Union University
Union University Dept of Language


Socratic Santorum

Director of the Institute for Intellectual Discipleship

January 5, 2012 - Presidential candidate Rick Santorum apparently created a minor brouhaha among some New Hampshire college students for the audacity of reason (which, if the New Hampshire sample is representative, does not seem to sell as well as the audacity of hope among the millennials).  After exchanges in which Santorum was pressed to defend his position on same-sex marriage, an audience member suggested that “gay people should be allowed to marry because they have a right to happiness.” 

In good Socratic fashion, Santorum responded with a question, “If you’re not happy unless you’re married to five other people, is that O.K.?”  His response apparently “angered the audience, which booed his answer.” 

Whether this exchange will result in political fallout for Santorum remains to be seen.  But seen from the vantage point of the refreshing warmth of the Light of Reason, this episode inevitably calls to mind a charming, old Professor from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, who muttered “half to himself,” “Logic! . . . Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?”

If the pursuit of individual happiness by voluntary cooperation is a sufficient justification for marriage, then on what grounds would one possibly object to any number of marital arrangements provided that (a) they are voluntary and (b) they result in happiness?  Or as Santorum succinctly put it to his interlocutor, “What about three men?” 

Someone in the grip of the logical consequences of their own position may insist (as this questioner apparently did), “That’s not what I’m talking about.”  But the effort to ignore the doorbell does not deter the implication standing on the porch. 

Of course, the effort to change the subject discloses the existential discomfort of detachment from the Logos.  For apart from the Word, who in Jesus Christ, is “full of grace and truth” the warm glow of the Stable of Goodness seems dark and dank.  Thus, like the dwarves on the other side of a Narnian stable door, one’s last resort is booing from the shadows.