Santorum Stance Against Pornography Noble, But Indicative of ‘Big Government Conservatism’

The antithesis of libertarian conservatism, Rick Santorum has been often been accused of “big government conservatism.” The basis of these arguments typically revolves around his votes to raise the debt ceiling and his social views which make libertarians and liberals hot under the collar.

I’ve always founds these claims to be unfounded. His votes to raise the debt ceiling were unfortunate, but necessary to avert government shutdown. He has said that although he believes in traditional marriage, he thinks Texas’s sodomy laws are an overstep of government power. He has been consistent in his opposition to the individual mandate for health insurance, and voiced his opposition to both the Wall Street and Auto bailouts, explaining that “the government should not be involved in bailouts, period.”

His defense has some quagmires though. Mitt Romney points out on his website that Santorum actually voted for a steel industry bailout. Of course, this is the worst type of politics–the type that is willing to trade principles for popularity (the steel industry was especially important to his Pennsylvania constituents). In fact, it is what Santorum (rightly) rebuked Mitt Romney for when the former Governor said he supported Puerto Rico statehood despite earlier saying in a Florida debate that English should be the only official language for the United States (Puerto Rico has two official languages–Spanish and English).

The newest story in the campaign is Santorum’s proclamation that he will end America’s “pandemic of pornography.” While there’s little doubt that there’s too much pornography in America, fighting it sure feels a lot like a throwback to prohibition. More importantly though, it is another reach of government into the personal lives of its citizens. After all, we still have a “First Amendment right to free speech and to peaceably assemble,” and just as we recoil at the notion of hate groups, we tolerate their right to have marches down Main Street. In the same respect, we are obliged to tolerate the rights of those who produce and distribute pornography.

This is a classic big government misstep, and it leaves me wondering why Rick Santorum keeps walking back into debates over social policy rather than focusing on his robust plan to rebuild manufacturing. Does he want to win the nomination or just make a point?

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2 thoughts on “Santorum Stance Against Pornography Noble, But Indicative of ‘Big Government Conservatism’

  1. Crap! I typed 2 paragraphs of comments and when I submitted it WP said I had to log in, but it didn’t save my comments. WTF!

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