Tuesday, April 22, 2003

It's not just homosexual acts:

From the Santorum AP interview:
SANTORUM: I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual.
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. 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.

This is how conservatives defend Santorum. From Ramesh Ponnuru's posting in the National Review's The Corner:
... I don’t see where Santorum came out for the active, or even not-so-active, enforcement of anti-sodomy laws. Second, Santorum is not saying that governments should show no restraint in policing sexual morality. He is denying the existence of two particular restraints: a constitutional right to sexual freedom and a valid moral principle that prohibits the governmental policing of consensual sexual behavior. There may be all kinds of other reasons, both prudential and principled, for state governments to show restraint.
See? Even though Santorum said sodomy laws are "there for a purpose", and uphold "the basic tenets of society", he didn't say the words, "the laws should be enforced". That's a misdirect. There are millions of phrases that Santorum didn't utter in the interview. Come up with one that sounds nasty ("enforce sodomy laws") and then celebrate the fact that Sen. Santorum didn't say it (even though the concept is consistent with the Senator's beliefs). Brilliant!

The second approach is to write that "Santorum is not saying that governments should show no restraint in policing sexual morality", which is true, because he didn't say anything about showing no restraint or some restraint or a teeny bit of restraint. Santorum didn't say anything about restraint at all. Maybe he does believe governments should show no restraint. Who knows? But that doesn't stop Ponnuru from bringing in the topic of restraint and brushing off any concerns about enforcement by vague references to "prudential and principled" reasons for governments not to enforce the law. Not to enforce the law?   What kind of conservatives inhabit the National Review?

Unprincipled ones.


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