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Tag Archive: American Enterprise Institute

“The family is at the center of Santorum’s economic vision”

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 (11:39 pm), by John W Gillis


Quote of the Day for Wednesday, January 4th, 2012:

James Pethokoukis writing earlier today at the American Enterprise Institute’s Enterprise Blog, in an article called: Santorum vs. Romney is a conflict of conservative visions:

I don’t think Santorum believes tax reform is unimportant. True, throughout his Iowa campaign, Santorum has, in the words of David Brooks, been “picking fights” with supply-siders. Yet Santorum wants to sharply cut tax rates on labor income, capital income, and corporate profits.

Nor does Santorum think cutting the size of government is unimportant. He says he would cut federal spending by $5 trillion within five years and implement Representative Paul Ryan’s entitlement reforms. That’s a pretty Tea Party-friendly agenda.

All necessary but not sufficient for Santorum. He isn’t satisfied with an economy that’s more efficient and competitive if it doesn’t result in stronger families. As it says on his campaign website: “Rick Santorum believes that to have a strong national economy, we must have strong families.” The family is at the center of Santorum’s economic vision. GDP growth is a means, not an end.

Pethokoukis is absolutely right about the difference between the two competing economic visions on the so-called right of our nation’s political divide (so-called because they share a revulsion for the politics and ideology of the left), and it is one major reason why I am supporting Rick Santorum.

Making common cause against leftism does not make either flank of the opposition “right wing”, nor does it make them jointly conservative. A conservative vision of society is not one rooted in the liberal idea of the dog-eat-dog free marketplace of autonomous individualism, but one rooted in love, duty, and prudence. The conservative idea of society is an organic unity, flowing out from intimate interpersonal union, and nourished by virtue and wisdom (i.e. tradition) at each step along the way: from marriage to children to family to community to culture. Some form of this idea has been the stabilizing force in all the world’s great cultures.

The Republican Party reflects a smorgasbord of actors and ideas conservative, liberal, and libertarian. That’s OK – there’s nothing wrong with coalition politics, though it’s a little dangerous to principle when too many people naively or stubbornly insist there is an alignment on values. There is not. There is also much that could be said concerning the affinity between libertarianism’s misappropriation of the term “conservative” and the relentless linguistic manipulation that notoriously characterizes leftist efforts at obfuscation and agitprop, but this is neither the time nor the place to pursue that…

Someone’s set of values will prevail in this election cycle, and in Santorum, Republicans and their enablers have an opportunity to propose an economic vision that rejects the “creative destruction” so central to libertarianism for a sober humanism, one which also rejects both the irresponsible fiscal libertinism of “moderate” modern-day liberalism, and the criminal imbecility of socialism and state-sponsored redistributionism.

Santorum is right: GDP growth is a means, not the end; the end is human flourishing in freedom.