Santorum: State Murder as a 'Moral Enterprise'
William Norman Grigg
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did not just give us rights," pontificated His High Holiness
Rick Santorum during
a January 17 campaign stop in Lexington, South Carolina. "He
gave us a moral code by which to exercise them. See, that’s what
Ron Paul sort of leaves out. He leaves out [that the] rights and
responsibilities that we have come from God…. And he says, `No,
we just have rights, and then that’s it.’ No, we don’t. America
is a moral enterprise." And morality, Santorum believes, is
best instilled through State coercion, including officially sanctioned
that assessment just a few hours after a GOP debate in which Dr.
Paul precipitated torrential booing from the pious Republican crowd
by insisting that government is bound by the central tenet of the
Christian moral code – the Golden Rule.
to Newt Gingrich – whose General
Urko act drove the assembled Republicans into a simian frenzy
of bloodlust – it is "irrational" of Paul to insist that
there are limits on the government’s powers of discretionary killing.
on that idea in
a January 18 interview with South Carolina pastor Kevin Boling,
Gingrich asserted that Dr. Paul’s insistence on applying the Golden
Rule to foreign policy demonstrated that he had absorbed the "anti-American,
self-hating attitude of the American Left."
of moral lassitude against Dr. Paul – who served in the military
as a young father with two small children – dribbled down the multiple
chins of an impenitent Chickenhawk who used his wife as a draft
deferment, then spent the last few years of the Vietnam Era schtupping
college girls. ("We would have won in 1974 if we could have kept
him out of the office, screwing [a young volunteer] on the desk,"
lamented his congressional campaign director.)
In the same
interview, Newt – who is the Hogarthian embodiment of several of
the deadly sins – reiterated the indolent smear that most of Paul’s
core supporters are young people obsessed with recreational drug
use (something in which Newt indulged before emerging as the self-appointed
"Teacher of Civilization"). Perhaps inspired by Santorum’s
example, Newt used that caricature as the basis for his own little
been endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, but
that means we have to be citizens," Newt decreed, claiming
that "a heroin addict or a methamphetamine addict [has] lost
the ability to be a true citizen."
There is nothing
in the Declaration of Independence that describes rights as contingent
on citizenship. According to that document, individual rights are
innate and unalienable; government, on the other hand, enjoys a
contingent existence, and can be altered or abolished whenever it
imperials those rights. In that scheme, the purpose of citizenship
is to restrain the government, rather than to submit to its supposedly
Like most of
the people who support him, Dr. Paul has no interest in drug consumption,
recreational or otherwise. He simply understands that the federal
government has no constitutional authority to wage war on drug consumption,
and that no government anywhere has the moral authority to regulate
what individuals choose to ingest. He likewise understands that
prohibition always engenders lethal violence – something vividly
illustrated by the horrendous death toll exacted by Washington’s
proxy drug war in Mexico, which has claimed more than 40,000 lives
Dr. Paul’s perspective on this question is informed by the New Testament:
"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that
which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man…. Do not ye yet
understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into
the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which
proceedeth out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they
defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, thefts, false witness, blasphemies...." (Matthew
of Nazareth never uttered a syllable endorsing drug prohibition,
He had a great deal to say denouncing war and related violence.
To judge from the priorities and behavior of the "Christian"
Right, one would assume that exactly the opposite were the case.
Santorum’s politics are detestable, he is a robustly decent husband
and father. That certainly isn't true of the human pustule called
Newt Gingrich. Although sharply different in terms of their personal
deportment, Santorum and Gingrich share a totalitarian worldview:
They assume that while nobody is virtuous enough to govern himself,
they belong to a consecrated caste that is holy enough to rule over
a big historical idea and falling badly short, Santorum attempted
to depict Dr. Paul as a Jacobin:
argue that [Dr. Paul’s] understanding of the Constitution was similar
to the French Revolution…. Their founding watchwords were the words,
`liberty’ and `fraternity.’ Fraternity. Brotherhood. But no fatherhood.
No God. It was a completely secular revolution. An anti-clerical
revolution. And the root of it was, whoever’s in power rules."
Bear in mind,
once again, that Santorum offered that description of the candidate
who – just hours earlier – had been publicly ridiculed for insisting
that God’s law, the Golden Rule, applies to everybody, including
those who preside over the criminal enterprise called the State.
Furthermore, among the current GOP presidential contenders, Dr.
Paul is the only candidate to extol the Constitution as a law that
restrains the government. Santorum, on the other hand, consistently
seeks to restrain the individual and emancipate the State. While
he insinuates that Ron Paul is an anarchist (he isn’t – none save
One was perfect, after all – but he
should be), Santorum has giddily celebrated State lawlessness.
October visit to South Carolina, Santorum endorsed
assassination as an instrument of policy when employed
by the U.S. government.
scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead,"
he explained, broadly intimating that the U.S. government was responsible.
"I think that's a wonderful thing, candidly….I think we should send
a very clear message that if you are scientist from Russia or North
Korea or from Iran, and you are going to work on a nuclear program
to develop a nuclear bomb for Iran, you are not safe."
is regarded by some
misguided conservatives as a champion of the pro-life cause,
warned those who doubt that the U.S. government would assassinate
civilian scientists should take heed to the way it treats American
citizens designated enemies of the State: "When people say, `You
can't go out and assassinate people' well, tell that to al-Awlaki….
We've done it. We've done it to an American citizen."
the Obama administration not only assassinated U.S.-born Islamic
cleric Anwar al-Awlaki who was never charged with a crime of any
kind, let alone convicted and sentenced by a court – but also
al-Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Adbdulrahman al-Awlaki, who was
killed by a drone strike in Yemen while he was having dinner with
a cousin (who also perished).
the story that the 16-year-old was actually an adult "suspected"
of being a "militant," thereby redefining the killing
as a strategic success. But the family was able to document that
the youngster who
had gone to Yemen in a frantic search for his father, known
to be on a U.S. assassination list was born
in Colorado in 1995.
this kind is generally associated with the likes of Saddam Hussein
and Kim Jong-Il. Proponents of an aggressive foreign policy often
characterize the regimes ruling countries such as Iran, Syria, and
North Korea as despotisms that routinely "murder their own citizens,"
and thus pose a threat to the peace of the world. Yet Rick Santorum
who yields to nobody in his zeal to wage war against distant and
relatively powerless regimes openly celebrates the summary execution
of U.S. citizens, and describes it as a model for similar "wet work"
operations against citizens of other countries.
the defining principle of politics is power, not liberty. His chief
ideological inspiration is not the imperfectly realized individualist
James Madison, or even the centralizing constitutionalist James
Madison, but the arch-authoritarian Joseph de Maistre, the 18th
Century apostle of absolutism. His role model in policy terms could
well be the murderous "Operative" from the film Serenity.
that "all greatness, all power, all social order depends on
the Executioner; he is the terror of human society and tie that
holds it together. Take away this incontrovertible force from the
world, and at that very moment order is superseded by chaos, thrones
fall, society disappears."
shares the fear that society will disintegrate if the State is deprived
of the discretionary power to kill people. In the film Serenity,
the Operative acted as Maistre’s Executioner on behalf of a galaxy-spanning
bureaucratic empire called the Alliance. He spent most of the film
pursuing River Tam, a brilliant and irrepressibly individualistic
young girl with psychic abilities who had been abducted by the regime
and programmed to be an assassin.
a gifted physician named Simon, sacrificed his future to free River,
and the two of them wound up as fugitives aboard the Serenity, a
merchant ship commanded by a noble but embittered man named Malcolm
Reynolds. Years earlier, Malcolm (or Mal) had fought with the "Browncoats,"
a group of separatists who waged a valiant but losing battle for
impendence from the Alliance.
In his pursuit
of River and Simon, Alliance forces commanded by the Operative lays
waste to an outpost called Haven, where Mal and his crew had briefly
found refuge. Similar Alliance attacks have destroyed every other
colony where Mal might have taken cover.
the Operative explains to Mal following the massacres. "If
your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to…. [D]id you
think none of this was your fault?"
murder children," Mal replies with frigid disgust.
the Operative unblinkingly replies. "If I have to."
Mal demands. "Do you even know why they sent you?"
not my place to ask," the Operative wearily explains. "I
believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world
possesses none of the Operative’s fearsome martial prowess, Rick
Santorum likewise believes it is possible to build a better world
through State murder – not just Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani, and (soon)
Iranian children, but American children like Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.
wonder that Santorum – like Newt Gingrich and the death cult adherents
who compose much of the GOP’s rank and file – finds Ron Paul’s devotion
to the Golden Rule to be morally unsatisfactory.
with permission from Pro
Norman Grigg [send him mail]
publishes the Pro
Libertate blog and hosts the Pro
Libertate radio program.
© 2012 William Norman Grigg
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