Wednesday, November 2, 2016

More on Voting

My last post might give some the impression that I think Catholics must not vote for Trump. I did not mean to give that impression. Rather, I meant to encourage consistency in those who will not vote for him. Voting for someone who advocates grave evils is not necessarily wrong. The principal of double effect applies to voting as it does to all other moral questions. If, to the best of your ability, you prudently weigh the good intended effects and unintended evil effects of different electoral results, it is fine to vote for whomever you consider to be the better candidate, even if that candidate openly supports some grave evil.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Be a Consistent Voter




It may be reasonable to not vote for Donald Trump. However, some NeverTrumpers, though their decision to not vote for Trump is fine by itself, exhibit inconsistencies in their professed philosophies of voting. 

Jonah Goldberg claims that he would vote for Trump if his one vote decided the election but otherwise his conscience prevents him from voting for the small fingered vulgarian. This leads one to ask why Goldberg has ever voted for any Republican presidential candidate. After all, his vote has never decided an election, nor could it, and there are doubtless better options than someone like Bush, McCain, or Romney. In fairness to Goldberg, it would not seem that his conscience would prevent him from voting for those former candidates as it now prevents him from voting for Trump. However, there isn’t much reason to vote for an inferior candidate if the only thing that would compel one’s vote is the knowledge that such a vote would decide the election. Goldberg could have submitted whomever he wanted as a write-in candidate and had no less effect on the outcome of those elections. 

Catholics who take a Goldbergian position should be subject to greater scrutiny because past Republican candidates have supported evils that we must oppose. Catholics are inconsistent when they endorse evil-doing Republicans in past elections but then claim that a Catholic cannot vote for Trump simply because he supports grave evils. McCain, and Romney both supported at least some level of embryonic stem-cell research, and conservative Catholic favorite Rick Santorum supported waterboarding. Even Republicans like Paul Ryan who hew closer to a moral course tend to adopt foreign policy positions that are difficult to reconcile with Just War Theory. If one wants to argue that one should never vote for a candidate who endorses any grave evils, then not many options are available. 

It is entirely acceptable and may even be best to simply not vote or vote for some obscure third party candidate rather than pick the lesser evil among candidates. However, such a position should be held consistently and not adopted only when the GOP candidate is especially distasteful.

There are certainly good reasons to not vote for Trump. Someone might reasonably think that he is not any better than Hilary. (Though it is hard to see how he is worse). A citizen who truly never votes for anyone who supports grave evils would naturally refuse to support the orange skinned torture enthusiast. A Catholic monarchist who doesn’t want to encourage all this democracy nonsense might never vote for anyone as a general principal. It may be an excellent idea to not vote for Trump, but if you decide to join the NeverTrumpers, be sure that your reasons for doing so are rational and consistent. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Nicolas Tournier, 17th Cent.

I have been trying to come up with something profound to say about Good Friday but my failure to do so gave me an idea about what to write. The crucifixion is such a deep and solemn mystery it is difficult to contemplate. We cannot fathom the weight of sin that Christ bore nor can we truly appreciate the glory of salvation. Much can be said and has been said about the Crucifixion, but all falls short. The best we can do is kneel at the foot of the cross in adoration.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Some Guy Named Jorge

The Holy Father deserves our respect, but not our total agreement on all matters. That shouldn't be a controversial statement but it would seem like it is considering all of the popesplainers out there. My reluctance to deal with this issue is one of the reasons for my lack of blogging, but I feel like I have to say something. Come on people. You don't have to think that Pope Francis is a secret freemason or an anti-pope or whatever to recognize that some of his statements are at best silly and at worst could lead people into error.

The next time the Holy Father makes some pronouncement, do the following. First, imagine that it isn't the bishop of Rome speaking, but just some Argentinian guy named Jorge. Consider the statement, then accept it or reject it. Then, remember that Jorge Bergolio is in fact Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ; maintain a respectful attitude toward his office, and reconsider your previous assessment of his statement in light of the limited charism of that office. I suggest this two part approach because it should prevent the person using it from constructing a nice safe National Catholic Register approved conclusion to which he can then fit the facts.