The question was, is Santorum a false Conservative? No, he is indeed a conservative. The problem is with our definitions. The Constitution and the Republic are the only thing new under the sun. An American Constitutionalist is Liberal. We need to reclaim our language. John Locke was a Liberal. Thomas Jefferson would have said he was a Liberal, too.
The current definitions of Left/Liberal, vs Right/Conservative do not really apply in America. These are descriptions having to do with one’s position on the French Revolution. Our American Revolution was the only true revolution in history that did not substitute a new, and usually worse boss than the old boss.
Conservative means pro-established Church, pro-landed aristocracy, pro-privilege (in its true sense of “private law”, in which the several discreet classes were under different legal systems), pro-Military (Aristocracy made on an Officer, so theirs was the Glory, and if captured they’d be treated as a fellow nobleman by the enemy nation). It also included the ignorant peasantry who were enthrall to the smells and bells of the established Church, and were gaga over the Nobility.
To be a Liberal, once meant, being in favor of the Revolution. The confiscation of Nobility and Church lands, the disestablishment of the Church, the murder of its priests, and was made up of the newly emergent Middle Class. In France it was the wealthy middle class that demanded representation since they were being taxed or forced to make loans to the Military Glory State.
The USA was lucky in that the British had had their Class War in the previous century. The outcome was the legitimacy of the Middle Class (in Parliament) with some loss of power of the Crown, and the Landed Aristocracy relegated to the House of Lords. Our Revolution was not about the resolution of the problem of the Middle Class. America has always been a middle class nation. There has never been a Landed hereditary Aristocracy or an established Church with its own wealth generating land with claim on tithes. (The Antebellum South came close to resembling the Landed Aristocracy of Europe. In that sense the Civil War was the last act of the English Civil Wars.) There had never been a Standing Army led by strutting peacocks.
Our unique Constitution separated Government from Nation. WE were Americans first; and then we became Independent, and then we, through our States created a binding relationship of the parts with the center. In Europe the entire difference between the Political/Legal System and the Nation was blurred. The King was the nation incarnate.
America separated the Government from Society. There was clear sense that we as a Society voluntarily created our Government to serve our interests. The Government was created and caged; allowed to impact upon very circumscribed arenas.
The default was LIBERTY; religious, moral, political, etc; exception being only when one’s actions impact on another citizen’s.
This is not a Conservative Position. Thus St. Torum is indeed a true Conservative on the European model. He is not willing to keep the Government neutral within cultural conflicts; he seeks to use the power of the state monopoly on force to restore the morals that have vanished over the past two generations. A Government within the bounds of the Constitution cannot do this.
I agree with his morality. But, he puts the cart before the horse. We were a moral people and thus had a moral government. But one cannot use the Government to force the people to be moral. First off, forced morality is not true morality. Morality is all about making choices. To outlaw the immoral is to deny the ability to demonstrate one’s morality. And second, since the Government is the servant of the people, if the people have become immoral how can a Constitutional Republic pass laws that the majority do not wish to be bound by? If Congress passed Morality Laws that an immoral people rejected, the politicians would be gone in the next election; or they would necessarily stay on as Tyrants.
The question remains, what is an American Conservative? Is that not an oxymoron if we use defined terms? If a Conservative merely wishes to conserve older values,than yes Santorum is a Conservative. But, since the Constitution is much more libertarian than he, Ron Paul conserves the radicalism of the Constitution better. Only in America can we make state such an oxymoron as Ron Paul conserves the radicalism of the Constitution.