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A Christian Conservative in Every Bedroom? Rick Santorum's Nightmare Vision for America

Santorum's vision for America would combine a moralistic theocracy with free-market capitalism and perpetual war.
 
 
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Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is a Republican presidential candidate who is fast coming to the fore. He won the Republican caucuses in Iowa (albeit by only 34 votes) in early January and in February won contests in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota. So, as the question goes, who is this guy?

Santorum is a self-styled “true conservative,” right-wing, Christian fundamentalist of Catholic background. In 2005, Time Magazine called him “one of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals.” That is still certainly true today.

Santorum believes that religious values (at least his religious values) should play a large role in shaping government policies. For those not sure what this means, Santorum has a list of examples:

1. Santorum wants “a  blanket ban on abortions.” The fact that the U.S. had this very same prohibition up until 1973, and the result was black-market abortions that killed not only fetuses by also lots of pregnant women, seems to have escaped the former senator’s attention.

2. Santorum wants a  ban on gay marriages. He would likely bring back antiquated anti-sodomy laws as well. “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have a right to bigamy, you have a right to polygamy, you have a right to incest, you have a right to adultery. You have a right to anything.”

When Santorum gets on the subject of homosexuality, one can’t help noting a tinge of hysteria, along with a generous helping of illogic and exaggeration. Santorum would probably try to ban other related activities, such as the use of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. He certainly wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood.

What this adds up to is that when Santorum says religious values should play a greater role in government policy, he means that there should be lots of laws regulating your personal life, particularly your sex life. This is pretty typical of religious fundamentalists, particularly American Christian ones. They just can’t leave other people’s bedrooms alone.

The Economist

On the economic side of the ledger, Rick Santorum takes a slash-and-burn approach.

1. There should be a  $5 trillion cut in the federal budget (but defense spending would be held at present levels). In order to realize this, Santorum would do away with, greatly reduce or freeze the Environmental Protection Agency, healthcare reform and Medicaid, subsidies for housing, food stamps, job training, energy and education. He would “reform” Medicare and Social Security in draconian fashion and pass a balanced budget amendment.

One might agree that the present U.S. federal deficit verges on the insane and still find Santorum’s cure equally crazy. For instance, just about holding exempt defense and “security” spending — when combined they make up 20 percent of the budget and are notorious for waste, redundancy and corruption — makes no sense.

2. According to Santorum, there should be an  elimination of financial and other regulatory laws. This is true insanity. Regulation is the only thing that makes capitalism an enduring system. Eliminate it and you have financial crashes, dangerous sweatshop working conditions, falling wages and benefits, runaway corruption and theft and, ultimately, depression. That Santorum cannot understand this suggests that he has substituted a discredited free-market ideology for history.

3. Santorum says that as a nation Americans should “ live within our means” and if we do so “future generations will have a brighter future unburdened by oppressive debt and high taxation.” These are fine slogans, but in practice they probably spell eventual revolution in the streets.

 
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