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It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good Hardcover – July 4, 2005
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I am amazed at the depth and breadth of information, wisdom, and sensitivity. -- Dr. Laura C. Schlessinger Internationally Syndicated Radio Talk Host, Author of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands
In his book, Rick Santorum combines theory, principle, and practice. . . . -- The Hon. Stephen Goldsmith, former Mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana
Senator Santorum is one of the stalwart defenders of human life and the pro-family cause. . . . -- James C. Dobson, Founder and Chairman, Focus on the Family
Senator Santorum leads the way among elected officials in understanding and appreciating the importance of the family. -- Jennifer Roback Morse, author of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage
[A] reaffirmation of the moral, spiritual, and ethical characteristics that have blessed America since its founding. -- Jack Templeton, President, John Templeton Foundation
About the Author
While Senator Santorum is proud of his accomplishments as a lawmaker and public servant, he is most proud of his role as a husband and father. Senator Santorum and his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, are the parents of six wonderful children: Elizabeth, John, Daniel, Sarah Maria, Peter, and Patrick.
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1.Santorum is Pro Life Clinton is Pro Choice.Who has the choice the child should have a say in the matter.Clinton wants to ban guns saying it will save lives.Without Abortion more lives would be saved than with a gun!
2.Santorum is also For Marriage between One Man And One Woman.
3.Santorum says that a family should raise the children while the Village should keep out of it!And By the Way Santorum has 7 children compared to The Clinton's 1 so what is the point here?Was Chelsea so out of control they needed a Village?Hey Hillary need a title for yor next Book?I was Such a Hoodlum Growing up It Took all The Villages In The World to Raise Me!Now Look Where I am At!How to Hack The Nation's largest Computer System in 1 Second.Just Read The Spine of this book!Written By Hillary Coauthor Bill Clinton.Oh Yes I forgot to Mention Bill is a great help if you need help burning your Draft Cards He is an Anti-War Hippy Also!So How do you propose to Fight Isil Hillary?
Rick Santorum makes it very clear that his book is an attack on Hilary Clinton's "It Takes a Village". His statements against the village "elders" derides the collectivist and relativist agenda that he concludes is destroying America. It would also be helpful to compare this book to John Kerry's platform agenda where both Kerry and Santorum are all about programs to restore America. However, Kerry's detailed ideas rely on government programs and financing while Santorum places heavy emphasis on citizen duty and non-profit organizations, if still receiving "faith-based" government funding.
Even if John Kerry's agenda was more politically comprehensive, touching even foreign policy and international trade, both Kerry/Clinton and Santorum debate an essential crux in political theory. How does one ensure that liberty and freedom do not beget self-indulgence? From Aristotle to Augustine to Hobbes and now 2016, philosophers have known that liberty without selflessness would be tempted to destructive indulgence. For Santorum, liberty requires duty. Moral capital is that which advances the common good while social capital requires social accountability, often in the form of shame. The family is the moral teacher where active parents take invested interest in training their children in social responsibility. Putnam's "Bowling Alone" theory on the degradation of social capital is mentioned frequently.
Rick Santorum's book is a collection of ideas. In some extreme examples it falls into opinion. At first glance it feels like a combination of stream of conscience, passionate dialogue, and even a little ranting. But where Rick rants the most is where he has the most experience professionally and personally. His chapters against abortion describe his own honest ignorance and legislative reluctance on the matter which turned to rigorous academic study and a long period of debating the issue on the Senate floor. The book's most personal rants are not mere opinion, which is often hard to find in political discourse.
Even though Santorum explains that his book is not a parenting "how to", it certainly feels like it. But the approach is not without reason. As Santorum argues, traditional family has been the foundation of every successful civilization in history. The traditional family that teaches selfless duty, interacting in a collective community with the personal interest of economic growth is the formula for civilizational success. In another observation, Santorum holds that our most selfish attribute is alone time. We maneuver our every move in order limit anyone's hold over our time; to include steering clear of organized clubs. Our jealous defense of personal time, only worsening with social media gadgets, is the enemy of collective growth and duty (the Putnam theory).
Oddly enough, Rick Santorum does not argue against collective societies, but instead a collectivism of moral relativism. In many ways the culture battle between words like "individual" and "collective" is a difference in thought motives and not necessarily in practice. It could be argued, however, that Santorum's agenda requires more individual action to address social ills while his idea of the liberal approach is to put charity in the hands of government employees.
The book has some very interesting observations on the use of the court system in regards to making law on matters of ethics and religion. Beyond those more academic observations, the chapters on cultural capital and education reform are more opinions on popular culture with only a sprinkling of supporting data in the case of education. As a result, the book can feel like a mishmash of political arguments, social theory and entries from a personal diary. To be fair, it does provide the reader with the personal beliefs and personality of the presidential candidate. And sometimes, that can be more helpful than a dry assortment of platform ideas.
For those who read a traditional conservative family agenda as "closed minded" they might miss the moderation that Santorum suggests, especially in school curriculum. Exploring social changes and teaching evolution and sexual health could all be good endeavors. Santorum suggests that the whole truth to everyone's theories be presented equally. Just as we complete extensive ecological projections to city projects, so also we should theorize social damages that could result from a liberalizing society. The strengths of evolutionary theory should be taught along with its holes. The correction to a sexualized society could be the honest education of responsible motherhood and admitting the psychological pain of abortion and divorce.
The book is rich on thinking points even if weak on academic evidence. I think the book would have been better served without the constant reference to Hilary Clinton's own social theories. There comes a point when healthy comparison simply become a political dig, apparent even to the most ignorant electorate.
The book ignores that Democrats argue their policies can create strong families: policies such as family and medical leave that allow working parents to spend more time with their children, minimum wage increases that will allow many families to even fight rising above the poverty level, and protecting labor benefits, particular health care benefits, that will allow families, even high income families, survive devastatingly high health care costs. Few will, and no one should, argue that strong families are not important. Yet, strong families do not occur, as Santorum and conservatives think, by hoping they miraculously emerge. Santorum rejects the economic policies advanced usually by Democrats that will create the economic conditions for families to thrive. Instead, the "tax and spend" Republicans think that throwing a little bit of money towards the issue is the solution. This book heralds spending $300 million on a public education campaign boosting marriage . I fear it is simplistic to think that will solve society's problems.
Some highlights from this book are arguments that liberals want the freedom to do what they want (I thought that was libertarians), strong families need capita, that over 90% of the news media and Hollywood voted for Kerry, "the government in the form of the social worker communicates loud and clear that it doesn't believe low income minority couples can maintain a marriage" (I doubt many social workers do believe that), unelected judges are making society dangerous for children, liberals will make marriage "nothing more than romantic and sexual coupling", healthy communities exist when people rely on each other (Santorum should read a book entitled "It Takes a Village"), liberals "seem to think that if you would choose to go to a NASCAR race instead of The Vagina Monologues you are a completely unenlightened soul whose existence demands government oversight" (save your soul: watch NASCAR), and that we should have Moral Impact Statements on legislation.
This book makes numerous statements designed to enrage or spark discussion, such as equating the unborn child in Roe v. Wade with the slave Dred Scott. The strength of this book is that it boldly lets readers know where Rick Santorum stands. Love him or hate him, people are going to admire that this author follows the courage of his convictions.