(image: zfacts)

Here’s the Family Research Council’s Imam Tony Perkins, writing a piece about what social conservatives are looking for in the GOP’s 2012 nominee.

The right candidate will understand that big government doesn’t just happen. Big government and budget deficits are in part the natural outcome of government policies that foster a deficit of character.

Big government is what happens when family life fractures, when mothers avoid marriage, and fathers flee responsibility. The right candidate will understand that when the family decreases, government increases. Simply put, this candidate will recognize the fact that when the natural family is looked down upon — we will be forced to look up to big government.

Where to begin with this nonsense?

Let’s start with budget deficits. Ronald Reagan tripled the debt and George W. Bush doubled it. So by Perkins’ standards, these two heroes of the Republican Party have contributed more to our moral decline than any other presidents.

As far as “big government” fostering a deficit of character — ever hear of the Greatest Generation, Tony?

A good chunk of the Greatest Generation grew up the New Deal 1930s. Some of their fathers (like Ronald Reagan’s) worked WPA jobs. If they served in World War II, they were recipients of one of the biggest social welfare projects in US history — the GI Bill, which provided them with college educations and a piece of the American Dream in the form of small business loans and housing.

…there were 13 million homes built in the 50′s, 11 million outside of there with GI loans. I mean, it just – it did transform the country.

This big government welfare program created the largest expansion of the middle class in human history. And now, the Greatest Generation has retired in dignity with Social Security and Medicare, both of which were passed in the big government 1930s and 1960s.

So no, big government and budget deficits don’t lead to moral decline. Moral decline is what happens when there’s no sense of the common good, when there’s no social safety net — when the oldest and the poorest among us go hungry and live out their last years in squalor.

Or as Tony would put it, the good old days.