Saturday, October 20, 2018

Voting For President In 2020

I'll probably abstain. There's no way Trump gets my vote. I shouldn't have to say this. I shouldn't have to prove why this is a rational and moral decision. Because people are so invested in defeating "The Left," they have ignored all the evil that he represents. More than this, the manifest ignorance, authoritarian tendencies, and damage to the civic space increases each day. Trump must go. He was unfit from before day 1, and that remains true.

I will not sacrifice everything to defeat the cultural Left. Because you can't, just by voting.

I understand why people have gotten to this point, where they ignore things they shouldn't ignore. The cultural tides are strong; the Democrats are beholden to inhuman and vile philosophies that countenance the murder of human beings, the destruction of the family, a disastrously false view of the human person, and the list could take hours. Even to get some relief from the attacks on religious freedom, I could see why people have done what they've done.

But the philosophy underlying the Republicans is equally faulty, and no one sees it. It's the same philosophy: liberal individualism. Capitalism. Market economics. All different versions of the same thing. The Left took the personal conduct side; (sexual conduct, mostly) the Right took the economic "freedom" side.

What if they're both wrong? If you kill people in slower motion, and not in an abortion clinic, people will fall for it. Especially if the ghost of the USSR is still around. Better yet, college professors and other eggheads, eager to try it again. Easy foils for a Rightism that isn't any more human, or correct. If you give people a boogeyman big enough, you can lead them anywhere. Propaganda.

"Socialism" and abortion. That's all you need to rile up the partisans. I'm not playing anymore. There are whole books dedicated to this truncated Rightism.

We want to belong, and we want to be good citizens, too. We dutifully vote Republican, because that's what good Christians do, right?

The Democrats have a siren song, too: They want you to ignore what a "person" is. They want to "keep religion out of politics," unless it helps them. The abortion industry's financial hold on the Democrats is secure. They focus on "sexual minorities," because they long ago gave up caring about poverty. All the other issues matter only insofar as they can beat the Republicans with them.

And yet, here I am. I'm supposed to participate; I'm supposed to try to do what's best, in accord with the common good, neither ignoring intrinsic evils, nor tolerating other evils. Do you know what that would be? I don't. It's in the end a prudential judgment, and that doesn't mean, "Ignore every issue except abortion, and gay marriage."

You'll have to pardon the cynicism here. I'll go back to being ignored, because I don't hate Obama enough.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Dumb Argument

"Don't like abortion? Don't get one!" You'll find some abortion rights progressive saying this in every comment section on every article on this issue ever published in the internet age. (You can find an individualist libertarian saying the same thing.) There are a myriad of assumptions in this statement. Let's unpack a few:

1. My individual free choice is the most important thing in the entire universe.
2. There is no public, moral dimension to this question.
3. My body is the only thing involved.

All three are false. In reply to the first, I can say that I could eat a bowl of arsenic shaped to look like corn flakes. It's possible. That'd be idiotic, and morally wrong, but I could do it. I could steal my neighbor's movie collection. Again, idiotic and wrong, but possible. That is, it's theoretically within my ability to do. Is it within my rights, my freedom, to do? No. Because my freedom is limited in reality to what is morally licit. It is within my rights to choose morally licit means to accomplish morally licit ends.

Secondly, generations of American mothers choosing to kill their own children has had massive social consequences. How many people don't even exist, because they barely got to live? Or were never born? Something on the order of 150 million people, considering the generations. How many families have been destroyed--or never even formed--because of so-called "reproductive choice/autonomy"? Naturally, the moral questions go far beyond abortion, but elective abortion is the fail safe to an entire philosophy of sexual autonomy.

And to the third, the reply is plain: It's not your body; it's someone else's. No one has the right to murder someone else. The fact that people murder each other all the time is no excuse to approve of it. Yet abortion rights advocates essentially retreat here all the time. Moreover, the issue has to be re-framed; if it isn't, you'll have people contemplating their obligations to unchanging moral principles, and, "Ain't nobody got time for that," as some have put it.

You'll hear one other argument: "Separation of Church and State!" as if that's an entire argument by itself. In a more sophisticated form, it comes to us as, "Universal moral claims have no place in politics," and literally, this is a contradiction. Politics is the art and science of adjudicating universal moral claims, and individual interests and desires. We've done everything possible to avoid seeing what politics really is, or to truncate the disappointment of not getting what we want to only fall on those we hate, but it never seems to work. I digress.

I'm a Bible teacher, for lack of a better term. I know that lots of people will avoid darkening the door of my Catholic parish for all of their lives, if they can help it. And they want nothing to do with Jesus, and that is fine, as far as it goes. But just because I am a religious man, and depending on what you ask me, I see the world in those terms, does not mean that my universal public morality--my politics--is an imposition of religion. It's not, and it won't be.

It's amazing how many people confuse morality and moral questions with religion. Perhaps they think that by avoiding one, they avoid the other. This is obviously not the case.