This morning I was on the phone with my Dad and he told me had read David Brooks New York Times column on Rick Santorum. I went ahead and read the piece, despite a long hatred of both of these people. To my surprise I wound up finding it to be an op-ed full of rather astute points. I wound up writing an email to my father (who hated the column) outlining my thoughts. I decided it was just nerdy enough to share.
So I just went and read the Brooks column you mentioned on the phone and have a couple thoughts:
2. I don’t know tons about Santorum aside from that he appears to be a large-type Christian with a capitol “C” asshole, and of course this thing
. With that in mind, I am largely taking Brooks at his word on what he writes about Santorum.
3. The points that Brooks makes about roles for government I actually agree with in theory. Particularly the bit about things being done from the bottom. As I’ve gotten a bit older the concept of anarchy has become very interesting, and even a bit appealing. When I say “anarchy” I’m not referring to the conventional wisdom that is predominate today, with a bunch of punk-rock kids just wanting to throw rocks and burn shit. However, I no longer believe that a massive federal government pushing everything down to the state and local governments is a sustainable method. I much prefer the idea that our state and local governments are empowered and some skeleton structure of a federal government helps set the tone for things. While I worry about what Santorum’s ideas are for this, I actually agree with Brooks when he writes, “Communities breed character. Santorum argues that government cannot be agnostic about the character of its citizens because the less disciplined the people are, the more government must step in to provide order.”
4. Morals matter. Where this becomes tricky is that morals mean completely different things to different people. I vehemently consider it immoral that Santorum would prefer LGBTQ people just didn’t exist. However, that is a large part of Santorum’s moral fabric. From the very little bit of philosophy I’ve studied, morals originally had little to nothing to do with religion, and actually seem quite agnostic. They are about being human. My understanding is that it is the Robertsons, Falwells and Santorums of the world who have made their Christian morals the new “morals”.
Long story short, am I going to run out and become a Santorum supporter? Of course not. In fact, I quite strongly believe that this country would be a worse place with him as President. But, it’s rather surprising to me that I was able to take this much away from a David Brooks column, who as you mentioned, I consider one of the great Dbags of the world.