A few years ago I wrote that with the gradual loss of freedom in a shaky world that's becoming shakier as each day passes, Americans will either bring forth a new era of liberty, innovation, spiritual revival and economic growth or Americans will shrink in fear and look for protection provided by some strong leader who convinces the public that the problems we face are so great that liberty must be restricted further, temporarily, so that we can stabilze the country by promoting fiancial security and physical safety.
Obama called the latter reaction clinging to guns and religion, or something like that. Many of the current candidates are calling for the former reaction, but they mostly imply that the right government can bring about a new era of liberty, innovation, spiritual revival and economic growth, although most of the Republicans say that government is too big and that the private sector must be empowered. This confusion comes about when candidates talk about "creating jobs", then in the next breath talk about the dangers of government interventions. Gingrich and Romney have talked about economic freedom and how the private sector can create economic growth, etc., and Santorum has talked about the middle class and workers being able to make progress, if only government would stop interfering.
None of the candidates other than Paul address government intervention head on in philosophical terms and call for an end to government programs which overstep Constitiutional bounds. Santorum thinks the libertarian, philosophical view of anti-statism means promoting "no-government" -- he rejects it -- and, if you pushed Romney and Gingrich, like liberals in media do, by giving certain scenarios of what would happen to poor people, sick kids and old people if certain programs are eliminated and certain powers of government are limited, they, like Santorum, will reject the libertarian/limited government/free market position, and they will say something like -- Oh, well, we need a strong government that looks after the most needy, and we need some programs to make sure no one slips through the cracks, and...you get the picture -- you've heard it all, over and over.
The Republican Party has been like this for a long time -- when push comes to shove, Republicans capitulate to the statists, and government grows, never shrinks and never pulls in the power from previous expansions by creating limits. Now, though, we can't afford the expansion -- we have to reign in government power in order to control the costs and actually reduce spending in a real way. That's not all, though. Our problems are not only in government spending, and the problem with a powerful government is not only the cost of such a government. Slowly, government is entering every nook and cranny of our lives. Right, Center and Left all have their ideas of how society should behave, how we should think, how and what we should believe. The civil libertarian idea of allowing free adults to decide for themselves what they believe and how they want to live, as long as it's not violating the rights of others, is accepted by fewer in government than ever before, it seems, when you would think the opposite should be true -- that we would have advanced by now to live our own lifestyles in peace and open-minded understanding. I guess the desire to control and exercise power over others never disappears, but, in the 21st century, you would think we'd have strong limits in place to prevent this desire from interfering in our pursuit of happiness. Instead, we have Obama and the progressives attemping to control all our economic activities from the type car we drive to our healthcare to what we eat and on and on.
Then we have Rick Santorum on the Right gaining support in the Republican primary just when many thought the Right was over strongarm social conservativism and moral legislation. Every day we see a new quote from something Santorum has said in the past regarding his moral views and how he thinks government plays a role in legislating morality -- he's also stated he will fight all libertarian influence in the GOP. My fear that Americans would react to uncertainty in the world and to the failure of statism from the Left by turning to a Moral Warrior who promises to return America to decency, God and the American Way of Life, could be coming to fruition, although I hope not, at least not through government control. The way to beat statism and power-mongering is not through more statism and greater power-mongering. The way to beat statism is through limits to government power, and creation of liberty in the economic realm. It's one thing for Chrisitians to pull together and attempt to revive their way of life, but not through government power, not through limiting the freedom of others, not through legislating morality. What the Right has to understand is that liberty means people will act in ways that are counter to Christian morality, but any attempt to control the immoral (immoral to the Christian who's judging) behavior and legislate moral behavior is worse than the immoral behavior.
We can't regress to rightwing, fascist, strongman control in reaction to what the Right sees as dissolution of morals as Satan destroys the soul of America. If that's what some Christians really believe then seek voluntary change -- don't follow a charlatan like Santorum who pretends to be a Christian warrior battling Satan's control over the public. Santorum is a politician who's seeking power, and anyone who promises to fight those who promote limited government and a free market is not a warrior for Good, but rather a banal power-freak looking to control others. Jesus wouldn't have asked for political power to spread His message -- Jesus would have been closer to libertarianism than to Santorum's perverted, statist world-view.