Friday, 8/5/16

  1. Enough with the mandorla already!
  2. The undefiled
  3. Disqualifiers
  4. Bloggers in a dangerous time
  5. Telltales
  6. Calamities, known and unknown

1

Eminent Evangelical theologian and ethicist, defending the morality of voting for Trump:

I do not think it is right to call him an “evil candidate.” I think rather he is a good candidate with flaws.

I think Trump’s character is far better than what is portrayed by much current political mud-slinging, and far better than his opponent’s character.

In addition, if someone makes doubts about character the only factor to consider, that is a fallacy in ethical reasoning that I call “reductionism” – the mistake of reducing every argument to only one factor, when the situation requires that multiple factors be considered. In this election, an even larger factor is the future of the nation that would flow from a Clinton or a Trump presidency.

To my friends who tell me they won’t vote for Trump because there is a chance he won’t govern at all like he promises, I reply that all of American presidential history shows that that result is unlikely, and it is ethically fallacious reasoning to base a decision on assuming a result that is unlikely to happen.

Consider instead the most likely results. The most likely result of voting for Trump is that he will govern the way he promises to do, bringing much good to the nation.

Punk internet satirist, defending the morality of voting for former KKK Grand Dragon David Duke:

We cannot be perfectionists when it comes to politics. If a prominent politician is willing to fight for pro-life judges and to protect religious liberty, we should support them, period.

This is not a time for division over small, petty things like basic moral principles. This is a time to unite behind the sorts of leaders who will deliver to us the Pyrrhic victories that have defined our proud movement for decades.

Advantage punk internet satirist.

It’s enough to shake one’s faith in Evangelical ethics.

Let me reiterate that I have little issue with someone who reluctantly concludes he needs to vote for Trump. I have a big bone to pick with Christian leaders who insist on including a mandorla in their airbrushed portraits of him. That’s precedent-setting, and it’s a very bad precedent.

2

Be it remembered that there are Religious Right types who have kept themselves undefiled by Trumpism. Maybe their success is akin to luck in stock-picking by throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal’s market quotes (I’ve checked, and there is no commandment in the New Testament not to defile yourself with Donald Trump; Jesus certainly never spoke against it), but still, they didn’t slime themselves. That’s not nothing.

I thought that was important to note because the world will have no trouble at all remembering that others [lurid, NSFW metaphors of political defilement omitted] did defile themselves. In exchange, Trump promised still to respect them in the morning.

3

Well I’ll be darned. I thought that if She Whose Turn It Is was running against Beelzebub (or someone close enough to the Father of Lies), I could vote for her!

Not according to the EWTN parsing of ethics:

If a political candidate supported abortion, or any other moral evil, such as assisted suicide and euthanasia, for that matter, it would not be morally permissible for you to vote for that person. This is because, in voting for such a person, you would become an accomplice in the moral evil at issue. For this reason, moral evils such as abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are examples of a “disqualifying issue.” A disqualifying issue is one which is of such gravity and importance that it allows for no political maneuvering. It is an issue that strikes at the heart of the human person and is non-negotiable. A disqualifying issue is one of such enormity that by itself renders a candidate for office unacceptable regardless of his position on other matters. You must sacrifice your feelings on other issues because you know that you cannot participate in any way in an approval of a violent and evil violation of basic human rights. A candidate for office who supports abortion rights or any other moral evil has disqualified himself as a person that you can vote for. You do not have to vote for a person because he is pro-life. But you may not vote for any candidate who supports abortion rights. Key to understanding the point above about “disqualifying issues” is the distinction between policy and moral principle. On the one hand, there can be a legitimate variety of approaches to accomplishing a morally acceptable goal. For example, in a society’s effort to distribute the goods of health care to its citizens, there can be legitimate disagreement among citizens and political candidates alike as to whether this or that health care plan would most effectively accomplish society’s goal. In the pursuit of the best possible policy or strategy, technical as distinct (although not separate) from moral reason is operative. Technical reason is the kind of reasoning involved in arriving at the most efficient or effective result. On the other hand, no policy or strategy that is opposed to the moral principles of the natural law is morally acceptable. Thus, technical reason should always be subordinate to and normed by moral reason, the kind of reasoning that is the activity of conscience and that is based on the natural moral law.

I say that not to mock EWTN or Roman Catholic ethics. The topic came up on another blog. I add no emphasis because if you actually care, you should read it all.

Since “batshit crazy narcissist sociopath lack of self-control” also would appear to be a disqualifier, I’m renewed in my commitment to take a third way.

4

Be it noted that I did not vote in primaries either for She Whose Turn It or for the Disaster Waiting to Happen. I still expect to vote for neither one of them in the general election. My conscience will be clean even if my worry beads get worn out. The blame for these two lies with someone other than me.

Now a note on blogging — and living — in these horrible terrible not-so-good political times.

A lot of stuff makes it into drafts that, on second thought, is just carrying coals to Newcastle and comes back out again. George Will, for instance, had an interesting take on Trump, but on second thought, it just wasn’t all that game-changing.

It’s also curious that I’m entering a very pleasant season of life and my personal circumstances are most congenial, at least for now. Yet here I sit railing against evil in rather apocalyptic terms at times.

I really do mean the apocalyptic terms. I’ve long thought that there’s nothing we can do to fully protect both our circumstances and our souls against the deep calamities that recur through history and the likes of which we’ve not seen in the U.S. in my lifetime, and that anxiety to protect fully from all calamities is itself soul-destroying.

Do I lay in an armory against coming breakdown of civil order, for instance? Well, that would mean loading a gun every night and putting it nearby, disarming it by day to protect against curious little hands. It means steeling myself to the possibility of killing rather than being killed. That’s my legal right, but the spiritual effects are worrisome.

I’ve done my duties to God and family. I have no children at home to protect. My wife and I have talked it over. As some say, “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” Maybe being killed by a home invasion is a lesser evil than the soul-scars of trying to avoid it. I don’t remember any saints whose hagiographies revel in how many infidels they took out before perishing.

Bonus: This is the year when “Giant Killer Meteor” is running a close third in the Presidential race. Just sayin’.

5

A satire has sat in my Facebook Page Feed, but it has now escaped to here: Local Teenager Begs Jesus To Not Return Before Future Wedding Night.

Not satire, and telling:

  • A church-going Catholic woman of mature years puzzles and even sneers at the virginity of a middle-aged, never-married colleague. (It really happened.)
  • A low-Church Protestant woman angrily said that it would have been perverted had Mary remained a Virgin after bearing Christ. (It really happened.)
  • An Orthodox lad goes to confession and acknowledges that he has “cheated on his girlfriend.” (Yes, he meant what you think.)

Synthesizing this and too much more to enumerate, our society apparently has decided that sex is the highest good, and that it is sad not to get all of it you can, regardless of your circumstances, and tragic to die (or be “Raptured”) without ever getting any at all.

Until this bizarre idolatry is eradicated from the hearts of Christianish people, how can we hope to reverse its consequences? From my standing advice:

  • Sex is Optional.
  • If Huxley is right, sexual freedom is the Last Freedom, the one that remains when all others are taken away.

In this mess, we’re almost all complicit.

6

 With Trump, it’s hard to tell what kind of calamity we’ll get. His policies, such as they are, are overshadowed by his unprecedented instability and petulance.

With Hillary, I’ll be retired before she and the American Bar Association can drive me out of practice; I’ll only have to watch my younger brothers and sisters in Christ driven into dhimmitude, out of regulated professions, and into manual labor.

Somehow, I’m not consoled.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.