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From Under The Rubble
May 12, 2014

The GOP’s Liberty Problem
by Christopher Manion
fitzgerald griffin foundation

Christopher Manion

FRONT ROYAL, VA  — Long ago, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won the admiration of conservatives for his unstinting support of human life. His memorable speeches in opposition to partial-birth abortion on the Senate floor flummoxed liberals while they firmly established his reputation as the go-to guy for pro-life issues.

While GOP insiders and neocons are famous for betraying pro-lifers when the elections are over, Santorum never has. And yet, rather than taking a wary approach to RoveWorld’s Hot Tub Connivers, Santorum earnestly supports the GOP Establishment’s expansive foreign policy and celebrates the mantra of the neocon calling card, “American Exceptionalism.”


…in his Conscience of a Conservative (1960), Goldwater insisted that the “first duty [of] public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given.”


“I am not a libertarian,” Santorum told a press conference in June 2011, “and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence in the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”

“I’ve got some real concerns about this movement within the Republican Party and the Tea Party Movement to sort of refashion conservatism, and I will vocally and publicly oppose it.”

In the 2012 primary debate on foreign policy, Santorum joined virtually all the other candidates in advocating more American wars: Mitt Romney. Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman, and New Gingrich all had their favorite targets (usually Iran or Syria), but Santorum one-upped them all when he actually threatened to go to war with China.

Is that what makes America “exceptional”?

Ironically, that debate was held in Washington’s Constitution Hall — yet only one candidate mentioned the Constitution, or its requirement for a congressional Declaration of War for such actions.

Santorum directed most of his fire that night at that lone constitutionalist, Rep. Ron Paul, whose defense of the Constitution had garnered significant support. He specifically criticized George W. Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq, which everyone else on the stage had supported.

So it is no surprise that Santorum took the opportunity last week to attack Rep. Paul’s son, Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky.

According to the Daily Caller, Santorum ducked when CNN Crossfire host Van Jones asked him if he would support Senator Paul if he were the GOP presidential nominee in 2016.

“I don’t think that will happen, because the Republican Party is not a libertarian party, it is a conservative party,” he said. “And it will nominate a conservative, and not a libertarian.”

Well, this nagging hostility has a long pedigree. When Santorum was still in Kindergarten, Pennsylvania Governor Bill Scranton was busy trying to derail the surging presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater, who had pledged to “enforce the Constitution and restore the Republic.”

In fact, in his Conscience of a Conservative (1960), Goldwater insisted that the “first duty [of] public officials is to divest themselves of the power they have been given.”

The foreign policy battle between “isolationists” and “warmongers” has been going on for a long time in America. It is only recently, however, that the GOP establishment has switched sides to embrace the pro-war mantle.

Santorum’s attack so early on indicates that the GOP establishment is worried indeed about its Tea Party and, yes, its libertarian, base. That Santorum should side with the party’s establishment, after its serial betrayals of conservatives, libertarians, the Tea Party, and especially the pro-life, pro-family forces, tells us more about Santorum’s problems than those of the senator from Kentucky.

More Bilge From Turtle Bay

The secular moralizers at the United Nations are at it again. This time its “Committee Against Torture” flaunted its swaggering ego by attacking the Catholic Church for its defense of the life on the unborn.

As Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute, explains, the U.N.’s sanctimonious blather relies on “research” from pro-abortion groups like the “Center for Reproductive Rights.”

Such groups are apt to describe any restrictions on the world’s sexual libido as “torture,” however tortuous their preening prose.

Claudio Grossman, the U.N. committee’s chairman, is a favorite of the ACLU, and, Mosher notes, has long championed abortion “rights” and population control. He is a “consultant” to several international organizations (salaries not listed), and was a political appointee at the Organization of American States during the Bill and Hillary Clinton years.

Grossman’s colleague, Vice-Chairman Felice Gaer, comes to the Committee from the American Jewish Committee. At Wellesley she was a classmate of Hillary Clinton, today the most prominent pro-abortion advocate in the world.

According to the U.N. website, Gaer is an appointee of the Obama Administration. She has also worked for the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, two of the pioneers in population control efforts worldwide.

Gaer hardly represents a “balance” to Grossman’s extremism: she took time during the hearing to reiterate her long-standing support for abortion, using the usual kakophemism (the opposite of “euphemism”) – the “right to choose” – to avoid having to mention the real torture involved in every abortion.

One might find it curious that both of these leading U.N. scions of the Culture of Death are Americans, considering that the U.N. has some 200 member states.

On reflection, however, it is no surprise: under the Obama Administration, the U.S. is today the most avidly pro-abortion government in the world.


...under the Obama Administration, the U.S. is today the most avidly pro-abortion government in the world.

Curiously, the Rubble can find no mention of any comment from the Torture Committee’s Chinese member, Kening Zhang.

Mr. Zhang’s silence might reflect China’s embarrassment regarding its forced-abortion policy, which according to Chinese government officials has killed between 300 and 500 million Chinese babies since 1979.

Since the Chinese government routinely persecutes, imprisons, and tortures Catholic prelates and laity, as well as Christian faithful from many Protestant denominations, it is possible that Mr. Zhang decided to skip the session altogether.

For all its vaunted language, the U.N. is corrupt when it comes to moral authority. It is hardly “united,” and, when it comes to its member “nations,” I am reminded of William F. Buckley's comment during his term on the U.S. delegation there 40 years ago: perhaps we should refrain from admitting certain countries, he said, “until they stop eating each other.”

How about killing each other?

Are we there yet?

The U.N., the spawn of convicted Soviet Spy Alger Hiss and the dying FDR, would collapse in a heartbeat without the billions in US taxpayer support it receives every year.

Moreover, its primary purpose seems to be providing a stage across which the corruptos, the frauds, and the morally depraved elites can strut and fret, castigating their inferiors and cashing in, big time, on the abundant plunder.

It represents pomposity enthroned, veiled by a tarnished veneer of faux elegance, boasting massive salaries and hordes of untaxed, overpaid bureaucrats who apparently get paid by the word for saying nothing – unless they can bash the Catholic Church.

Pomposity Redux

The liberal universe abounds in intellectual antimatter. The media is no exception.

This week, the L.A. Times breathlessly announced that the upcoming Special Synod on the Family “could herald a new approach by the Church to the sensitive topics” that are so dear to the cultural left: contraception, bigamy (the Times calls it “remarriage”), and, of course, “gay unions.”

Pope Francis has “evolved,” you see, from the “rigid authoritarianism” of his youth. Citing dissenting Catholics, who are indeed numerous these days, the Times heralds the day when Pope Francis will employ his “radical new leadership style” to catch up with “the modern world [that] has left the Church behind.”

However, the Times is quick to recognize that some “conservative” (read: Catholic!) bishops from backward places like Africa and Asia are likely to disagree, so it urges the pope to “put pressure on bishops inclined to resist.”

The Times hopes – and perhaps even prays! – that Pope Francis will “soften the Church's official line” (read: abdicate its timeless moral teachings) to please the disaffected hedonists.

After all, the Times speaks for all those “ordinary Catholics who desperately want change.” It is therefore proud to confront boldly “those among their leaders who spurn it.”

I am reminded of a treasured line from Pat Buchanan: “It’s enough to make you throw up your hands — or just throw up.”

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From Under the Rubble is copyright © 2014 by Christopher Manion. All rights reserved.

Christopher Manion is Director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae™, a project of the Bellarmine Forum. He served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College. This column is sponsored by the Bellarmine Forum.

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