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October 17, 2008

Comments

Jordanes

Mark Shea and Zippy and those who agree with them in this matter are to be commended when they point us to the teachings of the Church and the statements of the Pope and the bishops on the issue of torture. Now they should be consistent and listen to the Pope and the bishops when they tell us that it isn’t a sin to vote for an imperfect candidate when the intent is to prevent the election of someone who is far, far worse.

Dan Hunter

SDG,
I would like to send you an e-mail.

Could you please send me a contact e-mail address?
My e-mail is:
danphunter1@aol.com

Thank you and God bless you.

Eric

"Catholic moral theology does not support the scrupulous conclusion that one cannot support or vote for the candidate one regards as the least problematic viable candidate unless that candidate is free of all support for intrinsically evil policies."

This doesn't make sense to me. If it's supporting an intrinsic evil (labeled as "non-negotiable" by a number of folks) then how can it be justified?

SDG

Dan Hunter: Will do.

Eric:

This doesn't make sense to me. If it's supporting an intrinsic evil (labeled as "non-negotiable" by a number of folks) then how can it be justified?

Supporting an intrinsic evil can't be justified.

Supporting a candidate whose policy positions include support for an intrinsic evil can be justifiable if (a) one supports the candidate in spite of (not because of) the candidate's evil policy support, and (b) the intrinsic evil supported by that candidate is less than the intrinsic evil supported by his only viable rival.

To anticipate my next post -- to quote it, actually:

Let's suppose two major-party candidates X and Y. Candidate X strongly supports several intrinsically immoral policies -- virtually every such policy on the market, let's suppose -- while candidate Y is largely opposed to most of them, though with various qualifying asterisks and footnotes. (For example, let's suppose that Y favors embryonic stem-cell research, though not as robustly as X, and while Y is anti-abortion he allows loopholes that may not be compatible with Catholic teaching, and so forth.)

In this case, it is permissible to vote for Y in spite of (not because of) his ESCR support and other asterisks and footnotes.

I'll 'splain more next time.

Ian

Could you expand on the "Chuck Baldwin is a kook"?

I'm still trying to reconcile the statement from the bishops and Chaput et al. that don't use the words "viable" or "likely to win" or "non quixotic" in their explanations of moral voting choices. None of their statements say picking the lesser evil of the TWO VIABLE candidates is a morally acceptable position. They do say that if there are ONLY TWO candidates then choosing the lesser evil is morally acceptable. If they meant electable, why didn't they say it?

Augustiv

I believe we will be in a far better position to actually end abortion (and ESCR) if, in the aftermath of the election, the Republicans notice that we aren't pulling the lever for them anymore. They are using us as a constituency, keeping us herded in- like Democrats do to blacks. I'm not interested. I want it ended.

I suspect we need to actually do something different in order to get something done. Not voting presents the Republicans with a serious dilemma. Get somebody legitimate as a candidate, or get lost, and let a new party come to the fore.
McCain's campaign finance laws are part of the reason it's so hard for someone new to get enough funding to be a credible threat. There are enough pro-life millionaires; even just one wealthy man could fund a candidate's campaign- but that's illegal. This is exactly why we are sitting here with the sad choices we have today. The incumbents have made any credible competition with them illegal!

SDG

Could you expand on the "Chuck Baldwin is a kook"?

Well, for example, AFAIK he's sympathetic to the 9/11 Truther conspiracy theorists, and his opposition to the "new world order" appears to be apocalyptic in the literal sense.

In one place he says he says he considers the "three greatest threats waging war on America" to be "feminism, multiculturalism, and globalism." But he also says:

For the record, the real battlefield today is not abortion. It is not homosexual marriage. It is not Social Security. It is not al Qaeda. It is not taxes. It is not inflation. It is not electing conservatives. It is not posting the Ten Commandments. It is not even the high cost of gasoline. … The battlefield where the devil has amassed his greatest forces and is thrusting his deadliest armies is the surrender of our national sovereignty and independence, and the creation of global government.

For starters.

I'm still trying to reconcile the statement from the bishops and Chaput et al. that don't use the words "viable" or "likely to win" or "non quixotic" in their explanations of moral voting choices. None of their statements say picking the lesser evil of the TWO VIABLE candidates is a morally acceptable position. They do say that if there are ONLY TWO candidates then choosing the lesser evil is morally acceptable. If they meant electable, why didn't they say it?

I'll be discussing this more in upcoming posts. Briefly, I submit that my language on this point merely unpacks what is implicit and assumed in the bishops' statements. The bishops are focused on clarifying the indefensible moral standing of the Catholic Obama vote, with establishing that there is no moral parity between what Obama stands for and what McCain stands for. They are looking toward those who are defecting to the pro-choice side and pulling pro-life as hard as tehy can. The issue of scrupulous quixotic voters in the other direction isn't a blip on their radar screens.

Dave Mueller

Augustiv,
That argument strikes me as so silly it is barely worth a response. In fact, the reality would probably be the exact reverse of what you say. Ceding the Presidency to Obama would cause the Supreme Court to be stocked with pro-Roe judges, and any chance to overturn Roe will probably be lost to us for the next 20 years. If FOCA passes, any and all restrictions on abortion will be nullified nationwide. Our taxes will be funding abortion, thus presenting us all with a dilemma as to whether we can even morally pay our taxes.

As for what losing the election would tell the GOP, it might give the impression you have stated. On the other hand, it's probably more likely that it would cause some GOP leaders to think, "Gee, the other party nominated the most extreme pro-abortion candidate in history and won easily. Perhaps we better drop our pro-life stance."

Dan Hunter

Actually Alan Keyes is 100% pro-life and a devout Catholic who is running for president in the "Independant Party".

We most definitely do have a choice other than the two pro-death candidates McCain and Obama.

Baldwin is a Baptist, but other than that he is not a "kook". He is prolife.
and
Dr Alan Keyes is the brightest candidate out there.
Keyes is Catholic, 100% prolife and condemns the other non negotiables that the Holy Father condemns.

There is most definitely a choice other than the geezer and the buffoon.

Dan Hunter

Alan Keyes on Abortion
American Independent nominee for President;2008


Principles in Declaration of Independence prohibit abortion
The Declaration of Independence states plainly that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with our basic human rights. But if human beings can decide who is human & who is not, the doctrine of God-given rights is utterly corrupted.
For these & similar reasons, abortion must be understood as the unjust taking of a human life, & a breach of the fundamental principles of our public moral creed. Some people talk about "viability" as a test to determine which human offspring have rights that we must respect, & which do not.

But "might does not make right." So the mere fact that the person in the womb is wholly in its mother's physical power & completely dependent upon her for sustenance gives her no right whatsoever with respect to its life --since the mere possession of physical power can never confer such a right. Therefore, medical procedures resulting in the death of the unborn child, except as an unintended consequence of efforts to save the mother's physical life, are impermissible.

Source: Campaign website, www.alankeyes.com, "Issues" Oct 1, 2008

Embryonic stem cell research experiments with human life
No medical advance, and certainly no material profit, justifies denying the claim to humanity of the embryonic human person. Those who try to justify it are driven from one tortured rationalization to another, none addressing the real issue. Being undeveloped, unconscious, unattractive, small, or unwanted--these are not reasons that we accept in any other context for failing to respect the wholeness of moral worth that every human being has from his Creator. Why, therefore, should we accept it in regard to embryonic research?
No--we do not have the right to take human life merely because it is unconscious, or because it is undeveloped or damaged, or for any other reason that tempts us to deny the equal dignity of all human persons. We ourselves don't want to be used as the basis for experiments without regard for our humanity--and neither should they.

Source: Campaign website, www.alankeyes.com, "Issues" Oct 1, 2008

Constitutional amendment defining life from conception
Q: What will you do to restore legal protection to the unborn?
A: The first and most important thing that we would do is champion an amendment to the United States Constitution that makes it crystal clear that the right to life of all human beings, from conception to natural death, must be respected. It's simple. It's clear. It must be done. I would issue an executive order immediately granting the full protection of the presidency, and every element of the executive branch, to the life in the womb

Source: 2008 Independant Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

Preamble to Constitution includes our unborn posterity
We also need to reiterate the truth that, in the Preamble to our Constitution, it makes clear that the ultimate aim of our government is to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." Our posterity includes many we can't even imagine, who have not yet been born. Surely, it includes those who are sleeping in the womb. I would make sure that no judges were appointed to the Supreme Court who did not strictly respect its mandate to secure the liberties of our posterity.
Source: 2008 Independant Values Voter Presidential

Jordanes

There is most definitely a choice other than the geezer and the buffoon.

In an actual sense, yes, but in a practical sense, no there isn't. If you're in a state that is solid Obama or solid McCain, go ahead at vote third party, but in a state where you vote could make a difference against Obama, fasten on your clothespin.

Dave Mueller

Well, sure, there are plenty of good candidates for President. Besides Baldwin, Keyes, etc. you could also write in Jimmy Akin or SDG too....but it's a waste of your vote either way.

Even if every strong pro-lifer in the country voted for one of these doomed candidates, they wouldn't come close to winning.

If you want viable alternative parties, work hard for them in between election cycles. Right now, the reality is that the existing 3rd parties are barely blips on the radar screen. Voting for Keyes, Akin, Baldwin, Jesus, etc. isn't worth the gas money it'll cost you to drive to the polls.

SDG

Hear Jordanes and Dave Mueller. They speak wisdom.

Pat

With all that has been said on this issue and all the distinctions that we as humans (of the Catholic variety) have spelled out; what place does the Sovereignty of God play in the authority placed in any leader at any time with any agenda? There seems to be a quasi-ontological element involved here at the end of the day.

Admittedly, I am an idiot with regard to many of these issues, however, there seems to be a little theological over-kill going on here- taking the simple yet complex and turning it to the simplistic and complicated.

Ian

SDG: It's nice to be able to assume a particular intent on the part of the bishops. Do you have anything from any of them in writing or even hearsay saying that their actual intent and lack of writing about third parties is actually correct? You certainly sound reasonable in your defense but I can't square it with what is actually on paper.

If you were trying to defend a particular liturgical aberration that didn't square with what was on paper you would probably have the same folks praising you now dog-piling on you for disregarding what is on paper because you know what they "really" meant to say.

I would sure like to be able to accept your arguments but so far, I'm not convinced.

Dan Hunter

Dave,

I would not want to be in anyones shoes,or barefeet, come their particular judgement and have to face the Great and Almighty Judge, Christ Himself, and have to give an accounting of how and why I voted for either a pro-death McCain or pro-death Obama.

If we, with Gods grace keep our souls in a state of sanctifying grace, He will look after our country, otherwise if if commit mortal sin in this matter our country will be punished.
Mark these words.

I am rallying many, many people in North Carolina to vote for Alan Keyes, or Chuck Baldwin.

God bless you.

August

Dave,

History proves your position to be laughable.
If voting Republican so that they could then appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices worked, WE WOULD HAVE WON BY NOW!!!!!

Do the math. Read the history. And you know what? One real pro-life president could end abortion, but he'd have to have the guts to take on the Supreme Court, as an entity. It has no right to the power John Marshall pretended it did.

You do not present a threat, or an incentive, to either party. Nothing will change. If it did, Bush could end it today. It's too convienent for them as a political issue.

Dave Mueller

Ian,

SDG probably has a better answer, but to me, if the U.S. bishops WERE NOT limiting the discussion to only VIABLE candidates, they could simply say, "one may not vote for a candidate who supports any intrinsic evil." Period.

This is obvious because although there are only two candidates with a chance to win, there are probably 100 million qualified candidates, and surely at least several hundred thousand of them do not support any intrinsic evil. At the very worst case, one could vote for themselves, if they were the only person they knew who were orthodox in their beliefs and did not support any intrinsic evil.

Since the bishops did not do this and instead discuss under what conditions we may vote for candidates who are not perfect on the "intrinsic evil" standard, we may therefore assume that they are limiting their calculus to those candidates who have a chance to win.

SDG

I am rallying many, many people in North Carolina to vote for Alan Keyes, or Chuck Baldwin.

Wow. Just wow. A battleground state. You have the deep gratitude of Mr. Obama, NARAL, Justices Ginsberg, Souter, Stevens, Breyer, and Kennedy, Death With Dignity, and the Democratic majority in Congress, among others.

Dave Mueller

Dan Hunter,
You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but I don't think you are following the statements of the Popes and bishops on this matter, nor SDG's attempts to synthesize them, if you think one is committing a sin at all, much less a mortal sin, by voting for McCain.

I'm certainly afraid of my appearance at the judgment seat, but voting for McCain is not one of the things I am worried about accounting for in the least. Just the opposite, my advocacy for McCain will likely be one of the few things in my favor.

As far as the Supreme Court justices, there are no guarantees. Bush took bad advice on Souter. Kennedy was supposed to be the real deal, but he changed his mind. The other four are very solid, and it wasn't Reagan's fault that Bork got borked.

So we have a 67-70% chance of success on the GOP side, and a 0-1% chance on the Dem side, of getting a judge to overturn Roe v. Wade. Or, by voting for Baldwin or Keyes, you can get judges with a 100% chance to overturn Roe but with a 0% chance of being elected.

Jordanes

I would not want to be in anyones shoes,or barefeet, come their particular judgement and have to face the Great and Almighty Judge, Christ Himself, and have to give an accounting of how and why I voted for either a pro-death McCain or pro-death Obama.

I have many things about me that, when I consider the Judgment, make me tremble and set me begging from mercy.

Voting for McCain to stop Obama isn't one of them, because it's not a sin. Remember the principle of "double effect." Listen to Mother Church, Dan.

I'd love it if Alan Keyes were the Republican candidate, and I'd love it if this were a country where his being the Republican candidate wouldn't guarantee Obama's election. But I have to live in the real world, not the one I wish I lived in.

Pat

Dave Mueller,
You are the winner! In the words of Al Gore, "The debate is over!"

This comment nails it perfectly:
At the very worst case, one could vote for themselves, if they were the only person they knew who were orthodox in their beliefs and did not support any intrinsic evil.

It also answers Dan Hunter's concern about answering to God at final judgement:

Dan, casting a vote for yourself is as viable as casting one for Keyes (Whom I love, by the way).

Dan Hunter

I'm certainly afraid of my appearance at the judgment seat, but voting for McCain is not one of the things I am worried about accounting for in the least. Just the opposite, my advocacy for McCain will likely be one of the few things in my favor.

Dave,
No it will not. Not for anyone who votes for any pro-death pol, unless of course there is contrition.
SDG,
NC, is not a battleground state, but the Catholics and pro-life protestants that I know will do battle against the forces of Gehenna

God bless you

SDG

No it will not. Not for anyone who votes for any pro-death pol, unless of course there is contrition.

Dan, I'm more grieved by your resistance to the Church's shepherds and their teaching than by your de facto pro-Obama efforts in a crucial state.

That said, you are free to voice your opinion. That said, you have done so. If you have no response to the arguments being made and nothing further to add, please refrain from further imputations of sin. Thank you.

NC, is not a battleground state

Unfortunately, it is.

Dan Hunter

SDG,

What it finally comes down to, for many people, is to pick the "lesser of two evils".
Many think that John Mccain is that "lesser of two evils".
His pro-death stance is still evil.

Christ told us that:"he who is unjust in small things is unjust in large as well".

We are NEVER permitted to vote for an intrinsic evil, especially since there are non-evil alternatives.

No Church authority, be it the Infallible Magisterium, the Holy Father, the Holy Office, the bishops of the world in union with the Holy Father has ever, ever, allowed, espoused or condoned choosing the lesser of two evils, for any reason.

I am sorry that this truth threatens you, but I say this in all caritas both for the Mystical Body and my eternal salvation.

I am also sorry that you see my absolute condemnation of an intrinsic
evil as me supporting Obama, "de facto".

Nothing I have said on this matter or nothing I will do will advertantly or inadvertantly support this Moslem infanticide merchant.

"That all may be one."

Jordanes

If Dan were to be consistent in his principles, then he would have to conclude that if he were killed by jumping in front of a train to push a child to safety, then God would have to send him to hell for committing the mortal sin of suicide. Thankfully that’s not what Catholic morality teaches.

Jordanes

We are NEVER permitted to vote for an intrinsic evil, especially since there are non-evil alternatives.

One of them is voting for McCain to prevent Obama’s election. McCain, of course, is not an intrinsic evil, but is, as God says in Genesis chapter 1, one of his “very good” creations.

Listen to your Mother, Dan. She knows best.

Steve


There is no such thing as being Catholic and pro-choice under any circumstances. These same dissident voices would equate killing the unborn human baby with jobs, health care, death penalty, immigration and other social ills as just one of the many issues to consider when voting. This betrays not only their pro-choice position but confuses the faithful, however well worded.
If we can federally fund the killing of the innocent with impunity, we have killed a nation’s conscience. Are we that surprised at the other social ills stalking this land?

SDG

We are NEVER permitted to vote for an intrinsic evil, especially since there are non-evil alternatives.

No Church authority, be it the Infallible Magisterium, the Holy Father, the Holy Office, the bishops of the world in union with the Holy Father has ever, ever, allowed, espoused or condoned choosing the lesser of two evils, for any reason.

I am sorry that this truth threatens you, but I say this in all caritas both for the Mystical Body and my eternal salvation.

My idea that when one does something in caritas, one generally shouldn't have to say so, because if one is really filled with divine love for the other person, they'll know without being told.

I am willing to be harsh if I judge it appropriate. I try not to be condescending. Harshness is compatible with respect; condescension isn't. Please consider whether the amateur psychoanalysis of the last sentence above is really necessary.

If you have any thoughts about the principle of double effect, Dan, now would be the time to offer them.

David L.

It is comforting to see so many Chuck Baldwin supporters posting here. Wasting your vote on McCain is a dead end.

Zippy

... have suggested or argued that to support and vote for a candidate who advocates any intrinsically immoral policy, even if the only other viable alternative is far worse, is objectively wrong.

That is a grossly unfair misrepresentation of my conclusion (which is my own, and may or may not be coextensive with Mark's on some points).

My position, for which I've given extensive arguments on my blog and elsewhere, is that in circumstances like ours there is no proportionate reason to vote for a presidential candidate who supports and promotes a policy of murdering the innocent: specifically murdering the innocent, not "any intrinsically immoral policy".

And since both McCain and Obama support and promote policies of murdering the innocent, there is no proportionate reason to vote for either of them.

I ask that you correct the misrepresentation in the post, please.

Jordanes

Okay, Zippy, so you think that sometimes it is acceptable to vote for candidates who support and promote intrinsically evil policies, just not policies that entail the murder of the innocent?

And since both McCain and Obama support and promote policies of murdering the innocent, there is no proportionate reason to vote for either of them.

It’s a good thing Catholic morality doesn’t require us to agree with your opinion, or else Catholics in our society today would, practically speaking, hardly ever be able to have any say in the election of national leaders and Congressmen.

If we’re faced with a choice that we know will result in the deaths of millions of innocent people, and the only practical option is a choice that could save a few hundred thousand of them, would you think the only moral option is to step aside and let the millions die? Because that’s what “proportionate reasons” are about here: trying to limit an evil that we cannot stop at this time. Trying to stop FOCA and the nomination of pro-abortion judges, and trying to save the Mexico City policy and impede the spread of the abortion culture in Catholic Central and South America, is more than enough proportionate reasons to vote for McCain.

SDG

Zippy: Thanks. I'll update the post this evening, first chance I get.

Keiser

If I might make some additional comments as an STL in Moral Theology:
1. The principle of the lesser evil has only two solid foundations in the theological tradition: a. Tolerance of certain sins by public officials since to legislate against them is prudently judged to cause a greater evil per accidens (abortion, by the way, would never apply here)
b. One may be silent for the moment in admonishing the sinner who sins in ignorance for fear that they may begin sinning formally, which is the greater evil (though the assumption is that the person can eventually be led to the truth).

In both cases, the action of the agent's will is not to choose, but to permit, i.e., to not act.

One thing, however, that is not part of the principle is that one may CHOOSE a lesser evil. In fact, any evil, whether lesser or greater, can never be chosen as an object of our will. I believe Dan Hunter has been trying to hammer this home.

But SDG is right in that VOTING is not necessarily choosing an evil. It's choosing a candidate. If we choose that candidate PRECISELY BECAUSE of his support for a per se evil, than we are certainly wrong. There, it is the object of our act that is wrong.

But if in prudence we choose the candidate that will promote the most good, and the least evil, that's just fine. The object of our will is to prevent evil, not to promote it.

The thing is, such a view completely rules out the candidate that is most in favor of killing the innocent. This is simply because killing the innocent is never beneficial to society. No matter how many goods we may pretend are promoted thereby, it is simply wrong, in every case.

Both Obama and McCain are in favor of killing the innocent to some degree: Obama by intense support of abortion and infanticide, McCain by support of embryonic stem-cell research. Faced with such a decision, we may either choose a candidate that is more in line with the values we espouse PRECISELY BECAUSE of those values, or we may choose the candidate that prudence sees will more likely prevent greater evils PRECISELY TO AVOID GREATER EVIL.

David Mueller

David L., Dan Hunter,
To show how completely ridiculous your position is, consider this:

It is more likely that President Barack Obama will appoint a judge that will overturn Roe vs. Wade (albeit accidentally) than that President Chuck Baldwin or President Alan Keyes will appoint a judge that will overturn Roe vs. Wade.

There's a famous quote: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Make no mistake, my fellow Catholics, if you vote for Baldwin, Keyes, yourself, or Jimmy Akin, you are doing nothing. John McCain is the only candidate with a chance to defeat Barack Obama.

Anyone who stands aside and allows the most pro-death candidate in US History (and I'm not limiting myself to Presidential candidates) win when they could have done something practical to stop it is complicit with the evil.

Now, if you're in a state where the election is totally certain for one candidate or the other, then sure, go ahead and vote for whoever you want, for all the good it'll do (none), but in states that are contested, it is totally insane not to do everything possible to stop Barack Obama from ascending to the Presidency.

Dave Mueller

Keiser,
Don't forget that Obama also supports ESCR much more strongly than does McCain.

All,
I probably stepped over the line by saying that voting for a 3rd party in a contested state makes one complicit with evil. The Church allows that option, though my opinion is that it is EXTREMELY imprudent.

Bob

There is another thing to consider in all of this. An Obama/Reid/Pelosi/NARAL/NOW/ACORN administration is going to get things started by getting the "fairness doctrine" back in place. Then they will start in on expanding it to the internet. So down the road, blogs like Jimmy's will have to present pro-choice arguments right along side of pro-life arguments.

So while you Baldwin/Keyes voters are walking around with your freshly amputated noses, we are going to be losing one of the most vital weapons we have in the war on abortion: the freedom to get the word out without MSM filters.

Liberalism and secularism have made progress over the last 50 years one inch at a time. As much as we would all like to take all that ground back tomorrow, we need to be honest with ourselves about how we can get this done.

Does anyone else but me see the gift that we have been given in Gov. Palin? Do you realize why she is so hated? She represents one of the best messengers for the pro-life cause that we have ever had. She chose to carry her son to term and to love him for the creation that he is. She walks the walk. And she has the ability to persuade and lead on this issue.

The reality we face is that chatter isn't going to get the job done. I wouldn't know Chuck Baldwin if I bumped into him. And while Keyes says the right things, it is all just academic. The guy just doesn't have the kind of personality and leadership style that is going to get him anywhere. He just isn't a born leader. I'm sorry if that sounds shallow, but in 2008 America that is an important element. Soldiers don't choose their battlefields -- they fight wherever they meet the enemy.

The Masked Chicken

Let me cast this argument in plain terms. A man is approaching a baby, intent to kill it. You are its father. You have a choice of two weapons: a Glock 9mm handgun or a cracked pipe, that has, maybe, five good hits. Which do you choose to defend the baby? Oh, by the way, the gun has no bullets.

That, it seems to me, is the problem with voting for third party candidates. Obama supports the existence of aggression, with respect to some unborn children, since he solidly supports abortion rights. Those babies are spiritually ours to adopt, since the parents have given them up and placed them out of reach for physical adoption. We are their, de facto, fathers and mothers and we must do something.

The primary purpose of a vote, at this date, is not to put a perfect pro-life candidate into office, but to prevent Obama from being put in office. The purpose of the vote, at this date, is to resist someone who would permit aggression towards the unborn (much more than McCain).

The possibility of defeating (resisting) Obama by voting for a third-party candidate is exactly like trying to defend the baby with a gun with no bullets. It cannot hit the target, as it can have NO effect on the electoral college votes.

On the other hand, voting for McCain, with all of his flaws, may not stop Obama from being elected, but it can take away his mandate. Obama may get hit with five blows that make it impossible for him to easily implement his pro-choice agenda. That is a good and certainly valid ground for voting for McCain and a good reason not to vote for a third-party candidate. It is not that it simply wouldn't do any good to vote for a third-party candidate. It would do positive harm, by using a good but impotent device to stop an aggressor. It is better to get five solid whacks with a cracked pipe than to wave an empty gun.

At this point, since McCain is almost certain to lose the election (I hate to say that), the best option the pro-life people have is to make sure: a)there are solid pro-life people in place at more local, state, and federal levels, to slow Obama down, and b)that Obama cannot claim a mandate that will early on, allow him to implement his policies. Situations can change and I suspect that he will have his hands full very quickly after he is elected.

Thus, the doctrine of double effect certainly can play. You are not voting to elect McCain, even if he is an evil choice; you are voting to stop or slow down Obama. Consider the best way to do that. Only those things that affect the electoral college can do that. No third-party candidate can do that at this time.

Choose the broke pipe.

The Chicken

The Maksed Chicken

That should be:

Choose the broken pipe.

(Rats, it was a really cool tag line).

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

I even misspelled my name in the last post. This is so a Friday night :)

The Chicken

Zippy

Okay, Zippy, so you think that sometimes it is acceptable to vote for [Presidential] candidates who support and promote intrinsically evil policies, just not policies that entail the murder of the innocent?

Right. Though more accurately, I don't take a position on that. Killing the innocent, in its relation to what constitutes the legitimate authority of the State, is a unique case among intrinsic evils; as Evangelium Vitae tells us.

If we’re faced with a choice that we know will result in the deaths of millions of innocent people, and the only practical option is a choice that could save a few hundred thousand of them, would you think the only moral option is to step aside and let the millions die?

Well, it depends on the concrete choice; but in any case, the hypothetical doesn't apply to voting. You don't get to decide who actually wins and who actually loses when you vote. That just isn't what an act of voting is. You can add your negligible voice to McCain's mandate, whether he wins or loses, but you can't make him win or lose. So what you need a proportionate reason to do is "adding one vote to McCain's mandate" not "making McCain win over Obama". A double-effect justification has to make reference to the actual effects of your act.

Now, if you had the power to choose that McCain actually win over Obama, there might well be a double-effect justification for that kind of act. But that kind of act - an act of making McCain win over Obama - isn't what your act of voting is. You don't have the power to make McCain win over Obama, or vice versa. We have to justify our acts based on what they actually do accomplish, not on what we wish they could accomplish.

SDG

Zippy: I've updated the post. Hope that's satisfactory. In coming posts, I will demonstrate that in fact proportionate reasons exist.

Keiser: You are of course correct. I'll be fine-tuning this argument to deal with some of the objections that have been raised by Mark and Zippy.

Dave Mueller: I agree with everything you write… including your own critique of your stepping over the line. It is better to say that voting quixotic in a contested state is extremely imprudent.

Chicken: I like your cracked pipe / empty Glock analogy.

I think of voting for the less problematic viable candidate as akin to a school of fish in a polluted river, with some of the fish suicidally trying to move the school downstream where cumulative toxicity levels are highest, and other fish more sensibly trying to move upstream where toxicity levels are lower, but still not pure. If it's the least toxic water that is actually within the school's range, it makes sense to swim in that direction.

I can think of ways to further specify this to take the analogy further… more later.

Jordanes

We have to justify our acts based on what they actually do accomplish, not on what we wish they could accomplish.

You couldn't be more wrong. As in the classic case of unintentionally killing yourself while saving a child, it doesn't matter that your killed yourself if your intent was saving the child rather than killing yourself -- nor does it matter if your attempt to save the child fails. If we were to adopt your erroneous understanding of double effect, hysterectomies or removal of a woman's fallopian tube in cases ectopic pregnancy would be impermissible, because such surgery could lead not only to the unintended and unavoidable death of the baby but also to the unintended death of the mother. We have to look at intent, not just practical outcome.

Zippy, it seems the biggest part of your problem is that you don't know how to classify or define the act of voting in terms of Catholic morality. Voting is helping to get a candidate elected, cooperating with others to nominate or select a leader. It doesn't matter a hill of beans that a person's individual vote doesn't get the candidate elected, it only matters that his vote is a cooperation in a specific act that has a moral character. To express support for a candidate who espouses an intrinsic evil as a matter of policy is cooperation in evil, but as the Pope says, remote material cooperation in evil is justifiable in the presence of proportionate reasons (thankfully, because otherwise life would grind to a screeching halt). Working with others in an attempt to prevent Congress from passing FOCA and prevent Obama from signing FOCA and overturning the Mexico City policy and appointing pro-abortion judges are more than ample proportionate reasons, far outweighing the few areas where McCain's views are contrary to Church teaching and natural law.

Whereas you seem to think those reasons cannot justify voting for an imperfect candidate, there can be no doubt that the Church doesn't agree with your personal opinion. I just hope you live in a state that is solidly for McCain or Obama, so there won't be any real likelihood that how you vote or don't vote ends up unintentionally helping to get Obama elected.

Ian

Let's suppose that we elect McCain.
Let's suppose that the next Republican nominee, thinking that the best way to do better in the election is to move left on abortion. Let's say he supports abortion through the first trimester. Do we still vote for him if the Democrat holds Obama's position on abortion?
What about three elections from now when the Republican holds the same views on abortion as the democrat except that he opposes partial-birth abortions. Then what?

At what point is the evil position of both candidates enough to justify not voting for either? Or does that ever happen? If you could actually break it down to one candidate is one baby less pro-abortion than the other, do you still vote for the lesser of two evils?

Jordanes

Let's suppose that the next Republican nominee, thinking that the best way to do better in the election is to move left on abortion. Let's say he supports abortion through the first trimester. Do we still vote for him if the Democrat holds Obama's position on abortion?

I suppose some would be able to bring themselves to do that, but in such a situation I would have to vote third party or not at all. There would be no practical difference between the two candidates, just one of slight degrees or shades, hard to distinguish.

Of course, as this election year has shown, the Republicans would ensure their defeat if they nominated such a candidate. The Christians would boycot the election, as they nearly did this year before McCain chose Palin as his running mate. If they'd chosen Giuliani, there would have been no way I would have voted Republican, and before he chose Palin I was still contemplating whether to vote at all this fall, or whether I should clamp on the clothespin.

What about three elections from now when the Republican holds the same views on abortion as the democrat except that he opposes partial-birth abortions. Then what?

Same as above: once that happens, there can be no voting for the two main parties' candidates. It would have to be third party or stay home: unless, I suppose, one of the candidates was, say, promising the genocide of a whole race or class or people. Then one could again seek to limit that evil in how one casts his ballot. But once things have gotten that bad, the fellowship of the Round Table has been shattered, and it's the Battle of Camlann: it wouldn't make much sense to pretend there was still any civil society left to participate in, so the question of who to vote for, for Catholics, would be moot.

At what point is the evil position of both candidates enough to justify not voting for either?

Hard to say. It's not a simple, black-and-white thing, or something that can be mathematically calculated.

If you could actually break it down to one candidate is one baby less pro-abortion than the other, do you still vote for the lesser of two evils?

Well, we can't break it down that way, so there's no point in considering that question.

Zippy

We have to justify our acts based on what they actually do accomplish, not on what we wish they could accomplish.

You couldn't be more wrong.

Au contraire. The "proportionate" in "proportionate reasons", in Aquinas' account of double-effect, requires the act to be efficacious in achieving its end without going overboard. It doesn't require a balancing act between outcomes that the act is incapable of achieving, but that the acting subject wishes it were capable of achieving.

Again, the "effects" we must weigh in evaluating an act under double effect are the actual effects of our act. So to evaluate voting under double effect we have to evaluate the actual effects of voting, not a false but pervasive mythology surrounding voting and its connection to outcomes.

It is true that intentions also matter: that is, one must never formally cooperate with evil. But we are stipulating remote material cooperation with evil here already: we assume that the person does not vote for McCain because of McCain's support for murdering the innocent. There is no need to sidetrack the discussion on the matter of intentions because I am already assuming a right intention, and have moved on to evaluating whether or not there is in fact a proportionate reason to vote for a Presidential candidate who supports murdering the innocent. There isn't.

Zippy

Let's suppose that the next Republican nominee, thinking that the best way to do better in the election is to move left on abortion. Let's say he supports abortion through the first trimester. Do we still vote for him if the Democrat holds Obama's position on abortion?

Great question. That is effectively where McCain is. Any argument which can justify a vote for McCain can also justify voting for a candidate who unequivocally supports first trimester abortion, or abortion of asian babies only, or whatever.

bill912

???

Scott W.

???

It's called the Hegelian Mambo (two steps left, one step right. meaning we are always sliding leftward into oblivion). Essentially all the Dems have to do is keep nominating candidates with monstrously evil policies and the Republicans need only nominate candidates not nearly as bad to continuely have good Catholics chasing the lesser evil right over a cliff.

Scott W.

"continually" not "continuely:. Is kan spel! (although "perpetually" might be a better word.)

Diane

Excellent post series which I will link to on my blog. This issue needed to be touched on because of the number of pro-life Catholics I know who say they can't vote for McCain because he is not 100% pro-life or because he was divorced and remarried.

Those pro-life Catholics who don't feel they can vote for McCain because he is not 100% pro-life, thus - a vote for Obama (since only two men have a shot at the White House and most Pro-life voters are voting for McCain), will probably reel the most when Obama gets in and appoints people like pro-choice Michigan Gov Jennifer Granholm to the US Supreme Court. These appointments will stack the courts for decades since they are life long appointments.

They will reel the most when the Freedom of Choice Act is signed in to law, without contest in a Democratic majority congress, negating every pro-life gain in the states - including bans on partial birth abortion. Obama has vowed to make this the first thing he signs into law. Google it and watch it on YouTube as he spoke to Planned Parenthood.

They will reel when our tax dollars are used to fund abortion here and overseas.

The list goes on.

Jordanes

Au contraire. The "proportionate" in "proportionate reasons", in Aquinas' account of double-effect, requires the act to be efficacious in achieving its end without going overboard.

You're completely out to sea with a rudder, Zippy. St. Thomas refers to the need that the act, not the reasons for the act, not be out of proportion. But as Mangan presents the explanation of the principle of double effect, there must be "a proportionately grave reason for permitting the evil effect." It is certain that if people do not vote for McCain, Obama become president and will certainly do the evil things he says he will do. Doing a good thing -- voting against Obama -- is permissible, even though it has an unintended evil side effect of electing a man who is only mostly pro-life instead of completely pro-death as Obama is. If FOCA, Mexico City, etc., aren't proportionately grave reasons, nothing could ever allow any evil effect.

It doesn't require a balancing act between outcomes that the act is incapable of achieving

Again, since you don't understand what voting is and does (or maybe you're choosing to misdefine it to come up with a justification for your not joining in the effort to prevent Obama's election), you say the act of voting against Obama is incapable of achieving the outcome of having Obama not receive a vote.

Again, the "effects" we must weigh in evaluating an act under double effect are the actual effects of our act. So to evaluate voting under double effect we have to evaluate the actual effects of voting, not a false but pervasive mythology surrounding voting and its connection to outcomes.

Yep. That's why it is permissible to vote for McCain.

It is true that intentions also matter: that is, one must never formally cooperate with evil. But we are stipulating remote material cooperation with evil here already: we assume that the person does not vote for McCain because of McCain's support for murdering the innocent.

Then you have conceded the argument from the outset. Thanks. All you have is the assertion of your unsubstantiated opinion, one unsupported by Church doctrine (see Evangelium Vitae 73-74 for a little guidance here: the same principles that apply to elected officials apply to voters), that there is not a proportionate reason to vote for McCain in spite of his being "only 95 percent pro-life," so to speak.

If your words and deeds end up contributing to Obama's victory next month, you will have no standing to object to his rollback of every scanty pro-life gain that has been made since 1973.

Jordanes

Without a rudder, that is.

SDG

Ian: Let's suppose that the next Republican nominee, thinking that the best way to do better in the election is to move left on abortion. Let's say he supports abortion through the first trimester. Do we still vote for him if the Democrat holds Obama's position on abortion?

Zippy: Great question. That is effectively where McCain is.

McCain says he believes that human rights begin "at the moment of conception." His voting record seems consistent with this. Do you have evidence supporting the seriousness of your charge?

Question: Is there any reason to think that future GOP candidates will be more likely or less likely to move left on abortion rather than right if McCain wins instead of loses? My personal guess is that the defeat of McCain-Palin is more likely to move the GOP away from pro-life than their victory. Conversely, a McCain-Palin victory is more likely to strengthen the party's pro-life commitment rather than weaken it.

It's called the Hegelian Mambo (two steps left, one step right. meaning we are always sliding leftward into oblivion). Essentially all the Dems have to do is keep nominating candidates with monstrously evil policies and the Republicans need only nominate candidates not nearly as bad to continuely have good Catholics chasing the lesser evil right over a cliff.

In that case, society is going over the cliff either way -- and all the faster once scrupulous Catholics decide that their consciences won't let them use their votes to try to slow the slide.

If society is going over the cliff either way and all we can accomplish is slowing the slide by throwing our swing votes toward the lesser of two evils, then I think that's worth doing.

Or is it better to say "Since we can't stop society going over the cliff, I don't want to get my hands dirty trying to slow it down?"

Certainly voting quixotic isn't going to slow the slide, let alone stop it.

SDG

Again, the "effects" we must weigh in evaluating an act under double effect are the actual effects of our act. So to evaluate voting under double effect we have to evaluate the actual effects of voting, not a false but pervasive mythology surrounding voting and its connection to outcomes.

It is true that intentions also matter: that is, one must never formally cooperate with evil. But we are stipulating remote material cooperation with evil here already: we assume that the person does not vote for McCain because of McCain's support for murdering the innocent.

Zippy, I invite you to consider these brief sentences of yours and discover the fallacy I will be exploring in upcoming posts.

The Masked Chicken

Actually, voting for a third party candidate is covered under the doctrine of "triple effect." :)

Seriously, there is no such thing as being 95% pro-life, as many people have said, but they haven't gone a step further in the reasoning process. If they had, they would see something even more bizzare.

Consider: abortion is abortion. ESCR requires abortion of some sort to obtain the embryos. McCain cannot simultaneously claim to be against abortion and for abortion, since abortion is a single final act that does not admit partitioning. Thus, in reality, McCain contradicts himself on the matter of abortion, rather than allowing abortion or preventing abortion (I do not know Palin's views on ESCR). As such, McCain really doesn't have a position on abortion, he only seems to. A contradiction has no truth value, so one cannot even ask the question: is McCain pro-life. The question makes no sense under the contradictory nature of his propose policies.

As such, the only charitable conclusion one can reach is that McCain doesn't understand the issues well enough to be consistent. He is therefore, probably, ignorant of certain pro-life issues, since no candidate would, presumably, deliberately contradict himself on policy statements during an election year.

So, one cannot say McCain's position on abortion makes any sense nor is it clear. As such, it cannot even be rationally considered. He must either clarify his position, consistently, or be ignored on this issue.

Thus, to say that a vote for McCain is a vote for an intrinsic evil is not correct. McCain really doesn't have a position on abortion, he only seems to. One may ask, if McCain were educated better on pro-life matters, would he change is position on ESCR? If this is probable, then one may view McCain's positions as simply based on ignorance, rather than malice and then, the idea of permitting an evil for a time based on the ignorance of the person comes into play. Voting for McCain becomes possible because: a) his position on abortion is contradictory and no one can know what he truly holds (although, this could lead to a doubtful conscience on the matter for some people, rather than a certain one) and b) because he is ignorant of the evil he intends and will, hopefully, be persuadable.

As for the matter of the effect of a vote, which Zippy raised, consider: you may be the one necessary vote that turns your state (or the country) to McCain. You cannot know this for certain, however. Thus, the effect of your vote may be anywhere from insignificant to crucial. All things being equal, it is better to assume that your vote is crucial, rather than insignificant and the doctrine of probabilism comes into play. If it is unclear whether or not double effect comes into play because one cannot know the magnitude of the effect, but there is evidence that the magnitude could probably be great, then one may do the act under the law of double effect, even though another person may judge that the probability is only slight.

The Chicken

SDG

Seriously, there is no such thing as being 95% pro-life, as many people have said, but they haven't gone a step further in the reasoning process. … So, one cannot say McCain's position on abortion makes any sense nor is it clear. As such, it cannot even be rationally considered. He must either clarify his position, consistently, or be ignored on this issue.

I dunno, Chicken, this seems dodgy to me. The first sentence is true in a sense, though it's a rather high-handed conceit. The second is, I think, simply not true.

Being "pro-life," like being "orthodox" or even simply "right," is not like a touchdown in American football where you get no credit for running 95 yards. Being "95 percent pro-life" may not comprise a philosophically coherent worldview, but wanting to defend and protect more lives, or life in more contexts, is better than wanting to defend and protect fewer lives, or life in fewer contexts.

By the same token, the fact that a candidate wishes to protect -- or not protect -- certain lives, or life in certain contexts, is as actionable as anything else. Their philosophical incoherence certainly does not place their likely actions in office outside the realm of rational consideration.

I don't ultimately care that Obama's ramblings about philosophical and theological issues makes no sense. FOCA codifies intrinsic evil, and represents a greater triumph of evil than anything McCain advocates, especially when combined with everything else Obama and McCain stand for.

We are not ultimately voting only, or even primarily, for (or against) worldviews -- although the extent to which a candidate's attempts to articulate a worldview correlates or does not correlate to reality is certainly one factor in ranking that candidate's preferability relative to other candidates.

We are voting also, and probably primarily, for (or against) the range of actions in office that we can reasonably expect, hope for or fear from one candidate versus the other candidate (from the best reasonable scenario to the worst reasonable scenario).

We are for the most part voting for (or against) likely outcomes. If one likely outcome, however unreasonably constructed, defended and sold by the candidates, is preferable to or less problematic than another likely outcome, we may reasonably vote for that outcome over the other.

Scott W.

I am entirely sympathetic to the idea of slowing down the slide into the abyss. In fact, it is the one thing keeping my voting for McCain on the table. If someone is arguing, "look, we're just buying time with McCain and then we will find a way to break the cycle", then I'm almost sold. Unfortunately that's not the case from the McCain drum-bangers. It's more like a hostage situation, "Vote for McCain, or the pro-life movement gets it and it will be your fault!"

SDG

I am entirely sympathetic to the idea of slowing down the slide into the abyss. In fact, it is the one thing keeping my voting for McCain on the table. If someone is arguing, "look, we're just buying time with McCain and then we will find a way to break the cycle", then I'm almost sold. Unfortunately that's not the case from the McCain drum-bangers. It's more like a hostage situation, "Vote for McCain, or the pro-life movement gets it and it will be your fault!"

I have no idea how to break the cycle.

I have no idea whether the cycle can be broken.

I have no idea whether or how the slide into the abyss can be reversed or even halted.

At the moment the only thing I see clearly is

  1. a likely scenario that brings us further into the abyss than ever before,

  2. a likely scenario that in some ways slows and/or partially reverses our descent while failing to chart a course back out of the abyss, and

  3. utopian scenarios from people unwilling to shoot for 2 as a way of avoiding 1.

At the moment I see no better course of action, no course of action reasonably ordered toward a preferable outcome, than advocating and voting for 2.

I am all kinds of open to better ideas. Quixotic voting, at least as a prescriptive strategy that all Catholics must follow, is not a better idea. It is a refusal to take co-responsibility for the common good.

Zippy

Zippy, I invite you to consider these brief sentences of yours and discover the fallacy I will be exploring in upcoming posts.

It would be an interesting and novel experience for someone to actually address my argument. I look forward to the possibility of that actually happening.

Zippy

If FOCA, Mexico City, etc., aren't proportionately grave reasons, nothing could ever allow any evil effect.

Those are certainly grave reasons for choosing a McCain outcome over an Obama outcome. But voting for McCain in the Presidential election, contra mythology, is not "choosing a McCain outcome over an Obama outcome". It is, in its external effects, simply adding one negligible vote to the McCain mandate. And beyond that it has bad effects on the voter himself, and on those around him, which far outweigh any other effects.

It is true though that at the bottom of this argument is not so much any disagreement over the abstract moral theology of double effect, but rather disagreement over the nature of voting in mass scale democratic elections. Ahem.

Scott W.

It is a refusal to take co-responsibility for the common good.

Every time I feel my hand ready to reach for the McCain lever, someone says something like this and I recoil. I'm not sure why, but I guess I'm going to be quite a mess on Nov. 4th.

Zippy

Do you have evidence supporting the seriousness of your charge?

See here, for example.

McCain supports federally funded murder of the innocent. And not just murder: cannibalization of their bodies for medical research.

Zippy

I'm not sure why, ...

I think I might know why. The position that there is no proportionate reason for Catholics to vote for McCain - even if you disagree with it - is not "a refusal to take co-responsibility for the common good". Saying that it is, is just a smear.

SDG

Zippy, that's not what you said. You said that McCain was "effectively" at the point of supporting abortion through the first trimester.

SDG

It is, in its external effects, simply adding one negligible vote to the McCain mandate.

See points 4 and 5 in my post above for a preview of why this falls apart. Also, if you have ever offered any thoughts on what the Catechism means by describing voting as a morally obligatory form of co-responsibility for the common good, I would be happy to have them pointed out to me. Thanks.

SDG

Every time I feel my hand ready to reach for the McCain lever, someone says something like this and I recoil.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that voting quixotic is a refusal to take co-responsibility for the common good. Voting quixotic as a matter of prudential judgment may be a way of trying to contribute to one good rather than another. What I have described as a refusal to take co-responsibility for the common good is insisting that voting quixotic is the only moral approach to voting in an election like ours. Dunno if that addresses your recoil issues or not.

Zippy

SDG:

McCain supports murdering and cannibalizing some unborn innocents. Obama supports murdering and cannibalizing a broader category of innocents. The choice between them is effectively the same, as a moral matter, as the choice between a candidate who supports first term abortions and a candidate who supports full term abortions.

As for the "preview", I haven't seen any reason to think that you've so much as addressed my core argument, let alone undermined it.

And yes, I've commented on the Catechism voting citation any number of times and in any number of places, though I don't have a link immediately handy and I'm out of time for a while. But it isn't even pertinent here, since you are treating abstaining from voting and voting third party as equivalent, so I'm not sure why you even bother to bring it up.

Dave Mueller

I think there's too much hair splitting going on here. Let me put it very simply:

1) Is it wrong to prefer that McCain wins instead of Obama?
2) If not, then how could it be wrong to cast a vote that basically says "I prefer that McCain wins instead of Obama"??

I don't buy the argument that voting for a candidate HAS bad effects on the voter. I will agree that it COULD have bad effects, if, for example, a voter allows himself to become a mindless cheerleader for the party/candidate he/she chooses to pull the lever for, but that's another discussion separate from the actual action of voting.

Zippy

Dave:

Very briefly, and then I'm gone, probably for the weekend:

Is it wrong to prefer that the Stalinists win over the Nazis? No. Does that mean that one has a proportionate reason to, as an individual, donate a clip of ammunition to the cause of the Stalinists? Not at all. The legitimate preference with respect to a possible outcome does not have a necessary legitimating connection to the specific act.

SDG

McCain supports murdering and cannibalizing some unborn innocents. Obama supports murdering and cannibalizing a broader category of innocents. The choice between them is effectively the same, as a moral matter, as the choice between a candidate who supports first term abortions and a candidate who supports full term abortions.

Even if you were right, that seems an awfully callous dismissal of the controverted lives in that middle term whom McCain would try to protect and Obama would try to leave for dead.

But it isn't effectively the same. To cannibalize a small bouquet of cells comprising a human life is certainly an inhuman thing and a direct violation of the fifth commandment, but there is a further erosion of humanity in being willing to chop up a three-month fetus made of tissue and nerves with a beating heart and brain waves -- and there is a still further erosion in being willing sticking a scissors into the skull of a viable baby that is nearly born. There is a reason that partial birth-abortion is particularly singled out by pro-lifers, including the Catholic bishops, and why the word "infanticide" is used to describe the special horror of this form of abortion in particular.

And there is a still further erosion of humanity in the view of, say, Peter Singer, who thinks that parents should have a thirty-day no-obligation trial period to take their baby home and decide if they really really really want to be parents and bring a child into the world, and if not they can return it to the hospital no questions asked for a post-partum abortion.

Suppose we take candidates off the table and put a ballot initiative before the voters. There are three propositions:

Proposition A advocates a nightmare-scenario Peter Singer-on-steroids ethic: abortion on demand through all 20 months of non-personhood; euthanasia on demand and compulsory euthanasia for patients with terminal or debilitating chronic conditions at the state's discretion; therapeutic cloning banks for replacement parts with mandatory DNA donations; one-child reproductive limits and mandatory sterilizations for the unfit; etc.

Proposition B outlaws all abortion, all euthanasia, all therapeutic cloning -- everything except embryonic stem-cell research.

Proposition C outlaws all of these including ESCR.

Polls consistently show that Props A and B are in a statistical dead heat. Support for Prop C is running around 5 percent -- certainly enough to swing the difference between Props A and B.

How do you vote?

Let me know when you have a chance to direct me to some of your thoughts on the CCC's teaching on voting.

SDG

Is it wrong to prefer that the Stalinists win over the Nazis? No. Does that mean that one has a proportionate reason to, as an individual, donate a clip of ammunition to the cause of the Stalinists? Not at all. The legitimate preference with respect to a possible outcome does not have a necessary legitimating connection to the specific act.

Why not?

It's a silly parallel, of course, since, among other things, clip donation is not a morally obligatory form of co-responsibility for the common good.

Also, whereas a vote cannot do anything but contribute to the advantage of one cause over another, a clip can be used any way the recipient chooses -- to shoot innocent people as well as Nazis.

Still and all, if, say, I were unlucky enough to be living in a Stalinist state, and the Nazis are attacking, I'm not sure I can see where it would be unjustified not only to donate a clip but even to join the Stalinist army to resist the Nazis.

Mary Kay

Scott,

Every time I feel my hand ready to reach for the McCain lever, someone says something like this and I recoil.

On a purely pragmatic level, every time you feel yourself recoiling, substitute your own phrase, "look, we're just buying time with McCain and then we will find a way to break the cycle"

It sounds like you're not disagreeing with SDG's reasoning, just with the "hostage" aspect. As one of those people who made similar statements, it's simply because the prospect of Obama with presidential power scares the stuffing out of me.

You're assuming the playing field will be the same after an Obama presidency. By all indications, it will not.

The Freedom of Choice Act should be sufficient for anyone with pro-life values. If you haven’t yet looked up the consequences of FOCA, this is a good time.

Check some of the conservative political sites that are reporting what the MSM is either totally ignoring or whitewashing when reporting it.

Do a search with these terms:
obama alinsky
“voter fraud” acorn
obama “free speech” DOJ

Re-read SDG's well-reasoned points focusing on the morality aspect.

Then, if you've read Lord of the Rings, recall Frodo on Amon Hen (FOTR chpt 10): "neither the Voice nor the Eye: free to choose, and with one remaining instant in which to do so." The choice is yours to make.

Dave Mueller

I see Zippy's point in the example he gave, but I think his comparison is inapt. I disagree, though, that it is necessarily OK to prefer that the Stalinists win over the Nazis. At that point, armed revolution is probably the best option. Anyway, that's beside Zippy's point, I think,

He is trying to say, I think, that just because you prefer an 80% evil army to defeat an 100% evil army doesn't mean that you are allowed to donate ammunition to them. I'm not sure that it's true that you couldn't donate ammunition to them in the first place, but the reason the analogy is inapt is that in my question, I posit that the desire for McCain to win over Obama is, in fact, all that is being expressed by a vote, i.e. a vote carries no moral content of its own other than an expression of preference for McCain over Obama. Therefore, if the desire is not immoral, neither is the carrying out of the action.

Obviously, Zippy must assign some other objective meaning and/or moral content to the vote. The question is: what is that moral content?

Mary Kay

okay, maybe I should have left off that last sentence. Intrinsically okay, but given the "hostage" aspect, maybe not the best closing. I simply wanted to say you can make a choice freely.

Zippy

To cannibalize a small bouquet of cells comprising a human life...

There is a concrete example of the bad effect that supporting McCain has on those who support him. Let he who has ears to hear, hear.

Zippy

...clip donation is not a morally obligatory form of co-responsibility for the common good.

The very same CCC passage includes national defense as morally obligatory.

Dave Mueller

There is a concrete example of the bad effect that supporting McCain has on those who support him. Let he who has ears to hear, hear.

I disagree. SDG does not think that the killing of the embryo is any less bad than the killing of the 1 month old infant. However, he IS saying that it would take a further erosion of a society/individual's morals to progress from allowing the former to allowing the latter. In that, I think he is right.

The Masked Chicken

Hey, welcome back Mary Kay. How's my asbestos suit coming? Don't forget the red tie.

I think I dig it, at least part of it. The word abortion is being used in two, subtly different, senses between Zippy and SDG. [Geek speak alert!] Zippy is using abortion to refer to a class identifier, whereas SDG is using it as a instantiation identifier.

Consider two rooms with 100 people, each. Let there be one men outside of each room. Let's call them, oh, let's see, O and M. They both have guns with exactly 100 rounds. There is a third man, B, standing behind both men. He too, has a gun, but he has no bullets.

O fires into his room and kills 50 people. M fires into his room and kills 1 person.

Now, are both men murderers? Yes. I take it this would be Zippy's position - a murderer is a man who knowingly kills some one person with malice. Murderer is a term that describes a class of actions of one person with regards to a single other person. Murder is immoral, period. One cannot be 95% a murderer. Murder as a moral attribute has a go/no-go status. Speculative reasoning says that granting even one abortion, such as is involved in ESCR, makes one an abortion supporter.

On the other hand are O and M both mass-murderers? The answer is, obviously, no. The people in the room in which one person is killed have at least fifty times greater reasons to be thankful than the one in which fifty were killed. One may state this in terms of pay-offs: In the first room, O killed fifty and spared fifty; in room two, M killed one and spared ninety-nine. Which room, prudentially, would one want to have been in at the start, knowing the eventual outcome?

In these two cases, there is a difference between the use of term, "murderer," applied to the person doing the act and the people receiving the act. There can be only one murderer, but one hundred murder victims. It all depends on which side of the room one is standing as to whether or not murder can have degrees associated with it.

From the standpoint of the murderer, the answer is, no (this is Zippy's point) - murder is murder. One is condemned by the first one- subsequent acts of murder do not make one more of a murderer.

From the standpoint of the people inside the room, the answer is, yes (this is SDG's point). One shot makes you a murderer, but one shot does not make you a mass-murderer. One shot does not kill all of the people in the room.

Zippy and SDG are both right, but neither encompasses the total picture.

M can be a murderer and yet, one can want to reside inside of his room more than in O's room. This makes M the better choice for a number of reasons.

a. M may have thought he were aiming for the ceiling, but has bad eye-sight, so he killed a person. McCain may not understand that ESCR is abortion, since he may buy into the whole embryo = lump of tissue idea. He is not Catholic, remember - why should we assume that he understands Catholic life principles? The Evangelical position is similar to the Catholic position, but is not always identical. He may be as close to his understanding of the Catholic position as he can come, for the time being. Give him a break (I bet if he got a chance to meet with Pope Benedict, he might change his mind and when is it likely to have this happen - if he is president!)

b. M has got ninety-nine other unused bullets in his gun. He could start firing at the outside of O's room, hoping to distract him by the sound of the bullets flying off of the concrete.

c. B, having no bullets, cannot do as much to distract O as M can.

d. B is not standing outside of his own room as he never can get the necessary permission to do so. At best, he can lend moral support to either O or M. Given the outcome of the shooting, it is most likely that he would be rooting for M, since he, himself can do little else.

So, both Zippy and SDG are right to an extent, but one can only pull one level on November 4th. The problem comes when one considers the case as someone standing outside of the rooms verses someone standing inside the rooms.

As someone standing outside of the room, one can only vote for B, as he will not fire into his own room, but then, again, he hasn't got a room, in any case. Voting for him, however, no effect on either his own room or O's or M's. It may be the case that, after the fact, B would have wanted you to vote for M. B can do little to affect O or M's position, but can only, perhaps, do something to influence how many shots are fired into the room. Remember, B has no gun and is not standing outside of a room. His presence is simply as a commentator.

As a relative of someone forced to be inside of one of the two rooms, the vote would, overwhelmingly be for M. It gives you the best chance to save your relative, both because M will only kill one person and he may use his remaining rounds to distract O. If you, yourself were in the room, you would, almost certainly, want your relative to vote for M.

I think this should summarize all of the points made, to date. I have argued both sides of this issue in the combox for this post, because both sides have merit. In the final analysis,
Zippy is correct for voting considered as as a class activity: B is the only one that one can vote for if one is observing from outside of the rooms,

but SDG is correct if voting is considered as a co-operative act associated with individual cases of people within the room. If one is forced to be a relative of someone who is actually the rooms, or if one were to take a poll of people in the rooms, people from both rooms would probably prefer, overwhelmingly, that you vote for M.

Both voting for McCain or a third-party candidate can be considered as an attempt to do good, either globally or local, either speculatively or practically. I give Zippy more points speculatively, but SDG more points, practically.

If voting for McCain is the start of a slippery-slope on life issues, one must prove that by seeing if a second step would be taken (there has been no step from Bush to McCain, so preliminary data is negative). There is not enough data to make that pronouncement, yet, however. It is known from social psychology that the Hegelian Mambo, as one commenter above put it, on pro-life issues can be prevented if there are enough people who are well-informed and respectable enough to be heard when they speak. If free speech is kept free, the slippery-slope can be prevented. The problem will come, not from pro-life areas, but from free speech areas. It is essential that we elect people who will preserve free speech. This does not look good, at the present time. however. The day criticizing abortion becomes labeled as hate speech will be the real day that pro-life issues will have been lost in the United States. Sadly, this might happen under Obama.

There are two rooms and three choices. This is not a Monty Hall problem. This is real life. Choose B or M and many people will live. Choose O and many more people will die.

I cannot say which a person must choose, B or M, but in no case may they vote for O.

The Chicken

The Chicken

SDG

Dave Mueller: You are of course correct. My point was not that the evil inflicted on the victim of ESCR is less than that inflicted on the victim of partial birth abortion -- it isn't -- but that the disfigurement of human sensibilities necessary to consent to the latter is worse than that necessary to consent to the former.

Chicken: Thank you. I have no rider to add, except that since I agree with you that quixotic voting as well as pragmatic voting can be a positive act I think I should get all the points.

Zippy:

There is a concrete example of the bad effect that supporting McCain has on those who support him. Let he who has ears to hear, hear.

So far I've only said you were confused. Shall I call your comment above a concrete example of the bad effect that supporting quixotic candidates has on those who support them?

Do you similarly invoke malign forces regarding the teaching of the U.S. bishops when they single out partial-birth abortion for bringing our legal system "to the brink of endorsing infanticide" (source)?

Jordanes

Jumping here and there with these comments . . .

Those are certainly grave reasons for choosing a McCain outcome over an Obama outcome.

And in the end the way an individual helps bring about a McCain outcome is by voting for him.

But voting for McCain in the Presidential election, contra mythology, is not "choosing a McCain outcome over an Obama outcome". It is, in its external effects, simply adding one negligible vote to the McCain mandate.

So you say, even though the external effects of a vote are much, much more than the unimportant, insignificant thing you want us to think it is.

And beyond that it has bad effects on the voter himself, and on those around him, which far outweigh any other effects.

By those lights none of us should be driving cars, eating meat, or drinking alcohol. Anyway I find laughable the claim that the allegedly bad effects of a morally good choice are worse than millions of dead babies and scarred adults and the moral subversion of the culture. Those things far outweigh any bad effects that might result from the good action of casting a vote to try to prevent Obama from taking power.

I haven't seen any reason to think that you've so much as addressed my core argument, let alone undermined it.

All we can do is address the comments you make. If those comments don't include your core argument, then you'll have to state your position more clearly and accurately. What we know is that the Church says that one may, in the presence of grave proportionate reasons, vote for a candidate who favors an intrinsic evil, and we know that in your opinion the horrendous things Obama has vowed to do do not constitute grave proportionate reasons to vote for McCain, who has more or less vowed not to change the status quo on abortion. You have not supported your assertion that McCain is not sufficiently different from Obama to make a vote for McCain anything but an objectively evil act. But that doesn't surprise me, since it's not possible to support that assertion. In my opinion, anyone who can't see the difference between McCain and Obama in this matter really had best stay home on election day and leave the voting to better informed and more prudent citizens.

McCain supports murdering and cannibalizing some unborn innocents. Obama supports murdering and cannibalizing a broader category of innocents. The choice between them is effectively the same, as a moral matter, as the choice between a candidate who supports first term abortions and a candidate who supports full term abortions.

And John Paul II said it can be acceptable to support stopgap provisions that limit the evil of abortion or roll it back somewhat.

Anyway, since you have decided on a course of action that will do nothing to prevent a situation far, far worse than what we have now -- and we can expect that little would change for better or worse on the pro-life front (at least in the short term) if McCain is elected -- it kind of dilutes the power of your concern about supporting a candidate whose pro-life views are morally compromised. If you want to help end abortion, or at least help things from getting even worse than they already are, why do you want to take an action that won't do a thing to prevent things from getting a whole lot worse as they will if Obama becomes president? Especially when the Church, if not your conscience, allows us to vote for an imperfect candidate like McCain?

If someone is arguing, "look, we're just buying time with McCain and then we will find a way to break the cycle", then I'm almost sold. Unfortunately that's not the case from the McCain drum-bangers. It's more like a hostage situation, "Vote for McCain, or the pro-life movement gets it and it will be your fault!"

I don't see the two as necessarily exclusive. When it comes to voting for candidates like Reagan, Bush, or McCain, given the messed up culture we live in, all we're doing is trying to buy more time, trying to nudge things in the right direction. It's all we can do. Now, we are certain that the pro-life movement will suffer dramatic setbacks if Obama is elected -- we know what he has promised, we know how he has voted in the past, we know the Democrats' platform, we know the abortion industry and he are close allies, we know FOCA is waiting in the wings, and we know what Billyboy did in 1992 on the first day of his official occupancy of the Oval Office -- and we know there is at this time only one viable way to prevent his election. But voting third-party in this case is not a sin, because it's not a vote for Obama -- but it is imprudent. So one would be at fault in the sense that one would be making a mistake, albeit an honest mistake -- not in the sense that one would be guilty of sin.

J.R. Stoodley

I've been struggling with these issues too, and for a time there was seriously considering third party candidates. Ultimately, though, I've decided to hold my nose and vote for McCain.

I think the idea of moral certainty can play a role here. We don't have absolute certainty that Chuck Baldwin or Alan Keeys or any other third party candidate will loose, but we have moral certainty, certainty strong enough to act on as if it were definite, that they will. We may lament that fact, but America will likely have a two-party system as long as the current form of government persists. Switch to a parliamentary system or ammend the constitution in other ways and that could change. Meanwhile, we can have moral certainty that either Obama or McCain will win. Additionally, we have a moral responsibility to vote unless the government is so corrupt or something that it would legitimize a boycott of the elections. In my opinion, a boycott of the elections would only be valid if the electoral system itself were fixed, so voting would only be legitimizing fake elections. So, we have a responsibility to vote and moral certainty that either a certain bad candidate or a certain worse candidate will win. With this choice, hellish though it may be, we must hope that the bad candidate is the one to win the election. This means we must hope more people vote for the bad candidate, which means as SDG noted that we should do so as well.

J.R. Stoodley

Woops, sorry for misspelling Alan Keyes' name. Typo.

SDG

Incidentally, Zippy, I can say with confidence that my comments about "cannibalizing a bouquet of cells" in relation to aborting a three-month fetus are not in fact some malign side effect of my supporting McCain. My views in this regard have roots in my thought extending long before I attained majority and the right to vote, beginning with reading Catholic pro-life literature in seventh grade.

And, really, I suspect that the factors influencing your willingness to ascribe what you see as problems in other people's thought to the morally deleterious effects of political actions you disagree with probably antedate the present election as well. So I don't really ascribe it to your quixotic activism.

David L.

First of all, I live in Illinois which Obama will carry anyway by large majorities. Second there are few toss up states anymore. By all conventional polling Obama will win easily for the simple reason that the Republican Party doesn't deserve a third term in the White House. A party that gave us Iraq and the Economic Collapse deserves to go the way of the Whig Party! To that extent it is worthwhile to support Chuck Baldwin in every state where he is on the ballot. That's why I voted for Baldwin on Monday when Early Voting opened up in Illinois. You want to vote for a psychopath, which is what McCain is, feel free. His ship is sunk and perhaps we can build on the ruin of his misguided campaign an authentic conservative movement in this country. The Constitution Party is a good place to start!

bill912

"You want to vote for a psychopath, which is what McCain is, feel free."

Some people have their own way of telling others not to take them seriously.

SDG

That's why I voted for Baldwin on Monday when Early Voting opened up in Illinois. You want to vote for a psychopath, which is what McCain is, feel free. His ship is sunk and perhaps we can build on the ruin of his misguided campaign an authentic conservative movement in this country. The Constitution Party is a good place to start!

If "authentic conservatism" means considering threats to "national sovereignty" as more important than abortion and same-sex marriage, I have no interest in "authentic conservatism."

Also, if, in some future decades from now, there were a Constitution Party that could mount a credible bid on the White House, it would be a party bought and paid for, just like the GOP and the Dems.

Also, bearing false witness is bad for your soul. "Psychopath" is a serious word. There are lots of people I think deserve to be called a good many deplorable names that do not deserve that one: Barack Obama, Bill Maher, Nancy Pelosi, Fred Phelps, John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Christopher Hitchens, and Jack Chick to name a few.

McCain has personality issues, and his personal life certainly has problems. There is also a lot to admire and appreciate about him, however much one may disagree with him on given issues -- as most of his opponents acknowledge.

Anyone is free to disagree with this assessment. However, people who throw around words like "psychopath" are, as bill912 indicates, saying more about themselves than about the target of their ire.

Jordanes

Hopefully most Baldwin supporters aren't cut from the same cloth as David L. Not even a Libertarian deserves such supporters.

You know, David, since you're from Illinois, you can safely vote third party since, barring divine intervention, Illinois' electoral votes are going to Obama. Vote your conscience. Just don't work to undermine the efforts of other people to prevent Obama's victory.

By the way, the economy has been hurting McCain pretty bad in the polls -- no surprise, since most people are uninformed and shortsighted and the slave of their passions, and reflexively blame the party in power for economic problems, regardless of who is really to blame. Still, the polls in recent days have been much more encouraging, with a couple of the most accurate polls showing McCain only 2 or 3 points behind Obama at the national level, and McCain regaining lost ground in Ohio and Florida. Obama still has the advantage, but the race isn't over yet, and Catholics should all be daily asking St. Michael to fight for us so Obama won't be elected. This nation deserves an Obama presidency and worse, but we desperately need God's infinite mercy and I hope we can be spared His fearful justice.

Jordanes

Duh. For the past few days I've been mashing Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party, together with Bob Barr, Libertarian Party. It's hard to keep all these unimportant third-party candidates straight, especially when their last names both start with "Ba."

Feeling pretty sheepish now . . . .

elijio

A problem I see is that it seems we're being discouraged from voting third party. What if we didn't rely on CNN or Fox News only to tell us who the candidates are? What if Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin or Ralph Nader were on the tube each time you turned it on and not Obama and McCain? There's nothing wrong with knowing that it is not only these 2 running for president or anything wrong in supporting them. The problem is that we let the mainstream media decide for us on who to vote for and if they come across as ''crackpots'' it's because the mainstream media makes them appear as such. They did this to Ron Paul, whom I supported, and now have him on for his knowledge of economics.
We sometimes forget that McCain voted for a Bush war that has killed more innocent people if not equal to the number of abortions per year in the U.S.! The fear I have is that he will do it again at the drop of a hat and spread the terror onto Iran who, by the way, has a very large Jewish community as well as Christians never threatened by the president of Iran while Israel continues to kill Palestinians everyday! Israel is supported by both Obama and McCain and as our ''best ally'' I have yet to hear of how many Israeli troops are in Iraq or Afghanistan.

My priest said during his homily tonight at mass that we should educate ourselves before we vote. I couldn't agree more but I would add that if we continue to rely on Fox and CNN only for our education and not research for ourselves, we will quickly be misled into another unjust war with another million innocent lives lost by the horrific and careless decisions by a President John McCain. At least Obama says he'll end it!
I will not vote this year for a president since I have known that Obama was picked way back in 2004 for this moment. He will be the next president, regardless. Our votes may work locally but when it comes to the system we use, The Electoral College, it is often fixed as were the last 2 elections.
We shouldn't be discouraged to vote for an independent party, though, no matter what I say. If we all voted Catholic as Tim Staples once said, ''we could change the direction of this nation!'' If we continue to go along with what the mainstream media wants us to do, then we'll never have politicians who will truly be Catholic! At what point are we going to dig our heels in and make a stand?

Peace.

bill912

"...a Bush war..." Uh-huh.

"...that has killed more innocent people if not equal to the number of abortions per year in the U.S.!" Right.

Jordanes

What if Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin or Ralph Nader were on the tube each time you turned it on and not Obama and McCain? There's nothing wrong with knowing that it is not only these 2 running for president or anything wrong in supporting them. The problem is that we let the mainstream media decide for us on who to vote for and if they come across as ''crackpots'' it's because the mainstream media makes them appear as such.

The main reason they seem to be out of the mainstream is because they're out of the mainstream (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and can be a strong point in a candidate's favor). But another reason Nader, Paul, and Barr (almost typed Baldwin again!!!) have come across as crackpots is because they've at times said crackpotty things.

We sometimes forget that McCain voted for a Bush war that has killed more innocent people if not equal to the number of abortions per year in the U.S.!

I doubt it's been that many, and anyway there's a difference between intentionally killing unborn children and unintentionally killing civilians during a war: and let's keep in mind that a large number of those civilans were killed by the enemy, not by the coalition forces.

The fear I have is that he will do it again at the drop of a hat and spread the terror onto Iran

I find that highly unlikely. It wouldn't be possible unless and until we can pull sufficient troops out of either Iraq or Afghanistan, since we're already overextended. Of course they could reinstate the draft, but that's also highly unlikely. The government is also unable to finance any more wars: we can't even finance the two we're fighting right now. So the fears and dire predictions that have been made for the past several years that we're about to invade Iran are unrealistic.

who, by the way, has a very large Jewish community as well as Christians never threatened by the president of Iran

You are not informed about how Iran Muslims treat their Dhimmis, and what about Iran's death penalty for those who convert to Christianity?

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=50000030

http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=1.0.2506722237

while Israel continues to kill Palestinians everyday!

And Palestinians continue to kill Israelis and Palestinians every day.

Israel is supported by both Obama and McCain and as our ''best ally'' I have yet to hear of how many Israeli troops are in Iraq or Afghanistan.

You think the Shiite Muslims government of Iraq would let a single Israeli troop on their soil as a coaltion force member?

My priest said during his homily tonight at mass that we should educate ourselves before we vote. I couldn't agree more but I would add that if we continue to rely on Fox and CNN only for our education

I don't watch Fox or CNN. I watch very little television. T.v. news has never been very informative, and now it is blatantly, all but openly, partisan.

and not research for ourselves, we will quickly be misled into another unjust war with another million innocent lives lost by the horrific and careless decisions by a President John McCain. At least Obama says he'll end it!

"Said" he'll end it. He's not really saying that any more, since he has to sound like he knows something about being a Commander in Chief. Not that what he says about Iraq is worth anything: if he's elected, events in Iraq will determine if or when he can bring America's troops home.

I'm more inclined to trust McCain than either Obama or Bush when it comes to strategic military decisions. Horrific and careless decisions would very likely be made by Obama. I'm not worried about McCain on that front. It's his cluelessness on economic matters, and most serious of all, his moral confusion on life issues, that bother me about him.

Dan Hunter

As Catholics our ONLY options to vote for are Chuck Baldwin or Ambassador Keyes.

Jordanes

Or Senator McCain, or we can write in our own names, or we can stay home and not vote at all.

Zippy

I can say with confidence that my comments about "cannibalizing a bouquet of cells" in relation to aborting a three-month fetus are not in fact some malign side effect of my supporting McCain. My views in this regard have roots in my thought extending long before I attained majority and the right to vote, beginning with reading Catholic pro-life literature in seventh grade.

(1) Callousness with respect to McCain's brand of murdering the innocent, and (2) voting for McCain, are birds of a feather. See also Lydia McGrew's excellent post here. It isn't that the one is clear cause and the other is clear effect following from that cause. Democratic elections are our civic ritual: how we vote and how we think about voting and politics has a dramatic effect on us, and on the people around us (including our children), etc. It isn't that acts of voting are meaningless in general: it is that they have a far more profound effect on us, and by extension on the little circles where we actually do have some influence, than they do on the outcomes of national elections. Voting is our expression of political will, a civic ritual which makes compromisers-with-evil out of all of us; and when those compromises involve murdering the innocent, which is so radically opposed to the common good that it directly contradicts legitimate political will (see Evangelium Vitae), it damages us as people: it damages us as people to a much greater extent than it has influence over the outcome in a national election. You don't think it is pertinent to your writing. I think you are a good man, but your writing on this subject is a poster child for it.

Lex orandi, lex credendi. I would think that Catholics would understand this in a way that the general population does not.

And by the way, Evangelium Vitae makes a different argument than you do in the following sense: the encyclical argues that murdering a living child which does not even have the defense of crying out and expressing pain to his murderer is more grave than other kinds of murder. Throw in the fact that it is done for the purpose of cannibalizing their little bodies, and ESCR is more gravely evil than infanticide. In the case of infanticide, the innocents murdered have the defensive weapon of appeal to the sympathy of all of the rest of us, and even of their would-be murderers. The victims of ESCR don't even have the sympathy of many good and orthodox Catholics, to all appearances. Why? Because facing the gravity of what it all really means would make support for McCain, knowing that you aren't personally going to change the outcome anyway, intolerable to all but the most callous of consciences.

Dave Mueller

Zippy,

So murdering a human being that can't feel pain is worse than murdering one that can feel pain? That seems like some torturous logic to me. Plus, you think that there is no way to murder an infant such that it doesn't have time to cry out? I think you are interpreting the evidence to suit your position.

Look, I don't like the fact that McCain supports (limited) ESCR any more than you do. With McCain, however, he has shown preference to other kinds of SCR, which are licit, unlike Obama, who wants full steam ahead on the ESCR front ONLY. Unfortunately, given the candidate's positions and the FACT that one of them is going to win, it looks like we are stuck with ESCR to some extent. We can still influence how extensive the practice will be, and vote to eliminate other evils by voting McCain.

elijio,
If you look at the website www.iraqbodycount.org, you will see that the amount of people killed in Iraq is, at most, equal to the number of babies killed in a MONTH by abortion in the U.S. You can't compare it directly anyway.

Dan Hunter,
If you are unwilling to engage the arguments being made and make some counterarguments of your own, which Zippy is at least trying to do, then why bother posting?? "One can only vote for Baldwin and Keyes, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah" doesn't do much to impress anyone.

Dave Mueller

Also, and I don't think anyone has brought this point up before, even though I want to state UP FRONT that this consideration by no means excuses McCain's ESCR position, we need to realize that the only embryos McCain favors "cannibalizing" are the leftover IVF embryos. He does not favor the creation of ANY new embryos.

Now these "leftover" IVF embryos are in a very precarious position as it is. They are frozen. Their only chance to have any kind of further life is to be implanted in a woman's womb. This process has about a 30% success rate. It is unknown how long they can retain viability in a frozen state. There are about 400,000 of these embryos and nowhere near that demand for their implantation. So, these poor human beings are already in a very dire situation. We should try our best to save them, but the truth is that the solid majority of them cannot really be saved. As we know, they should never have been created in this way in the first place.

This is no consideration against the objective evil of the positions of McCain and Obama, but it is a fact to be assessed in weighing the scales of possible outcomes for these embryos.

SDG

Callousness

Zippy, you have no call to be making such moral judgments against me. I deplore the evil of ESCR. It is a direct violation of the fifth commandment. I make no excuses for anything or anyone. I repudiate and deny any suggestion of "callousness" in fact or in expression and I remonstrate in sadness with any fellow Catholic who presumes to render such a judgment against me. This is not the charity and fear and trembling to which we are called.

Zippy

...you have no call to be making such moral judgments against me.

To the contrary, I am required to remonstrate moral error of such gravity - in your writing, which, not your person, is the object of my judgment - when I see it.

Dan Hunter

Dan Hunter,
If you are unwilling to engage the arguments being made and make some counterarguments of your own, which Zippy is at least trying to do, then why bother posting?? "One can only vote for Baldwin and Keyes, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah" doesn't do much to impress anyone.

I could not give a fat rats ass about trying to impress anybody.
I am just stating the truth.

God bless you

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