I've Got Issues

Where I toss out armchair analyses on the news of the day.

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Sunday, April 27, 2003
One irony of Santorum's remarks is that it almost justifies a very old argument that was itself used to justify anti-Catholic bigotry back in the bad old days. As the old anti-Catholic argument goes, Catholics can't really participate in a free and democratic society because the Pope is their Supreme Authority, so they have more allegiance with a foreign potentate than they do with a free country like America. Past Catholic political leaders have given lie to that argument by strictly separating their religious beliefs from their politics. Now, Santorum wants to allow states to enforce the Church's moral teachings, and borrows the Church's language of "limiting individuals' wants and passions" to argue for his position. That's not good.


You've gotta be a special kind of stupid to spew the crap that Ricky "the Ayatollah" Santorum let fly. But despite some pretty good commentary from Glenn Reynolds, Josh Chafetz, Virginia Postrel, Dan Savage, and a series of angry but eloquent harangues from Andrew Sullivan, nobody's given the Rick Santorum interview a full frontal fisking. That's where I come in. I'll start at the point when he starts discussing his, er, unique approach to privacy rights:

AP: I mean, should we outlaw homosexuality?

SANTORUM: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who's homosexual. If that's their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it's not the person, it's the person's actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.

I have no problem with Indian people, as long as they don't ever practice Hinduism. The Japanese? I love 'em, but I better not catch them little fuckers eatin' any rice.

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.

So people having sex the "wrong" way in the privacy of their own homes undermines the basic tenets of our society and the family? How, Rick? Whatever people do with each other in their own homes doesn't stop you from being the sort of husband and father that you want to be. Unless, of course, the mere possibility of gay sex going on somewhere in your town, uh, distracts you from your duties as husband and father, Rick.

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.

Rick, since marriages are state-regulated contracts, then the right to consensual sex in your own home doesn't imply anything about bigamy, polygamy, and adultery. As for laws against incest, those are there to prevent three-headed babies. But this idea of jailing people for adultery is pretty interesting... adultery is still technically illegal in many states and it is a sexual behavior that definitely undermines marriage and families. So let's get rid of sodomy laws so that we can focus on the REAL family-undermining act of adultery. I say we start with Congress. Let's investigate their sex lives, and arrest and jail all of the adulterers. Rick, I look forward to your bill putting this into action.

But let's say that your nightmare world came true, Rick, and the state permitted bigamy, polygamy, biandry (a woman marrying two husbands), polyandry (a woman marrying multiple husbands), and incest between infertile adults (blech). Not one of those things would stop you, Rick Santorum, from taking your family to church or disciplining your kids in the way you choose. Not one of those things interferes with your marriage or parenting. Even in your worst possible world, nobody is stopping your from making your moral choices. However, Rick, you want to let the state take away others' right to make moral choices.

It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution

Reading is Fundamental, Rick. The 9th Amendment of the Constitution - "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

this right that was created, it was created in Griswold -- Griswold was the contraceptive case -- and abortion.

Wow, Rick, you're actually bitching about Griswold, where the Supreme Court said a state government cannot outlaw a married couple's use of contraception. So you think that a state government should be allowed to tell its citizens that they can't use birth control. You are on a roll, Rick. Please don't stop now.

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, where it's sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family. Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that's what? Children. Monogamous relationships.

Rick, you still haven't explained exactly how letting some people do consensual dirty stuff in their own homes makes it harder for other people like you to raise strong families. Rick, here in America, we agree not to bug each other over what we do in our own homes. I mean, if we made people's private lives an issue for the government, then we could end up having US Senators discussing anal sex and bestiality with reporters, which would clearly undermine our precious moral values and the stability of our families. Obviously, Rick, you'd hate to see that.

In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality _

Or maybe you wouldn't hate to see that. Okay, Rick.

AP: I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about "man on dog" with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out.

Yeah, I think Rick's got us all a little "freaked out." But once our intrepid reporter gets over it, they'll realize that Rick has just made their career. Of course, maybe the interviewer likes Rick, and is signalling him to SHUT UP NOW. When your interviewer tells you that you're "freaking them out," this is a good sign that you've said some stupid things, and you'd better end this interview ASAP. But not Rick. No, Rick's shootin' the moon on this one...

SANTORUM: And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately.

Dammit, don't you see??!! I don't want to talk about man-on-dog action, but the wicked and evil world is forcing me to! People might have sex with Fido in their homes, and I must think really hard about that! I must show how letting married people use birth control without state interference leads straight to dog fucking! I'm doing it all for you, America!

The idea is that the state doesn't have rights to limit individuals' wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we're seeing it in our society.

No, Rick, the state doesn't have the right to tell people what sort of consensual sex they have in their own homes. The state can only limit wants and passions that cause actual direct harm (and offense is not harm) to others. In this country, we limit the wants and passions of power-hungry government officials who want to use the state to enforce their own religious views on other people. That's what makes us different from the terrorists we're fighting, Rick.

AP: Sorry, I just never expected to talk about that when I came over here to interview you. Would a President Santorum eliminate a right to privacy -- you don't agree with it?

SANTORUM: I've been very clear about that. The right to privacy is a right that was created in a law that set forth a (ban on) rights to limit individual passions. And I don't agree with that.

Rick, you're still bitching that, under Griswold, states couldn't tell married couples not to use birth control. Rick, you're still pissed off over the invention of the Pill, aren't you?

So I would make the argument that with president, or senator or congressman or whoever Santorum, I would put it back to where it is, the democratic process. If New York doesn't want sodomy laws, if the people of New York want abortion, fine. I mean, I wouldn't agree with it, but that's their right. But I don't agree with the Supreme Court coming in.

Oh, I can't wait to see that: "Today, in a 72%-28% vote in favor of Proposition 69, the citizens of Pennsylvania ordered Rick Santorum's wife to give him a blow job on the grounds that he clearly and desperately requires immediate oral sex. Both Rick Santorum and wife are appealing the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that enforcing this referendum result would violate their privacy rights as established by the Supreme Court under Griswold."