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The Amazing Disappearing Embryo

Back in May, NRLC was mentioning the fact that John McCain has been an enthusiastic supporter of ESCR. Well, not exactly in those words. But in some words, with as much downplaying as possible.

Since then, we have had an ad, interpreted by an official campaign spokesman, reaffirming that support for the benefit any ESCR supporters who might be worried.

Here is the present NRLC candidate comparison chart. (HT: Zippy) What's missing?

But there's more. I was alerted by my daughter to Sarah Palin's call-in interview today with James Dobson. They talked, my daughter said, enthusiastically about the Republican party platform and how very, very pro-life it is. Dobson (who at one time said he would not vote for John McCain but has changed his mind) expressly asked her if McCain was in agreement with that platform, based on the many private conversations Palin says she has had with him. And she said, “John McCain is solidly there on those solid planks in our platform that build the right agenda for America.” Please note that in the context, this was a discussion of the pro-life issues. Did Dobson ask about ESCR or about the ad? No, he didn't.

Here is the 2008 Republican Party Platform, and here is all I can find that it says about ESCR:

Taxpayer-funded medical research must be based on sound science, with a focus on both prevention and treatment, and in accordance with the humane ethics of the Hippocratic Oath. In that regard, we call for a major expansion of support for the stem-cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases — with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life. We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.

When you read this carefully you can see that it does not actually call for a continuation of the policy of not funding ESCR with federal money. Rather, it calls for expanding funding for adult stem-cell research. It also calls for banning "experimentation on human embryos for research purposes," but killing them to take their stem-cells isn't actually experimenting on them; the experiments will take place using the stem-cells harvested. Moreover, we know that McCain just reaffirmed (in his own name and Palin's) his support for ESCR. So either nothing in this "most pro-life ever" Republican platform addresses federal funding for ESCR (and it can be interpreted in that way), or Sarah Palin just somehow neglected to ask John McCain about that subject in their many private conversations, or he lied to her, or she lied to James Dobson. I doubt very much that it is the last of these. If I had to bet, I'd bet on a combination of the first and the second.

Either way, ESCR has effectively disappeared from the discussion between the McCain campaign and the religious right. Mrs. Palin went forth today herself to woo them in the person of James Dobson, and the amazing disappearing embryo was nowhere to be found in the conversation.

This is corruption and the cost of compromise, Part II.

Comments (139)

Yes, yes. We already know:

DON'T VOTE FOR McCAIN: LET OBAMA WIN!

We. Get. It. AGAIN.


At this point, nobody I know are going to. Heck, Obama has a DOUBLE-DIGIT Lead, for goodness sakes!

What more do you guys (Zippy et al) want????

I want us to see with open eyes and admit what is happening to a group of people I would have been inclined to call "us"--the pro-lifers, the evangelical conservatives. What is happening to us? What is this endorsement doing to us? We need to know. Will we ever get our integrity back? Will this issue disappear forever after this election, whoever wins? I do not know.

Lydia, with all due respect, the story of the ESCR plank in the platform is told here, and is a little different from your interpretation of the story:

http://tinyurl.com/69esf6

Key quotes follow (all from tinyurl address above):

The 2008 Republican Platform Committee has finally reached the finish line, but before it crossed it tripped up on the issue of stem-cell research. When the committee reached the stem-cell language, North Carolina delegate Mary Summa offered what appeared on the surface to be a small change. Summa sought to change the sentence:

We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of and experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.

to read:

We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of *or* experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.

thus severing experimentation on human embryos from their creation for that purpose. It's just one word, but it has huge implications. It is a call for a total ban on embryonic stem-cell research, including privately funded research using frozen embryos from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics. By contrast, the 2004 platform was in accord with President Bush's policy at the time, which made limited federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research available for the first time.

In introducing her amendment, Summa gave an emotional speech in which she said, "I want my five children to live in a world where the weak are protected from the strong. I want them to live in a world where all life is protected." [...]

When the three of them returned, Summa's eyes were red and swollen. She re-submitted her original amendment, without modification. Burr called for a vote, and the motion passed.

The 2008 Republican Platform calls for a ban on *all* embryonic stem-cell research, public or private.

Red, there are two possibilities, then. (Please note that I tried to leave all of these open in the main post.) Either John McCain lied to Sarah Palin in discussions about his being on-board with this specific aspect of the platform, or she did not ask him. (I am leaving out of account as so implausible as not to deserve consideration the option that she lied to Dobson.) Why must it be one of these? Because, as I linked in my post above, John McCain has had his campaign *expressly reaffirm* his support for federal funding for ESCR. He went out and put it in our faces, folks. If that is what that part of the platform meant, he is so very far from being, in Palin's words, "solidly there" on it that he wants everybody to be sure to know where he stands. This is not in doubt. This is not in question. This is where he has always been, and he doesn't want ESCR supporters to have any qualms on the issue. He didn't even leave it up in the air. Did you read the Hill article I linked?

McCain voted in the Senate to expand federal funding for the controversial research but Democrats and advocates of the science have expressed concern that McCain’s support has wavered.


Not so, according to the radio spot and a McCain spokesman.

The ad does not specifically refer to embryonic research, which is opposed by most politicians and activists who, like McCain, do not support abortion rights.

The omission is not a signal that McCain is backing away from his record in favor of embryonic stem cell research, spokesman Brian Rogers said.

“Clearly, John McCain supports it,” he said, emphasizing that the ad is intended to refer to all forms of stem cell research, including experiments using human embryos and those using cells from adults.

So kudos to Mary Summa, though I wish she'd asked them to insert something even clearer. Because frankly, though perhaps Mrs. Summa doesn't realize it, ESCR need not involve *doing the experiment on the embryo*. It can involve dissecting the embryo for the cells and doing the experiment on the cells. But I fully accept that this was what she intended, and I'm glad she had her moment of victory at the convention on that non-binding platform that the candidates don't have to support. But if that's what that bit means, we really don't have to wonder: John McCain doesn't support it. In fact, he opposes it. All the way. And Sarah Palin just went on the radio to tell all the Focus on the Family constituency in unqualified terms how wonderfully pro-life he is. And nobody asked her about this issue, and she didn't bring it up.

And that's a scandal and a disgrace, and I am very saddened by it.

A program note: the HT on the NRLC brochure with the missing embryos really goes right back to Lydia, since the only reason it occurred to me to go search it out on the Web was because Lydia mentioned, in a combox, having seen it on paper.

"What is happening to us?"

Exactly what you should expect. Tell people that voting is the source and summit of a Christian's civic engagement, then don't be surprised when the compromises intrinsic to operating in such a system start to take a toll.

"Will we ever get our integrity back?"

Many will, bot only after some hard lessons are learned.

Thanks, Zippy. What I really think would be a kind of historic document (when combined with the one without ESCR as an issue which is now preserved on-line) would be the candidate comparison I seem to remember seeing on paper sometime much earlier this year that _did_ contain ESCR and said that McCain supports it. As I recall, it was the last issue on the list, but it was there. (My anti-pack-rat principles are getting me in trouble here. I throw away papers like crazy.) I've looked up the on-line archives for May of 08, when that Andrusko article appeared, and he mentions a comparison chart on "p. 11," but the archives are only of articles, not actual visual reproductions of the pages, and that one isn't reproduced. I'm not at all saying there's any heavy reason for this. I think they just only archive their articles. But if I'm remembering correctly and there was such a chart before, then someone decided to modify their comparison of the candidates so as simply to eliminate that issue--now you see it, now you don't.

If any of you get the paper NRLC news and have some back issues, see if there is a comparison chart on p. 11 of the May issue that contains ESCR. That may not have been the month, but it's the one I would check.

CAMPAIGNING FOR OBAMA


AND


CAMPAIGNING AGAINST McCAIN


Contributes to the Same Result: HELPS TOWARD AN OBAMA WIN!


The former encourages votes for Obama where the latter discourages votes for McCain -- Same Difference!


Are we really that anxious for Obama to win????

Are we really that anxious to have an additional 15 million more kids killed under Obama????

Is our rage against McCain really worth that much???

Rage is by no means the issue. The issue is our keeping our integrity. There _are_ McCain supporters who speak quite frankly about the positions on which he holds a murderous opinion. Unfortunately, these are not the McCain supporters who are dictating policy to his boosters, including his boosters among the religious right. Result: The ESCR issue simply disappears from our public discourse. As a result of that interview with Palin yesterday, there are probably conservative Christians who believe that McCain has changed his mind on this issue, but even for them the idea has been implanted that this is something we don't talk about and don't ask about. A while longer of that, and it simply will become something we don't talk about and don't ask about. And it was not so just a few months ago. It was a big issue then. Can't anyone remember even that far back? The speed at which this is happening is shocking.

"Did Dobson ask about ESCR or about the ad? No, he didn't."

It's like some Christians are so pleased to have any support at all, they don't think they should try pulling their allies, and thus the culture as a whole, towards their own position.

Silence is not an effective persuasion tactic.

Kevin's insistence that this kind of pathetic compromise is inherent to political involvement is too dismissive. There's something more going on here.

Why does this pusillanimity occur on the right, but not on the left? For instance, gay activists aren't quiet about pressing compromising liberals on same-sex marriage, despite its unpopularity. They've been in the minority since their cause began in earnest, yet they are successfully setting the bounds of the debate and the trend of judicial and legislative action.

Lydia,

The issue, more specifically within the more immediate context of the current election, is the perlocutionary effect of posts such as these (i.e., anti-McCain) which essentially contribute to an Obama win.

Personally, especially given the present dire circumstances we are finding ourselves in, I would avoid helping Obama advance even further in his now double-digit gain in the polls by further discouragement of McCain votes.

Sorry, but the likely prospect of an additional 15 million kids dying under Obama's abortion extremism is the greater concern to me at this point.

Kevin Jones,
You’re right; mere political involvement shouldn’t lead to pathetic compromises. Excessive reliance on electoral politics does. Horse trading and nose counting have their limits, especially when one’s position runs counter to the whole inexorable direction of modernity.

Freedom, equality and the personal happiness are Liberalism’s promise. Without a Christian anthropology shaping the culture’s understanding of those terms, prudent limits and the principled brakes of self-denial, sacrifice and personal obligation give way to disordered appetites and ever-expanding “rights”.

Gay activists, like the abortion movement, can more successively pursue an incremental style of politics because their causes are couched in the language and cultural expectations of a de-natured, operationally atheistic society. Tbe politicans are following, not setting the cultural drift. Under these conditions, prophetic witness is what post-Christian man needs most.

Aristocles, I consider myself, and all of you, to be watching and recording something rather important that is happening right under our noses in history. There needs to be a witness. Somebody needs to keep track and to record what happens when it happens, so that it doesn't get missed. That interview of Palin with Dobson yesterday was one of those important happenings--the ESCR issue just "got disappeared" in the course of campaign fever. It remains to be seen whether it will reappear. My bet is it will reappear if Obama is president but not if McCain is. That doesn't mean I'm saying, "Oh, hurray if Obama is president." Frankly, I think it's a disgrace that even McCain's supporters can't have more integrity to speak out clearly about his positions, instead of going on and on in sickening, saccharine tones about how much he is "with us" and how he's so very "pro-life" and so forth. They wouldn't even have thought of saying all of this one year ago. And it didn't have to be this way. It's sad, sad, sad, and it's happening at this very moment, and someone needs to take notes.

If the blogosphere has any purpose at all, one of its purposes should be to record true history, to make sure that things don't disappear into oblivion. There must be a record.

Lydia,

I don't know if you had noticed (in fact, it even escaped Kevin's (usually circumspect) attention), but I already expressed my particular view on the matter here:

KEVIN: "More importantly though, we all have a moral obligation to resist the spiritual disorder of our day and to bear witness to Truth."

ARI: "Would that also include the kind of disorder evident in those who are preaching the seemingly righteous Gospel of McCain as if, even with his pro-ESCR policies, he is somehow trumpeted as if he were a Man of God on the side of Goodness?"

However, as I've said previously, I believe we've got to keep our minds right now on preventing the worst case scenario which most likely will entail the deaths of those millions of children under Obama.

Would I rather have had Huckabee instead of McCain as our candidate of choice???

The answer was/still is an indisputable "yes"; however, no such sentiment will change our present circumstances.

The fact is, if there's even the slightest chance of preventing the death toll under an Obama Presidency by voting for as awful a candidate as McCain -- I'm sorry -- the answer will have to be: "Yes, for those additional 15 million kids that may die under Obama, I will (i.e., need to) cast a vote for McCain".

Its sad - what has changed is not McCain's position on ESCR, but the mainstream pro-life movement's position, at least in a practical sense (ari being so fond of the practical over the principled). So what does this teach us? When we compromise for the practical what we get is loss of principle. Its like the cartoon where the one character draws a line in the sand, the other crosses it, so the first character just draws another line a little further down, etc. Its precisely the support of McCain types that will keep us redrawing that line. If you don't see that, I don't know what to tell you.

ccmatt:

(ari being so fond of the practical over the principled). So what does this teach us? When we compromise for the practical what we get is loss of principle.

How dare you, on mere matter of principle, that you would be so willing ever so callously to have the lives of these additional 15 million kids die all because of your high & mighty mirror-worshipping!

It's people like you that make casualties such as these nothing more than mere abstract fantasy!

Lydia,
How does one keep one's integrity in this situation? Every conceivable action, in some way, involves some form of compromising one's integrity.

Say I vote for the perfect third-party candidate, one who is absolutely perfect on every issue, but has no chance of winning. I do this knowing that the candidate has no chance, and knowing that it's one less vote against Obama, thus increasing the likelihood that Obama will win.

Or I don't vote, in which case I've still increased the likelihood that Obama will win.

Or I vote McCain, in which case I decrease the likelihood that Obama will win, but am now directly voting for someone who has some variances with my position on certain core issues - a compromise.

The way I look at the issue is this: if I don't vote for McCain, I'm contributing to the election of Obama. Period. Third party candidates and "None-of-the-above" don't have a chance, not this election. So, in the choice between voting in such a way that helps McCain or a way that helps Obama, I'll pick the way that helps McCain, simply because between the two, McCain is better than Obama.

Now, you may say "it's only one vote, it won't make much of a difference", which is true (especially here in Michigan). And each individual is definitely free to vote their own (hopefully well-formed) conscience. But it's not just one vote when it's posted on the internet, because such posts influence people.

If that influence has even a slight impact, it could be enough to help hand the presidency to Obama. That's something I wouldn't want to be a part of, and it seems to me that it would also be a compromise of one's integrity. By trying to keep my integrity, I would lose it.

No, McCain isn't perfect, but I'd rather have somebody who is mostly right vs. somebody who is completely wrong. Especially since the areas where McCain is wrong aren't his primary goals. (By that, I mean that McCain's support of ESCR isn't central to his ideology like abortion is to Obama's.)

ARI: "The fact is, if there's even the slightest chance of preventing the death toll under an Obama Presidency by voting for as awful a candidate as McCain -- I'm sorry -- the answer will have to be: 'Yes, for those additional 15 million kids that may die under Obama, I will (i.e., need to) cast a vote for McCain'."


C MATT: [misrepresenting paraphrase deleted]

Ari, now you are reduced to telling lies about what commenters (c matt, in this case) have said. Chill.

Zippy,
That wasn't a lie; that's how the comments read.

No, it was a bald faced lie. He never said what you attributed to him, at all. One more chance for a retraction.

Zippy: Would that include a retraction on his part as well or will you continue to overlook his bald faced lie (if you truly consider things as that being the case)?

Bias much?

Here's an admittedly imperfect analogy, but let's try it anyway.

I am in a sealed room with 17 other people, one of whom is standing off at a distance and holding a gun. He gives me a choice: either I kill one of the innocent people standing next to me, or he shoots all 16 of them. What do I do? Is is acceptable to sacrifice one innocent to save the lives of the other 15?

Obviously, the only moral option is to refuse to kill anyone. I have no control over what the nutcase with the gun might do; I can control only my own actions. If I take even one innocent life, no matter what the cause/excuse, I will have to answer for that at the Final Judgment. By refraining from committing a murder, I do not in any way "force" the gunman to do his evil act; that's his sin, not mine.

Certainly, if there were some way to get to the shooter and disarm him, or do something to stop him, that would be morally laudable. But we are only morally culpable for our own actions. So let's do everything we can to change minds and hearts, without descending to the barbaric crimes we want to prevent.

"He gives me a choice: either I kill one of the innocent people standing next to me, or he shoots all 16 of them."

Spare the others. Shoot me. I can't take this election, nor this argument anymore. Just don't wound me, o.k.?

Kevin @ 3:32 PM:

In my previous post I wrote and deleted some scattered comments about how the belief in Progress seems to be assisting the leftward march.

I think such "Blame the Worldview" comments are too general and theoretical. Ulterior motives aside, Dobson and other uncritical prominent pro-lifers are neglecting to press the ESCR issue for their own reasons.

What are these reasons?

We'd have to ask them to find out and refute. Perhaps an "Open Letter" is in order.

OK, Ari, I removed it for you since you refuse to man up and retract it.

Gentlemen, you all know well that I am not voting for McCain, and that I have given my argument (again and again) as to why refusing to vote for McCain is not the same thing as voting for Obama, etc.

However, as far as keeping one's integrity goes in the sense in which I've meant it in _this_ post, I'll settle for a person who plans to vote for McCain but talks *good and loud* about how he really isn't all that pro-life, about his murderous policies on ESCR, and so forth. The young man who mows our lawn showed up today with a McCain-Palin sign on the back of his bike. He asked Eldest Daughter [mentioned in the post] what she thought of it. She said, "Well, I like the second part of it." He said, "Yeah, McCain stinks, but he's better than Obama." That's something, anyway. In a thread on Zippy's site, there was a commentator who, when I used the phrase, "I don't have a dog in this fight," said, "I don't either." Well, that's something. That can mean, in an individual case, at least keeping the issues alive in one's own mind. What the cash value of that is in terms of one's civic actions, I'm still not sure. But it's better than _gushing_ on the radio about wonderful, pro-life candidate John McCain, about how he's "solidly there on these planks" and so forth, as Palin did, or giving her a pass on the ESCR issue, as Dobson did. I'm sorry, but we have a duty to make people uncomfortable. If, Aristocles, you are willing to keep making people uncomfortable about this, then that's a step in the right direction, even though you are planning to vote for John McCain. And, yes, I did notice the comment you are referring to. I haven't accused you of anything, have I?

Do I think that the adoption of McCain as "our guy" has caused the loss of integrity I'm deploring? Well, sure I do. I'm not going to lie and say otherwise. But individuals, even those planning to vote for him can and must do their best to minimize the damage.

Zippy,

OK, Ari, I removed it for you since you refuse to man up and retract it.

I note too that, at the same time, you left c matt's ad hominem intact.

Lydia, in that case, you'll be delighted with the response I received this afternoon from the Texas Republican Party about McCain's support of ESCR:

The Republican Party platforms (both Texas and National) are very clear in our stance opposing ESCR. Governor Palin has also been outspoken in her opposition to ESCR. Sen. McCain has, admittedly, been less than solid in this position. It is my hope and prayer that he will come around, and I am confident that Governor Palin will lead him to the light in this regard. I guarantee you the Republican Party of Texas will not waver from its position and will call him out if he takes any action in office contrary to the platform. It is also important to note that Obama/Biden are avowed enemies of life and would not support our position in any way.

God bless the Texas Republicans. Can you imagine any Democrat threatening to call out the Lightworker if he displeases them in office?

Lydia,

If, Aristocles, you are willing to keep making people uncomfortable about this, then that's a step in the right direction, even though you are planning to vote for John McCain. And, yes, I did notice the comment you are referring to. I haven't accused you of anything, have I?

It had not gone unnoticed, Lydia. In fact, I very much appreciated the gesture.

However, there are those who are unable to distinguish between those who vote for McCain and those who vote against Obama.

I have given my argument (again and again) as to why refusing to vote for McCain is not the same thing as voting for Obama, etc.

Obama can only be defeated if McCain has MORE votes than Obama.

Thus, in my view (which I had expressed previously myself time & again), depriving McCain of votes can only help Obama.


Yet, given the current predicament, it seems all moot now. Obama WILL win come November as more & more people feel compelled to vote for him.

Perhaps the only thing left to do is to adopt Kevin's (i.e., "Wise" Kevin, as Lydia described him -- since more Kevins keep popping up by the day on W4) catacomb approach and Let go & Let God (paraphrasing, of course, using the popular Christian theme).

Obama WILL win come November as more & more people feel compelled to vote for him.

This is not obvious. It is probable, but not assured. Too little has been made, probably because it is embarassing to rich white liberals, of the Bradley Effect, which is (apparently) strongest when poll margins are closest. So who really knows.

But on a side note, it is far from clear how much better (or less worse) McCain would be than Obama on culture of life issues. Obama says he'll sign FOCA and make it a priority, but will he have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate? If not, well he may not get it. Actually a (chastened) GOP minority in congress could do much more for the prolife cause, than a GOP executve who is, at best, lukewarm to the cause, but who will nevertheless be the GOP standard-bearer (and the face of a decidedly unconservative "conservatism") for at least 4 years, and thereby continue to wreck the few things left un-wrecked by Dubya. GOP minority status could become a tactical and quite salutary retreat.

It is impossible, I think, to predict with any accuracy the number of souls who will be lost to abortion under either potential executive anyway, and, while the practice remains legal, will largely be a function of factors (economy, public morality) not directly tied to power in the Whitehouse.

I'm not saying it would be, but only that it could be better: to trade four years of Obama (assuming he lacks a filibuster-proof senate and gets handed GOP house takeover in 2010) for a better, more consistently pro-life, and more even-tempered GOP nominee in 2012. There's a lot of ifs in there, but that's the best spin I can put on it. I'll not lend my vote to McCain. My guy endorsed Baldwin, so that's who I'll vote for.

Steve,

"Obama says he'll sign FOCA and make it a priority, but will he have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate?"


I've already written on this before:

I still believe in the projection [provided by Businessweek] of a 60 Democratic majority vote Senate. Yet, even if the latter is not accomplished, should Democrats get only to 57 or 58, they need only compromise with moderate Republicans such as Olympia Snowe who often votes with moderate Democrats anyway. In any case, they would only need to convince 2 to 3 people to compromise with them then whereas now they have to bring over as much as 10 Republicans.

Red, I appreciate your passing that on from the Texas Republicans. I think "less than solid on this issue" is almost amusingly understated as a description of McCain's position, and the confidence that Palin will "lead him to the light" is completely misplaced, for several reasons (what she said in the Gibson interview, the ad he came out with, just for starters), but I agree with you that it's good to see them talking about "calling him out" if he were to be elected and take action on his avowed position on this issue.

Ari, you were over the top on CMatt. I agree with Zippy that you needed to chill.

Lydia,

IF we ourselves have reduced the casualties due to abortion (in this case, the estimated 15 million additional children who will die under an Obama administration) to a mere abstraction, I don't know what hope we have in convincing the secular world that such casualties do indeed occur as a result of abortions.

depriving McCain of votes can only help Obama.

This just seems to me clearly untrue. It may help Obama, but it may also do some other things. It may send a message that conservatives want a conservative candidate. Dobson's turnabout is disheartening, but predictable. Christian right-wingers, on the whole, are simply in thrall to the Republican party--it's no secret really, is it? Will this thralldom get them what they want, a truly pro-life candidate? It seems not. It seems that all a liberal Republican like McCain has to do to win the allegiance of the Christian Right is to succeed. If you succeed in beating out your more conservative opponents and win the nomination, you'll get the endorsements you need from the Christian Right. What does this bode for the future of social conservatism in America? Talk about abdication, this seems like a move toward abdication by the Christian Right to me. A massive endorsement of McCain now, by the Christian Right, sends the following message: "We don't really care, at the end of the day, what candidate you send up for our approval. We're going to approve him as long as he's to the left of whatever Dem is running, because we vote for the lesser of two evils, and we are more than capable of putting lipstick on a pig."

It's a sacrifice of a long term goal for a short-term "victory." And how many aborted children does that add up to? Anyone care to try that calculation? If we are truly in a situation in this country where there is no true pro-life party (despite what the Rep. platform says), then we've already lost. Zippy's comment about the two-party system being not much different than a one-party system stings, but it rings true, don't they?

None of this means, of course, that I won't vote for McCain. It just means that I'm calling Dobson et al out on their sudden silence on ESCR, their sudden turnabout on McCain. It was all for show, a big sham (word of the day, apparently). If you oppose a guy, you oppose a guy. But now Dobson is just playing the political game. He cut a deal:

McCain campaign to Dobson: "Shut up on ESCR and bring your people into the fold: NOW."

Now, Dobson's supposed to be a religious leader, not a political operative. Where are his principles now? Why does he suddenly go mum? If you are going to be a Christian Republican, be a Christian Republican, fine. But don't forget the 'Christian' part. Work for change in your party. Work for the good of the party. You don't do that by refusing to oppose a candidate who betrays party principles. At least by oppose him in the area where he's gone wrong, even if you don't pull your vote. Hold him to account. Sometimes, however, it's good to lose. It works humility, and humilitas is next to Godliness. Dobson just layed down.

Part of the problem is that if the leaders of the Christian Right simply tell the truth unequivocally and publicly -- that McCain is an unhinged liberal who has long been and continues to be a rabid supporter of medical cannibalism of the unborn, but that Obama is even worse -- the pro-life base won't come out and vote for him. In order to market someone like McCain to pro-lifers at large, you have to pretend that he is solidly pro-life despite his unequivocal ESCR support, the fact that he is on record saying he has no intention of overturning Roe, and that he would consider appointing pro-choice judges. In other words, to mobilize pro lifers to vote for McCain you have to lie, and not about something minor but about what is most important. That is the marketing reality of keeping pro-lifers on the reservation for a candidate like McCain. I argue with people in comboxes every day who think McCain has reversed himself on embryonic stem cell research, or think he is in the process of some kind of reversal, because that is what the propaganda published by pro life organizations is intentionally leading them to believe.

So it isn't just a matter of an individual holding his nose and voting for McCain. In order to get pro lifers to vote for him en masse, the pro life movement has to tell lies to itself. And we've already seen what happens over time: we tell lies to ourselves, and then once they are well established we push the things we've told ourselves lies about out of the spotlight and refuse to talk about them anymore.

"Obama says he'll sign FOCA and make it a priority, but will he have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate?"

I keep trying to figure out how many Dems would vote for FOCA. It has 19 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Obama who won't be there if he wins. How many Dems won't touch this with a ten foot pole for fear of aggravating their constituents?

For what it's worth, at the Democrats for Life town hall at the DNC, the legislators were confident FOCA couldn't pass.

Lydia,

Thanks for clarifying your views on maintaining one's integrity. I didn't ask my questions and state my own reasoning in an attempt to change your vote (which I could guess but wasn't certain of, since I haven't been able to read this blog diligently in the past month), and I apologize if you took it the wrong way. I'm looking to properly form my own conscience.

Personally, I don't think McCain is McCain is a "rabid" supporter of ESCR (as Zippy put it). There is doubt among pro-ESCR people about McCain's support for their butchery ("research", as they call it). He seems to be uncertain on the issue, and I have great hope that he will come fully to the Pro-Life position.

I most likely will be voting McCain on election day, and I'll definitely be voting against Prop 2 here in Michigan.

Good for you on Prop. 2, Matthew. I've been planning to put up a post on that one, at least a brief post for any Michiganders who don't know about it. It's worriesome the way the publicity on it has been so low.

I disagree about McCain's changing his mind on ESCR. Remember, he went out of his way to reassure those people who worried that he was changing his mind. That's pretty "in your face."

In fact, there's a difference there on the matter of overturning Roe. Zippy is entirely right that McCain said in the 90's, quite unequivocally, that he would not support overturning Roe *either in the short-term or in the long-term*. That quote has gone down the memory-hole, of course, though NRLC kept it alive in 2000 in order to whip members into voting for Bush in the primary. (The ironies of history are just shouting.) But *at least* he's now saying exactly the opposite on Roe. I know that sounds like faint praise: Either he's flip-flopped without admitting the flip-flop or he's lying. But at this point it shows a kind of minimal respect for his pro-life supporters at least to bother to say what they want to hear. What is so shocking to me on the ESCR front is that he can't even be bothered to go that far. That argues either a very strong in-principle support for ESCR or a calculation that he will garner more votes by playing both sides. Either way, it is scandalous that pro-lifers don't keep speaking out on it.

I keep trying to figure out how many Dems would vote for FOCA. It has 19 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Obama who won't be there if he wins. How many Dems won't touch this with a ten foot pole for fear of aggravating their constituents?

For what it's worth, at the Democrats for Life town hall at the DNC, the legislators were confident FOCA couldn't pass.

These, along with how many children will die due to abortion and ESCR, are unanswerable before the fact. But I do remember the GOP minority in the Senate in the years 93 and 94 being an effective opposition to Clinton's Big Plans, not least of which was national "health care". Sure there are pro-abort Republicans, but there are also pro-life Dems, so who really knows. Will there be 60 senators willing to waste that much political capital on the radical pro-abort position? Will there be 40 willing to filibuster it? If FOCA does become a "priority" for the Obama Administration, it will offer an opportunity for pro-life folks (and anybody who cares about the constitution irrespective of their views on the status of the fetus) to mount a grass roots counterattack not unlike that (successful) opposition to the McCain/Kennedy/Bush amnesty bill and (successful for a few moments) opposition to the Banking Bailout. The radicalism of the bill could effectively isolate Obama on the hard social left, and its failure could further handicap his presidency in spite of Dem majorities in both houses: A result that could be much more favorable to the prolife cause than a McCain presidency.

These, along with how many children will die due to abortion and ESCR, are unanswerable before the fact.
That, among other things, is why the concrete proximate effects of our act are morally dispositive; while remote, highly speculative effects with respect to matters which in any case we cannot impact by voting one way rather than another, are not.
Will there be 60 senators willing to waste that much political capital on the radical pro-abort position?
Will they consider it a waste? If radically pro-abortion Obama wins the presidency, they'll see it as a statement from the constituents that such a radical abortion stance is tolerable, if not acceptable or even wanted.
If radically pro-abortion Obama wins the presidency, they'll see it as a statement from the constituents that such a radical abortion stance is tolerable, if not acceptable or even wanted.

They might see it that way, although I think they'd be wrong, since I don't think most Americans understand what FOCA is. Too many pro-lifers I know don't even know of its existence. When it actually comes down to implementing it, that's when you'll see the negative public reaction. Most Americans think abortion is wrong, but are willing to tolerate it to some degree. I think with the passing of FOCA (if it passes), even many moderates will think it goes much too far. Obama will make a grave miscalculation if he interprets his election as a mandate for abortion extremism. After all, he barely won the nomination of his own party. There's no public mandate there, and extremists would face a serious backlash if they try to ram FOCA down the collective American throat. They'll wake up the sleeping American center-right conservative.

There is an aspect of this debate that seems highly surreal to me.

McCain, apparently, is evil and must be avoided because while he has voted pro-life for his entire career we think that he's not on board with overturning Roe (a question of strategy, AFIK) and we know he is disappointingly in favor of ESCR.

Obama, however, will do *less* evil despite his absolute promise to do more, because even though he has a 100% NARAL approval rating and is even more pro-abortion than they are (they're not *openly* for infanticide, anyway), we think we can keep our fingers crossed and hope Congress won't let him pass FOCA, undermine conscientious objection to abortion in the medical community, force taxpayers to fund abortion, stifle pro-life speech and protest efforts, or any of the other things the man has actually promised his supporters that he will do.

Then the "Bradley Effect" gets whispered about as if we actually hope a significant number of those secular voters who don't have our enlightened understanding about both the morality and the complete inefficacy of our voting efforts will step up to the plate and defeat Obama, even if it takes an ugly racism to do so.

I have a feeling that God knows our hearts; and if we go vote for some pure intrinsic-evil free doomed quixotic third-party candidate while secretly hoping that our neighbors will risk the taint to their souls and vote in significant enough numbers for McCain so that we don't actually have to endure the monstrous assault on pro-life values that will be the hallmark of an Obama presidency--well, God's going to know that too.

"McCain, apparently, is evil and must be avoided because while he has voted pro-life for his entire career we think that he's not on board with overturning Roe (a question of strategy, AFIK) and we know he is disappointingly in favor of ESCR."

It's how the anti-McCain Paleos & Pro-Obama camps want to paint him.

As one of the former, a notable W4 author who goes by the surname of "Catholic", put it:

"I tend to agree with Lawrence Auster that a McCain win will definitely kill conservatism; an Obama win is likely to kill America. Whoever wins, we lose."


However:

Critics point out that a major chink in McCain's pro-life armor is his support for embryonic stem-cell research in which human embryos are destroyed to extract the cells, and they add that he is not aggressively anti-abortion.

His defenders note McCain's consistent anti-abortion voting record and say his language is changing on stem-cell issues, especially as research using adult stem cells and some treatments using them have moved forward.

A strong McCain critic is Rick Santorum, a Republican and former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, who made anti-abortion support a key plank in his election campaigns. In a series of radio talk-show interviews Santorum placed his pro-life criticism of McCain within the broader context of what he called McCain's lack of commitment to a wide range of conservative Republican issues.

"I don't know what Rick is talking about," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. "John (McCain) voted with us" on anti-abortion issues, he said.

Any behind-the-scenes actions by McCain would have been more a question of which issues have priority for floor debate, Brownback added.

Brownback, who is also a Catholic and has a 100 percent pro-life rating by the National Right to Life Committee for the current congressional session, endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination after dropping out of the primaries. McCain has a 66 percent rating but did not vote on three of the six votes monitored by the National Right to Life Committee.

Regarding human embryonic stem-cell research, Brownback said that McCain's "language has gotten better" and that the Arizona senator has expressed hope that scientific advances with adult stem cells would make the question moot.

Another reason why McCain is a good pro-life candidate is that "we are one vote away from overturning Roe," Brownback said, and McCain as president would likely be able to appoint Supreme Court judges.

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, supports McCain because he is "pro-life and electable."

McCain had "two bad votes," funding human embryonic stem-cell research and allowing use of fetal tissue, Ruse told CNS. "Every other vote is true blue as a pro-lifer," he said.


McCain originally was against ESCR (and continues to be against destructive embryo research) until Nancy Reagan convinced him otherwise:

"Should McCain refrain from public funding, it would be a return of sorts to his original position against embryonic stem cell research funding, adopted before Nancy Reagan lobbied him on the issue in 2005
, The Hill indicates."

While McCain supports public funding, he opposes the purposeful creation of human embryos for destruction, he supports funding adult stem cell research and opposes both forms of human cloning.

That's a contrast to the position pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama takes -- as he has said he would use an executive order to mandate funding for the grisly research as soon as he takes office.

SOURCE:
http://www.lifenews.com/bio2546.html


"Obama, however, will do *less* evil despite his absolute promise to do more, because even though he has a 100% NARAL approval rating and is even more pro-abortion than they are (they're not *openly* for infanticide, anyway), we think we can keep our fingers crossed and hope Congress won't let him pass FOCA, undermine conscientious objection to abortion in the medical community, force taxpayers to fund abortion, stifle pro-life speech and protest efforts, or any of the other things the man has actually promised his supporters that he will do."

Well, according to some people here (as well as Pro-Obama Catholics), FOCA isn't actually a priority for Obama (and even rendered as only a mere political fiction, in some cases), in spite of:

"The first thing I'd do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act
," Obama said in his July speech to abortion advocates worried about the increase of pro-life legislation at the state level.

The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is legislation Obama has co-sponsored along with 18 other senators that would annihilate every single state law limiting or regulating abortion, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion.


The One Candidate I do endorse in all this who is literally too dead & too (virtuously) Roman to even run:

When it comes to action, we can never wait until we have an absolutely certain understanding of the entire situation. We only take the path down which we are led by probability. Every “duty” must follow this path; for this is how we sow, sail, make war, get married, and have children. In all these things, the result is uncertain, but we nevertheless decide to undertake those actions which we think have some hope of succeeding….. We go where reason- and not absolute truth- leads us.

- Seneca


Byron,
Hate to disagree with you, but there is another very possible scenario.

First, Obama beat another Abortion Sacramentalist for his party’s nod, so the margin of his victory there is irrelevant. What isn’t though is his Electoral College landslide and the 25-40 more Dems swept into the House, nor the near veto-proof majority in the Senate. Do the Republicans have 42 votes to sustain a prolife filibuster? Snowe of Maine, Spector of PA?

As he basks in the media’s adulation, The Serpent’s whisper will be very much in his ear; “Sign FOCA, you owe it to your base. Do it while people are worried about their jobs and homes, yet willing to give you time to battle the recession.
You can survive the backlash now and by placing the issue outside the political arena, you will reap the reward in 4 years time. The GOP will be without “values voters” and with an economic recovery in full swing and the neo-cons hailing your strong actions against Iran and Pakistan, it will be clear; “Your Kingdom has come, sign FOCA now!”

It is ironic, but perhaps the only way we’ll prevent the Leftist dream of an E.U.-style, post-political regime coming into existence, is by pro-lifers resorting to non-political forms of protests. Worth planning for at any rate.

I have a feeling that God knows our hearts; and if we go vote for some pure intrinsic-evil free doomed quixotic third-party candidate while secretly hoping that our neighbors will risk the taint to their souls and vote in significant enough numbers for McCain so that we don't actually have to endure the monstrous assault on pro-life values that will be the hallmark of an Obama presidency--well, God's going to know that too.
I'm not 'secretly hoping' for anyone to do evil. I non-secretly hope that nobody will do evil, though my expectations are that many will. On the other hand hoping that God will make some good come from evil has a long Christian pedigree, as I am sure you are aware.

I'm not hoping for anything so specific as God making McCain win, for what it is worth. I am hoping for God to make good come from the wickedness into which we have descended; and in fact I am quite confident that, ultimately, He will.

Obama, however, will do *less* evil despite his absolute promise to do more

Red, I never said that and don't think it. I think it's false. I'm under no illusions about an Obama win. Moreover, and for the record, let it be known herewith that I do _not_ engage in shadenfreude (sp?) to the effect that "those Republicans deserve a shellacking." I don't think like that at all. I think the Republicans have been, in fact, both unprincipled and strategically stupid, but everybody is going to suffer from their stupidity and lack of principle, and a lot of those people are innocent. I wish from the bottom of my heart that we hadn't come to this. I'm just determined not to vote for McCain because I have some lines and he's crossed them. I think you _have_ to have a line. I've said this before: Plenty of the same people now telling us about how great McCain is are the same people who were gearing up to vote for Giuliani. So it's not clear where it's going to stop. I stop here. That's all I can say.

But for the rest of you who don't stop here, consider making some sort of statement like this: "If by some miracle John McCain is selected president and he does such-and-such, I won't vote for him next time around, even given the undeniable fact that the Democrats will run somebody perfectly dreadful." IMO, it's a salutary exercise.

Kevin,

I don't deny the possibility of that scenario. It's chilling, perhaps too chilling to truly believe. I guess I'll believe it when I see it. But I have a hard time believing that everyone is just going to lay down for it. While McCain continues to harp on Ayers, I wish he'd talk about FOCA more--like, every single day, every time he gets the opportunity. Dobson should have given McCain an ultimatum: "If you don't start stumping openly against FOCA, in the news, in the press, on the trail, you don't get my endorsement." What did McCain really have to do to get Dobson's support other than hire Palin and be not-Obama?

Byron,
"But I have a hard time believing that everyone is just going to lay down for it."

Agreed. I'm counting on Chaput of Denver picking up Cardinal O’Connor’s old mantle and leading a vigorous resistance.

As for the pragmatic approach of Dobson, Ari and others, I disagree with it, but understand the calculations that led to it. For 400 years Christians have been fighting an unsuccessful rearguard action against Liberalism. This episode is just more proof; old habits die hard. Abortion is the consequence, not the cause of our de-culturation and decline. Time we went on the offense and addressed root causes in the years ahead.

Ah yes, we all strike concordat with McCain, bestow on him the title "Protector of Holy Church" and then cross our fingers, roll our eyes, and look the other way. Better that than be hauled off to prison by the would be secular inquisition.

Time we went on the offense and addressed root causes in the years ahead.

You mean (scratching head), there's something can be done, I mean, other than voting Republican?

"You mean (scratching head), there's something can be done, I mean, other than voting Republican?"

Yes, but don't expect the Republicans to tell you that.

“…history is driven, over the long haul, by culture—by what men and women honor, cherish, and worship; by what societies deem to be true and good, and by expressions they give to those convictions in language, literature and the arts; by what individuals and societies are willing to stake their lives on.”/em>
George Weigel


Red, I think you have it exactly right. McCain might be far from perfect, but he is much preferable to the radically pro-abortion Obama. I'll be voting for McCain as the much lesser of two evils.

I have a feeling that God knows our hearts; and if we go vote for some pure intrinsic-evil free doomed quixotic third-party candidate while secretly hoping that our neighbors will risk the taint to their souls and vote in significant enough numbers for McCain so that we don't actually have to endure the monstrous assault on pro-life values that will be the hallmark of an Obama presidency--well, God's going to know that too.

I, for one, am not secretly hoping that my neighbors, however well-duped, will vote for McCain, and prevent Obama from winning. I'd much prefer they not vote for either. I know it's impossible for a 3rd party to win the presidency, but a strong showing from 3rd parties, even if no single party does very well, will at least show a lack of confidence in both major national parties, and at best may get various 3rd parties back into future presidential debates.

I am really not convinced that a McCain presidency will really be better than an Obama one for the sake of the world, our country, those of a conservative disposition, or in fact the prolife movement. One can hypthesize good results from a (dismally failed leftist Obama presidency) equal in plausibility to bad ones one might predict coming in a McCain presidency (in fact plausible in proportion to his "success"). I really am agnostic on the question of which of the two really is least worst; but I'll surely not vote for either one.

You're right, Joe. That's the very best vote a person can cast at this moment. I intend to do the same.

I admit to being exasperated and angered by the death-dealing sophistry that leads to some pro-lifers to act in such a way on election day that makes the victory of the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in history more likely. God spare us -- and the unborn -- from such "principles."

You'll notice that the pro-choicers are far more politically savvy than are the allegedly "principled" among us. Try to imagine pro-choice voters declining to vote for a pro-choice candidate because their candidate thought that ESCR was wrong. The pro-choicers care about victory, and they will get it. They will get it from their pro-choice President, from their pro-choice Senate, and from their pro-choice House. We care about intellectual consistency, and we will have it -- but not victory at almost any level.

Pro-life sophists are desperately inept at getting their hands on the levers of political power and using them for good. But at least they have their consistency. I hope our "principled" sophists enjoy their consistency. They have helped slaughter millions in order to have it. As long as they prefer "principles" to persons, they will have what they value most. Their actions, not their perverse sophistries, tell you what they truly value.

They seem to think that if they solve something to their own satisfaction in their heads that it is solved. Outside their heads, of course, where the real world actually exists and operates -- and where real elections are won and lost, and where real children are killed by the millions -- things are quite different.

Here's what I want to tell them: Never mistake understanding Thomas Aquinas and GK Chesterton for understanding the world -- and never think that you can even begin to fix "what's wrong with the world" by reading them.

You'll notice that the pro-choicers are far more politically savvy than are the allegedly "principled" among us. Try to imagine pro-choice voters declining to vote for a pro-choice candidate because their candidate thought that ESCR was wrong.
Setting aside the question of whether my particular arguments are or are not the raving sophistry of an Internet lunatic, it should come as no surprise to anyone that in general, good men are more constrained in their action than evil men. And if in fact the practices of modern democracy are structurally unfavorable to the principled, favoring the unprincipled, it seems to me that that is an indictment of the practices of modern democracy.

Try to imagine pro-choice voters declining to vote for a pro-choice candidate because their candidate thought that ESCR was wrong.

Actually, such a candidate would be slaughtered in any Democrat primary. You bet your gol-darned life they would decline to vote for him. He'd never even get to the starting line. And there's no point in asking, "But what if he did," because that's like asking, "Could we have some ham and eggs if we had some eggs and some ham?" A Democrat party that would do anything other than slaughter a presidential candidate who had a single pro-life bone in his body would mean a very different country from the one we currently have, and there's no telling what would happen in such a country. We'd be back in the 70's, at least, when Al Gore talked pro-life and we were ramping up for a Reagan presidency. And the Republican party itself would be well to the right of where it currently is in such a world.

Michael, you disappoint me. I actually had _you in mind_ when I wrote some of the comments I wrote above about McCain supporters who refuse to downplay his bad points and who give us something other and better than fevered campaign rhetoric. I expected to hear you say more of the same if you commented at all in this thread.

Never mistake understanding Thomas Aquinas and GK Chesterton for understanding the world -- and never think that you can even begin to fix "what's wrong with the world" by reading them.

Be careful, Michael. Your anti-intellectual fangs are showing.

"The pro-choicers care about victory, and they will get it."

Obama's success is based on the colossal failure of an allegedly conservative government. Not as a result of touting his pro-choice credentials. He couldn't have hidden his record better. And McCain let him.

"We care about intellectual consistency, and we will have it -- but not victory at almost any level."

Principles should precede and shape programs, agendas and action. Conservatives forgot this fundamental truth, and instead went on a messianic jag abroad, undertaking a war of choice, while raiding the Treasury for political gain and ignoring the inflation of an illusory housing bubble.

"They seem to think that if they solve something to their own satisfaction in their heads that it is solved."

Michael you make a good point here. This endlessly ruminating on the issue is downright destructive if it is a substitute for genuine witness and pro-life activism.

"Never mistake understanding Thomas Aquinas and GK Chesterton for understanding the world..."

They're a pretty good starting place, but open to other suggestions.

"...and never think that you can even begin to fix "what's wrong with the world" by reading them."

Fixing the world is the goal of dangerous revolutionaries, so I hope no one has that as a goal. All we strive for is being true to our sacred calling. Last time I looked that extended far beyond voting.

Be strong. The real battle is just beginning.

Anti-intellectual fangs? Time to get a clue, George.

The more you know about the real world and what's wrong with it, the less you adhere to Aquinas and Chesterton. THAT'S where anti-intellectualism resides. TA's medieval scholasticism and GKC's journalistic quips are not the measure of intellectual life, not by a long shot.

"What's Wrong with the World"

People who would rather have a vicious FOCAn Pro-Abort like Obama in Office all in the name of "Conservatism", no matter the tremendous cost to human life.

What's worse than those who hold their nose and vote for John McCain to prevent the ravages of an Obama Administration inevitably resulting in the additional killings of millions of children?

Those who refuse to face the reality of these imminent atrocities under such an administration & prefer to wear a blindfold called "Principle".

You think those who ignore muggings in New York bad -- how about those who would ignore the potential deaths of millions of children that an Obama administration will lay waste to.

Yet, who cares?

Our mission is not to save these children's lives and limit such evils.

Our mission as Christians is to prefer the likely onslaught of these innocent children since, after all, FOCA is but a fiction, Obama is so Pro-Life and McCain is the Anti-Christ and, above all else, "Conservatism" is a Creed worth such human sacrifices.

The pro-choicers care about victory, and they will get it. They will get it from their pro-choice President, from their pro-choice Senate, and from their pro-choice House.

To echo Zippy, since I'm no longer debating the abstention question here, but liberals have an easier time of it, don't you think? First off, they love the halls of power for their own sake. Second off, they are working to dismantle a system, not defend it, and so they can afford to see it taken apart bit by bit. Short-term compromise isn't a problem for them--they'll take what they can get, and bide their time. This is always a problem for the true conservative, isn't it? Since, like Kirk said, conservatives would rather go hunting than vie for political power. The liberal always wants to do something, and the conservative would rather leave well-enough alone. The neocon movement has tried to solve this problem that conservatives historically have: being averse to moving the levers of power. The neocons took power alright, sacrificing conservatism in the process. Voting for McCain or no (given the direness of the circumstances), we won't bring conservatism back to the Republican party until we demand it. Somewhere along the line you've got to refuse support to those who betray party principles. It seems to me that McCain's ascendency is proof that pro-life conservatives have been effectively marginalized by the Republican party, and that to some degree we've been complicit to the process. And that certainly can't be because we've stopped voting Republican.

As an aside, Prof. Bauman, you don't get far with me, for one, by attacking Chesterton. If he wasn't a Christian activist, than one never lived. GKC and Belloc both put their money where their mouths were, as much or more than any Christian political thinker of the last 100 years ever did.

Steve, my quarrel isn't with you, or with anyone who truly thinks (however wrong I believe you may be) that Obama and McCain are equal opportunity evildoers with not a dime's worth of difference between them. Some supporters of dq3 (doomed quixotic third-party) candidates are more like what I described, and I *do* have a quarrel with them.

As for what you wrote here:

I know it's impossible for a 3rd party to win the presidency, but a strong showing from 3rd parties, even if no single party does very well, will at least show a lack of confidence in both major national parties, and at best may get various 3rd parties back into future presidential debates.

I think it should be noted that the "strong showing" of all third-party votes in the 2004 election totaled 0.96% of the votes. Not even a whole 1%. How strong of a showing would be necessary, or even possible, to be more than a blip on the radar of the major parties? Let's face it: that

Ari,

I'll know that you want me to start listening to you again by the fact that you'll have stopped posting nonsense.

Sorry; hit post too soon, apparently.

That last should be: Let's face it: that fewer than one percent of those who bothered to vote didn't select a major party candidate is probably of less concern to the major parties than the greater number who were eligible to vote but didn't.

How strong of a showing would be necessary, or even possible, to be more than a blip on the radar of the major parties?

Well, Ross Perot spoiled a couple of elections, didn't he? I'm by no means holding him up as a model for a conservative third-party leader. But you have to look at the current situation within the Republican party and see that something is gravely wrong, when cycle after cycle we put up these horribly inept and non-conservative candidates.

"Setting aside the question of whether my particular arguments are or are not the raving sophistry of an Internet lunatic, it should come as no surprise to anyone that in general, good men are more constrained in their action than evil men. And if in fact the practices of modern democracy are structurally unfavorable to the principled, favoring the unprincipled, it seems to me that that is an indictment of the practices of modern democracy."

This is exactly the failure of grip that I'm talking about, Zippy. Instead of figuring out how to be a moral and political virtuoso in the anti-Machiavelli mode, you simply say that democracy is inclined against you. Reality has always been inclined against sophism. So, cease with the detestable defeatism and make a contribution. Tell me how you plan to turn the tide. Until you do, you and your ilk can never, and will never, change the world for the better. Your comment is merely the sophistical way of flying the white flag. Tell me what you plan to do the stop the killing of the 15 million children Ari says will likely die if Obama wins.

HINT: Proportionate reason won't stop it.

Lydia,
You do not have to be consistently pro-choice to get elected by Democrats. Bill Clinton did it twice.

My 'plan' to turn the tide is to do my small part in putting a stop to the self-immolation of the pro-life movement; which is what has brought us to this pass in the first place. (Well, that and the usual blocking and tackling of prayer, fasting, marching, donating, etc -- all of which have real, tangible, good effects).

Byronicman,
You and I share a solid respect for Chesterton and his contribution. But while GKC was very good at some things, he was quite average at others. Among the things he understood rather poorly are politics and economics. I'd be surprised if he wouldn't say the same about himself -- which is not an attack. I am not attacking Chesterton. I'm saying we can't go there (or to the middle ages) for our answers.

"But you have to look at the current situation within the Republican party and see that something is gravely wrong, when cycle after cycle we put up these horribly inept and non-conservative candidates."

Wonder why? Our culture is producing great art, the educational system is world-class, people are living rooted lives of personal responsibility within stable, loving families and flourishing local communities. A pursuit of Truth forms the basis for our spiritual order and all around us is ample evidence of the many goods that flow from the deep springs of faith from which our people drink.

What could possibly be wrong with the GOP? I don't get it.

"I'm saying we can't go there (or to the middle ages) for our answers."

Who would when you have National Review, the Weekly Standard and Rush Limbaugh?. I mean let's follow them right off a cliff.

In other words, Zippy, you have no plan for stopping abortion, or even for winning a single election, much less turning the cultural and political tides.

You see, right, how easy it is for the Dems to beat us?

It's time our side got a plan. Any ideas about how to beat Machiavelli at his own game while being a moral man at the same time? (Don't tell me that it's hard, or that the field is not level. I know that, and that's not a plan.)

Prof. Bauman,

As always, I appreciate your goodwill. When I'm ready to get into a debate with you about politics, economics, and a Christian worldview, I'll let you know.

Kevin,

I hear you loud and clear. I'll let you and Prof. Bauman duke it out over the benefit that a deeper appreciation of the medieval could bring to our contemporary society. We've mined the Enlightenment for all the good it can give, I suspect. Secular post-modernity never offered anything in the first place. Perhaps it's time to look elsewhere for inspiration.

"Who would when you have National Review, the Weekly Standard and Rush Limbaugh?. I mean let's follow them right off a cliff."

Who's talking about National Review, the Weekly Standard or Rush Limbaugh? Not I.

Are those the only alternative to the middle ages, Kevin?

even for winning a single election

I yield to none in being deeply gloomy about an Obama presidency, but I fail to see how "Nah nah nah nah, you don't have a plan for winning this election" is either an argument or even a criticism, Michael. C'mon, since when was winning elections the test of truth?

P.S. Bill Clinton was the opportunist par excellence. If he missed a few pro-choice checkboxes (I don't even know what they were) it was because the culture wasn't there yet and the Party of Death hadn't gotten around to demanding them. He'd have checked them off fast enough if asked to do so.

P.P.S. To all: Newsflash from VFR--Chuck Baldwin is some variety of 9/11 truther. Why does "third party" have to mean "kookball"? It's a shame, really.

"Are those the only alternative to the middle ages, Kevin?"

Middle Ages? So that's the problem. Too many people are reading the Dumb Ox and Bonaventure, while pining for a return of the guilds.

Geesh, Michael I listed some mainstream conservative publications because I think they form the Catechism for contemporary conservatives. Glad you disapprove of their prominence.

Any ideas about how to beat Machiavelli at his own game while being a moral man at the same time?

Isn't that about like asking: how do we beat the pornographer at his game? Obviously, by making more titillating porn. Or like asking: How do we beat the drug dealer at his own game? Obviously, by selling more addictive drugs!

I think it should be noted that the "strong showing" of all third-party votes in the 2004 election totaled 0.96% of the votes. Not even a whole 1%. How strong of a showing would be necessary, or even possible, to be more than a blip on the radar of the major parties?

Well as of right now it appears that Barr is polling at around 6% and Nader around 4%... not that I'm thrilled with either of them... But if that 10+% somehow were to hold, I think that would a strong no confidence vote in either of the major parties.

"Well as of right now it appears that Barr is polling at around 6% and Nader around 4%..."

In what village?

...it was because the culture wasn't there yet and the Party of Death hadn't gotten around to demanding them.

More than enough reason why the Messiah for The Party of Death should occupy the White House!

When will the blindfold come off???

When the fierce Pro-Abort policies of an Obaman Administration has claimed a death toll even more menacing than that of today, that only then, we'll come to regret ever having allowed him to take office?

Does it really have to come to that?

It's a shame, really.

Not so much for us (you know, "Conservatism" & all that) -- but more so for those millions of innocent children who didn't have to be victims.

Byron,
"We've mined the Enlightenment for all the good it can give, I suspect."

I agree. But more importantly that is B16's view too;

“Because it was the Council Father’s intention to heal and transform modernity, and not simply to succumb to it or merge with it, the interpretations which interpret the Second Vatican Council in the sense of de-sacralization or profanation are erroneous.

“That is, Vatican II must not be interpreted as desiring a rejection of the tradition and an adapting of the Church to modernity and so causing the Church to become empty because it loses the word of faith.

“But only by means of the difficult process of purification, of transformation, of conversion."

thebyronicman,

Ari, I'll know that you want me to start listening to you again by the fact that you'll have stopped posting nonsense.

You know I highly respect you, thebyronicman, as a fellow brother in Christ; however, the "nonsense" is delusionally thinking that abortions under an Obaman Administration will remain tame or, even better, will even decrease.

Is our mission as Christians to save lives or is it to save Conservatism????

Michael Bauman: Tell me how you plan to turn the tide.

Does the plan have to be some kind of political movement? Because it seems to me we haven't had a lot of luck with those is recent years. I've decided recently that I'll do a lot more good as a priest than as a politician, so I'm foregoing the political opportunity that I have recently been given and getting ready to enter the seminary in the next year or two. Time to head ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam, rather than to the altar of public opinion, which has never brought me much joy at all.

Lydia: Chuck Baldwin is some variety of 9/11 truther.

As far as I can tell, this is false. The "legitimate questions" Baldwin maintains exist are those questions of Americans who are not convinced they can trust their government to tell them the whole truth. While a number of these people are a few fries short of a combo meal, some of them are just disillusioned. Baldwin wants to open another investigation to hopefully set some minds at ease. The reals kooks will keep being kooks, but those who are not completely lost to conspiracy land will at least feel safer. And nothing could make the kooks feel safe anyway. If nothing else it will help us develop real protection against further terrorist attacks, something Baldwin is not convinced current policy does.

I fail to see how "Nah nah nah nah, you don't have a plan for winning this election" is either an argument or even a criticism...
Simply repeating "Sophistry!" seems to suffer from the same lack of content, for that matter.
Is our mission as Christians to save lives or is it to save Conservatism????
I'll answer this the same way I answer the ballot: neither of the above.

Is our mission as Christians to save lives or is it to save Conservatism????

It's to save souls. Primarily our own and those placed under our care. Which, if you're a layman, means those of your family and friends first and foremost.

Ari,

Look, this is hard enough of a problem to sort out without excess hysteria and false accusations and recriminations, such as "If you don't vote for McCain, you doom 15 million children to death," etc. That is clearly nonsense, I'm sorry. Saving conservatism is a means to an end, and there is an effort here to think long-term. Our mission is to work for a more just society. Prof. Bauman insists that we be politically savvy in that effort, and I for one am in full agreement with him on that much. It seems to follow from that principle that Christian conservatives have got to have a party within which to work. For the time being, the Republican party is the only extant candidate. In order to work to reshape a nation, or preserve it, as the case may be, you've got to work from within the political system to some extent. The sum total of this work cannot be political, but it must include politics. The question here is, largely, in my view at least, how to save the Republican party from a steadily creeping liberalism that will ultimately make it uninhabitable for Christian conservatives, if it hasn't already, making it impossible for C-Cons to effect the social order through conventional politics. The fight will not be won or lost on Obama's election, and to say so is to resort to needless exaggeration for the sake of making a point. And such exaggeration seems to me to weaken the point.

The question is then, largely, how best to effect change within the Republican party. Does one accomplish this by simply continuing to support it's candidates unswervingly? Or do you have to draw a line somewhere, and know when to say "enough!"? Our enemies have a long-term plan. Christian conservatives, it seems, do not. It appears we may be in a Catch-22, and if so, I'm willing to acknowledge it. Republicans cannot win elections without Christian conservative support. And yet, C-Cons have allowed the R-party to betray the overall cause of conservatism, which is, of course, the cause of liberty. Republican candidates buy our votes with flattering words upon which they generally refuse to act, and cycle after cycle we play the willing dupes. On the other hand, one knows, if conservatives abandon the R-party, Obama and his ilk win elections and work their even greater evil. But we've continued to vote Republican, and they've continued to become more and more liberal. What is the definition of insanity again? Ironically and perhaps even paradoxically, do you have a greater chance of getting your party back by giving up on your party? Do you make them come after you for a change, instead of fawning all over it cycle after cycle? Proof that withholding support works is in McCain's VP hiring. He wanted to get Lieberman, and he had to get Palin in order to shore up the base. It worked, sort of. Perhaps it won't be enough to overcome the bad luck of the financial crisis that may doom his bid. But somewhere along the way ESCR got lost as an issue. How are we ever going to get it back on the table? Will McCain give us our proper reward for voting him into office, or is he more concerned with getting along and playing Maverick against his own party?

These are real questions I have, but I'm not sure Lydia, Kevin, Zippy, and Maximos share my concerns vis-a-vis Republicanism and party activism. They are deeply concerned about their personal integrity in the voting booth, as we all should be. It's a profound spiritual concern, and I have to respect that, and I won't call them baby-killers on account of it. They aren't. Notice resident Republican activist Prof. Francis "I'm a Republican and I play with my own money" Beckwith hasn't resorted to this sort of hysterical rhetoric to help make his points. I think there is a good reason for that, and I'd entreat you to imitate him in that regard.

Question: What if McCain succeeded in getting Lieberman on the ticket, and softened his "pro-life" position just a little, wavered on judges, intimated that he believed Roe was "settled law," etc. Would you still support him against Obama? Because that's the sort of candidate we all may very well see at the top of the Republican ticket in the not-too-distant future, perhaps even more likely if McCain pulls this election out.

Byron, excellent response!

Ari, I don't even know what conservatism means anymore, so I'm not sure how to save it. I do know there are goods worth conserving, like our own humanity. That means standing in firm opposition to the many hellish forces desiring our own personal as well as collective, spiritual and physical destruction.

So yes, the goal is to save lives. In trying to do so within the moral limitations placed upon us, we preserve our own hopes for Eternity, and save other souls from falling under the sway of an obscure master who seeks to kill us with our own hands. This kind of spiritual economy has been in place since the Garden. What makes our task especially daunting now is that so many deny the very existence of this life or death drama.

The argument between us is over means, not ends and may the various approaches we each pursue reap many rewards.

"I yield to none in being deeply gloomy about an Obama presidency, but I fail to see how "Nah nah nah nah, you don't have a plan for winning this election" is either an argument or even a criticism, Michael. C'mon, since when was winning elections the test of truth?

P.S. Bill Clinton was the opportunist par excellence. If he missed a few pro-choice checkboxes (I don't even know what they were) it was because the culture wasn't there yet and the Party of Death hadn't gotten around to demanding them. He'd have checked them off fast enough if asked to do so.

P.P.S. To all: Newsflash from VFR--Chuck Baldwin is some variety of 9/11 truther. Why does "third party" have to mean "kookball"? It's a shame, really.

"

Lydia:
(1) No one ever said that winning elections is the test of truth. But I did say that we are easy to beat, and we are. Part of curtailing the reign of death is to win elections. It's now time to figure out how to do a politically effective follow-up on the Contract with America so that we can do our part on the election front. Elections are part of the battle we have to win. But we're so pathetic at electoral politics that we can't even win the primaries. We also have to figure out how to do things like win back the schools and colleges, make better music, movies and novels than the left, win back the laboratories, the churches, and the marketplace. The left has kicked our asses on every front. We won't turn the tide on any front unless we learn how actually to beat them. We lose to them everywhere. Now, without resorting to "nah, nah, nah, nah, can you think of anything -- anything at all -- that will work?

(2) Yes, Bill Clinton was an opportunist -- and if we don't learn how to get ourselves in the position of opportunity rather than getting displaced from it on every front by the left, then he and his ilk will continue to be opportunists. We must beat them to the opportunities. Short of nah, nah, nah, how do you suppose we can keep opportunists away from opportunity? Someone will have those opportunities. Why not us? Probably because we don't know how to put ourselves in position to get those opportunities on any front in the culture war -- not one. It won't happen without a plan of practical genius. Nah, nah, nah is not a plan of practical genius.

So, I want to know is anybody here working on a novel, a movie, an election, etc, that will begin to turn the tide? How do you beat Machiavelli at this own game? Unless we are better at things all across the board than, say, Spassky was at chess, we will keep losing. Our opponents have figured out how to do it. We have not. They are pros and we are amateurs. They own the schools and colleges; they own the Senate, the House, and soon the White House and Courts; they own entertainment; they own the news media; they own the laboratories; they own everything -- even lots of the churches. They ran the board on us, and it's not an accident.

(3) Third party means "kook" because by going to a third party in America you have consigned yourself to defeat. Doing that is the very definition of kookiness. But it seems not at all to bother those who do it. Unless we can figure out how to win in the actual culture and system in which God has placed us, we are not much good to the kingdom of God in a fallen world. It's time to figure out how to drive the Devil and his minions into third party status. Anybody have any suggestions beyond nah, nah, nah?

"Any ideas about how to beat Machiavelli at his own game while being a moral man at the same time?

Isn't that about like asking: how do we beat the pornographer at his game? Obviously, by making more titillating porn. Or like asking: How do we beat the drug dealer at his own game? Obviously, by selling more addictive drugs!"


No, Steve, not even close.

If, in order to succeed at pushing back the frontiers of error and evil, you must, among other things, figure out how to get your hands on the levers of political power so that you can do good things with them, then you must be better at getting and keeping political power than Machiavelli. You must beat him at the political game, not the evil game. Politicians do not have to be wicked in order to be successful. That's why I said "while being a moral man at the same time."

Apparently you can't think of a way to be effective at politics without being immoral. Too bad. The Devil has you exactly where he wants you.

"Does the plan have to be some kind of political movement? Because it seems to me we haven't had a lot of luck with those is recent years. I've decided recently that I'll do a lot more good as a priest than as a politician, so I'm foregoing the political opportunity that I have recently been given and getting ready to enter the seminary in the next year or two. Time to head ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam, rather than to the altar of public opinion, which has never brought me much joy at all."

Brendon,
It has to include politics, but not politics only. Politics is part of the culture, and our attempt to turn the tide must include politics. Without politics, we likely will not win. As for the priesthood, I simply say "God bless you, my friend, on your important choice." I will pray that you prosper on all counts. After all, we do need to win back the church too. Without doing that, we remain hopelessly adrift.

"Is our mission as Christians to save lives or is it to save Conservatism?"

It's to bring the Lordship of Christ to bear on all areas of human endeavor, and to bring every thought captive to Christ -- part of which includes saving lives and resisting the encroachments of political and cultural leftism.

Christ is the rightful Lord of all things, which means nothing is properly secular. Anything pursued in a secular fashion is at least partly, if not wholly, mispursued.

It's time to do all we can to wisely apply the Lordship of Christ to every human activity, whether it be politics, entertainment, media, sports, education, science, etc. To this point, we are pathetically under-achieving. We are losing in every area, without exception.

They own the schools and colleges; they own the Senate, the House, and soon the White House and Courts; they own entertainment; they own the news media; they own the laboratories; they own everything -- even lots of the churches. They ran the board on us, and it's not an accident.
I think that is right, Michael. And I think a key reason why is because where the Left is going is where political liberalism naturally goes, and we on the Right are for the most part liberals too. This is not merely an airy philosophical observation, but an eminently practical one. "Conservatism" is in our time not conservatism but right-liberalism: political liberalism with a few 'conservative' unprincipled exceptions: unprincipled because not founded in our liberalism, and we don't recognize their incompatibility with our own liberalism. For a while that meant that 'conservatism' was classical liberalism; now it means, for the most part, culturally 'big tent' neoconservatism. In general it means 'whatever liberalism was about 30 or 50 years ago'.

So looking beyond the election of this very moment, the way to beat the Left politically, and (among other things) effectively save the children being massacred by the acolytes of Moloch -- the only way to beat the Left politically, as an eminently practical concern -- is to stop becoming the Left, through a quasi-Hegelian process which seems to take about two generations. As Lydia observes, the hard Left has a whole core worldview which anchors it and which it will not give up for anything. The hard Right has nothing of the kind: the political Right is basically a classical liberalism / neoconservatism which is nominally against abortion and a few other enumerated issues. As long as that remains the case, 'conservatism' will be the tail on the dog. And as long as 'conservatives' are willing to support liberals like McCain just because he tepidly throws them a few policy bones, conservatism will be not merely neutralized, but will remain complicit in the inexorable march of liberal modernity/postmodernity.

Things are every bit as bad as you have stated rather eloquently here. Christians of good will have had their clocks cleaned politically for a long time now. That is because there are core parts of modernity which are set firmly against not merely Christianity specifically but nature generally, and we - that is, political 'conservatives' - are adrift in them. Unless and until we find our anchor political conservatism will continue to be nothing but a foil for the hard Left, a way station where men of good will can be held while being spoon fed acceptance of the latest hard-Left atrocity.

The reason we always lose even when we win is because we are frogs in a pot, being slowly brought to a boil.

I can't say that I have a "plan," because I don't expect most people, including most Republicans, either to act like me or to listen to me. But if everybody had acted like me, and all else had remained equal, we would now have "Hunter/Palin" signs in everyone's yard, which sounds a lot better than "McCain/Palin." :-) I'm still sort of shaking my head in bewilderment over the sheer chanciness of the historical process by which McCain even won this nomination. Even Huckabee would have been better, much better on the life issues and arguably no worse on the economic and immigration issues.

But I'm not opposed to winning elections. I'm getting geared up to go to the polls and vote to keep an incumbent state Supreme Court justice in place, to vote against Proposal 2 (which would amend the state constitution to make it impossible to have any laws against embryo research), and to vote for Jack Hoogendyk, Republican, who is running quixotically against (shudder) Democrate incumbent Carl Levin for U.S. Senate. The presidential race isn't the only race in the country, or even in the state. And I probably _would_ have voted for Baldwin in the presidential race as a protest vote if it weren't for that very odd video interview between him and the truther. If everybody acted like me, the Republican party might, just might, start to realize it needs to take its conservative base more seriously. But that's not a "plan," because it probably isn't going to happen. And if it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm neither contemptuous of winning elections nor do I make them the central thing.

I'm Canadian, in 1988 we (sort of) went the 'zippy/shea' route (refusing to 'compromise'). Canada now has NO laws regarding abortion.
FWIW, I side with Michael and 'Aristocles'.
You should act to prevent great evil immediately threatened (Obama) and then you continue to further act to convert, convince, for repentance, to virtue.
Voting, Politics. and legal machinations are never objects (or subjects) of our hope.
An act to prevent carnage cannot define or contaminate us.
It is an act of mercy.
Part of the problem is Christians who have embraced the scandal of despair in their soul, who, betrayed by leaders in the past, now refuse to help build the walls for defense, thinking that 'perhaps a little persecution will be good for us'. They make me weep.
May God grant you the mercy of repentance and insight.
Your choices are stark, but in our election, we had nuance.
Interestingly, both Zippy and Kmiec seem resigned to a Canadian-type political situation regarding Life Issues for the USA. Please... do not allow this to happen to you. It is an evil path. And you will, since you will have acted to chose it, quickly excel us in grave evil.
In Canada we may have no pickets, no 'sidewalk counseling', and no monitoring/reporting of abortion related trauma, or even of abortions. Yet, With Obama, FOCA, and the dem super majority, You will plummet past us into Moloch's pit. because you knowingly chose to allow it. Please have mercy on your children.
You are weary of the debate, the blindness, the betrayals, the hypocrisy, the failures, the slowness.
In God's strength, please gird up your loins, set aside the double mindedness: defend the innocent. Please Tear down those altars and groves to baal, moloch, and ashtoreth.

...because you knowingly chose to allow it.
That is just nonsense. I don't have any say in who wins the election.

"In Canada we may have no pickets, no 'sidewalk counseling', and no monitoring/reporting of abortion related trauma, or even of abortions."

Lioren,
Liberalism only employs the force of arms against those it views as extremely weak. Historically in the U.S. that has meant Southern segregationists, Branch Davidians, isolated tax-resisters, misfits and survivalists, Third World dictators and warlords,(Panama, Somalia, Haiti), and 3rd rate military powers like Serbia and Iraq. Obviously it often miscalculates its own capabilities.

Typically Liberalism waits for cultural osmosis to affect a mostly non-violent societal transformation. Its prevailing ethos and purely rational legal and economic standards usually act as solvents on traditional bonds, ties and ways of life and ultimately hollow out a culture's inner core and self-understanding. In Canada's case, once Quebec's Catholic Church fell to the Quiet Revolution, there was no internal institution left to mount an effective brake on Liberalism's aims. An unassailable Abortion Regime was inevitable.

Not so here in the U.S. While Operation Rescue was crushed by brutal force (largely blacked out by our compliant media)and draconian financial penalties, all the other forms of protest you describe were impossible to ban due to a sizable and intense pro-life bloc down here in the States. Over 50 Catholic Bishops have issued statements calling abortion the most important issue in this election, while several Cardinals have openly discussed
the grave consequences our nations health-care system would face if Catholic hospitals were forced to close as a result of FOCA. Add to that a strong evangelical community and it's clear, Christianity in America isn't dead yet.

Come early next year we will learn if Obama agrees with that assessment, or if he goes for the kill. And that point, we'll learn too if Liberalism once again misjudged the strength of an opponent, or if Canada's present is America's future. For what it is worth, I think it the domestic equivalent of invading Iraq, if Obama tries to impose FOCA.

Pray for us and may men like Georges Vanier rise up and return to lead your great people.

Lioren,

I deeply appreciate you sentiments, but you are profoundly misreading those against whom you write (Zippy, et al). Refusing to vote for John McCain is not a sign of giving up, growing tired, surrendering, or allowing the murder of children and the passing of FOCA. That's what a pro-life vote for Obama signifies. To say that a refused vote for McCain is the same as a vote for Obama is simply false, and we've argued that here in detail. Whether or not abstention is, in the end, correct, it is a tactical move--among other things--and only one of many. There is more, much more, to political action than voting for president in a national election.

My prayers go out and up, for your country, and mine.

That is just nonsense. I don't have any say in who wins the election.
And those are words of a scandalized, weary despair... entrenched. That is the bad root. If the "I" chooses that small mercy, that quixotic act of 1)accepting the blessing of the stark choice presented, then 2) acts freely to prevent that calamity, then one "I" does have a say.

And dare I say it, especially if one has chosen to be a teacher, advocating as the "Best Moral Act" an act that (especially if many hear and follow and teach others) contributes in small ways to enable great evil.
And yes I am all too aware of the many failures along the way... But also of how far your nation has come in standing up for life. You have exposed the lies of "choice", "Science", and "actualization". Yet, even in all of your darkness, you have been a light to others concerning the nature of the struggle. Please do not fade away. Please finish the race. (And a vote might not end the race, but a vote might change the race.)
Do not choose despair, choose life and action.
The action goes beyond the "one vote" (that small act against the Juggernaut of death) and includes the innumerable God-powered acts of persuasion, penance, peace, conversion, repentance, and mercy that turn a world upside down.

Remember this: Those who teach, lead, or possess other types of power are liable to greater accountability before God. And greater graces are also available to them to run that race.

I look into my crystal ball, and it's a little cloudy, but FWIW, my crystal ball says the Emergent Church movement will destroy American evangelical Christianity from within before the government destroys it from without. Not that the two won't work together. Brian McLaren has endorsed Barack Obama for President. I repeat, Brian McLaren has endorsed Barack Obama for President. If anybody ever wondered what McLaren's goals are, in terms of destroying the evangelical pro-life witness and so forth, this makes it clear. I do not know how the Dobson-Palin McCain boosterism will play into all of this. Probably that depends on whether, in fact, Obama wins the presidency.

it is a tactical move--among other things--and only one of many.
And there are good tactical moves and bad. Wise and Foolish...Pray for wisdom in how to cast that one small stone to best fight evil.

The Heart of my concern is the public rationalization of why an act that is Tactical (and therefore useful, valued, and worthy of being held accountable for) ..... Should... be used in a way that would strategically facilitate the introduction of grave evil.

I have seen the assertions that one could vote tactically and still not support the evil that Obama wishes to enable. That naturally does not convince me that every tactical use of that single vote is equally wise or valid. Especially if one's strategies and priorities are , skewed, malformed or misinformed. And most especially one cannot advocate the use of a single tactical move as universally valid.
Please meditate on how Paul's description of the Communion of the Saints in one Body (that feels one another's pain) might impact on this.
The Moral Theology of these tactics is individualistic, and scrupulous regarding conscience, & individual guilt before a capricious Deity. Deep consideration about the nature of the Body of Christ may be helpful in that respect.

I have seen the assertions that one could vote tactically and still not support the evil that Obama wishes to enable.That naturally does not convince me that every tactical use of that single vote is equally wise or valid.

It would be foolish to say that every tactical use of voting is valid. Which is why I didn't say it.

It is just not the case that it is my Christian responsibility to cast a vote for John McCain. No ecclesiastical authority that is binding upon me says so (I'm RC)), and there's no possible, logical way in which that could be established, in any case. And neither do I say that every Christian ought to abstain. No one else here has said that either. And neither is it true that Christians have all to vote in unison. The Body of Christ is not in any sense whatsoever a political entity. That's why the Church does not tell her children who to vote for. She only says that they cannot vote in favor of certain policies. She encourages them to vote. She does not say that they must vote for chief executive. I can certainly argue, should I believe it true, that abstaining from voting for John McCain is the best choice. My argument would stand or fall on logical and rational grounds alone. I am certainly quite free, as a Christian and a Catholic, to do so.

And most especially one cannot advocate the use of a single tactical move as universally valid.

You should, perhaps, ask your self if you are doing just that. Because it seems to me that you are saying that we must all vote for John McCain for certain reasons (even though in many respects his policies are unfavorable to Catholic interests in the area of life), in order to defeat Barack Obama. And you are laying your argument on pretty thick with theological imperatives (which, I must say, don't exist). Aren't you, then, arguing that a certain "tactic" is universally binding, in this case, on all American Christians: that we must all vote McCain in order to prevent a certain outcome?

Again, Lioren, we are in agreement on the larger issues. But I think you are not giving sufficient acknowledgment to the reasoning of those with whom you disagree. They are not resigned, defeated, nor inured to injustice.

Brian McLaren has endorsed Barack Obama for President.

I didn't know this, but I just assumed that he would anyway, so it comes as no surprise. Emergentism is to Evangelicalism what Unitarianism was/is to Episcopalianism.

Good analogy. And look what happened there.

Add to that a strong evangelical community and it's clear, Christianity in America isn't dead yet.
nor is it dead in Canada, Just disenfranchised, dispirited and disorganized (It's the [ex]preacher in me... 3 points, alliterative... ah well) I watched, over the years, the evangelical movement pickup the mantle of Life, (cautiously, mind you -"thar be 'papists'") and then many gradually set it back down. The Culture was hostile, and the Primus Biblia could not support the demands, vigilence, courage, & sacrifices required to continually counter the lies, half-truths, deceptions, and sophistries of the culture, and the blandishments of the 'Tony Campolo' evangelical. I had a word picture of it: "Christianity in the Lawn mower culture" Lydia just posted about the emergent church now supporting Obama. That was a forgone conclusion. They were defining themselves in that manner 3 years ago. imho, The emergent church is the gangrene of the evangelical movement and, unless dealt with with a doctrinal clarity, conviction and unanimity, the evangelical movement will not survive the 21st century. Protestantism itself will be absorbed into the culture. It's forms may survive, but the content will not be Christian. Christianish, of course.

Anyway...regarding evangelical Christians as fellow workers in the culture war. YES!!
As a movement and cultural Juggernaut .... don't climb a rotten branch

I think it the domestic equivalent of invading Iraq, if Obama tries to impose FOCA.
I would've hoped for a combination of Iraq & Afghanistan if you wanted to reassure me. ;)
But hoping for the 2nd amendment crowd to pull yer ... uhm... tacticals out of the fire would seem to demand a little more ... uhm... tacticular (erm.. Strategic?) wisdom before you uhm expend your uhm vote in your (possibly last free? ;) ) election.
I concur with your prayers. thank you.

imho, The emergent church is the gangrene of the evangelical movement and, unless dealt with with a doctrinal clarity, conviction and unanimity, the evangelical movement will not survive the 21st century.

Amen and amen. I suppose I'm hijacking my own thread, but I couldn't agree more. Part of the problem is that one's greatest allies in the anti-emergent fight are the strong fundamentalists (and I mean this as a strictly descriptive phrase), who tend to be anti-intellectual. Thus they lose their young people who, poor fools, see the emergentists as hot, young-turkish, and intellectual. Three inches of muddy water looks as deep as the ocean and all that.

I can certainly argue, should I believe it true, that abstaining from voting for John McCain is the best choice.
As can I argue for McCain/Palin that in this circumstance, for certain moral and value-laden reasons, in light of certain rational conclusions, deductions and logical processes.
My argument would stand or fall on logical and rational grounds alone. I am certainly quite free, as a Christian and a Catholic, to do so.
You certainly have that power. Obviously, within Catholic moral theology, one cannot remove morality and wisdom from the logical and rational process. To do so fractures our union with God, with reason, and one another.

Should Christians vote in unison is not the question.
Should Christians live by a consistent moral calculus is the question.
That is why Christianity(aka The Church) provides a perspective of the human person, reality, & spirituality that provides the structure and data for the daily moral choices we must make.
The rule of our Church requires theological and moral reality to be considered, & spirituality and virtue exercised, to develop our wisdom, insight and discernment. Thus my advocacy included those threads in their content. (when I used the word rule I used it in the sense of the path of personal and spiritual discipline and practice that exists for acolytes of a certain Order-and the spirituality, teachings, and disciplines of the church are our rule)(Of course one is free to disregard the rule....)
My understanding of Catholic Moral Theology is thru Catholic spirituality and the perceptions of her saints and mystics. That is why I still recommend a deep consideration of what it means to be in union with Christ and one another.
The moral universe - in which you the person act - has characteristics that must be accounted for when desiring, willing and deciding a course of action.
Thank you for being gentle with me.

While I always get a kick out of amateur psychologizing over the Internet, acknowledging the fact that I do not have the power to change the election outcome is not equivalent to despair.

And you are laying your argument on pretty thick with theological imperatives (which, I must say, don't exist).
Which ones?

The prophetic Jeremiah role (of surrender now!) is still open, but even though his advice was counter-intuitive, it was intended (and did) to preserve the lives of the weak.

McCain is not a great candidate and the corruption within the system is frightening.
....But those who naively vote for the ones who mouth the words of identity with the poor, but through egregious corruption and cynical manipulation continue to sabotage moves to actually address the issue is horrifying. Words of Woe for Wright, Sharpton, Jackson, Ayers, and the whole Democratic Party Leadership spring to my lips. Why them? because they know better. They campaign on Choice, freedom, relief, deliverance, progress, against exploitation and discrimination and deliver slavery, squalor, ignorance, hate, death and dependence. They are elitists who destroy through Envy.
Millstones would indeed be a mercy.
The Greed Party is prolife because it is a viable path to power...but they also can see the political benefits of relief for the poor... so there may be hope for their repentance, especially since the RINOs (except McCain) have run to Obama.

I get very tired of the "I spent 5 min in a poling booth every 2 years, I'm good now."
By our Baptism we are all called to be prophets. Not just to the reluctant, intransigent politician, but also to his constituents, converting them to the truth of the lived gospel of our own sacrificed lives.
The world is needing those 144000 prophets on Revelation (even if they don't want one)desperately. Those prophets are us.

I am a coward. I dislike pain and conflict. I desire personal and social virtue, holiness, and a whole society without the grievous sins and trials of persecution. So many people are lost through these great evils.
-----But Suppose, Perhaps, through the sins we have winked at, through corruption, fraud, or deception we place our selves and our cultures in the refining fire of the Divine Craftsman.
Will we still need to be prophets? Yes, and maybe even forced, like Jonah, to proclaim the path of repentance and mercy to those who deserve it so little.

Like Zippy, I rely on God's sovereignty. Nor can I predict the result or effect of my little vote. Yet.... yet I cannot see it a holy act of mercy to 'waste' that 1 vote in this election, where the Media skews polling and data so you cannot know what your vote strategy could possibly be based on.

Protestantism itself will be absorbed into the culture.

De Tocqueville predicted the same, and so did Newman. They haven't been proven entirely wrong, but neither have they proven entirely right either. Some segment or other of Protestantism always manages to come through the fire more or less intact, thank God.

Should Christians live by a consistent moral calculus is the question.

Certainly. But this just can't translate into monolithic political opinion. Christianity survives a myriad of political philosophies. Particular circumstances require particular lines of reasoning, and there's no telling where any particular person is going to come out. Just because our Church is infallible doesn't mean that we are. This debate is, at the end of the day, a philosophical exercise, and in such exercises there will always be errors. One man is a democrat, another is a monarchist, another a socialist. We just have to do the best we can, make the best argument we can make, and put our fortunes in God's hands. There is no oracle to which I can look that is going to provide me with absolute certitude that I am voting in the correct way. I can only know that I am doing my best to see that my conscience is formed properly, and otherwise, to follow it with due diligence. As a man of the Church, I must speak where the Church speaks, and be silent (or at least cautious) where the Church is silent. And the Church hasn't told me to vote for John McCain. So I have to make up my own mind, and hope and pray for the best.

Lioren,

Just so you know, no one is advocating Obama here. The question is whether to vote for McCain, a third party candidate, or to abstain. Just for record, I thought that should be made quite clear.

While I always get a kick out of amateur psychologizing over the Internet, acknowledging the fact that I do not have the power to change the election outcome is not equivalent to despair.
It wasn't psychologizing, it was theologizing or philosophizing based upon the objective content of that one phrase, and the conclusions and arguments that you base on that one rationalization. that phrase was:
I don't have any say in who wins the election.
Are you able to vote? Can you speak or write?

the two denote a "say"
the first through miniscule action, and cumulative effect.
the second through effect on others and a multiplicative effect. The second has more effect than the first.
And you are doing the second.
Both acts are expressed through a moral and intellectual context, the set of fundamental assumptions through which you perceive and value the data you evaluate.

That your statement so fundamentally conflict with reality indicates the existence of an a priori value that is not true.

The term despair is a theological term denoting a turning from God, a rejection of hope in God. It is not psychological. The a priori value is rooted in a "not hope in God" value imposed upon you. recognizing the falsity of an a priori value is of course the first step in better understanding "what's Wrong with the World" ... which is why we are on this blog.

Just so you know, no one is advocating Obama here.
I know. but I wager some Obamites might drop by.

Lioren, You say Christianity in Canada is "Just disenfranchised, dispirited and disorganized"," others say dormant. We all agree though your country is more advanced in her journey down the Catholicism-Protestantism-Liberalism-Soft Tyranny-Total State continuum. Is there a figure in Canada you think has especially embraced the Prophetic role you speak of, and is one Christians can rally behind?

Would love to benefit from your experience. By the way, did you vote for Steve Harper in your recent election?

Part of the problem is that one's greatest allies in the anti-emergent fight are the strong fundamentalists (and I mean this as a strictly descriptive phrase), who tend to be anti-intellectual. Thus they lose their young people who, poor fools, see the emergentists as hot, young-turkish, and intellectual. Three inches of muddy water looks as deep as the ocean and all that.
Actually this emergent/evangelical 'convergence needs to be considered to value the ways Catholics and evangelicals (even fundamentalists) could work together to salvage the culture and its people. as for what Dobson has in mind...probably any sort of holding action against cultural disintegration. As to what might save evangelicals from emergentism(I love to coin words)? A treasuring of reason, a rejection of world view that tends to atomize/isolate/deracinate history, people, ethics, and truth. An embracing the history of the church, and not isolated factoids of liturgy and practice lifted from history to provide the illusion of connectedness. (this is especially emphasized in the 'emergent church')
You say Christianity in Canada is "Just disenfranchised, dispirited and disorganized"," others say dormant.
Some say potayto, some say potahto, (and some put an 'e' on the end.) effectively little difference, except a few Catholics are starting to stir.
We all agree though your country is more advanced in her journey down the Catholicism-Protestantism-Liberalism-Soft Tyranny-Total State continuum. Is there a figure in Canada you think has especially embraced the Prophetic role you speak of, and is one Christians can rally behind?
no figure, no individual, just now a growing awareness of the need and the required qualifications
Would love to benefit from your experience.
LOL from years as a wannabe weasel? nothing valuable, only regrets
By the way, did you vote for Steve Harper in your recent election?
I had one vote. for the only prolife candidate running. Who was a member of Harper's party. so by extension, I did. other Ridings (districts)could chose the Christian Heritage party.(aka the "tactical vote') Conservatives won't touch the abortion issue with a bargepole. They've been burned/betrayed so often... The press and other groups are vindictive. PST...Don't tell... anyone.... but the conservative party is the only one that will let prolifers in. The prolife Liberals are grandfathered in (But no new) and prolife NDPers ('cept for BidenCatholics) are kicked out when discovered and GreenParty is proabortion.

We've got a long way to go. Lets first get the Catholics taught and obeying humanae vitae and we might see prophets. The people haven't been Taught. at. all. But they are now becoming aware that ignorance is not bliss. So I see a cloud the size of a man's fingernail...tip... on the horizon.

Why do conservatives tend Prolife? I think because the principles of subsidiarity and prudence. And the past abuses of Gov't. ... and funding .... and future taxpayers/consumers.
My questions for you 1)Is the consumptive/marketed/managed society the disease? If so, what is the cure?

here is my take: the prophetic role is not political. Prophetic speaks truth to power. always. with wisdom. with love and sadness and personal transparency and vulnerability. without ego.

Here is another for you all... 2) Moral Incrementalism in Society and its laws, - is it good or bad?

thebyronicman | October 26, 2008 10:10 PM wrote stuff i concur with. (Finally a one line post.) (I
hope.)

Lioren:
No matter how much you pound the table, it remains a straightforward fact that I cannot change the election outcome.

No matter how much you pound the table, it remains a straightforward fact that I cannot change the election outcome.
I. Do. Not. Pound. TABLES! I Verbiage :)

Predestination? What of free agency, responsibility...

or
You wound out about the big Oh's election fraud machine.

or
Since you regard voting for mcCain as a material sin, and therefore cannot vote for him, God will protect you from being responsible for Barrak's or McCain's win by rigging the elections one way or another.

None of the above. It is a straightforward fact about the nature of the national election, that I literally cannot alter its outcome, any more than I can by a rational act win the lottery.

Zippy,
Do we agree on this point?:

Your civic and moral obligations to cast a responsible vote do not depend upon whether or not you can alter the outcome of an election. We have moral and civic obligations to pursue the electoral good even if our side is doomed to electoral failure -- or even if our side can't lose.

The fact that you can't, on your own, change the outcome of the election does not mean, as a free and responsible citizen, you need not cast a vote.

When the Carnage of the senseless killing of children is heightened to the nth degree, when the Obaman administration ultimately lays waste to millions & millions more children, 2 things are all I ask of the Lord:

1. Those who voted Obama into office suffer the endless cries of all those babies killed ever so mercilessly as a result of his heinous Pro-Abort policies; that these cries haunt these people in saecula saeculorum.

2. That those who did nothing to prevent Obama from taking office in order to forestall the onslaught of millions & millions more children from getting massacred suffer just retribution from the Lord.

The reason why folks take these issues so lightly; why y'all are so indifferent about Obama winning the elections is largely because deep down inside, y'all don't really believe that those who are/will be senselessly massacred in the womb are actually persons yourselves. If you did, you would do all you could in your power to prevent a viciously Pro-Abort administration as Obama's from ever taking office.

Like a priest in a Sunday Homily preached -- if only people could hear the heart-rending desperate Screams, the piercing disconsolate Cries of Children who are aborted!

It is a straightforward fact about the nature of the national election, that I literally cannot alter its outcome, any more than I can by a rational act win the lottery.
That is "I cannot trust" pretending to be rational. Please reconsider, and turn away from and promoting that action & attitude.

Lioren:

That is "I cannot trust" pretending to be rational.
You are pounding the table and psychoanalyzing again. An expectation that I can change the outcome through any act of mine at all, let alone by voting for one of the candidates, is a manifestly irrational expectation. It is like thinking I can change the direction of a hurricane by vigorously waving a Japanese fan.

Michael:
I think there are rational reasons to vote for a good Presidential candidate - by which I mean at minimum one who does not support policies of murdering the innocent - as an act independent of any mythology about it affecting the outcome. There are also rational reasons to (vocally) abstain[*], and which is truly the better act in our present circumstances is not entirely clear to me.

[*] I don't think there is good reason to abstain as an act of abandoning the common good, so this does depend on why one abstains and how one goes about doing so. Protest by vocal abstention can have one or both of two modes: it can be directed at the specific unnacceptability of a particular roster of candidates, or it can be a more general protest. I've been arguing pretty much exclusively the former, but I think there is also merit to the latter.

Those who voted Obama into office suffer the endless cries of all those babies killed ever so mercilessly as a result of his heinous Pro-Abort policies; that these cries haunt these people in saecula saeculorum.
Your words communicate that one cannot trust that God will not be just. Do you really believe, oh mere man, that your concept of justice is better than God's? Please retract this. Far better, for your own soul, and for the kingdom of God, that you pray that they will see that the end of their path is utter death, the depths of their offense, ...and receive the grace to repent. Far better, for your own soul, and the souls of all affected by you, that you cherish Both the Justice and Mercy of God. There are many reasons why some remain obdurate to calls to defend the innocent and the weak. There are many rationalizations, skewed values, emotional trauma, sin blindness. Far Better than a curse, is to pray for repentance and grace for them to follow a new path. That requires people doing prophetic things. volunteering? (But remember, Obnoxious Amos isn't the only prophetic pattern). By our Baptism we are each called to three things. Prophets, Priests, and Kings. Thus it isn't just "calling down fire from heaven upon the guilty" but sacrificing ourselves for mercy for the Guilty, and seeking justice for all, defending the weak.

An expectation that I can change the outcome through any act of mine at all, let alone by voting for one of the candidates, is a manifestly irrational expectation.
I think Queen sang something about this: "I'm just a Little Vote and nobody sees me"

You refuse to respond to the reasoning, using the shield of "you psychologizing me...":
The single vote speaks and acts through miniscule action, and cumulative effect.
Communicating and advocatting a path of action speaks and acts through effects on others and a multiplicative effect.

Every action of the human person is expressed through a moral and intellectual context,
a set of fundamental assumptions through which you perceive and value things in the world.

Your statement fundamentally conflicts with reality indicates the existence of an a priori value that is not true.

If I cannot have a big affect I have no effect at all.
"How far can these go, among so many" John 6:9
The term despair is a theological term denoting a turning from God, a rejection of hope in God.
It is not psychological.
The a priori value is rooted in a "not hope in God" value imposed upon you.
Recognizing the falsity of an a priori value is of course the first step in
better understanding "What's Wrong with the World"
In fact we might even have an answer...

It is people like Zippy (or Lioren), who do not do what they know they could, because it is just "too small"

... which is why we are on this blog.

"Every action of the human person is expressed through a moral and intellectual context,
a set of fundamental assumptions through which you perceive and value things in the world."

...who do not do what they know they could, because it is just "too small" ... which is why we are on this blog."

Once I get past your wood-stove aesthtete's haiku, I often find myself in complete agreement. Keep the light on, up there in the dark North Country and follow Marc Oullette!

Lioren,

Far better, for your own soul, and for the kingdom of God, that you pray that they will see that the end of their path is utter death, the depths of their offense, ...and receive the grace to repent. Far better, for your own soul, and the souls of all affected by you, that you cherish Both the Justice and Mercy of God. There are many reasons why some remain obdurate to calls to defend the innocent and the weak. There are many rationalizations, skewed values, emotional trauma, sin blindness. Far Better than a curse, is to pray for repentance and grace for them to follow a new path. That requires people doing prophetic things. volunteering? (But remember, Obnoxious Amos isn't the only prophetic pattern). By our Baptism we are each called to three things. Prophets, Priests, and Kings. Thus it isn't just "calling down fire from heaven upon the guilty" but sacrificing ourselves for mercy for the Guilty, and seeking justice for all, defending the weak.

Who are you??? By any chance, do you happen to be related to Kevin? ;^)

There are a ton of one-vote decisions out there, just in the US, that show how a single person's vote can make a difference.

I particularly like the story (partially unverified) about Freeman Clark (not that his name is important to the story). Allegedly, Clark left his deathbed (which led to his death) to vote for Kelso, who won by one vote. Kelso pushed for Hannigan, who won by one vote. Hannigan voted for Texas Statehood, which won 27-25. A string of one-votes that brought Texas into the Union.

If Clark, or anyone else who voted for Kelso, had chosen not to, who knows what would have happened.

I say this not to try and convince anybody to vote in a particular way, but to ask people to vote. We can't tell before-hand which vote will really make a difference, we can only make that determination with hindsight.

Ari, very funny. Lioren is entertaining, but not a parody. My guess is he writes to us from a western province and has to scramble his ip address/url so as to avoid prosecution under Canada's Hate Crime Laws .

Once I get past your wood-stove aesthtete's haiku
ROTFL How utterly devastatingly accurate.

I so wish I could write as well & clearly as you all.
I tend to grope for the gestalt of a thought as it whizzes by in the tornado of consciousness, and find written conceptual monstrosities, connected (hopefully) by the flesh and sinews of grammar and argument, but different in everything else. Sort of like that.
And then I edit the heck out of it and it .... still looks like a monstrosity... and then I post it anyway cause I'm tired of the ugly cretin.

Well, if you are a parody Lioren, well done. If not, even better.

Who are you??? By any chance, do you happen to be related to Kevin? ;^)

kevin is mostly correct. I am an eccentric semi-literate, posting from western canader.
Sadly, I am way too earnest, and not a parody (intentionally).
I regret my non clarity.
In striving to not harm, I restrained my impulse to haul out a can of whupass for that very bad post of yours.
It was disturbing, But I can relate to the passions.

I will venture my humble opinion:
I see Shea/Zippy as enabling self deceived participants in grave evil by promoting their reflexive rash political agenda.
And they refuse to re-examine their fundamental principals.
And they validate flawed data (see The Big Lie Strategy - Impact on Data Verification)
And they plead private judgment & liberty, refusing to recognize how their own body is injured by what they advocate.
I am scandalized by their actions and the support they receive.
They should stop helping people rationalize the consequences of following their example.
there.
it is said.

There are a ton of one-vote decisions out there, just in the US, that show how a single person's vote can make a difference.
Not in the current presidential contest. Thinking that my vote is going to change the outcome of the current Presidential election in the age of mass market and mass media is like thinking that me buying one can of Pepsi will determine which soda, Pepsi or Coke, is the most popular. It is assuredly more efficacious for the rational man to pray for a miracle.

Zippy said:

Not in the current presidential contest. Thinking that my vote is going to change the outcome of the current Presidential election in the age of mass market and mass media is like thinking that me buying one can of Pepsi will determine which soda, Pepsi or Coke, is the most popular. It is assuredly more efficacious for the rational man to pray for a miracle

You say you operate by a Christian ethic. Vote and Pray.

Don't justify what you advocate by religion, ethics or Christianity & Catholicism.
Your vote may help to change the outcome of the current Presidential election.

If I cannot have a big affect I have no effect at all.
"How far can these go, among so many" John 6:9
So if you were the kid, what would you've said, "zippy the catholic Christian"?

You demand proof, surety.
You change what is said to you, rejecting something that wasn't stated, demanding proof for what was never claimed.
May you see the lie of what you advocate, and have room to turn away from it.

Lioren,
If you actually have something substantive to say in reply to an argument I've actually advanced, I'd be happy to respond.

May you see the lie of what you advocate, and have room to turn away from it.

Now, see, this is the sort of thing I've been trying to get you to stop saying. It's not helpful.

zippy rote:

If you actually have something substantive to say in reply to an argument I've actually advanced, I'd be happy to respond.
I have and you ignore it.
I apolgize for my writing skills.
Evidently I wasn't clear that my comments were in reply to arguments that you actually advanced.
I'll briefly recap:
From what I have read here, @SHEA's and @SDG's your basic argument has been, "the church has said I have the freedom to make my moral choices for whom I will vote for." Of course. no D'uh. Given. With all the caveats and limitations recognized.

Your rejection of the "vote lesser evil to avoid great evil" was/is untenable, so practically abandoned, (except when missionizing).
a) the "system is so broke that it can't be fixed" meme
I Can't talk about hope, God, trust, despair, laziness. Yet... The Church is called to be salt, to preserve, ro flavour,
The Truth is that it can be repaired, the meme is a lie...of theological despair.(oooops.)
b) You elide the 'body-count' discussion by concentrating on 'principle'.
You a priori minimize the principle of consequence of a vote, and ignore the consequences of your successful missionary work in convincing many others to vote and advocate voting in an ill considered way.

to your claim:

I don't have any say in who wins the election.

I replied, demonstrating that you do, and that by your convincing others follow your lead, you(and Others) have a BIG say.(and will be help to account by the Creator)
To this you accused me of psychoanalyzing and retreated (in a bit) to saying
An expectation that I can change the outcome through any act of mine at all, let alone by voting for one of the candidates, is a manifestly irrational expectation. It is like thinking I can change the direction of a hurricane by vigorously waving a Japanese fan.
I have responded several times to this theme of yours, and it remains unchanged. Your recent reply to Matthew simply reiterated in different words the same anarchist talking points. (who was the teacher who abused you with this "truth"?)

My point (finally!) is that My Vote is TOO Small is at the heart of your argument, and you 'missionize' others to join with you....to make it greater.
You will be culpable of contributing to filling the graves of millions of innocents, for you entice other voters with the same lie: "Your Vote is TOO Small, so it is a small thing if it contributes to allow the Lesser Evil to lose... and the Greater Evil to emerge victorious. Moral theology doesn't even give 'points' to this it is so small a thing"

You/et al advocate for thousands of 'lesser bad judgments', "eternal consequence free", that will result in great evil.
The Pro-Obama Klan Use the same technique.
God cannot be finessed on moral theology, conscience, and culpability.
I recommend you stop advising others to try.

Well, chaps, I'm mulling this over, and I think I'm going to close comments on this post. Lioren, I appreciate your stopping by W4, and I hope you will look around. I think you will find other posts that you appreciate more. My concern right now w.r.t. McCain (one of them, and a central one) is that we not forget the embryonic stem-cell research issue in boosterism for him and in fear of Obama. I think there is real danger of that happening. God bless you. I know you have a lot to contend with up there in Canada.