leaning libertarian. I’d say the late Barry Goldwater as well, but he did write The Conscience of a Conservative.

    2. increased autonomy via government assistance

      please tell me that sentence was meant as a joke.

  6. Who the hell is David Boaz, and why do I care what he thinks? Yeah, Santorum is bad, but he’s not Obama. If I had to choose one or the other, I’d vote for him. Interviews like this are why the Kochs need to take over Cato. This election will decide the future of the country, and while I don’t really care much for the GOP, I’ll suck up my pride and vote for whoever they run because Obama is a disaster. But here we have Cato, a supposed libertarian think tank, giving ammo to the Democrats. Screw them.

    1. 2.1*

      *too long and not nearly ‘typical’ enough

      1. Needs more glib.

        1. Make it “Typical Team Red Shill H&R Commentator” and it would be accurate rather than a parody.

    2. Damn, should have gone with Tulpa for a joke handle.

      1. No, that joke handle is already in use; please choose another.

    3. NOT ENOUGH RAPING

    4. NOT ENOUGH RAPING

  7. Faith, Family, and Freedom-era Santorum had its moments, but the band’s move toward a more mass-market, overproduced sound robbed it of most of the charm it displayed on its earlier albums, like Pissing Contest With Satan and especially Balls Deepest. It was a great disappointment at the time.

    1. “Faith, Family, and Freedom-era Santorum had its moments”

      That album filled a much needed void.

    2. OK, Balls Deepest is an awesome album name. If it wasn’t used in Metalocalypse, you should submit that to them.

      1. Sorry, Brendan Small is too busy putting out Metalocalypse “albums” and masturbating furiously with his angry clitoris to release any more Metalocalypse episodes. I am aware there is an alleged 4th season scheduled to start airing in April but it’s been like 3,000 fucking years since season 3.

        1. Wait, did he put out Dethalbum 3 yet? There are some awesome tunes in the 3rd season, and I want them in finished form already.

            1. I will look forward to that.

              1. While I like that the music in Metalocalypse is passable enough to almost seem metal, it is not good enough for me to want to listen to in it’s own right. I want Brendon Small chained up in a room and not fed until there are new episodes out, not fucking around writing music. You are both false metallers. I bet you like Attack Attack! A pox on your house, and harumph!

                1. Are you joking? His sendup of melodic death metal is better than most real melodic death metal. It’s awesome.

                  1. I am not joking. I do not care for his music.

        2. Alright, fuck them then. I’m using it myself.

  8. FFF was (is?) an underrated band

    Whenever maximum trolling is achieved, but nobody knows it is, Dennis Miller’s dick gets itchy.

  9. As president he’d probably resist tax increases, intend to spend less than Obama and come up with lots of schemes to subsidize marriage, children and local schools.

    Well shit, I’m married with children! Sounds like he’s my guy.

  10. The three don’t mix. Faith leads to trying to control thought. Family leads to trying to control, well, everything else lest the wee ones see or hear anything that might alarm them.

    1. Those aren’t inherent problems with faith and family.

    2. This might come as a shock, but I have faith AND a family and I don’t want to control you. Or anyone else for that matter.

  11. intend to spend less than Obama

    That’s some industrial strength sarcasm.

  12. he says that what the Founders meant by happiness was “to do the morally right thing.”

    Citation needed.

  13. ~~~~~~~~~~SANTORUM2012!!!~~~~~~~~~~

    “BECAUSE YOU FUCKERS DESERVE IT!!”

  14. The probablility that Rick Santorum could “get away with” things, like broad invasion of privacy, is less than Obama getting away with “secret” assasinations because there’s always Congress, the Courts, the media and public opinion that is more favorable to Democrats.
    But the probablity of Santorum actually getting elected is even lower than that.

  15. Apperently, Santorum takes the same view of the Tenth Amendment as do liberals… they hate it.

  16. I was startled that David Boaz’s criticism of Santorum included this:

    “Santorum is broadly speaking a fiscal conservative. He did try to reform entitlements, both welfare and Social Security.”

    I had been highly skeptical of this sort of thing when Santorum supporters said it. Now apparently a hostile critic agrees with it.

    What I’d like to see, if Santorum gets the nomination,* is a debate among him, Johnson and the Constitution Party guy about which of them could best help the country out of its financial hole. If such a debate were held, I suspect the non-Santorum candidate would get my vote – if only because Santo wants more budget-busting wars. But I’d like to see him be given a chance to run on this part of his record.

    *though I still think Romney’s the favorite

    1. And I shouldn’t assume Johnson gets the LP nom either. Maybe this year the LP is so mad about Barr that they’re going for a “pure” candidate, and I would expect Johnson isn’t that, what with having actually gotten elected and everything.

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