L. Neil Smith's
Number 222, May 5, 2003


Santorum Is A Threat To Individual Liberty
by Todd Andrew Barnett

Special to TLE

One of the problems that a statist politician like Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) has is that he publicly endorses unconstitutional public policies, which threaten the very fiber of individual liberty, particularly when one of those policies invades the personal affairs of its citizenry. Now that his recent comments with regard to the Lawrence and Gardner v. Texas case have already become a matter of public record, it's quite clear to many observers and pundits that his credibility is now called into question and his future in the Senate leadership is hanging in the balance. While many other conservative collectivists have already run to his defense, many leftist and rightist gay rights groups and liberal collectivists have just taken potshots at Santorum for his remarks, which were published by the Associated Press on April 20th.

According to an excerpt of an interview with Santorum published by the New York Times and various press accounts, the Republican senator provided his comments about the Texas sodomy case pending before the Supreme Court to the AP on April 7th, in which he stated the following:

"We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does."

Santorum was also quoted as saying, "I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts."

As soon as Santorum's comments reached the airwaves and were splashed on the front page of many newspapers, leftist and rightist gay groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, National Stonewall Democrats (NSD), OutFront, and the Log Cabin Republicans, screamed bloody murder, calling for his resignation from the Senate leadership.

Human Rights Campaign spokesman David Smith condemned the senator's remarks saying, "We're urging the Republican leadership to condemn the remarks. They were stunning in their insensitivity, and they're the same types of remarks that sparked outrage toward Sen. Lott. We would ask that the leadership reconsider his standing within the conference leadership."

Of course, Santorum's statements outraged gay conservative Republicans. "The discriminatory remarks made by Senator Santorum clearly do not reflect the compassionate conservatism as espoused by President George Bush and the mainstream of the Republican Party," said John Partain, a member of the gay conservative Pennsylvania branch of the Log Cabin Republicans.

One can easily see that Santorum is making one logical point: that if the Supreme Court decides that if an individual has the right to engage in private, consensual behavior, then the individual has the right to commit other peaceful, nonviolent acts in the bedroom. However, it should be noted that the liberal collectivists didn't help when addressing this entire ruckus, considering that they are very selective on what private acts should not criminalized and which acts should. The other bad part involving the liberal collectivists is that they can't take into account the reasoning behind Santorum's valid — and only valid — point.

Nevertheless, the point is — Santorum is completely wrong on this issue. He claims that consensual gay sex and other so-called "deviant" lifestyles that are out of the norm "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family." Moreover, while he claims that he has "no problem with homosexuality," and that he has "a problem with homosexual acts," he fails to address one point: that the conservative movement has deteriorated into a cesspool of moral degeneracy and bankruptcy. This is problematic for conservative collectivist like him who claims to be in favor of free markets, limited government, private property, federalism, personal responsibility, and the rule of law.

While his reasoning in that one point is valid, it is — or should be — blatantly obvious to anyone that Santorum's claim that homosexuality and "homosexual acts" constituting a direct assault on the "basic tenets of our society and the family" is highly erroneous. Don't conservative collectivists know that the real direct assault on the "basic tenets of our society and the family" is the government's intrusions into our personal and economic affairs on a daily basis?

After all, aren't conservative collectivists, who claim to champion family values, lower taxes, school choice, personal responsibility, private property rights, individual liberty, and limited government, the ones who support the immoral and pervasive federal income tax, the War on Drugs, the War on Poverty, Keynesian tax and spend policies, gun control, occupational licensure, economic regulations, and "saving" Social Security? Aren't they also responsible for preserving the morally bankrupt and perverse public "government" school system? Aren't they also responsible for supporting pork-barreled spending, government fiat, wage controls, price controls, trade controls, and immigration controls? Aren't they also responsible for supporting our disastrous and destructive foreign policy of global interventionism, which has ignited more sentiments of resentment, bitterness, and animosity towards the government? Aren't they also supportive of foreign aid (which is really global welfare for nations that receive subsidies from our government), corporate welfare, and conscription?

One can easily argue that liberal collectivists do support the same things, and they do. However, if one examines their modus operandi, he can notice that at least the leftists admit it. However, that doesn't make them any worse or any better than their conservative counterparts.

Like the leftists, rightists do enjoy the theatrics. They hide behind the shroud of limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise while supporting a massive expansion of the government. Conservatives used to support limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, and personal responsibility, but they no longer do. They may speak it, but their actions speak otherwise.

Doesn't the federal income tax "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family?" Unfortunately, Santorum doesn't seem to believe so.

Doesn't the public "government" school system "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family?" He doesn't seem to believe so.

Doesn't the War on Drugs "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family?" Not according to him.

Doesn't the War on Poverty "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family?" Again, not according to him.

Doesn't our current foreign policy "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family?" Again, not according to him.

Don't the government's excessive regulations on business and the economy "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family?" No, not according to him.

Doesn't the government's War on Terrorism "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family?" He doesn't believe so. Nevertheless, you get the point.

The problem with Santorum is that he is a hypocrite. All other collectivists from the left and the right are hypocrites because they are selective of what liberties peaceful, honest, individuals can enjoy and cannot enjoy. Not only that, but collectivists like him believe that freedom of association and individual liberty are only granted to those who are worthy of having it.

He even claims that individuals don't have the right to privacy in the comforts of their own homes. You would think that view also applies to Santorum, but of course — like the other collectivists, the rules are different for him. He has special interest power, thanks to the support of religious conservative collectivists who share his ideals.

What's really also disturbing is the fact that the senator made the mistake of comparing homosexuality to other acts like incest, bigamy, polygamy, and adultery. What does homosexuality have to do with these acts? Nothing. The point that he seems to have missed is that bigamy and polygamy are all about pubic sanction for multiple relationships, and they have nothing to do with private behavior, even though some states outlaw them. Incest is a private, consensual agreement between two adults, even though some people may view it morally reprehensible. Adultery, which is not a crime in most states, has to do with infringing upon a publicly recognized contract.

The truth is that conservatives like Santorum proudly display their arrogance and their self-aggrandizement to the press, to their constituents, and to the communities at large. By showing off those two traits to the people, they are boldly showing their true colors. They're not for limiting the cost, size, and scope of government — they're for maximizing it.

If conservatives are disgusted with what individuals do in the privacy of their own home, they don't have to associate with those who engage in such practices. They can disassociate themselves from those who make those decisions. But they don't have the right to impose their values on those who are not imposing their values on others. But of course that line of reasoning isn't good enough for Santorum and his ilk. But then since when is any line of reasoning good enough for statists like him?

Whether people realize it or not, Santorum is a threat to individual liberty. He, like the collectivists on the left and the right, get to decide how our lives should be. It just goes to show that he doesn't have respect for the individual, even if the issue involves one's sexual orientation.

Senator Santorum, get your nose out of our bedrooms. If it's none of our business when it comes to your private life, then it's also none of your business when it comes to ours as well.

© 2003 by Todd Andrew Barnett. All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint any portion of or the entire article is hereby granted, provided that the author's name and credentials are included.


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