Vice-President Rand Paul?

Now that Santorum has dropped out of the race, it is inevitable that Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee. To me, this really means nothing, since the impossibility of a Ron Paul candidacy meant that I lost interest in the race a long time ago. I would be marginally more satisfied with a President Romney than a President Santorum, though. I think he’s somewhat less likely to start a war with Iran. And he has a much better chance of beating Obama and actually becoming president.

That’s why I hope, as a gesture of good will and political acumen, Romney chooses Rand Paul as his running mate. Here is why I think it is a good idea:

1) It would provide him with a base of enthusiastic supporters. Of course, I imagine that there is a hard-core of Ron Paul supporters who would not support Romney under any circumstances. But all political movements are broad and multi-layered, and I think enough Ron Paul supporters to make a difference would end up supporting Romney if he chose Rand as a running mate. I am one of them.

2) It would serve as a clear demonstration of the power, relevance, and  legitimacy of the “paleo” movement. By “paleo” movement, I mean the coalition of strict Constitutionalists, libertarians, “paleo”-libertarians, paleo-conservatives, and fed-up-with everything conservatives who banded together to support Ron Paul. No longer could the likes of David Frum, Michael Gerson, or even personalities such as Hannity or Limbaugh write off this section of the right wing as “fringe” or “extremist” – or at least, without straining their own credibility.

3) This is a no-brainer: it sets the stage for a Rand Paul presidential run in 2016. He could run even without having been VP, but it would provide a tremendous boost ceteris paribus.  I would support a Romney-Paul ticket for this benefit alone.

I am sure there are “purists” who hate this idea. Some of them even dislike Rand Paul, they don’t think he’s as pure as his father. Maybe he isn’t. But he would be a thousand times better than anyone else, and has a much better chance at one day capturing the White House. And if we can’t appreciate that, we deserve to be dominated by an oppressive state.

Porn: A Catholatarian View

Rick Santorum has come under fire from the pornography industry for some anti-pornography comments he made a while back. So appalled were some of the fine, upstanding and respectable members of this prestigious community that they have called for a “protest”, the nature of which is too vile for me to justify providing a link to. You can find it yourself if you want to search for it.

As a Ron Paul supporter and Constitutionalist, I am not a fan of Rick Santorum. His foreign policy strikes me as reckless and absurd, and his support for the assassination of the American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki demonstrates to me that he isn’t the least concerned with restoring Constitutional government to the United States. He is a right-wing statist. I don’t support him at all and I wouldn’t vote for him under almost any circumstance.

But my dislike for the Santorum political program is nothing but a weak shadow compared to my contempt for pornography.

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Economics & The Common Good

Now that I’ve looked at a core dispute between libertarians and “progressives”, I want to address my traditionalist friends. By “traditionalist” I do not mean liturgical or doctrinal traditionalist – I am one of those myself. I mean instead people who resist the changes to society brought about by modernity in general, and who resist “liberalism” in particular. Some disclaimers are in order: first, I am most emphatically not one of those libertarians who believes that the world was a dark, oppressive place until the “Enlightenment” came along.

I do not see, for instance, the Declaration of Independence as a sole or even primary product of the “Enlightenment”, but rather as the product of Christian natural law tradition. That isn’t to say that there is nothing new in the American experiment, but it is not the total novelty that others make it out to be either. American civilization stands on the shoulders of Christendom, whether the anti-Catholic prejudice of the American founders could appreciate it or not. I also make very sharp distinctions between the Anglo-American and Continental “Enlightenments.” The French Revolution created a horrific and monstrous tyranny that Catholics were right to resist, and sowed the seeds for an even worse tyranny in the form of communism.

But some changes were bound to happen. Our societies and our beliefs will always be shaped by the way we live our lives, and the way we live our lives has been radically transformed by technology, by the industrial and information revolutions of the past two centuries. As a result of these changes, Catholics have been forced to distinguish in a new way between what is timeless and absolute and what is largely the product of culture.

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Right & Privilege

At the core of a good chunk of the political disputes between libertarians and their conservative sympathizers on the one hand, and progressive leftists and secularists on the other, is the question of rights. What are they? Where do they come from? How are they exercised? How are they protected?

In the classical liberal view, which is also the Catholic view, natural rights are corollaries to natural laws. Our rights to life, liberty, and private property derive from our obligations to preserve our lives and those of our family, to educate our children, and to obey the moral law. These obligations are imposed upon us by God. The modern libertarian has lost sight of the connection between natural law and right, but insofar as he defends natural rights as they are articulated in the Declaration of Independence, which at least acknowledges a “Creator”, he stands in the Christian natural law tradition.

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