Tuesday, 22 April 2003


It’s post-modernist. It’s post-ablogolyptic. It’s post-literacy. It’s… the inimitable Puce. CLICK.

Originally found via Michele.

Now there’s a Puce Watch. Is nothing sacred?

Santorum Sanitarium

As mentioned previously, Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has been getting a fair amount of defense from the libertarian parts of blogdom. However, the Left Leaner has dug up the transcript of the interview (via a Feedster search that led me to Atrios—I always knew he’d be good for something), and in some ways it’s even more damning. The actual text of what Santorum says:

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?

SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.

The italicized part is the commonly-excerpted part. The reporter originally added the word (gay) to the statement, but Santorum is clearly coming out here in opposition to the Supreme Court stating that there’s a “right to consensual sex within your home.” Or, to clarify for those who haven’t had my civil liberties lecture, he thinks it ought to be constitutional (syn: legal, permissible) for a state to outlaw sex between consenting adults—any consenting adults.

But wait—it gets better. Let’s continue on the magical mystery tour of Rick Santorum’s constitutional philosophy:

It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold—Griswold was the contraceptive case—and abortion. And now we’re just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you—this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it’s my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong, healthy families. Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

That’s right. Your personal liberty is less important than the government’s compelling interest in creating “strong, healthy families” like Rick’s. (Insert your own joke about social capital and communitarianism here. No offense, Bob Putnam.)

Then it just gets plain weird:

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality…

AP: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States senator, it’s sort of freaking me out.

I’m freaked out, and I’m only reading this sludge.

SANTORUM: And that’s sort of where we are in today’s world, unfortunately. The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we’re seeing it in our society.

Let’s zoom in on this part: “The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions.” Chew on that for a while. Now let’s compare and contrast with a different view of what the state’s role should be:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The fundamental purpose of our government is to secure individuals’ God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Not to decide what people get healthcare, figure out who’s more worthy of an air-conditioned house, or—for that matter—dictate what two consenting adults are allowed to do in their bedroom. Perhaps Sen. Santorum should think about that for a while.

Jacob Levy at the Volokh Conspiracy has more; he’s much less sanguine about Santorum’s comments than Eugene was (although in the latter’s defense, I don’t think Eugene had seen the interview transcript at the time).

Andrew Sullivan makes the same point in the midst of flooding the zone on Santorum. The sad thing is that if Santorum were talking about economic policy in the same terms (hypothetical: the state ought to have the right to limit people’s income to $100,000 per year), the usual suspects on the left would be cheering him on… which nicely dovetails with Eugene Volokh’s point here about why libertarians can’t be Democrats either.

Radley Balko (The Agitator) is equally unimpressed—and by that, of course, I mean thoroughly disgusted with the illiberal bullshit coming out of Santorum’s mouth.

Methodism pegged

In the midst of a serious post from Jane Galt’s Asymmetrical Information on whether Tom Daschle should stop calling himself a Roman Catholic, I found this laugh-out-loud statement (emphasis added):

Think of it like this: if you’re a Methodist, you don’t have to like the wedding service, and you can even tell everyone you don’t like it, even not use it, and you’re still a Methodist. But if you tell everyone the Bible is bunk and that Jesus guy was a real jerk, you may tell people you’re a Methodist, but you’re not one, and it would be reasonable for your clergy to ask you to stop so identifying, except that Methodists are far too polite to ever dream of such a thing.

I think Jane’s identified about the only part of Methodist teaching that might earn one who spoke in opposition to it opprobrium from the church. But I’m not sure that reproach would be much more than a stern talking to (if that). I suppose you can be thrown out of the United Methodist Church, but I’ve never heard of it happening.

Out of curiosity, I looked up what the United Methodist Church says Methodists believe; it was quite an interesting read for this semi-lapsed Methodist who has only taken Communion once in the past decade or so.

(As far as Daschle is concerned, I’m not a Catholic so I could care less what the Roman Church decides to do with him. But if you’re a Catholic and want to be excommunicated for whatever reason, I found this handy guide with a Google search.)

If not Abu (Mazen), who?

(Editor’s note: this post has been stirring around for about six weeks; I put it on the backburner after a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv. I was inspired to resurrect and expand on this message by this Volokh Conspiracy entry contributed by Jonathan Zasloff.)

I’ll admit to being nothing more than a mildly interested outside observer of Israeli politics (extended family and friends notwithstanding). So I had to color myself a bit shocked upon reading this Jerusalem Post piece by Michael Freund, decrying a potential Pax Americana—not because of any deleterious effects on global peace and security, or even opposition to American hegemony per se—but because it would impose a two-state solution on Israel:

… George Bush has now positioned himself, and his presidency, on a clear trajectory. He aims to knock Saddam out of the box in the next few weeks, after which his goal will be to fulfill Yasser Arafat’s lifelong dream of establishing an independent Palestine.

Of course, Bush did stress that the new Palestinian state should be “truly democratic,” but given its track record of violence and corruption over the past decade, chances are that the Palestinian entity-in-the-making will be little more than just another old-style dictatorship.

This cannot be allowed to happen. But unless Israel acts now, it most certainly will.

Now, realistically, what are the alternatives to an independent Palestinian state? Clearly the current Israeli semi-occupation isn’t working. A “single state” solution is a non-starter in terms of domestic governability, absent a program of ethnic cleansing that would undercut U.S. support for Israel and likely encourage yet another war with surrounding Arab states—the current demographics just aren’t sustainable for the Jewish community to be comfortable in a single state. (A “greater Israel” with the Palestinians cowed or pushed out seems to have a great deal of vicarious support from the pro-Israel right in the U.S.; Laurence Simon and Charles Johnson seem to be its most vocal proponents in the blogosphere.) The Jordanians don’t want the West Bank back, for good reason, and it’s hard to think of another country to give it to that would be more acceptable than just letting Arafat run it. Perhaps the most workable alternative to Palestinian statehood is Labor’s “complete separation” plan, but in practice it’s about the same as Palestinian independence, albeit without any external recognition.

Is the “Roadmap”—a term that’s beginning to grate as much as Al Gore’s “lockbox,” by the way—the best way forward? I don’t know. You can make a legitimate argument that requiring parallel steps implies a moral equivalency between the two sides that plainly isn’t present; you can complain that Abu Mazen, the nominee for the prime ministership of the Palestinian Authority, is tainted by his association with terror—as, realistically, any credible Palestinian leader would be by this point; the Good Friday accords required Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams at the table to work, despite both mens’ past apologia for terrorism. But it’s telling that nobody has any better idea: it’s either the Roadmap or more of the intifada, apparently, and thus the Roadmap wins by default.

Galloway on Saddam's payroll?

The Daily Telegraph reports in Tuesday’s paper that British anti-war MP George Galloway received over £375,000 ($586,000) per year in diverted oil revenues from the Iraqi government under the former Saddam Hussein regime, according to papers recovered from the Iraqi intelligence service in Baghdad. Galloway, responding to questions from the paper, suggests that the papers were forged.

Editorial comment: whoa.

News via The Command Post.