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Santorum: Obama and secularism are the path to beheading religious people

“They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? Why? When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what’s left is the French Revolution. What’s left is a government that gives you rights. What’s left are no unalienable rights. What’s left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you’ll do, and when you’ll do it. What’s left, in France, became the guillotine. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re a long way from that. But if we do, and follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road.”

I don’t think Santorum‘s speech really requires any commentary (Via Slog).

Comments

  1. Quatguy says

    Wow, he’s scary.

    I thought all rights came from governments (i.e. magna carta, US constitution, UN Charters etc.). Religion does not give you rights, it only takes away your freedoms and tells you how to live.

    Christo-facist projection much?

  2. inspectorspacetime says

    We can at least be grateful that this puts Santorum’s nonsense out in the open, where it both forces Romney to respond to it and walk a tightrope between potential voters and the rabid base, and simultaneously helps discredit Santorum should he ever be nominated for anything again.

  3. inspectorspacetime says

    It’s really an unsolvable philosophical question as to where rights come from. If you believe in natural law, in some form or other, certain rights are intrinsic and inalienable to being human, and governments that deny them are illegitimate. Locke liked that idea, and so did the framers of the Constitution – note the 9th Amendment and the strong case made to avoid a Bill of Rights. The argument against a Bill of Rights was that any list of rights would imply it was complete, and the people’s other intrinsic rights would be eliminated. A lot of classical thinkers would attribute the source of natural rights to a deity (God if you’re Christian, Jupiter if you’re Cicero, “Nature’s god” if you’re Jefferson.) but it’s not required.

    Plenty of others don’t buy the concept at all, and simply see state power as checked only by what it can get away with.

  4. abadidea says

    Things got bloody in France a few hundred years ago in a completely different context

    THEREFORE my religion should be in control of our government and deciding which rights citizens do and don’t have

    Seems legit

  5. says

    inspectorspacetime:

    It’s really an unsolvable philosophical question as to where rights come from.

    Not really. “Rights” in general only make sense in the context of social interaction. A person on a deserted island may do what they want to do, but that could hardly be called “exercising their rights.”

    It’s fairly obvious that rights come from society, and are nothing more than the codified part of the social contract.

  6. NewEnglandBob says

    This coming from Santorum, a racist and bigot who is too ignorant to understand the constitution. I would laugh but there are actually people who buy into his bullshit and vote for him – disgusting!

  7. inspectorspacetime says

    Well, no, there’s no reason to talk about rights if you’re alone. But I think it’s at least an open question about whether a person in a certain society has rights against whatever social contract prevails in that place.

    A repressive regime can claim some social contract legitimacy if it has the approval of 99% of the citizenry, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they would then be authorized to repress the other 1%.

  8. baal says

    I think I heard a splice in the middle somewhere so I suspect the clip is edited.

    That said, Mr. Santorum is a primary example of the problem of religious, faithful, thinking. It’s looney!

    Rights aren’t a real thing (TM); c.f. chairs (which are real things, you’re probably sitting on one right now). We humans have behavioral traits that support group behavior. So far as we have higher order groups, like government, they only have the power we let them have or that their structures perpetuate.

  9. ara says

    is it me, or is his brand of crazy so unelectable (in the general election) that a Santorum GOP candidacy would be a holy gift from the IPU, herself (blessed be her holy hooves)?

  10. DaveyGTi says

    So then the French used the guillotine to trim down (lol) the wealthy elite. I fail to see the problem?

  11. inspectorspacetime says

    My strong sympathies with the Third Estate will never stop me from objecting to the Terror.

  12. says

    Let me see if I understand what you’re saying (the fault is with me — I’ve very little training in philosophy):

    When referring to “natural rights,” it’s not precisely the set of rights under discussion, but the equity of those rights among all members of society. So, a legitimate government is one that supports equitable rights among all citizens, from the political leaders to the wealthiest members to the least wealthy. A certain set of rights would be inevitable if all rights were applied equally and fairly in such a way that no member was disenfranchised.

    That’s an interesting construction, one I hadn’t considered.

    Am I close to the concept?

  13. inspectorspacetime says

    Well, I think that’s part of it. That the laws apply to all equally is a pretty common natural right. But what I’m trying to say specifically is that you can argue that natural rights can stand against a social contract, because a social contract is necessarily culturally specific, whereas natural rights are universal.

    It’s always difficult to define a right precisely enough so that you don’t get any exceptions, but I’m going to put out that the right to refuse an offer of marriage is a natural right. I think that’s pretty uncontroversial. But there have historically been plenty of societies where that right didn’t exist; mandatory arranged marriages probably account for the majority of marriages in human history. At least a significant chunk of them. In those societies, their social contract gave the state the authority to enforce these marriages: I would guess that the business of those states was often constituted of managing the property and inheritance rights based on marriages.

    This is an assumption, but I would guess that this practice was the overwhelming consensus opinion on what should be done. Arranged marriages were popular. The people gave the state the authority to enforce nonconsensual marriages. It’s a part of their social contract.

    So if you live in that society, and dissent from the practice, can you claim that you have a right to marry only someone you choose? It’s a right that doesn’t draw from the local social contract, so it would have to be a natural right, standing outside those bounds. That’s the question.

    I think it’s completely legitimate to say that power is power, and rights just represent the power of the people as opposed to the power of the state. There are no natural rights, just conflicts and resolutions. But I think it’s a unsettled (and unsettlable) question.

  14. says

    Looks like Slick Rick is confusing the Declaration of Independance, which has the “endowed by their creator” line, with the Constitution, in which The People are granted their rights. He also seems to forget that “the government” ultimately is us, as long as we keep complacency at bay.

  15. F says

    The government is there to defend* your unalienable rights. They didn’t come from god or government. They came from being born into human society.

    *We need to do a little work on this. Neither party seems interested.

  16. Mr.Kosta says

    Why the fuck do people on the supposedly most powerful nation of the world elect such dumbfucks as representatives? Because as an European, I cannot even begin to fathom someone like Santorum in a position of power.

  17. inspectorspacetime says

    Europe has elected an awful lot of dumbfucks to major positions of power, too. It seems like the inevitable side effect of electing leaders is choosing wrong. Hopefully, we don’t do it all the time.

  18. JohnW says

    This raises an interesting question. Will Teh Libruls come for his head before Teh Gays come for his goolies?

  19. BentleyOwen says

    I saw him in Tulsa today. He gave a variation of that statement and the crowd of about 3,500 went nuts. They really believe that Obama is out to destroy religion, that their way of life is threatened by even relatively moderate liberals. But he also pivoted and talked about how he thinks he would he appeal to swing voters because they would trust him as an honest person of conviction. The self-selecting crowd messed with my head a bit, but the idea of a Santorum presidency started to seem plausible and terrifying.

    He probably won’t win the nomination, but he’s definitely the Christian right’s star right now.

  20. christophburschka says

    Ironically, everyone nowadays who is beheading people or loudly calling for them to be beheaded is very religious.

  21. Erin Winslow says

    My boyfriend had a very good “short & sweet” summation of the French Revolution:

    “They had a lot of good ideas, if they just could have done it without all that head-whacking.”

    ‘Nuff said! :-)

  22. says

    A typical mistake in philosophy – I am a philosopher, by the way – is to assume that one can have one’s cake and eat it at the same time in the same respect. What we usually seek both in our everyday lives and in science are explanations for the phenomena we deal with. Every explanation, however, as Wittgenstein and others pointed out, needs to end somewhere. In other words, you can go back indefinitely, but you cannot go back infinitely.
    The more important point, though, is that philosophers often falsely assume that the question for an explanation of a certain phenomenon entail the question for the first cause of everything. But since this is not the case, the vicious infinite regress does not automatically get off the ground. Also, there are several possible levels of explanation. If you ask Miranda why she is wearing a blue pullover today, she can have more than one possible answer to explain this, depending on what precisely you want to know and on her own knowledge. She may simply say, ‘I am wearing a blue pullover today because blue is my favourite colour.’ If she be a biologist, she may give, or at least try so, an evolutionary explanation, and if she be a physicist, she may give, or at least try so, a physical explanation.
    Let us now return to the original question. Rights are not simply descriptive, even though, on the level of their respective definition, they do describe under which premises something ought to be the case. They are also normative. Here we must avoid the natural-fallacy fallacy, however. In fact, the descriptive and the normative (or more general: evaluative) levels are not totally unconnected spheres of their own. Norms (or more general: evaluations) do follow from certain facts. They do not randomly come out of the blue. Needless to say, there does not follow a norm from each fact, but each norm follows from some fact or several facts, however connected. I do not want to go into too much detail here, though.
    As atheists, we cannot argue by assuming some deity, and as naturalists in general, we cannot argue by assuming any higher intentional power who or which provide rights. Indeed, assuming so does not explain anything. Why is something good or bad, or why does someone have a right to do X but not to do Y, just because a god (or whatever else) says so?
    For there to be rights, methinks, there need to exist, as a minimum condition, conscious beings with a certain complexity of both cognition and emotion, and communication (not necessarily spoken or written language). Perhaps a certain complexity of social life is required as well, but I am not sure about this. This would need to be spelled out in far more detail so as to see all its implications.
    Finally, rights can be attributed universally – humans may even attribute rights to non-human species –, while they do not necessarily and automatically apply so. Speaking of rights, writing them down, attributing them in discourse, and act according to them are not necessarily connected spheres, as everyone knows who is familiar with the Charter of Human Rights and its application.

    As concerns Rick Santorum, he obviously tries to exploit the fact that many Americans indeed know little both about their own country’s history and the Constitution of the United States of America.
    Although Europe has its problems with religion as well, it is always a shock to me as a European to experience time and again how fanatically religious – I almost want to say: how deeply infected by religion – the United States of America actually is, and what ridiculous propositions, often connected to harmful consequences, people are willing – partly even eager – to believe.

  23. inspectorspacetime says

    Yeah, I think this is a really interesting point. Santorum’s playing a dicey game.

    I think a lot of natural law types, both historic and present, will invoke the divine as a way of cutting off a line of discussion that will, as you say, start spiraling out indefinitely. Cicero talks about Jupiter as the source of rights, but he doesn’t mean any conception of Jupiter than you can read about in a mythology textbook. He just links up nature, reason, law, and morality and calls the thing God. It’s a popularly pious way of saying “that’s just the way things are.”

    My current thinking is that the source of natural rights is very essentially human: a union of emotional empathy and rationality. Our experience of fairness, or justice, is more keenly tied to emotion than we’d like to let on; it’s why we’re unwilling to accept “the universal common good” as a reason for every single imposition on an individual. Plenty of them are okay, but I think there’s a point where our empathy for an individual outweighs our reasoning in favor of the common good (a common good that would include our own welfare.) So if you do want to cite Jesus as a source of rights, I think the Golden Rule is a fair articulation of a lot of our sense of natural rights. But that’s not a divine justification, it’s just a simple statement from a figure of widely-believed divinity.

    I think I’m rambling here, so I’ll stop, but it is an important question, I think, for citizens in a democracy to consider, and negotiate a little, and perhaps we can thank Santorum for expressing a theory of rights so wretched it gets us talking.

  24. says

    Unfortunately, Mr. Frothy-Mix, since I have lady-parts, your idea of “unalienable rights” is shit that tends to make my life suck more. So, to be honest, I’d rather take my chances with the government.

  25. Jennifer says

    Santorum wants to determine who has what rights, and do it according to his interpretation and embellishment of the christian myth. He is complaining about someone else doing exactly what he wants to do but in another direction. The hypocrisy is palpable.

  26. bob says

    Even if one believes that rights come from some “higher power”, from a practical standpoint, it is society/government that determines how fairly they are upheld.

  27. Svlad Cjelli says

    Wait, no. What? Beheading religious people?

    The guillotine represents a step toward sterile justice from gruesome justice. What is the example supposed to mean?

  28. says

    Correct. All European politicians in leading positions today are morons and puppet-like slaves to the economic elite. They are completely out of touch with both reality and the people they are supposed to represent. It does not really matter for whom you vote, since the outcome will not differ much. For this reason I oppose parliamentarianism in general.

  29. TheVirginian says

    There’s an irony here in that Christian slavery defenders in the U.S. blamed the French Revolution, with its ideal of “liberty, equality and fraternity,” with inspiring the abolitionist movement. In “Proslavery,” historian Larry E. Tise examines the backgrounds of nearly 300 clergy who wrote almost all of the antebellum slavery defenses. He concludes that pro-slavery defenders became more active in the 1830s (and mainly in New England) in response to the belief that abolitionism was a covert movement to bring the French Revolution to the U.S. It was common for slavery defenders to call abolitionism “atheism” because it attacked the divinely-mandated institution of slavery.
    In 1860 Louisiana, Presbyterian Rev. Benjamin Morgan Palmer of N.O. is credited by some with turning the tide in favor of secession with a purple-prose sermon. He specifically identifies abolitionism – and Lincoln by implication – with atheism (“infidelity”) and the French Revolution!
    So Santorum is basically taking sides with the slavery defenders and the Confederacy against atheism and abolitionism. I am sure he is completely clueless about this, but I wish a national columnist would point this out. Wish I knew one who would pick this information up.

  30. TheVirginian says

    Although Hitler was appointed chancellor initially, he and the Nazi Party won a plurality of the vote in 1933 (mid-40 percent, can’t recall specific number off hand) and cut a deal with another, Nazi-like party that had 7 percent of the vote. Under the parliamentary system, Hitler then had 50-plus percent of the vote in the Reichstag. So he was elected in that sense.
    Also in 1933, the German Christian movement – which was the Protestant branch of the Nazi Party – won two-thirds of the offices in Protestant (mostly or all Lutheran) churches in Germany in the annual national election. So Hitler was the Protestants preferred chancellor, even though he was a Roman Catholic. So the Nazis did win control of Germany in elections that historians say were relatively clean, not rigged.

  31. John Stockwell says

    Many people, such as Santorum, believe that secularism is anti-religion. It is not. American secularism is common ground that all of us can share, no matter what religion we ascribe, or do not ascribe to. Secularism is a requirement for freedom of religion.

    Santorum and people of his ilk would prefer to turn the US into an evangelical Christian club—at the expense of our freedom.

  32. Al B. Quirky says

    All rights, including ‘human rights’ are a human construct, i.e. artificial. My freedom was given to me freely the minute I was born in this world, and no bastard’s gonna take it off of me.

  33. Al B. Quirky says

    ‘It was common for slavery defenders to call abolitionism “atheism” because it attacked the divinely-mandated institution of slavery.’

    They were totally wrong, of course. The abolitionists were Christians, e.g. William Wilberforce.

  34. says

    Imagine if the GOVERNMENT said who we could marry, how many children we can have, what we can do with our bodies and what sort of sex we can have with our spouses?!!!!

    Oh wait. That’s what Santorum wants. I’m sorry.

    Chris Hayes on his MSNBC show had a two-fer anti-gay and anti-contraceptives advocates. Ah this photo:

    https://p.twimg.com/AlX_HpFCIAAxbWi.jpg

  35. says

    My question for Rick Santorum in a public forum:

    “If a gay man could be cured of homosexuality by touching your penis, would you let him do it?”

  36. renaissance13 says

    How do crackpots like Santorum draw so much popular appeal? Comments like his are far from what you would want to hear from individual trying to become president.

  37. E.A. Blair says

    I wonder how people would feel about this if the Catholic church, like the Jehovah’s Witlesses, had a religious objection to blood transfusion and was pressuring the government to exempt its hospitals from performing the procedure or its secular employees from having it covered.

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