Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Santorum's Surge

Dear A,

If Santorum gets the nomination, can Obama beat him more easily than Romney? 

You probably know that recent polls show Santorum statistically even with Romney, and - in absolute numbers - slightly ahead. Santorum also leads in Romney's home state, Michigan, where the primary is scheduled February 28th.  ///

The constantly shifting tectonic plates of America's "conservative" psyche are clinically consistent with my post-9/11 observation that we live in the shambles of National Lunacy and that most right-of-center Americans are, metaphorically speaking, "psychotic."

Not that leftists are exempt.

However we slice it, there is plenty of lunacy to go around.

You may also enjoy a visit to "Santorum Exposed" -  

Admittedly, "Santorum Exposed" expresses opinions often "over the top." 

But it also provides a rich compendium of quotations and video clips that reveal the hidden underpinnings of Santorum's lockstep alignment with Catholic conservatism.

One of the beauties of our intrinsically-messy democracy is that candidates can espouse whatever views they wish. 

That said, the philosophical and theological roots of a politician's advocacy should be transparent. (We all know, for example, that if Flip-Mitt were running in a primary where constituents were cannibals, he would promise them missionaries.)   

Personally, I fault candidates - "right" and "left" - for failing to understand their philosophical and theological underpinnings. 

Like it or not, philosophical premises (essentially matters of faith) are foundational to the human experience. 

Lamentably, Americans are so swayed by unwitting commitment to philosophical Utilitarianianism that we dismiss other "formative" influences, and in the process fail to "know ourselves."

We believe -- as Utilitarianianism would have us believe -- that our only responsibility is to consider "practical outcomes," with no need to contextualize history, culture, philosophy and theology. 

One outcome of America's "Utilitarian Religion" is that we focus the future obsessively while excluding the past from view: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -  ///

In a world fraught with "unintended consequences," Utilitarianism is an extraordinarily naive philosophy. 

Economically, Utilitarianism provides the philosophical justification whereby Cowboy Capitalists pursue globalized profit at the expense of America's disintegration. Anyone who "follows the money" knows that this lockstep relationship has already played out.

To Santorum's credit, he identifies, precisely, his philosophical and theological antecedents. 

That said, Santorum is blinded by one very bright light - a blindness detrimental to the proper functioning of Democracy.

Ex-senator Santorum (who lost re-election by the largest margin of any incumbent senator ever) serves the good purpose of challenging us to examine premises and lineage. 

I look forward to your reply.



PS Since Santorum is spotlighting sex-and-gender issues -- including the possible proscription of contraception -- I draw your attention to a remarkably well-balanced opinion piece by E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post -

PPS Trappist monk, Thomas Merton reveals Santorum's seismic fault: "The terrible thing about our time is precisely the ease with which theories can be put into practice.  The more perfect, the more idealistic the theories, the more dreadful is their realization.  We are at last beginning to rediscover what perhaps men knew better in very ancient times, in primitive times before utopias were thought of: that liberty is bound up with imperfection, and that limitations, imperfections, errors are not only unavoidable but also salutary. The best is not the ideal.  Where what is theoretically best is imposed on everyone as the norm, then there is no longer any room even to be good.  The best, imposed as a norm, becomes evil.”  Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander by Thomas Merton -

In effect, ex-senator Santorum is "too true to be good" - and too narrowly logical to be true.



Since most behavior arises from an individual's first principles -- which is to say, from a person's core beliefs -- it is important to become conscious of these prime movers. Whenever this work is undertaken, surprising bedfellows come to light. Best they be identified sooner than later. 

The nuts-and-bolts of "progress" "look forward."  But without hind-sighted comprehension of our first principles, we tend to look forward as perpetual infants.

And so, while "right" and "left" conduct Culture War, capitalism (at least as we now know it) condemns consumer-units to unending puerility by providing them with too many toys. They know not what they do because they can see no farther than the playground.


The instinct of underdeveloped humans is to punish wrongdoers - always and everywhere - preferably meting out as much capital punishment as possible.

The instinct of developed humans is to realize, with Yeshua, that it is wise to "Love your enemies"; with Peter, that "Love covers a multitude of sins"; and, with John, that "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

Currently, our body politic is overly manipulated by people who do not practice what they preach; indeed, who make no attempt to practice what they preach - people who monger fear and foment hostility as if these behaviors were virtues.

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