Now That Perry’s Out, Conservatives Ought To Vote For Santorum, Right?

Well, let’s see how Santorum comes down on SOPA, which is a pretty hot topic this week…

That was 11 days ago.

This guy can’t win the election. Sorry, but he can’t. This country is in no mood for a paternalistic statist moralizer.

You could maybe have a guy like Santorum in the White House, whose major focus is the promotion of public virtue, in different times.

Not now.

Here’s the thing. Our Founders recognized the necessity of public virtue and they knew the character of the people – and the religiosity of the people as well, as they believed religion to be a key factor in producing strong public character – was crucial to the success of a free republic. John Adams perhaps said it best…

We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.

But the problem is that when you lay on a welfare state in which government subsidizes lifestyles that would lead to destitution and ruin in the absence of welfare, the promotion of public virtue is no longer possible on the scale Adams envisioned.

When taxpayers pay the freight for promiscuous sex and pregnancy outside of marriage, when people are paid not to work on a seemingly unlimited basis, when our elites promote lifestyles inconsistent with the traditions the country was based on and society and government wash away consequences of those lifestyles, public virtue is a loser of a proposition.

Which is not to say social conservatism is finished. It isn’t.

But what you need is a diminution of the social safety net, at least at the federal level. If programs like food stamps, Medicaid and other giveaways are handled by the states, who have to balance their offerings against constitutional requirements of balanced budgets and the ability of capital to flee from high taxes, you’ll get the kind of downward pressure on government largesse which limits the ability to prop up lifestyles and behaviors inconsistent with strong character.

And as people who practice those behaviors see worse and worse results without the safety net, you then have a better chance those behaviors will change.

At that time a social conservative leader will make more sense. Assuming, of course, that he or she is willing to be a leader rather than a politician. An inspiring figure rather than a mommy or daddy.

Unfortunately, Santorum is a lot more of a daddy than a leader. He never met a restriction of freedom that he found repellant.

And the idea that just because somebody might be stealing something we need a new federal law to rein in the internet, which is the single most free venue on the planet, should be repellant.

Santorum’s wrong on SOPA, and he’s wrong on America. If we’re to have a conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in this campaign, it’s going to have to be Newt Gingrich.

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