Give me Liberty, Give me Death, but Not According to Santorum

By Alex Gonzalez

                   Political power, then, I take to be a right of making laws with penalties of death, and consequently all less penalties, for the regulating and preserving of property, and of employing the force of the community, in the execution of such laws, and in defense of the common-wealth from foreign injury; and all this only for the protection of the public good—John Locke

With so many religious themes in conservative politics is became harder to see the separation of Church and state.  The conversation around “Obama v.  Catholics” and the Republican Party overtly embracing Santorum’s Catholic views in abortion, and the victory of Santorum with Evangelicals is steadily vanishing the lines of individual rights, even among Republicans.  But

Our Constitution was specifically written to protect citizens from politicians like Obama who use government to create laws that trump of individualism—ObamaCare;  Or  politicians like Santorum who want to use government to create laws that suits his stringent religions views—the the Schiavo case.  Thus, Conservative and the Republican Party should be careful to not too much of Santorum orthodox Catholic views that often overlook individual and states right.

Our nation, our Natural Rights, and our laws are based on Protestant individualistic ideals that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.  And our Rights are enshrined to protect us from government and other individuals.  These ideals dictate that neither government nor groups–social or religious–have more power, under the law, than the individual.  But this is not what Santorum preaches.

Though Santorum claims to promote the values of Declaration of Independence,  Santorum’s stringent Catholicism is nothing like what Thomas Jefferson was thinking when he wrote the declaration of Independence.  For one thing, Jefferson was the most irreligious of all  of the Founding Fathers, so is very unlikely that Declaration of Independence effect the Catholic orthodox  religious  views of Santorum can speak to our Natural Right. So whoever believes that Santorum is a “reasonable” conservative who will protect our Constitution and our Natural  Right, clearly has missed the dangers of his passionate Catholicism on individuals and states’ rights and Separation of Powers.  Conservative constitutionalist ought to be worried about Santorum’s religious views because they are overt attacks on individual rights, and the separating of powers, states’ rights and the institutions created by the Founding Documents.

Santorum is correct when he argues that our Natural Rights come from God.  But, while citing the Declaration of  Independence, which promotes political ideals and liberty,  he embraces a level of religious passion that inherently,  and forcibly,  forfeits individual right in the pursuit  of group  identity  where the individual’s desire is controlled by  a hierarchical  structure of organization and religious leaders, which is the nature of Catholicism.  Hence, Santorum’s populist Catholic views are a threat to our individual and state’s rights because religious groups views, not “enumerated” in the Constitution, are more important. And is this is this false religious premise in American conservatism and a tangled web of distortion about the Foundation of our nation. Our Society is base on an agreement between reasonable individual   and government, not religious frenzy.

According to John Locke, creating society means the transferring of man’s Right to judge right from wrong is the purpose of crating society and government;  and  this “transferring” does not mean forfeiting our Natural Right as Santorum Claims.  But, since Santorum cannot find actual writing in the Constitution to support his rigorous Catholic views to suppress individualism, he omits the Constitution, and instead, cites ambiguous passages from the Declaration of Independence.

Sure, Santorum cites that the Declaration of Independence as guidance for his political views on society—especially abortion–and government. However, he purposely avoids referring to the U.S. Constitution because he knows the Constitution puts limits on his Catholic’s groups views on abortion, states’ rights, Individualism and government.  So conveniently, he avoids talking about the Constitution, and instead, he praises the Declaration of Independence because the document it is filled with religious ambiguities. But, the Constitution clearly sets limits to religious populists like Santorum, who drive the religious zeal, and are prone to infringe on our perpetual rights.  Thus, to presume that Santorum is the best manifestation of Thomas Jefferson is unfathomable.

Is religion more important than our Natural Rights ?

….and to assume to the, among the power of the earth, the separation of the separated and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitled them, a decent respect to opinions of mankind  requires that they should declare the causes  of impel them to the separation—the Declaration of Independence.  

When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the first paragraph about laws of nature and Nature’s God in the Declaration of Independence in 1776, he was clearly speaking of the “Natural Rights” that John Locke had described in the Two Treatise of Government.  But these rights are more designed to create a society and government than to promotion of any religious mandate or hierarchy like the one promoted by Santorum.

Our “perpetual rights” are indeed rights given by God.  Thomas Hobbes believed that man had supreme rights to whatever necessary to protect him from pain, death, and chaos. The state of nature was filled with threats created by man’s innate passions and drive for power, which according to Hobbes, only stop with death.  However, this “right” can be transferred or renounced under some voluntary reciprocal act. This mutual transferring of Rights, according to Hobbes, is called a “covenant,” which has its basis on God‘s own creation.  Hence–man being a creature of God, and set in motion by God’s own cause–an act of reason–come together voluntary under this covenant. But because any of man‘s acts are to be considered a cause set in motion by God (a link), God himself is the cause of the covenant and man’s perpetual liberty.

Therefore, God is the sole giver of man’s liberty because  there is a connection between “liberty and necessity.”   Men acting upon his voluntary liberty, and under his own will which proceeds from liberty, and enters into an agreement with society. Thus, man is set free to act according to his own voluntary will, which in turn is accompanied with the necessity of God’s own will. As a result, God and man are bind together via “liberty and necessity” and government, for the preservation of all mankind.  Therefore, liberty and government exists by necessity of God’s own will and acts since all the acts are motions set by God and put together in “covenant”—Government.  And, these “reasonable” men entered into “covenant” to create society and to protect him from death and the passion of others. Consequently, whether supposed conservative ideas Santorum is promoting, is not the intent of the Founders because he seeks the diminishing of society by weakening the “covenant”, which is based on reason, and replace it with an archaic religious mantra.

John Locke, too, believed political power was an unalienable “Natural Right” within the “state of nature.  In such a state, man was free to order his own affairs and dispose of his possessions and person as he wished within the bounds of the laws nature; in the state of nature equality is a natural right because all are equal–no one has more power the other. This natural law of equality and reciprocity, is fundamental because it creates “obligations to mutual love amongst men.”  Natural Rights, thus, for Locke are those rights found in a state of  “perfect freedom” where man is the master of his will, his person, and the creator of laws for the preserving of property and society. Also, according to Locke for the most parts all man are good and have perpetual untransferable “natural rights,” just as Jefferson argued.  But, in society, all rational men, acting under their best judgment, consent to be represented by a few selected men in a legislature, yes they never abandon their Natural Rights.

So all our Founding documents indeed point out to Perpetual Natural Unalienable Rights in which religious beliefs ought not infringe in our Constitutional Rights, Liberties. And, they also underscore that all men acting with reason, and acting with God’s guidance, entered into covenant to Created society—government and reciprocity to protect life, liberty and property. So government is not the problem, it is the passions of men like Obama and Santorum that make institution bad by pushing religious or secular views on individuals and states.

 

 

 

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