Don’t get me wrong—happiness is a wonderful emotion and a state to be desired. But is that what our founders really intended to be the pursuit of our country and its people—to be happy?Rick Santorum reflecting on our unalienable rights. (via officialssay)
This via Business Insider, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post.
Good-bye, Sr. Franco. No Opus Dei in America this year.
‘Barack Obama four years ago referred to this area of Pennsylvania, right here, as a place that clings to their guns and their bibles,’ Santorum told supporters in Hollidaysburg, a town in southwestern Pennsylvania known for its social conservatism. ‘You’re damn right we do!’ he said, to a loud roar of approval.
No need to read. I only posted this for the headline - which seems altogether appropriate given that Santorum’s foreign policy idea’s are as close to realistic as popcorn-flavored jelly beans are to actual popcorn.
I don’t care what the unemployment rate is going to be. It doesn’t matter to me. My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates.Rick Santorum
The idealized conservative family is structured around a strict father who is the natural leader of the family, who is assumed to know right from wrong, whose authority is absolute and unchallengeable, who is masculine, makes decisions about reproduction, and who sets the rules — in short, the Decider. Children must be taught right from wrong through strict discipline, which is required to be moral. This maps onto the nation. To be prosperous in a free market, one must be fiscally disciplined. If you are not prosperous, you must not be disciplined, and if you are not disciplined, you cannot be moral, and so you deserve your poverty.
When this idealized family model is projected onto various governing institutions, we get conservative versions of them: conservative religion with a strict father God; a view of the market as Decider with no external authority over the market from government, unions, or the courts; and strictness in other institutions, like education, prisons, businesses, sports teams, romantic relationships, and the world community. Control over reproduction ought to be in the hands of male authorities.
For conservatives, democracy is about liberty, individual responsibility and self-reliance — the freedom to seek one’s own self-interest with minimal or no commitment to the interests of others. This implies a minimal public and a maximal private.
We can now see why the Santorum Strategy is so concerned with family values. Strict father family values are the model for radical conservative values. Conservative populism — in which poor conservatives vote against their financial interests — depends on those poor conservatives having strict father family values, defining themselves in terms of those values, and voting on the basis of those values, thus selecting strict fathers as their political leaders.
In truth, Santorum isn’t quite as off base here as he is on, say, his denial of global warming. He’s absolutely right that higher education is a liberal and secular force in our society at present. But he’s also highly simplistic in his view that it creates liberals, or atheists–or, that it intentionally discriminates against conservatives, or the devout. If anything, when it comes to the liberalism of academia, much of the causation may well run in the opposite direction from the one that Santorum assumes. Rather than colleges making people liberal, liberals may instead make colleges the way they are by choosing to attend and, even more importantly, choosing to stay and pursue advanced degrees.Does College Make You Liberal? Or Do Liberals Make Colleges?
But Santorum doesn’t care about the facts, because attacking Obama on higher education is really just a pretext for pushing what is, for him, a more urgent message—namely that higher education should be viewed as a problem, not an opportunity. Although he currently frames this message in the Tea Party language of “liberal professors” and “indoctrination,” the roots of his stump-speech sallies against academia lie deeper than this, in a religious ideology of cosmic war.Santorum’s War on Satan… er, on Higher Education (via azspot)
“The news is all abuzz today over the fact that Santorum “lost” the Catholic vote in the primaries last night. It’s a construction that assumes that it was his to lose, and is based in one of the most pernecious myths of the Beltway media, which is that America is a sectarian society where “people of faith” not only vote according to religious guidelines, but according to those set by the loudest sectarians amongst them. Thus, you get claims that Obama is going to lose the “Jewish vote” because, I dunno, something about Israel, even though he really hasn’t done a damn thing to hurt Israel. And now there’s a growing adherence to the nonsensical belief that Catholics are a voting bloc, and one that votes primarily based on what a bunch of right wing celibates who spend all their time on TV denouncing vaginas think. The only group that doesn’t get this treatment is mainline Protestants, because as the mainstream media doesn’t tend to think of “white” as a race so much as a baseline, so it thinks of mainline Protestantism as the norm by which you measure others against. (On that basis alone, I enjoyed Santorum saying mainline Protestants aren’t real Christians, because it actually jolted the media into realizing that various Protestants are also religious groups, just like Jews, Catholics, evangelicals, and Mormons.) But really, this nonsense about the “Catholic vote” has got to stop. There’s literally no evidence for such a thing. Most Catholics are pro-choice and use birth control, and they do so in roughly the same numbers as non-Catholics. In fact, they’re indistinguishable from the public at large in their voting habits. There’s perhaps a slim chance that some of them were moved against Santorum by the JFK comment, but honestly, I’m skeptical. The reason is that we’re talking about a Repubilcan primary. I guarantee their identity as Republicans was a bigger factor for Catholic Republicans voting in the primary than their loyalty to the only Catholic President.”
In recent remarks, Santorum praises home schooling, claiming that with the rise of factories, Americans had to go to formal schools that were like factories. Public school is an anachronism, he says. But formal schooling is about as American a virtue as there is. Has Santorum read any American history?
In selling federal land to farmers, Thomas Jefferson and others insisted that some be set aside for a school house. In the Northeast, free and mandatory public schooling in the primary years was a singular and early achievement, and it occurred before the age of big factories. Perhaps nothing is as singular in American history is its development of a free primary school system that exceeded even Prussia’s in terms of the proportion of school age attendance by roughly the mid-1800s. The U.S. rate of enrollment was well ahead of France and England by then.
In a world in which computation and literacy were requirements for a modern economy — I am talking about the 19th century economy here — America was a leader. Santorum prefers some romantic view of farmers educating their children. But if homeschooling had dominated into the 20th century, America would not have become the world’s leading nation.
Until the ranks of the GOP primary field were thinned dramatically, Rick Santorum was a third-tier candidate, telling third-tier lies, while no one paid any attention to him. He blossomed only because all the more prominent alternatives had withered under scrutiny - a scrutiny that he so far has managed to avoid. […] Santorum richly deserved to be a two per cent, third-tier candidate, because he’s little more than a bottom-feeding rumour-monger who violates the ninth commandment as casually as some folks chew gum.
4. Evolution isn’t “just a theory,” as Santorum has put it in his quest to have the pseudo-science of Creationism taught in biology classes. In science, a “theory” is a robust explanation for observed phenomena that accounts for all the known facts about them. So, physicists speak of the theory of gravity. It isn’t that they think gravity isn’t a fact, or that they entertain other explanations of why books always fall if you let them go in mid-air (for instance, that each book has an invisible elf on it who likes a giddy ride down to the floor and guides it that way). Likewise, biological evolution is one of the more solidly proved things in science, and has been repeatedly observed in nature. Whether a divine power has set the universe up in this way, so that evolution occurs, is a theological question for seminaries, not a question for high school biology classes. Only someone insecure in their faith would need to bolster it by attempting to insert it into non-theological realms like science.
1. Santorum maintains that there is no such thing as a genuine liberal Christian because, he says, the plain text of the Bible is contrary to the principles of liberalism. He goes on to conflate liberalism with “liberation theology” (they are not the same thing). But the American Roman Catholic bishops of Santorum’s own church often take social positions that are recognizably liberal, basing them in scripture and in papal encyclicals. When it comes to feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, visiting prisoners, and doing to others as you would have them do to you, it is actually Ayn Rand style conservatism that is incompatible with Christianity. Santorum’s Bible appears to be missing the Beatitudes, and his Catholic education seems so defective that he is unaware of “Evangelium Vitae” (1995), which forbids the capital punishment that Santorum favors, or “Laborum exercens” (1981), which recognizes the right of workers to unionize, or “Caritas in Veritatae” (2009), in which Pope Benedict says, “Therefore, it must be borne in mind that grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution.” Sounds like welfare to me. Someone who studied religion in college might have been able to help Santorum avoid all these errors.