Why I’ll be Holding My Nose and Voting for Romney

Here at the Orthosphere, Proph has twice expressed the view that a proper traditionalist conservative ought not vote for anybody in the upcoming election.

His  main reason? That the political process and the political candidates are so tainted with immorality (e.g., the at least de facto approval of abortion and homosexuality) that to vote for just about anyone is to participate in evil.

Before disagreeing with him, I will express what’s right in Proph’s position. We must acknowledge that American society is fundamentally disordered, and that much evil and foolishness has enthusiastic institutional support, even from many self-styled conservatives. We do not have before us a truly (or even adequately) conservative candidate or party having any chance of victory, and to think otherwise it to be seriously deluded. From the standpoint of proper traditionalist conservatism, we have only bad candidates.

So all contemporary institutions are tainted with the evil of leftism. And so are almost all important public people. Therefore anything one does in the public sphere involves a certain amount of what could be called “participation in evil.”And therefore the avoiding of participation in evil is not a valid means of choosing a course of action. The Proph non-voting theorem is invalid.

To see this topic in a different way, consider the following quotation from “To the Purist Voter” by John C. Wright [HT commenter Leo]:

Shall I betray my nation [by not voting for Romney] because the GOP cannot produce a candidate sufficiently endowed with a desire to defend the Constitution? It would be like letting my mother get beaten to death on the street by a gang of thugs, and not coming to her rescue because she is a drunk.

Now, you might say that she has vowed not to be a drunk before and betrayed that promise before.

You might say that her promise to stop drinking is merely to get you to come to her aid, and perhaps the thugs beating her are not so bad. After all, the press is all on the side of the thugs and against your mother.

The old lady has a lot of toughness. She might live. A few more boots in her face, maybe it will break her nose and damage her bridgework. And who cares if Catholics have to pay for contraceptives, and Christians have to pay for abortifacient drugs? And if the press corp[s], hooting and whooping, draw near to urinate in the old lady’s eyes and nose and open wounds, that is not likely to kill her.

There is a lot of ruin in a nation, after all.

On the other hand, she is your mother, and a vote to save her, even if her promise to go to financial rehab is false, is better than the vote for the thugs, who claim she is not drinking heavily enough, and who want to see her humiliated and see her power broken and see her bankrupted and ultimately see her dead.

I resonate with these sentiments. Our nation, for all its great faults and sins, is still our nation.  Obama and his Democratic Party (with, it must be admitted, the at least passive acquiescence of most Republicans) are assaulting our nation and trying to destroy it. We are not witnessing an assault on a stranger, but rather on someone whom we love, someone who has nurtured us and given us life.

And therefore one should not support, even passively, the thugs. Obama is actively working to destroy America, whereas Romney is not actively working for destruction. Romney seems to be a fundamentally decent and highly competent man who at worst accepts the destruction because it is popular with many voters. It appears that, if elected, he could often be cajoled or forced to do the right thing. Not so Obama.

Also, a protest non-vote is symbolic, but a vote is concrete. And although one vote does not make a difference, many one votes do.

Is Romney bad in many ways? Yes. To see some of his most egregious faults, see the first Orthosphere post linked above. But when participating in the larger life of our nation, it is virtually impossible to support a virtuous man, organization, or course of action.

And neutrality is impossible. The Democrats (with occasional exceptions noted) are eagerly working for the destruction of our nation.  The Republicans (with exceptions noted) are not eager for the destruction, and when in power, they see to it that the destruction is slowed down. At this point in the life of our nation, those are the only two choices.

I acknowledge that one  vote does not make any difference. But if it did make a difference, shouldn’t an Orthospherically-inclined reader vote for Romney?

A vote for Romney means supporting the possibility of the repeal of the unprecedented tyranny of Obamacare socialism. It means buying time and delaying the destruction of our nation, giving more time for the conservative/traditionalist resistance to be organized. That’s why, next Tuesday, I’ll hold my nose and vote for the lesser of two evils.

Postscript

I’m not taking on the question of whether mass voting is a good way do decide important questions. In general, it is better for important decisions to be made by wise men than by a survey of the masses. I’m just speaking here of what one ought to do now, given the conditions that exist.

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79 thoughts on “Why I’ll be Holding My Nose and Voting for Romney

  1. I’m not taking on the question of whether mass voting is a good way do decide important questions. In general, it is better for important decisions to be made by wise men than by a survey of the masses.

    Yet, is it not precisely the Wise Men, not least in their own esteem, who have spent the past century bringing the nation to its present ruin?

    • But ordinary people are no better. And ordinary people believe, for the most part, what society’s Wise Men teach them.

      There is no substitute for wise leaders.

      • The Wise Men who lead us astray are not the politicians. They are the professors, the Supreme Court justices, the news readers, the filmmakers.

    • “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

      I would not call the atheistic leftists responsible for the mess that is America today wise. Smart – Yes. Wise – No

  2. This is essentially a re-run of the 19th century debates about whether Catholics should participate in the political processes of the French Republic. Should a Catholic monarchist refuse altogether to recognise the “anti-Christian” Republic? Or should he get involved in politics in order to stop the Radical and Socialist parties from winning?

    Pope Leo XIII (one of the great popes of the era) came down on the side of the pragmatists, so the hardliners turned instead to the right-wing atheist Charles Maurras – but that’s another story.

    • Leo XIII was indeed one of the great popes, but history proves that the Left always interprets accommodation as a sign of weakness and responds with attack. Leo’s gesture was followed by the persecutions led by the Dreyfussards and ultimately by disestablishment, i.e. by the French state declaring itself officially atheistic and anti-Catholic. It’s a general pattern. Pius IX’s flirtations with liberalism were rewarded by bloody rebellion in the papal states. Vatican II was rewarded with the sexual revolution.

      Of course, intransigence also doesn’t have much of a track record of victory. Nothing has a track record of victory against atheist Leftism. It is unstoppable. The only question for my fellow reactionaries and I is how we want to go down.

      • “Nothing has a track record of victory against atheist Leftism.”

        Military regimes do have a track record of victory against atheist leftism. Examples:

        Franco’s Spain, from 1936 till redemocratization

        In Brazil a leftist president was elected and then in 1964 the military ousted him and imposed a managed democracy. There were still elections for mayor, state assembly, parliament, etc, but the president, the governors and other major powers were indicated by the military. In the next 20 years there was absolutely zero advance in Brazil for the leftists. The military were not reactionary, so they did not intend on making progressively more right-wing changes, but instead they simply kept society frozen in the same state. And it worked great, I wish I had lived in this period, and society in Brazil was still sane when I was very young. In this period the leftists intelectuals felt so alienated (exactly like we conservatives feel nowadays!) that many of them left Brazil, and some started a guerrilha war which was crushed by the military. Well, redemocratization came in 1989 and the first elected president was a liberal (as in classic liberal, free market, humans right, etc) which lead the country to mass unemployment, surge in urban violence due to “human rights” against police action, increase in poverty, etc, etc. It was a total disaster and the left took the oportunity to blaim all problems on capitalism and claim that marxism is the answer. Conservatives were totally absent from the discussion and I couldn’t even find someone who could describe what conservatism would propose to solve the problems. The only 2 visible groups were classic liberals and marxists. And so after some time the marxists won against the classic liberals and now the government is solidly marxist and 80% of the political parties claim to be socialist.

        So, IMO, while there is no track history of winning against the left in democracy, I think that it is clear that military regimes can keep the leftist at bay. The only failure was that in the decade 1980-90 the military regimes where dissasambled in the entire west. I think that this period needs more studying, I wonder why the military regimes so easily gave power to democracy all over the west. Pressure from the USA? Or maybe they were naive thinking that there was no more danger or marxist takeover after the fall of the URSS?

      • The only failure was that in the decade 1980-90 the military regimes where dissasambled in the entire west. I think that this period needs more studying, I wonder why the military regimes so easily gave power to democracy all over the west. Pressure from the USA?

        This is pretty clearly the answer. And it is still the answer today. Color revolutions, Arab Springs, and the like are authored by us. We even give support to weird identity politics factions inside allied countries. Dramatically humbling the US is a necessary condition for sense to break out in the world.

      • I would contest the idea that military regimes are an effective long-term obstacle to liberalism. I don’t know about Brazil, but if you look at the Franco regime in Spain you will see an interesting and complex picture.

        Basically, Spain was already to a large extent a de-Christianised society before 1936. Franco won support from large parts of Spanish society not because he was a dogmatic traditionalist conservative (his ideological convictions were pretty shallow), but because he was an anticommunist. That was the crucial thing. There was a large and dangerous communist and anarchist movement in Spain in the 30s. To many Spaniards – including upper and middle class anticlericals – Franco seemed like either a good thing or the least worst option in the face of the Red threat. Another part of Franco’s coalition was the fascist Falange of Primo de Rivera (who Franco loathed, but who conveniently died at an early stage in the Civil War), many of whom treated traditional religion with contempt.

        After WW2, the impetus for reform came from inside the regime. It wasn’t extreme leftists (most of whom were rather dead at this point) who pushed for relaxing censorship, elections to the Cortes and integrating the economy into western capitalism – it was a new generation of Franquists within the government itself, in response to a changing and increasingly middle-class society. These were the famous “technocrats”, some of whom (Lopez Rodo, Lopez Garcia) were connected to Opus Dei. The military hardliners (“el bunker”) were increasingly sidelined. The Catholic Church lost interest in Franco after Vatican II, but then there had always been tensions between Franco and the Church. As early as the 1930s, Cardinal Segura famously saw fit to remind his flock that St John of the Cross used the term “Caudillo” to denote the Devil (Franco was not impressed and unsuccessfully tried to pressure Pius XII to fire him).

        I don’t think the Americans played that much of a role – Spain was a Cold War ally to be supported, not pressured – though they did prefer to deal with the liberal heir Prince Juan Carlos towards the end of Franco’s life.

      • I wonder why the military regimes so easily gave power to democracy all over the west

        I can’t resist pointing out that one regime in a certain South American country collapsed because its rulers were stupid enough to try to mount an illegal invasion of sovereign British territory, and were rightly driven out by the soldiers of the Queen.

  3. It’s obvious that by abstaining from voting in the case of two unequal evils, one might be complicit in the victory of the greater evil. This is often the only basis on which I can decide between Tweedledum and Tweedledee in any contest in which the acquisition of power is at stake.

  4. Thanks for the HT. The Obama campaign seems in large part to be based on the premise that Mitt Romney is an exceptionally bad man. I find this premise to be absurd. Much of the rest of the Obama campaign seems to be about promoting values that readers of this blog would find reprehensible, as exemplified by the Lena Dunham ad. This election, while offering like all elections an imperfect choice, should not be a hard choice.

  5. I find it strange that there are Christians out there who thinks any nation that is in cultural freefall can be “saved”. Are there any such instances in history, at all? I can understand the wish to identify with a community, state and nation. But what is left to identify with? I am not an american, but this is not a uniquely american problem, rather an infection throughout the entire Western world.

    I think there is a case to be made for Exodus. Pack up and go live in a small town with little connection with the rest of the world.

    • Depart if you must. But there is honor in fighting. If nothing else, fighting prevents you from beginning to agree with the enemy.

      • Voting is the opposite of fighting. Voting is joining. You’re rallying around
        the phony opposition. The Republicans serve only to take the blame for the failure of the revolution to bring about paradise. They don’t actually *control* anything except a few ceremonial offices. And even those offices are filled by the people who actually control things (the MSM, etc.) by people who are corrupt or incompetent.

        Would you agree that it would be wrong to support the phony opposition in, say, East Germany, because in doing so, you are actually supporting the entire, lying communist apparatus?

      • Sometimes voting is fighting. At least it registers our disapproval of Obama, and in this election it can make a significant difference in some important areas.

        In general, though, voting will not make our society better. There are other, more important ways of fighting the Left.

        As for supporting the phony opposition: It depends on the situation and on how much support one is giving. To vote is not necessarily to support a system.

      • In even the medium term, the Zeitgeist overwhelms everything. The mainstream conservative movement is clearly no threat to the Zeitgeist, but serves to absorb any anti-zeitgeist sentiment in the public at large. Even worse, if mainstream conservatism can be portrayed by the people who actually control the Zeitgeist as a real force, everything can and will be blamed on the existence of counter-revolutionaries, just as in the USSR. “Comrades, we must be ever vigilant or Sarah Palin will kill another Congressperson.” This is the fuel that feeds the permanent revolution, the main motive is hate. The zeitgeist needs you to support Romney. It needs him to appear powerful. But actually being powerful would mean influencing the Zeitgeist, which he can not do.

  6. Of course, the Roman Empire could be described as being in cultural freefall. The former Communist bloc could be so described. History has its ups and downs. It is not all up, and it is not all down.

    As for the U.S., NRO Online is back on line.

    I recommend this:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/331893/catholic-reflections-endgame-2012-george-weigel?pg=2

    “Catholics who are still pondering their presidential vote will have heard, endlessly, that no political party fully embodies the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. That is certainly true. And it is also largely irrelevant. For the choice in 2012 is not between two parties that, in relative degrees, inadequately embody the Catholic vision of the free and virtuous society. The choice is between a party that inadequately embodies that vision and a party that holds that vision in contempt, as it has made clear in everything from the “HHS mandate” through the Charlotte convention votes against God to the Lolita ad. Catholics who do not like their Church, or their vote, or themselves to be held in contempt could make the decisive difference in 2012 — not so much as a “Catholic vote” bloc, but as a community of American citizens determined to restore the decencies to public life and American culture.”

  7. John C Wright is just a hysterical neocon jingo.
    “institutions are tainted with the evil of leftism. ”
    Be thankful it is not yet the Evil of Right– those that call themselves the Dark Enlightenment and revel in Race-they are waking up again and before long, the reactionaries would find the need to ally themselves with the Left to combat Evil Right or let themselves be absorbed in this Right as many did in Europe.

  8. @Bonald – Don’t much like your title – ‘holding my nose…’

    Romney seems to be a fine, indeed, exemplary man; much better than me, probably much better than you.

    The problem with voting for him is, ultimately, voting; and the kind of political system voting generates, and the way that system inevitably and intrinsically de-generates.

    Romney qua Romney would – under different socio-political circumstances – probably make a more-than-adequate national leader.

    • Romney seems to be a fine, indeed, exemplary man; much better than me, probably much better than you.

      History is riddled with politicians who were exemplary family men but politically monstrous. I mentioned one of them above (Pierre Laval).

    • Bruce,

      I am the author, not Bonald.

      Voting does not necessarily mean supporting a system, or even a political party, except in a very abstract sense. I don’t like the Republican Party, but they are better (marginally) than the alternative, so I give them limited support. I don’t approve of much they stand for, but they can sometimes make things marginally better, which is better than nothing.

      If your conscience does not allow you to participate in voting, then I will respect your position. And I agree with you in a general way that it is better if important choices are made by wise men rather than by the masses. But given the situation that obtains, we can still achieve relatively better results by voting for Candidate X rather than Candidate Y.

      As I’ve said before, the political process cannot produce the kind of fundamental reformation we need, but it still has a role to play.

    • Charlton is focussed too much on the technocratic details. The problem is that we have neither a Christian elite nor a Christian populace anymore. Voting isn’t particularly pernicious depending on who the voters are.

  9. (Alan – sorry to you and Bonald for mistaking the authorship.)

    “If your conscience does not allow you to participate in voting, then I will respect your position. ”

    I don’t know if ‘conscience’ is the correct description for it.

    When I thought-through, and wrote an analysis of, voting back in 2010

    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/evils-of-voting.html

    I was then in the position of deciding what, if any, difference this should make to my behaviour.

    It struck me that it would be absurd if it made no difference, so I resolved never to participate in voting again.

    This isn’t strategic, nor is it expected to change the world (although who knows? Sometimes minuscule, and generally unknown, acts by individuals do change the world – and sometimes even for the better! We should strive to act on the basis that everything matters – no matter how apparently small an action or thought – because we cannot know what will turn-out to matter.)

    – but it simply seemed to me that – if I was worth anything – I ought to live by the truth as I perceived it, to the best of my strength and ability (both of which are, naturally, very limited).

    Part of this is not saying or doing anything which serves to sustain or to validate the principle of voting.

    Actually myself voting seemed to do both; so I stopped doing it.

    • I find it a sad image — a thinker like Dr. Charlton stays home, but some half-educated pimp for the zeitgeist goes to the poll. Since the pimp didn’t have the decency to stay away from the public square, one could go to the poll so as to cancel out his unworthy vote. Isn’t that in itself worth doing, aside from the issue of whether the pimp’s candidate wins? Sincere question.

  10. I can’t help but notice that when it comes to morality and moral choices, Catholics are hyper-rational. Protestants not so much.

    • Zippy, you really oughta go have a go at John C. Wright. He’s a recent Catholic convert who is singing the praises of Ayn Rand, in the name of reason and all that is rational:

      http://www.scifiwright.com/2012/11/atlas-shrugged-part-ii-either-or/

      He utters such things as this:

      “My own disagreements with Ayn Rand are few but deep and professional rather than personal. I bear her no ill will. I could get along with a Randian, and, if I did not have children, I could live in a Randian-style and Robert Heinlein-style libertarian commonwealth. It would be something like living on the Las Vegas strip. The disadvantages would be severe, but at least the state would not force me to pay for Sandra Fluke’s contraception out of wedlock.”

      I think he needs help. Please help him.

      • I had lunch with him once. Delightful human being, though we didn’t talk much: I think that gargantuan gregarious leprechaun Shea was sitting between us. That was probably the trip where Mark and I circled Christendom College in my airplane, so it was several years ago now.

        I’m not in this for the cage fights, but I’ll have a look at some point and see if there is anything new there that I think needs to be addressed. I’ve said my bit about libertarianism any number of times in any number of places, most recently here.

  11. To the extent that there is an argument on offer, it seems to be that a vote for Romney would have better consequences than a vote for any other candidate. Now, consequentialism (broadly construed) is not always wrong—once you have gone through the deontological check-boxes and eliminated all the intrinsically evil choices, you can choose among those left on prudential grounds. And “on prudential grounds” is close enough for government work to consequentialism (well, not really, but let it pass). Now, I don’t think, in fact, that you can get to this step when you consider Obama and Romney. Obama is a baby-killer and Romney is a war-mongerer and probably a baby-killer. But pretend you could.

    Where is the consequentialist argument that a vote for Romney is better than a vote for any other candidate or not voting? Just saying that he is better than Obama on some issues, a lot of issues, most issues, or all issues does not get you there. The argument has to terminate in the claim that, overall and all things considered, it would be better for Romney to win. As several have pointed out, the urgent current need of the real right is to reform or destroy the Republican Party and the conservative movement. It seems quite unlikely that electing Romney will help with either. It is exactly guys like Romney and his money men who are the problem.

    Even if one somehow managed to argue that the only two possible choices were Romney and Obama and that the right way to think about voting was only by comparing the short-run outcomes of their policy choices, it is still far from clear that voting for Romney is the right choice. Romney seems dramatically more likely than Obama to start yet another major unjust war. What is the issue of comparable weight which is supposed to convince us to vote for Romney? If he were pro-life, one might argue that. But he isn’t pro-life. He looks like George HW Bush looked. A cynical Johnny-come-lately to the issue who gives us no reason at all to trust him. We’re supposed to be fools for Jesus not fools for Jonah Goldberg. With respect to the wolves we are among, we are supposed to be crafty like snakes.

    And look at the crazy things you have to say to gin up even an equivocal argument for supporting Romney:

    But when participating in the larger life of our nation, it is virtually impossible to support a virtuous man, organization, or course of action.

    You can vote for any US-born citizen over the age of 35. There is not one such virtuous person in the whole US?

    A vote for Romney means supporting the possibility of the repeal of the unprecedented tyranny of Obamacare socialism.

    The unprecedented tyranny of Obamacare socialism. It’s a great line except, you know, that it isn’t unprecedented, isn’t tyranny, and isn’t socialism. It’s a bad policy, but it is nothing compared to another war.

    • Where is the argument from consequentialism? There are none. I see it as nothing more than an amoral calculus working toward (often, especially among secular liberals) unstated or unknown meta ethical/moral presuppositions.

    • Bill,

      An election is not a test of personal virtue. It’s a way to select leaders. And since America is nowhere near the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, for example, it is wrong to make the blanket statement that one ought not to vote. We haven’t sunk that low, and voting can do some good.

      Also, voting (or, in this case, not voting) is not a means of advancing the true conservative counterrevolution. That will occur in other ways.

      I reiterate my basic point: You say that voting is participating in evil. I respond that almost every public act nowadays could be called participating in evil, and therefore “participation in evil” is not a valid reason not to vote.

      To your specific points:

      Obama is a baby-killer and Romney is a war-monger and probably a baby-killer.

      Arguably fewer (unborn) babies will die under a President Romney. And that’s not “consequentialism,” that’s normal moral reasoning.

      The argument has to terminate in the claim that, overall and all things considered, it would be better for Romney to win.

      It would be better, although marginally so. In the short run, marginal improvement is the best we can do.

      …the urgent current need of the real right is to reform or destroy the Republican Party and the conservative movement. It seems quite unlikely that electing Romney will help with either.

      The effect of a Romney victory on conservative reformation is debatable. The effect on the short-term health of our nation is not.

      Romney seems dramatically more likely than Obama to start yet another major unjust war.

      Under Obama we’ve had Libya, Egypt and Syria. Romney will have to work hard to top that. And an unjust foreign war, wicked though it would be, would be less unjust than the continued expansion of socialism at home. Wars, even misguided ones, are fought out of the desire to protect the nation. Obaman socialism is promulgated out of a desire to harm the nation.

      You can vote for any US-born citizen over the age of 35. There is not one such virtuous person in the whole US?

      Not who can win.

      The unprecedented tyranny of Obamacare socialism. It’s a great line except, you know, that it isn’t unprecedented, isn’t tyranny, and isn’t socialism. It’s a bad policy, but it is nothing compared to another war.

      I don’t see how you can maintain that Obamacare is not an unprecedented threat. It would place about one sixth of the economy under government control, it would usher in death panels and medical rationing, it would make doctors and nurses only slightly more efficient and competent than Post Office personnel, and so on.

      • “An election is not a test of personal virtue.”

        If in my mind it’s a test of personal virtue, then it’s a test of personal virtue. Would you have a man violate his conscience?

      • I don’t see how you can maintain that Obamacare is not an unprecedented threat.

        Obamacare is only an unprecendended threat if you are well under the Medicare age of 65. Medicine for the most expensive Americans was socialized almost 50 years ago. And by the way, Medicare is a very popular program among its beneficiaries, because, hey, who doesn’t like “free” stuff?

      • Arguably fewer (unborn) babies will die under a President Romney.

        Not who can win.

        Thank goodness you’re not a consequentialist.

        Under Obama we’ve had Libya, Egypt and Syria. Romney will have to work hard to top that.

        Are you trying to claim that Romney would not have done these things?

        I don’t see how you can maintain that Obamacare is not an unprecedented threat. It would place about one sixth of the economy under government control,

        The claim “. It would place about one sixth of the economy under government control” is meaningless or wrong, I don’t know which.

        Medicare and Medicaid together are around 40% of medical spending. If you include the various programs for gvt workers and their families and other little programs, you get to around 50%. So, if paying for care counts as “taking over,” then the government took over half of health care long ago. If regulating health care counts as “taking over,” then gvt took over a long time ago, too.

        Obamacare will have small effects on most of the health economy. Small effects on Medicare and small effects on big employer’s provision of health insurance. In some places, it will have medium-sized effects. It will expand Medicaid. It will penalize individuals and small employers who don’t have/provide health insurance, and it will set up a marketplace for private insurers to sell insurance to these groups. As I said, it’s not a good policy, but it just isn’t that big a deal. It’s almost the same as Massachusetts’s Romneycare. Also a bad policy, but not that big a deal.

      • Alan Roebuck: Arguably fewer (unborn) babies will die under a President Romney.

        Bill: (Ironically) “Thank goodness you’re not a consequentialist.”

        You act as if taking into account the consequences of our actions is something odious called “consequentialism.” (A term, I believe, coined by its enemies.) In reality, it’s nothing but normal moral reasoning. Less evil is better than more evil.

        Of course, that’s not an ironclad rule. Sometimes the evil involved is so great that supporting marginally less evil still stains your hands. But your position (if I understand you correctly) is that supporting the less evil position is always unacceptable, and you’re wrong. Sometimes it is acceptable, and sometimes it is even good.

        The paradigmatic case for anti-consequentialists is, of course, the bombing of Hiroshima. The argument that the bombing was acceptable, or even good, because the alternative would have been much worse is declared, by anti-consequentialists, to be a monstrously evil position. For them, apparently, always taking “consequences” into account when making moral decisions is practically satanic.

        I reject this thinking. War, by definition, involves killing, and the position of the anti-consequentialists (that it is never acceptable to do something that would cause even one noncombatant to be killed) would render impossible any large scale military operations, leaving us at the mercy of our enemies.

        AR: Under Obama we’ve had Libya, Egypt and Syria. Romney will have to work hard to top that.

        Bill: “Are you trying to claim that Romney would not have done these things?”

        I was simply responding to your claim that “Romney seems dramatically more likely than Obama to start yet another major unjust war.” You don’t know that Romney would be “dramatically more likely” than Obama to start another foolish foreign adventure.

        As for Obamacare, the general consensus of all non-liberals, along with common sense, shows it to be a major threat. Sure, what we have now is no constitutionalist’s paradise, but a repeal of Obamacare would be significantly less evil.

      • But your position (if I understand you correctly) is that supporting the less evil position is always unacceptable

        Didn’t say. Didn’t imply. Explicitly rejected. Read what I wrote in the root comment of this thread.

        The paradigmatic case for anti-consequentialists is, of course, the bombing of Hiroshima. The argument that the bombing was acceptable, or even good, because the alternative would have been much worse is declared, by anti-consequentialists, to be a monstrously evil position. For them, apparently, always taking “consequences” into account when making moral decisions is practically satanic.

        Hiroshima was monstrous because it was the intentional killing of civilians. Dropping atomic bombs on cities is the kind of thing which kills civilians by its nature. It does not kill civilians accidentally or sometimes or as a downstream consequence of some other, arguably acceptable, thing. Hiroshima was especially monstrous because the motive of the bombing was also to kill civilians. The whole point of the thing was for us to be terrorists—to slaughter women, children, and old men in a particularly gruesome way in order to create horror in our enemies and to sap their will to fight.

        As an aside, even if you adopt consequentialism (which is a neutral, technical, descriptive word, not a calumny), Hiroshima was a monstrosity. it did not prevent any worse evil.

        War, by definition, involves killing, and the position of the anti-consequentialists (that it is never acceptable to do something that would cause even one noncombatant to be killed) would render impossible any large scale military operations, leaving us at the mercy of our enemies.

        Nobody holds this strawman position.

        Bill: “Are you trying to claim that Romney would not have done these things?”

        I was simply responding to your claim that “Romney seems dramatically more likely than Obama to start yet another major unjust war.” You don’t know that Romney would be “dramatically more likely” than Obama to start another foolish foreign adventure.

        You were responding with a non-sequitur, which I pointed out. For a strong enough sense of “know,” though, I guess you’re right. Maybe he’s lying. Maybe the motley crew of neo-cons he has as foreign policy advisors is some kind of head-fake. But, as best one can determine, he’s dramatically more likely than Obama to have a war with Iran.

        As for Obamacare, the general consensus of all non-liberals, along with common sense, shows it to be a major threat.

        It is a triviality, approved by our elite as a safe thing to fight over.

      • Bill,

        I find your position to be unclear. On the one hand, it appears to me that you fundamentally reject the argument that a vote for Romney is acceptable because his presidency would be less bad. You call it “consequentialism,” which Feser and some other Catholics reject as fundamentally wrongheaded and immoral. But on the other hand, you also appear to be saying that Romney would probably be just as bad as Obama.

        Since I’m not clear, I’ll just ask questions for now:

        Are you saying that Romney will probably be just as bad as Obama, or that he will be better, but still too evil to support? Or are you saying something else?

        Regarding your assertion: “Hiroshima was monstrous because it was the intentional killing of civilians.”

        Are you saying that therefore we should have invaded Japan, which would probably have killed more civilians, but that this would have been acceptable because we would not have been directly aiming at killing them, but rather their deaths would have been unintended consequences of military action? Or are you saying that we should have done something else?

    • … it seems to be that a vote for Romney would have better consequences than a vote for any other candidate.

      I think you mean “it seems that Romney winning would have better consequences than Obama winning.”

      Romney winning won’t be a consequence of you (or me, or all of us in this comment thread as a bloc) voting for him though. That is guaranteed by that tyrant of ontological realism, mathematics.

      The consequences of any one of us joining Team Romney will obtain, though, whether he wins or loses.

  12. This ranks as probably one of the worst posts ever at orthosphere. Voting for the lesser of two evils is part of the reason why we are in this mess.

    First when in America has the choice not been between different shades of liberalism? When radical Whigs and John Locke form the wellspring of early America’s political thought is it really any wonder? When the founders boast in Federalist No. 10 that a multiplicity of sects is a good thing because it will ensure no one sect would be able to gain power over the state, thereby setting the state up as some kind of referee. Why should any traditionalist or Christian have any sort of affinity for such a political system? The so-called Christian elements are none the better, founded by radical (even by their standards) Protestants, who cooked up an insane theology justifying this state? This quasi-messianism that has proven absolutely catastrophic for the world but especially it seems for the historical Christian countries around the world.

    Secondly why should we have a love for any sort of entity known as a “nation?” As Macintyre rightly notes it has all the meaning of being asked to die for the telephone company. The real reactionaries all seem to be in favor of localism, family and soil with political loyalty to a king or lord and God this model which has sustained practically every human civilization since the dawn of time- and no this is not at all similar to the “Jeffersonian-Berry” Agrarianism which is completely hollow. That good old American traditional of agrarianism and radical Enlightenment ethics- there’s a winning combination! We have to build living space and this task alone truly is our only option left and I recognize it is nearly impossible. We can only begin by recognizing the farce of this unnatural entity known as the modern nation state.

    In a fallen world there has never been nor will there ever be an ideal utopia, however, there were better political orders and better societies have reigned namely Christendom. What we have now is so beyond the pale it is difficult to fathom. Again a system so rotten a system that promotes intrinsic evil at every level cannot be supported. This current regime is even worse than communism. Communism killed the body, Americanism kills the soul.

    Finally I could not help but notice the comment about Obamacare a law which of course is evil. Do people realize that the Federalists intentionally set up the mechanisms to allow for the federal government to pass whatever it felt like? That the ratification of the Constitution was basically an illegal coup its passing making Obamacare look tame, sober and legitimate? If these Protestant-classical liberals really want to get serious about ending this scourge then we need to begin advocating a much more radical rejection of pretty much every American idea since 1776. Yeah I know …..fat chance.

    • This current regime is even worse than communism. Communism killed the body, Americanism kills the soul.

      Like every great lie, this assertion does contain an element of truth. The Communists, for example, never contemplated using government force to legitimize homosexuality or to flood the nation with unassimilable and even hostile aliens.

      But the assertion is mostly poppycock. Communist slavery is qualitatively different from the current situation. Anybody who would make such an unqualified statement as the above is probably beyond reasoning with.

      (I say “probably” because he may have uttered these wicked words in a fit of madness.)

      America has its problems, many of them very deep. But by saying that we have no redeeming features, Prinz Eugen is cursing us and identifying himself as our enemy. He appears to be an American citizen, and here he is cursing his own people, and even refusing to identify with his nation. For shame.

      • More nonsensical assertions with no argument. The only poppycock here is your inane writings which for reason get posted here. This argument only further proves my previous assertions that Prots and in particular the Anglo-Americans ones are absolutely worthless in “the fight” against liberalism. The only great lie here is Americanism the only explicitly Enlightenment state ever established.
        As to your last paragraph, it just goes to show how embarrassingly ahistorical your arguments are.

      • I understand Eugen’s argument. At the end of the day, we are Anglo by language, and it is entirely conceivable that our constitution is a dead letter by now.

      • But by saying that we have no redeeming features, Prinz Eugen is cursing us and identifying himself as our enemy. He appears to be an American citizen, and here he is cursing his own people, and even refusing to identify with his nation.

        It seems to be an oddity of our situation that many people cannot conceive of that “middle territory” where we actually, objectively reside. Everyone is either patriot or traitor. One the one hand, qualitative differences between life in these United States and life under more overt tyrannies are ignored by the alienated reactionary; on the other, when listing the things that are wrong with our society an objective body count comparison between our massacres of the innocent and those more overt tyrannies is avoided by the patriots.

        My impression is that perspective on what is objectively true here is unstable for most people: once they admit the enormity of the situation to themselves, they become completely alienated and lose perspective in the opposite direction. That probably leaves people with mildly sociopathic tendencies in the best position to be objective. Modernity is one odd country to live in.

    • This current regime is even worse than communism. Communism killed the body, Americanism kills the soul.

      Communism is as American as apple pie! You draw a distinction without a difference. There is a reason that the cold war was cold; that a war putatively to free Poland, in which something like 100 million people died, resulted in a non-free Poland (and a non-free China as an added bonus); that McCarthy ultimately failed and why his name is today an insult while Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger are hailed almost universally as saints; a reason that MacArthur was fired; and why America, with the most overwhelming military in history, hasn’t actually won a freaking war since 1945.

      The cold war is clearly over, but do we really know who won?

      If these Protestant-classical liberals really want to get serious about ending this scourge then we need to begin advocating a much more radical rejection of pretty much every American idea since 1776.

      You’d have to go back at least a century before that. 1776 didn’t spring out of a vacuum. American colonists simply out-whigged the Whigs.

      The way I see it, and I’ve been trying to formulate what I actually think about this for some weeks (if not years) now. I think both Zippy and Roebuck make too much of this thing called voting: Zippy on the moral complicity on the act of voting, aligning the faithful, however remotely, to a “side” or an entire system with blood on its hands. Roebuck, on how, just maybe voting might do some actual good. I think they’re both wrong.

      Yes, voting is burning a pinch of incense to the emperor. So what? We ought to wish him well. We pray that the emperor, however foolish the system by which he is selected, and however corrupted he becomes by that selection process, will nevertheless pursue justice and peace. Of course we know that he likely won’t and that the entire system is corrupt root and branch, and that Responsible, Effective, and Secure government cannot be had until the Reset occurs. So by electing the least evil major party candidate, it might slow the decay and degeneracy but also delay the time before the Reset. Which has the greater body count? Under which plan do more abortions occur? Which is more evil, free contraception or more abortions? Under which do more souls land in Hell? I don’t know… and anyone pretending to know is pretending too much.

      I will vote, not just for President, but for a Senator and Congressman and a host of state and local candidates and initiatives. Since I live in very blue state, I will vote for a 3rd party candidate for President that best (but far from perfectly) represents my views. If I lived in PA or OH, I would vote for Romney. He is better than either Dubya or McCain were… and that’s not saying much. I do not believe that this voting makes me complicit in any way with the evil that is likely to come no matter the outcome of the election… any more than my volunteering for military service makes me complicit in the deaths of innocents and non-combatants that are bound to occur in any war. My voting does not lend legitimacy to a system that I neither built nor currently trust… any more than accepting social security payouts or Pell grants means that I swear I believe SS or USG funding of education was a great idea.

      I don’t believe I sin by voting… but neither do I believe it can really do much good.

  13. I admit I voted for Romney. I am not sure if that was a worthwhile decision or not. I admit it felt kind of pointless, and I gave barely a thought to it. I do not live in a swing state, but instead in Texas and we have plenty more local problems.

  14. So by electing the least evil major party candidate, it might slow the decay and degeneracy but also delay the time before the Reset.

    This is indeed the issue. Are we going to keep going slowly or quickly towards a more liberal society?

    • Liberal society ends when it can no longer be paid for other people’s money. There are many ways of looking at this; total debt/gdp is merely one, but there is only so much future money one can borrow and feel rich. When, not if, but when that tipping point is reached, a liberal society quickly forgets how to be liberal. Thence, the Reset.

  15. Who would have thought the Orthosphere would be the home of so many defeatists and cynics? Is this the tone of today’s homilies? I certainly do not find this inspiring. And who would have thought a decent man such a Mitt Romney would be compared with historical villains? I find this to be madness.

    So many on this site seem to have given up on America. God in Genesis 18 is willing to spare a city for the sake of merely ten. I believe American still has a decent majority, and if not a majority, then certainly a very large minority, vastly more than ten per city. Mobilizing them requires persuasion not defeatism. Voting is not the problem. It is the solution. It is the alternative to settling the issues by the sword. My forefathers sacrificed much so that this country might have self-government. I will cast my lot with countries with democratic rule rather than those that do not have it. True, a vote is a small thing and democracy is imperfect, but in the words of Edmund Burke, “No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

    For Catholics, I recommend http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=38368

    “Cardinal Burke framed the decision to not vote in a circumstance where there is a less than ideal pro-life candidate in moral terms: ‘the Catholic who chooses not to vote at all, when there is a viable candidate who will advance the common good, although not perfectly, fails to fulfill his or her moral duty.’”

  16. A Tory perspective from David Warren at The Catholic Thing- he also likes less turnout:

    “For Catholics, and Christians at large, it is worth reviewing, on a daily basis, the alternative and necessarily subversive claims of Christ the King. His was understood to be “the sovereignty” in pre-national Christendom; and while Christians live everywhere today under the absolute power of an essentially fascist State, let us pray for deliverance from its mandates.”

  17. Pingback: Pre-Election Day Linkage « Breathing Grace

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