Saturday, January 07, 2012
Santorum's views on "rights" v. "privileges" become a canard, possible effect on gay issues for military, marriage, parenthood, even privacy, if he were elected
“Freedom to Serve” tweeted these remarks by surprising GOP candidate Rick Santorum. Yes, there were boos at the end of his comments, but they were underwhelming.
Here, Santorum describes serving the military as a “privilege” and the same for “marriage”. Society has special rules and offers special benefits, Santorum says, for the “common good”.
Santorum’s philosophy has been said to be related to the Catholic idea of “subsidiarity” (Issues blog, Jan. 4).
The problem is, “subsidy” comes at ultimate or eventual expense to others. Santorum says rights and privileges are different, and he won’t take away anyone’s “rights”. But some things are not “rights” if they seem to point to individual excess when viewed against common welfare, he seems to say. (He has questioned the decision in Lawrence v. Texas.) Ultimately, his ideas invite intrusions back into the personal lives and spaces of people. Further, in a sense, fitness for military or similar service is arguably a moral obligation (it was, at least for men, when I grew up). Fitness to take care of other generations and a personal stake in future generations could be viewed as a moral obligation. The Vatican’s ideas about moral teachings reflect that belief.
Santorum is “scarier” right now than any other candidate. (Gingrich has been perceived as scary, but in a different way; Bachmann is out.) Romney seems to be willing to leave his religion at home when in office, at least so far.
The economy does seem to be improving slowly, with better employment prospects for many people, and that development bodes better for Obama’s re-election. But, economic problems in Europe or China or oil prices due to Iran could wind up having a real impact on the rights of gay people starting in 2013.