Thursday, January 5, 2012


A Republican hopeful's profundity
Surprised the political punditry,
When he said he expects
His constituents' sex
To flower in fruits of fecundity.

In his New York Times blog this week, Paul Krugman took time out from his spat with Tyler Cowen to remind everybody that former senator Rick Santorum (pictured) opposes contraception and would defund any federal support for it if elected President. In an electoral season in which Republicans compete to show the courage of their conservative convictions, Santorum stands out for his public commitment to old-fashioned sexual propriety, and his refusal to distinguish between private morals and public policy.


  1. Why do you think that federal support for contraception, in the first place, is not itself an intrusion of morals into public policy? Is it because you agree with it that makes it OK?

    The government should not be involved in this at all! It should neither fund nor prohibit it. However, those on the left do not see public funding supporting their own morality as a mix of private and public policy, they only find it in others' points of view.

  2. @ Johnathan The problem is that you think this has anything to do with morality at all. You can't simply say, "I think X is immoral," when no one else thinks so and then brand us as your foil. There are legitimate issues with respect to Public Health policy, personal health policy, and other issues that are affected by family planning. Birth control is not a moral issue. Stop trying to make it one. It's a health issue.

  3. It seems to me that liberals focus on desired social outcomes, such as reducing unwanted pregnancies and venereal disease, while conservatives focus on morals and principles, such as discouraging licentiousness. Mr. Santorum is plainly about the latter. As such, he challenges big-city Catholic politicians who, as members of The Church, must privately profess its teachings but, as liberal democrats, work to further an agenda of social improvement.

    Personally, I feel that we need to bring theology and sociology together for a public policy that is both moral and results-focused. What specific policies would arise from such a synthesis, I am not yet sure.

  4. @Anonymous: By what measure do you decree what is a "legitimate" public health policy and what is not? Your own morality! A shortcoming of the liberal mindset is that so much of it seems so rational and obvious that liberals forget that it is actually only their own opinion. (e.g.: Of course contraception is a public health issue! Why would I have to defend that? It's obvious to any thinking person).

    @Goose: It is true that liberals focus on "outcomes", but that is a shortcoming. Invariably, people will succeed and fail no matter what you do. Conservatives are more aware that human nature never changes. The best way to help someone is to let them learn from their failures. Changing the rules every time the "outcomes" don't turn out like one hoped, helps no one. Government-sponsored contraception will make liberals think they are making a difference, but will probably make things worse in the long run.

  5. @Jonathan: while I agree with you that progressive politics have left behind a trail of unintended consequences, conservatives must sometimes learn that their principles have a background, history and context, and may not be as immutable as they seem. Human nature never changes but circumstances change continually, which is why policy needs to be both principled and adaptive.

  6. yet another good (and productive) limerick. :)

  7. The Senate Republican quorum
    Mistakenly broke with decorum
    When they went out en masse
    And got fucked up the ass
    'Cause they wanted to vote with Santorum.


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