Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Go, Bernie, Go?

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the independent from Vermont, has recently announced a run for president. I have seen him on TV a few times. One thing you can say about him: he's one of the most earnest, ardent ideologues you will ever find. I mean "ideologue" in the best possible sense: a deeply principled person, who generally views most calls to compromise as a capitulation to the powers arrayed against the weakest and most disenfranchised. He's the kind of progressive you'd like, if he didn't think you were evil.

There are three kinds of progressives: 1. Committed, passionate, deeply misguided, and otherwise misinformed. 2. committed, passionate, deeply misguided, who can't possibly believe that one's political adversaries don't agree with him or her. This kind may even hate them, because 1) OMG, these people are so stupid! or 2) these people seem to win more elections than us. And 3. Smug, arrogant jerks, who don't actually care about anything or anybody, they just have a crew of people they'd like to impress. Belittling Republicans and other non-progressives is just the price of admission.

If I'm being really honest, some mix of the second and third really yank my chain, because I am a compassionate, sensitive guy, who really believes in making things better for everybody. Whatever you'd label me ideologically, I am that guy, full stop. There are some overlaps in the categories here, and that's too bad, because a lot of these people, I want to like. Admire, even. I think Dr. Haidt is really on to something, saying essentially that we have different balances of core values, and that, depending on that balance, we frame issues--even the words we use--in different ways. I saw this kat on Bill Moyers* (don't judge me) and I definitely wanted to read/hear more from this guy.

In any case, I think Bernie is firmly in the first camp. If you make him mad, he can fluctuate, but there's no guile in the man. We definitely need more people with no guile in this game. People who say what they really think, who don't change on principles--or even issues--with the wind.

Anyway, we recall that socialism is really bad. No, really, really bad. We notice if we're paying reverent attention that holy mother isn't ready to bet the farm on some forms of "capitalism," either. Anyway, so long as Bernie and the Democrats support abortion, and are ambiguous about property rights as such, it's not a live option. "Gay rights," etc. take your pick. Catholic, the Democratic Party hates what you must profess. Even as a fire-breathing, card-carrying member of the GOP, I know they aren't much to write home about, either. But they don't openly attack the Church, attempting to trample the consciences of believers. At least not yet.

I hope Bernie does well; I hope he helps us to see underlying principles; I hope he imbues all of us with a preference for the poor, as the Church has already instructed us. Yet if he does well, I know it will help my party (and my guy). I hope that's not too cynical. Go, Bernie, go! Sort of.


Amos Long said...

What are your thoughts on Rand Paul? He also seems like an "'ideologue' in the best possible sense: a deeply principled person, who generally views most calls to compromise as a capitulation to the powers arrayed against [the Constitution or something else that's very American]. He's the kind of [insert label here] you'd like, if he didn't think you were evil."

Jason said...


I don't know. It depends on whether he conceives of government as unjust in itself, but a necessary evil (libertarian), or whether it should be limited for the flourishing of other rights (conservative). If it's the former, it violates the plain meaning of CCC, 2406, and he's not acceptable. (Unless the alternative is worse.)