The Thing that Used to Be Conservatism…

The Thing that Used to Be Conservatism… February 28, 2012

continues its transition into the party of lunacy. Here’s the mysteriously popular Rick Santorum denouncing Obama’s evil desire for American to get a college education:

It’s this kind of insanity that makes me wonder how anybody in his five wits can trumpet this guy as Mr. Catholic.

Yeah, I’m aware of the dangers of the academy. So what? Grow up and learn how to think. This moronic notion Santorum puts forward that Obama is the President of All Colleges and is engaged in a some sort of conspiracy to oversee the indoctrination of Your Precious Child into his image and likeness via the university system is pure atavist red meat.

Yes, of *course* there is honorable work to be found without a college degree and of *course* those who do not have a college education are of equal dignity with those who have one. But Santorum makes it sound like it is despicable and disgusting for the Prez to desire a college education for as many people as possible. He comes off sounding like a champion for ignorance–because he *is* championing ignorance and playing to the very worst atavist instincts of, yes, class envy and resentment in his audience.

Time was when Catholics (who, you know, *invented* the university) worked and saved and struggled so that their kids could get through college. Now you have guys like Santorum talking like dimestore Protestant preachers denouncing them fancy pants college boys with their degrees and championing the glories of Know Nothingism as a moral virtue.

Being learned and proud is a grave spiritual danger, as the Pharisees show. But the cure for it is not to be ignorant and proud, and that is what Santorum is encouraging. And for what? To truckle to his audience’s burning sense of resentment in order to grab for power.

No thanks. Obama is a lousy president. But it does not follow that “If Obama’s for it, I’m agin it.” A President who advocates an educated population is just doing what any normal President does. A demagogue who declares education to be evil just to whip up the mob is, alas, also doing what any normal demagogue does.

What an embarrassment this guy is. But, as ever, he will get, not merely a pass for this–as for his endorsement of cold-blooded murder, pre-emptive war, and torture–because “conservative” Catholics have embraced the false soteriology that opposition to abortion taketh away the sins of the world. Indeed, the rot now goes so deep that Santorum can even *support* abortion (in the form of forcing you to pay for abortifacients) and we *still* have to give him a pass (and even enthusiastic support) because he’s Mr. Catholic.

And, of course, such is the tribal nature of our politics that I can bet somebody will read what I write here as an endorsement of Obama, merely because I don’t think saying any damn fool thing in opposition to him, no matter how idiotic, is legitimated by the fact that it is in opposition to him.

This political system can’t self-destruct fast enough. What a grotesque set of choices before us.

Speak, God. There is no hope in our human leaders.

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