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03 August 2005 @ 02:27 am
Last week on the Daily Show, Rick Santorum appeared to promote his new book, a tome on family values in America. Jon Stewart questioned him about some of his beliefs on family values and how government relates to that. Two of Santorum's statements interested me:

"Remember, the reason societies elevate marriage to a special status is not because they want to affirm the relationship between two adults. That's important. A love relationship is important. [...] Society's purpose - the reasons civilizations have held up marriage is because they want to establish and support and secure the relationship that is in the best interest of the future of the society, which is, a man and a woman having children and providing the stability for those children to be raised in the future."

After some discussion, Stewart asked, "Can you legislate an ideal?"

Santorum's response: "We have to. We owe it to children. Children need a mom and a dad. There are differences between mothers and fathers. And young girls and young boys need both."

That's the Republican ideology in a nutshell, isn't it? We have to. If we don't legislate the perfect world, we'll never have it. If we don't outlaw abortion, we'll never have no abortion. If we don't outlaw gay marriage, we'll never have a nation of perfect two-parents-of-the-opposite-sex families.

It goes further than that, though, doesn't it?

If we believe enough in the perfect world, we will achieve it.

If we invade Iraq, we will spread democracy across the Middle East.

If we outlaw birth control, women will be pure.

If we believe global warming doesn't exist, we won't be affected by it.

If we limit lawsuit damages, we can trust corporations to make safe products and market them responsibly.

If we put Social Security money in the market, we can trust that the market won't crash.

If we act as if we control the world, the world will remain under our control.

This is the group that looked down upon "the reality-based community." The group that claimed "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." Belief in the perfect world will bring it about.

It doesn't work that way. Legislate all you will, men and women, in all combinations, will still have illicit sex. Fetuses will be aborted. Iraq will fall into civil war while our soldiers die. The earth will heat up. Corporations will cut as many corners as they can, and people will lose money in the stock market. It is impossible to legislate order. Entropy exists.

The divide between members of the reality-based community and the faith-based community is simple. We deal with the world as it exists, not the world as we wish it to be. We make laws that acknowledge that men and women, men and men, women and women, will have sex, fall in love, want to have children, want to avoid having children. We make laws that level the playing field so corporations have a responsibility to their consumers. We make laws that recognize that families are not always textbook-perfect, so we try to provide single-parent families with societal support, to provide women and children protection from abusive husbands and fathers. We know that we can't control the world, so we make laws to deal with imperfect situations.

We learned when we were children that just because we want something doesn't mean we'll get it. It's something the leaders of this country could stand to remember.
Fenrissfenriss on August 3rd, 2005 09:13 am (UTC)
You know, I found something about that interview really unsettling. For one thing, when Jon handed him a big opportunity to make friends by asking him "Tell us what people tend to misunderstand about Rick Santorum," he neatly dodged the question. Which I think was because he knows we don't misunderstand him.

Thanks for this analysis of his thinking. I think you are dead on, as usual.
Elle: Gay marriage formulatheletterelle on August 3rd, 2005 05:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you, my darlin. And I think you're right; what he is is right out there.

I wish Jon could've asked him about what Santorum means. ;) Or called him Man-on-Dog Santorum, which is my favorite nickname for him.
DarkRiver: fiercesmolder on August 3rd, 2005 09:51 am (UTC)
....so does that mean divorce and unwed sex are slated to be made illegal too?
i_aldarion on August 3rd, 2005 09:57 am (UTC)
...again, you mean. Mm, backsliding...
Elletheletterelle on August 3rd, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC)
If they had their way, absolutely. Of course, like with all other vices, the Men In Charge would be excused from actually following the rules.
i_aldarion on August 3rd, 2005 09:58 am (UTC)
You put words to thoughts I've been having, but haven't been able to NAME. Thank you SO much, that was cool to read. Mind if I link?
Elle: The bluest eyestheletterelle on August 3rd, 2005 05:16 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm glad! Sure, feel free to link. I so rarely get a substantive post out there. It was 3 am, I was hit with a thought, and I couldn't stop till I got it all down.
Kayefreak_in_need on August 3rd, 2005 08:00 pm (UTC)
Well said! You managed to make a point where I normally would splutter and throw up my hands.