Friday, June 10, 2005

Gettin' Icky With Ricky

An interview with Senator Rick Santorum about--guess what--social and religious issues with an off-hand mention of man-on-dog sex (wait 'til Brent Bozell finds out!). No, I don't think Santorum is a nascent Torquemada; in fact, it's well worth mentioning that he's a truer conservative than most in some ways (elsewhere in the interview, he talks about taxes as a taxpayer, not as a senator, which is very refreshing). Nonetheless, this interview really goes to show the extent to which Santorum really is the embodiment the Religious Right's takeover of Republican party, and everything that is un-conservative about the RR's world view:

AP: Speaking of liberalism, there was a story in The Washington Post about six months ago, they'd pulled something off the Web, some article that you wrote blaming, according to The Washington Post, blaming in part the Catholic Church scandal on liberalism. Can you explain that?

SANTORUM: You have the problem within the church. Again, it goes back to this moral relativism, which is very accepting of a variety of different lifestyles. And if you make the case that if you can do whatever you want to do, as long as it's in the privacy of your own home, this "right to privacy," then why be surprised that people are doing things that are deviant within their own home? If you say, there is no deviant as long as it's private, as long as it's consensual, then don't be surprised what you get. You're going to get a lot of things that you're sending signals that as long as you do it privately and consensually, we don't really care what you do. And that leads to a culture that is not one that is nurturing and necessarily healthy. I would make the argument in areas where you have that as an accepted lifestyle, don't be surprised that you get more of it.

Notice how Santorum leaps immediately from talking about a problem within the Catholic Church--and, presumably, about how liberalism within the Church is causing problems--to talking about a constitutional right to privacy? The problem, according to Santorum, is that the government is less judgmental about the private behavior of its citizens than the Catholic Church is. Last time I checked, the Church is God's earthly institution charged with bringing all of humanity closer to God and salvation, whereas the government is there to, you know, make sure everybody drives on the same side of the road. Seems to me that the two of them might set standards just a liiiiiitle differently.

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?

SANTORUM: 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. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it's my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that's antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, here it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

So, to answer the question: yes. Rick Santorum, Senator of Pennsylvania, thinks that it should be illegal for two men to have sex at home. Just for the record. Lest there be any confusion.

Back to my point, I agree that the Right to Privacy is an invention of the Supreme Court, and I'm not a believer in the notion that there can be constitutionally-protected rights that are not, you know, in the Constitution. However, unlike Santorum, I think there is a need for such a right to enumerated. Putting abortion aside for the moment--as it's debatable whether it is a "private" decision--I like the idea of there being legal protections against someone prying into my medical and financial records, and I don't like worrying that if I put my email address on a petition about the local water utility, it means that I'm destined receive a cagillion emails graphically showing how I can enlarge my genitals. More over, I do think people should be allowed to whatever they want in their own homes, so long as it does not hurt or impune others. To summon the great line of every curmudgeon, I don't want anyone--private or public--stickin' their nose into my private affairs. Rick Santorum, however, seems to disagree. Again, I am not upset that he judges; I am not upset that he is against relativism; nor am I even slightly perturbed that he is concerned with society or that believes that their is such a thing as indecent--even deviant--behavior. What does worry me is that I cannot tell where Santorum draws the line between what is moral and what should be legal.


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