Monday, February 20, 2012


"Just over the course of long decades, as a result of a thousand laws passed For the Public Good, and millions of decisions that it just wasn't worth fighting over."

Santorum Hate and Fear
Although I've written about this in the past, its worth touching on again, given current events. One expects the humorless, bitter left to throw a fit any time someone socially conservative suggests that perhaps what they're doing isn't quite proper. It isn't surprising to see the left have a tantrum when someone jokes that the best form of birth control is an aspirin held between a girl's knees.

What I am always surprised by is how upset the socially left libertarian types react. Rick Santorum's ascendance has thrown these sorts into a frenzy. Not everyone who is libertarian acts this way, but some do. Part of this reaction is driven by a stark terror that President Obama will win again, a fear I sympathize with and share to a lesser degree. But part of it is driven by the reason they lean left socially to begin with.

There's an almost comical tendency on the left to hear "dog whistle" racism where there is no such thing. Many people have written about this recently, but any time someone criticizes President Obama someone will try to explain in some tortured fashion how that's secretly based on race hatred. Its a special whistle only racists can hear and respond to, they say - admitting they are racist in the process, since they apparently heard it.

In the same way, some libertarian types hear a sort of dog whistle no one else hears - and does not exist - when a socially conservative person talks. When Rick Santorum says "I think contraception is wrong" they hear him then secretly say "and therefore I want to outlaw sex." When he says "We have to consider immoral behavior as well as fiscal irresponsibility as the cause of our problems" they hear him secretly continue on with "and if elected, I will ban fun."

Sure, he's been in political office for years and his record can be examined closely. Yes, he's never actually attempted to implement any of his personal ethical ideas on anyone else, but they still think he really plans to, this time. And they are frantic about it, like an addict who can't find their stash. They abandon all concerns about everything else, they ignore their stated insistence that President Obama is worse than even Rick Santorum, and run about windmilling their arms and wailing, rhetorically, at least.

The problem for these sort of people is that the fake dog whistle is just that: fake. Its all in your head. Its not real, he doesn't secretly mean those things. When a social conservative says something like "the morality in this country is falling apart and that has to change," they're just stating what they believe and hope for, not what they think policy should necessarily be changed to implement. If someone is truly conservative, they don't think government is needed in nearly anything in our lives, let alone personal morality.

And even if a President Santorum, for example really wanted to ban porn or outlaw fun, he couldn't do it. He wouldn't have the power, he can't suddenly make the world change when elected. If Santorum is elected, he's not going to send police to your house to stop you from masturbating, he's not going to execute people for necking on the couch. He won't mandate dress lengths or require people to not kiss in public. And if he truly desire to do so he still couldn't do it.

Even if he had the wish in his heart in some secret place, the same morality that makes him worry about the ethical fabric of the country would prevent him from doing what, say, President Obama does by ignoring the constitution, bypassing congress, and just implementing his moral viewpoint on the world through the executive branch.

And this is what almost enrages me: we already have someone in the white house who is forcing their morality on everyone else through force of law. President Obama is doing that right now. He's the opponent, not Rick Santorum or any other social conservative. They aren't the danger here.

Every time someone on the right freaks out and starts shrieking about Rick Santorum or contraceptives, President Obama gets a little win. The ease of which so many on the right are idiotically distracted from this basic principle is incredibly frustrating to me. What on earth is wrong with people??

At Ace of Spades HQ, Ace himself brought up something that he's probably not even aware how well fits with this topic:
I grew up on the East Coast. For a while, I lived in California.

I was blown away to learn that people could just start bonfires on the beach, whenever they liked.

Now, to be honest, I learned on this when the government was trying to crack down on the practice, but I was blown away at the idea that a private citizen could, in this country, previous to changes in this law at least, simply create a bonfire on the beach and enjoy it. Just because he wanted to.

Then I started to think like this: What kind of a mind-screw did they do on me when I should be surprised that people would be allowed to do this?
That's a really good, insightful, and important sort of question for someone to ask, and Ace is quite insightful, intelligent, and thoughtful. There's a reason he's got one of the most popular blogs on the internet.

That's the kind of question everyone needs to be asking themselves: how did I get to this place mentally, where did my worldview come from? Why do I have the reaction and the presumptions that I do?

Because the answers can be quite powerful and life-changing, and it can lead to a shift in your worldview to better face reality, beauty, goodness, and truth. And what Ace notices here is that he's been so indoctrinated and so carefully instructed in certain reactions that he starts out with the wrong presumption. Instead of assuming liberty, he presumed limitations.

And that's not natural to America's foundation and constitution, its an artificial violation of basic American principles that has been imposed on us by the left for decades through slow, incremental example, teaching and entertainment. Someone from 1870 might have shot you for saying you had to have a license and fill out forms to start up a store. Today we presume that's normal and proper.

There's a reason that the slogan about eternal vigilance exists. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, because every slightest shift away from liberty leads to another until we reach the point the federal government is commanding people to violate their conscience.

And that's where the social left often fails. Even when otherwise quite conservative, too many people on the right have so totally bought into the left's licentious view of human behavior and society they don't even realize how far they've gone. Just five years ago the idea of commanding a Christian organization to violate its principles by force of law would have caused so much outrage the person who brought it up would run for cover. That's how far we've slouched as a nation.

Remember, presidents don't lead society, they tend to follow it; they are a product of where the culture is going, not the forefront of it. We don't elect radical cutting edge auteurs, we elect people who most reflect our spirit and ideals a the time of election. So when President Obama thinks its perfectly reasonable to demand the Roman Catholic Church surrender some of its most basic principles by force of law, that's not out of the blue, that's somewhere we've been heading as a culture.

And that loss of the ability to make proper ethical choices and comprehend right and wrong didn't happen over night. The kneejerk rage over the aspirin joke wasn't something suddenly come upon, but the result of decades of slow, step by step slouching toward Gomorrah. Every time we define down what is wrong, the next step becomes easier. A nation doesn't suddenly decide that porn is a natural right in a day, it does so over years and years of steadily crawling toward that result.

And the social left has so totally swallowed not just the bait, the hook, and the line, but the pole and half the fisherman as well when it comes to ethical and sexual issues. Some of them are so totally committed to the leftist principles on this they not only aren't aware of it, but are outraged and frightened when they're even questioned on the topic.

There's an old adage about Nazi Germany that nearly everyone knows part of:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Its attributed to reverend Martin Niemöller although I find that highly unlikely, and the reason it resonates is because historically that was the pattern and there's some validity to it. There's good reason to go after communists, and there are real problems with unions today. but that's a separate issue. The critical truth is this: if you don't speak out when liberty is lost by one of us, then eventually it will be lost by all of us.

Recently on PJ Media, David Goldman wrote a warning to his fellow Jews about the Roman Catholics:
Today it is contraception and the morning-after pill. Tomorrow it will be kosher slaughter, or matrilineal descent, or circumcision, or other matters of existential importance to Jewish observance. If the Obama administration gets away with forcing Catholic institutions to step across lines of life and death in the name of “health,” the federal government will have a precedent to legislate Judaism out of existence — as several other countries have already tried to do.
His point is much the same as the bit above: they come after one group because they have an agenda. Nazis didn't do this randomly and spontaneously, they did it systematically and deliberately. And so it is with this administration, they aren't do this out of some animosity with just the Roman Catholic Church, but out of an agenda to undermine the way the constitution works and is interpreted in order to permit later changes to America toward a leftist utopian concept.

Behind it all is a presumption of police state powers, the belief that simply thinking something is right equates to therefor forcing others to do so. Make no mistake there are folks that do, or would if given power - we have just such a man in the office of president this very moment. But most people can and do hold beliefs and hopes that they never would force on others, ever. People are aware of this, but suddenly when it comes to politics, the narrative shifts, and there's a presumption of fascism.

You know where this comes from? The same ideology that creates the social left: the rejection of absolute, objective truth. If you have no standard to which all agree and bow to outside of ourselves, then power is all that's left. If you are left without an absolute concept of morality and good, then all that remains is the power to force people to agree with yours.

And that's not a conservative principle in any sense of the word. Abandoning absolutes in ethics and truth is how the left got to where it is today. They started out much like modern conservatives. They got where they are because that's the inevitable slide when you let go of the anchor. If you don't have something firm to hold on to, you'll always go downstream, and eventually over the falls.

If I strive to obey God and wish others would, that's not cause for alarm, nor is it a reason to fear or hate me or others like me. If anything, its grounds for admiration.


Unknown said...

Santorum is as viable of a candidate as Palin was. Which was not at all. He will not be able to pull the independent or the moderate voter and the Republicans need both to win the Presidential election.

Eric said...

My problem with Santorum is in regards to his past love of big government and big spending. I agree with him on some social issues and disagree with him on others. What is frustrating for me is how many Christian friends I have who just overlook his voting history because they identify with him on a religious level. That's another type of dog whistle: "He agrees with me on this one big important issue, so it must follow that he agrees with me on all these others."

Also, I had one of those Ace experiences this weekend, when my cousin introduced me to a product called Tannerite (google it) and we decided to see what it would do to an old clothes dryer on my uncle's property:

My first thought was "We are going to get in trouble." My second thought was, "For what? By who?"

T.K. Tortch said...

"He agrees with me on this one big important issue, so it must follow that he agrees with me on all these others."

That's how Obama got elected, except he didn't necessarily have to agree with one of his fans about anything, specifically.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for!!"

So everybody who's had a "King for a Day" fantasy about how they would set things straight, given the power, on whatever set of pet peeves, was invited to imagine that Obama was with 'em.

"He's one like me!! He's going to enact (x policy) just like I would!!"

Maybe the most vacant and effective campaign slogan in modern times.

Christopher R Taylor said...

Whether or not Santorum can win is not particularly the point of this but the argument he can't win with moderates because of (x) is pretty much exactly why I wrote it.

The opposition to this man is 99% "he hates gays and would outlaw sex!" and 1% "he's not very conservative and I don't care for his personality."