Princeton: Santorum discusses degradation of traditional American values

The Princetonian

By Alexander Stangl | Apr 18, 2017

On Tuesday, former U.S. Representative and Senator Rick Santorum discussed the degradation of “traditional American values." Santorum noted that one particular value – freedom – is equally important for both members of the Left and Right, especially among modern youth.

According to Santorum, the manner by which the United States both conceptualizes and celebrates freedom is what sets the United States apart from other nations. He noted that Americans' unique view of freedom has been a key driver of the United States' rise to the status of world power. In particular, Santorum stressed the origin of rights. Santorum noted that, unlike in other nations, the rights of Americans come from “Judeo-Christian values,” upon which, he argued, Western civilization was founded. 

“Rights don’t come from government,” Santorum said, referencing the U.S. Declaration of Independence. “They come from God.” 


In this way, he argued that since these rights don't stem from government, it is simply the job of government to protect these rights to ensure safety and stability in society.

However, he continued, there are forces that threaten to upend American society. Among those, he explained, include the breakdown of the American family, popular culture, and the current secondary and higher education systems. To demonstrate this, Santorum contrasted the experience of a citizen living in the rural countryside to another living in New York City. While the citizen living in a rural area might not think to lock their doors, since there is very little risk of theft, the New Yorker would likely consider such a choice unwise. 

“Because you’re living in communities where people aren’t leading virtuous lives," Santorum said. "you’re not as free – not as safe – and you need more government.

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