Indeed, flaunting their empathy is what got Eugene Robinson and many others their Pulitzers — Robinson describes his newspaper column as “a license to feel.” Yet he’s entirely incapable of imagining how it must feel for a parent to experience within the same day both new life and death — or even to understand that the inability to imagine being in that situation ought to prompt a little circumspection.
The Left’s much-vaunted powers of empathy routinely fail when confronted by those who do not agree with them politically. Rick Santorum’s conservatism is not particularly to my taste (alas, for us genuine right-wing crazies, it’s that kind of year), and I can well see why fair-minded people would have differences with him on a host of issues from spending to homosexuality. But you could have said the same thing four years ago about Sarah Palin — and instead the Left, especially the so-called feminist Left, found it easier to mock her gleefully for the soi-disant retard kid and her fecundity in general. The usual rap against the Right is that they’re hypocrites — they vote for the Defense of Marriage Act, and next thing you know they’re playing footsie across the stall divider with an undercover cop at the airport men’s room. But Rick Santorum lives his values, and that seems to bother the Left even more.
Never mind the dead kid, he has six living kids. How crazy freaky weird is that?
This crazy freaky weird: All those self-evidently ludicrous risible surplus members of the Santorum litter are going to be paying the Social Security and Medicare of all you normal well-adjusted Boomer yuppies who had one designer kid at 39. So, if it helps make it easier to “empathize,” look on them as sacrificial virgins to hurl into the bottomless pit of Big Government debt.
Two weeks ago I wrote in this space: “A nation, a society, a community is a compact between past, present, and future.” Whatever my disagreements with Santorum on his “compassionate conservatism,” he gets that. He understands that our fiscal bankruptcy is a symptom rather than the cause.
The real wickedness of Big Government is that it debauches not merely a nation’s finances but ultimately its human capital — or, as he puts it, you cannot have a strong economy without strong families.
Santorum’s respect for all life, including even the smallest bleakest meanest two-hour life, speaks well for him, especially in comparison with his fellow Pennsylvanian, the accused mass murderer Kermit Gosnell, an industrial-scale abortionist at a Philadelphia charnel house who plunged scissors into the spinal cords of healthy delivered babies. Few of Gosnell’s employees seemed to find anything “weird” about that: Indeed, they helped him out by tossing their remains in jars and bags piled up in freezers and cupboards. Much less crazy than taking ’em home and holding a funeral, right?
Albeit less dramatically than “Doctor” Gosnell, much of the developed world has ruptured the compact between past, present, and future. A spendthrift life of self-gratification is one thing. A spendthrift life paid for by burdening insufficient numbers of children and grandchildren with crippling debt they can never pay off is utterly contemptible. And to too many of America’s politico-media establishment it’s not in the least bit “weird.”
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2012 Mark Steyn