Is He Really a Neanderthal?

Of the remaining GOP candidates, I am inclined toward supporting Newt Gingrich, so I don’t really want to be told I’m in Sen. Rick Santorum’s corner, except that in this case, I am.  The media has been trying to make the Obama administration’s contraception mandate into something other than an attack on religious liberties, and by the middle of the week, they saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  They portrayed Rick Santorum unfairly as wanting to impose his personal views on contraception on the rest of the nation, but this is a bold-faced lie.  He actually went out of his way to say that he wouldn’t  impose his values through law, but instead that it is proper to raise the issue as a matter for national discussion.  For this, we should throw him under the bus?

That Santorum has reason to believe contraceptive measures each imply risks for women is really not so controversial as the media pretends, and frankly, I’m a bit tired of the licentious view of human sexuality that says “anything goes,” without respect to the consequences that are frequently ignored until they are realized.  That Santorum is willing to speak to this issue is no crime.  There is no need for me to rattle off the litany of solid science that supports Santorum’s view, but then again, in our current culture, some of this may be news to some of you. You are free to site all the opposing science you want, but the truth is that the following are irrefutable:

  • The best and most effective way to avoid pregnancy is to abstain from sexual intercourse.  There.  I said it.
  • The best and most effective way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases is still to abstain from sex.  There.  I said that too!
  • The best way for a child to avoid a life of poverty is to be born into a two-parent household in which the parents are both married and monogamous.  Yes, I said it.  Don’t like it?  Tough.  It’s true, and remains so irrespective of your personal feelings on the matter.

Part of what Santorum suggests is that our culture promotes a sort of narcissistic mindset that ignores all of these facts, and that various forms of contraception, never mind abortion, give too many people a false sense of security that all too frequently leads to one or more of the negative alternatives to the truisms listed above.  You may not like it.  You may not want to be told that, and it is understandable that you wouldn’t necessarily want Rick Santorum imposing his views on this through law, but since he’s specifically said he has no such intentions, and since his voting record in Congress supports that claim, the only reason to hold this against Rick Santorum is that some would rather not hear it.

Why?  It’s simple, isn’t it?  People hate to be told they are wrong, or that they are making bad choices, particularly when they are in the midst of making them, and especially when they have made the same bad choices repeatedly.  In listening to Karl Rove running his mouth on Friday night’s Hannity show on Fox News, he said that social conservatives shouldn’t “appear to be judgmental.”  What?  I suppose that’s the preferred position when you’ve divorced your wife and had Dana Perino handling the press on the occasion, but part of the problem in this country is that all too frequently, we’re not judgmental enough.  We didn’t arrive at a situation where sixty percent of births are to unwed mothers because we were too judgmental.  We didn’t arrive in a situation in which we now honor with lowered flags those who died at their own hands because we are too harsh in our judgments.  We don’t have an all-encompassing welfare state because we were too harsh in our pronouncements about the idle poor, or the causes of their condition.  Our prisons aren’t packed to overcrowding with repeat-offenders because we punished first-time offenders too harshly.

This country isn’t suffering from an surplus of judgment.  While some may part company from me on this point, I actually find it refreshing that a candidate is willing to speak to the moral decay of our country.  I heard the Tea Party Patriots’ Mark Meckler being interviewed by Mark Levin on Friday, and he said that we have a distinct advantage over our founders in that they created the framework upon which our efforts to restore our country can rely.  While I understand his meaning, I couldn’t help but think that if I had to choose the framework of law embodied in our Constitution, or the moral character of our people circa 1790, I would choose the latter because they were able to construct and abide by the former.  I see little evidence for hope that the inverse postulate is true, and that by some magic, people who have neglected their constitution will suddenly re-adopt it and thereby be improved in all measures.  It was the character of the nation and her people that created the US Constitution, and not the reverse.

While the media goes on to tell us why Rick Santorum is too judgmental, I think it’s time we consider what it is that the “bully pulpit” of the presidency is intended to be, and while it certainly isn’t the proper platform from which to ceaselessly castigate the American people for our various moral failings, it is the proper venue in which to gently chide people to return to the better angels of our nature.  Thus far, what I’ve heard from Rick Santorum on these issues doesn’t resemble the former nearly so much as the latter, and I am quite satisfied that he knows the proper boundaries.  Of course, the Romney crowd in establishment media is helping to drive this theme against Santorum, so it’s really not surprising to see theses criticisms rising in volume, but I think it’s fair to point out that much of this criticism is undue.  In a culture in which casual sex has been normalized, out-of-wedlock-births comprises a clear majority, and the welfare state raises more children than do parents, it may be time that we begin to discuss these issues, not as a matter of legislative priority, but as a matter of judgment.  That Rick Santorum seems willing to do so against the tide speaks well of him even if the media won’t.

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