Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel aren’t the only repeat candidates in this fall’s Indiana 9th district congressional race. Just as in 2006, university professor Eric Schansberg will be running for the seat under the Libertarian banner.
A few days ago, I received a Schansberg e-mailing setting forth the themes for his campaign. It is repeated here verbatim, with my thoughts to follow.
In case you hadn't heard already, I've decided to run for U.S. Congress again -- in Indiana's 9th District, opposing Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel in their fourth race against each other.
We'll emphasize similar themes in this campaign:
-fiscal conservatism (I'm the only fiscal conservative in the race)
-bring our troops home (the other two support the status quo in Iraq)
-no taxpayer money for corporations or Planned Parenthood (the other two have voted for both)
-attention to over-looked issues like payroll/FICA taxes and Social Security
-increase the supply of oil to reduce the price of gasoline
We started much earlier this time and already had a lot of stuff done -- so we're much further along this time. For example:
-the website is up-and-running
-we have our printed materials in hand
-I've been in the newspapers and on TV and radio
-I've started to walk the business districts; and
-we have more cash-on-hand than we raised from individuals from the entire 2006 campaign.
If you're getting this email, you're probably a friend or acquaintance who didn't help explicitly in the last campaign.
-We'd love to have your help this time-- to donate (even $5 will buy ads) or volunteer or just to spread the word (if you know people in the district).
-If so, drop me a line or work through the website.
-If not, I won't bother you anymore with this!
Grace to you, Eric
p.s. If you haven't checked out my personal blog, SchansBlog, you might get a kick out of it!
If you follow the links above, you’ll find literally hundreds of words written by Schansberg about each of the highlighted platform points, and whether the reader agrees or disagrees, it must be readily conceded that there is a tangible effort throughout to deploy logic and reasoned argumentation. Speaking personally, it’s the very least I’d expect from a highly educated man, a teacher, an economist and a thinker. Surely a good many of Schansberg’s criticisms of the two major party candidates ring true.
And yet, again speaking personally, there’s a profound deal breaker in it for me, just one sentence among the many, but one that makes this longtime heretic cringe. The topic is Planned Parenthood, and Schanberg’s credo is, “Pro-life, Pro-adoption, and no taxpayer money for Planned Parenthood.” He writes:
“Given 21st-century science and my religious views, I am unabashedly pro-life.”
I find this reference fascinating even if it ensures that I’ll not vote for Schansberg this fall, because nowhere else in the candidate’s lengthy policy explications does he feel the need to cite his personal religious belief as justification for a position. However, when it comes to the “pro-life” argument, evidently Schansberg finds insufficient certitude that 21st-century science provide enough “evidence” to rule on the issue … and an appeal to his personal religious perspective is offered as something approximating insurance.
It strikes me that either this is intentional pandering to those for whom science is by far the least compelling reason to render an opinion on abortion (these being the same voters who visit the creationism museum in the northern Kentucky intellectual desert, Schansberg’s opinion of which may or may not be on record), or Schansberg himself explicitly recognizes that the same proof-based worldview used to make his other cases isn’t enough to make the pro-life one.
I’ve always liked the candidate personally and will continue to like him, and (not “but”) he is a rather extreme fundamentalist, albeit of an uncommonly erudite variety. Given this fact, shouldn’t we be asking him to explain the implications of his personal religious (read: apocalyptic) beliefs on those other issues that he has reserved the calculatedly public coolness of logic to expound?
I’ll readily confess to a measure of personal confusion here. How does the conceptual basis of the Libertarian position lend itself to this blatant appeal to religious authority v.v. Planned Parenthood and the “sanctity” of life? Does candidate Schansberg offer specific religious testimony that might clarify Libertarian planks on broader issues of fairness as they apply to health care, immigration and the war in Iraq … or is human reason sufficient to help us understand those policy conundrums? Why one and not the other?
I’m just curious.
Libertarians oppose the notion that government is the most efficient way to solve problems, while I tend to feel that the same shoe better fits religion. Then again, I’m an atheist who sees in the Libertarian’s presumed disestablishment the seeds of future persecution on religious grounds … a state of affairs that has been the norm throughout the history of Christianity. Perhaps I can be persuaded not to be concerned. Can Schansberg make his “pro-life” case without recourse to religious belief?