Monday, October 22, 2012

More On "Lesser Of Two Evils" Voting

Last week I posted a warning to those Christian and pro-life people who are contemplating abstention from the vote (or voting for 3rd-party candidates) because Mitt Romney's pro-life credentials are iffy at best.  Please read it and the two posts to which it links for relevant information, as I won't take the time to rehash everything here.

In one of those posts I outlined the Catholic moral principle of double effect.  In it I outlined how I believe a vote for Romney fulfills the double effect criteria, but also how "3rd-party" or abstention fails that criteria.  I also reiterated that I do not believe that Mitt Romney is the ideal pro-life candidate.  However, when someone asked me if Romney was an acceptable alternative to Obama, I replied that he's the only alternative to Obama.

Two days ago, my colleague at Les Femmes published a letter from a friend of hers, dating back to their days of rescuing at the abortuaries.  I never met the gentleman, but based on Mary Ann's remarks, I'm sure that he's been a dedicated pro-life activist over the years.  She also refers to National Right to Life's endorsement of Mitt Romney as a "pro-life candidate".  For the record, I ceased taking National Right to Life seriously many years ago, owing to their problematic endorsements of some candidates and their snubbing of truly pro-life candidates on the other.

As you read the comments, note the ones from Ray Schneider.  I think he is spot-on.  He brings logic and common sense to the discussion - qualities that regrettably are lacking in Mr. Egger's letter.

As I read the letter, I detect jaded, curmudgeonly cynicism that is all too common in pro-life activists that have been around for a while and have found their efforts undermined by the very institutions that should be supporting them - for example, the government and the church.  As an activist myself, I too have had to battle that affliction; and there have been times when I failed.  That said, while the cynicism is understandable, it cannot be condoned.

I see the cynicism in what I'll call the "self-fulfilling prophesies" peppered throughout the piece.  For example:
  • It matters not which one is President. Nothing will change regarding abortion. Abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy and it will still be no matter which liar is President. Planned Parenthood has been federally funded for decades, regardless of which Party controls Congress or the Presidency, and it will still be federally funded no matter which liar is President.
If we all adopt that sorry attitude, we might as well just forget about electoral efforts altogether and hunker down in our little bomb shelters!  Seriously though, I think we can all admit to uncertainty about Romney as there has been a bit of flip-flopping to say the least.  But we don't know how he'll fare in the White House.  On the other hand, there is no uncertainty whatsoever about Obama, for we've seen what he's done these past four years.  So we have some hopeful uncertainty versus dread certainty.  The path being contemplated by Mr. Eggers will help ensure the latter.

Here's the next paragraph in its entirety:
  • Every four years it's the same old blah, blah, blah, blah - "you must vote for the lesser of two evils or the world will end". How low will we go? Is there anyone with an "R" after their name that we wouldn't vote for? A year ago the pro-life rubes were saying “anybody but Romney” and now he is their darling?
I'll repeat it and this time interject my comments in red.
  • Every four years it's the same old blah, blah, blah, blah - "you must vote for the lesser of two evils [Here we see the Protestant cadard "lesser of two evils".  Not once in these conversations has anyone disputed me in terms of the Principle of Double Effect.  Perhaps they don't know it, given the lousy catechesis we've received.] or the world will end". [Elections do have consequences.  If he's denying the crucial reality of this one, he is deluding himself.]   How low will we go? Is there anyone with an "R" after their name that we wouldn't vote for? [With all due respect, what kind of fool question is that?  In 2000, I was instrumental in giving Connie Morella (R) her sole 3-way race.]   A year ago the pro-life rubes were saying “anybody but Romney” and now he is their darling? [Does Mr. Egger betray here a sense of perspective?  Last year we were in the primary season, when there were candidates that I believe were superior to Romney.  My favorites didn't win.  Shall I pout and stomp off with my toys?  Yes Romney is far superior to Obama - and that's still not saying a whole lot.  That does not make Romney "my darling".]
Here's another,
  • And no, I am not looking for the "perfect" candidate. But I will not vote for a pro-abortion liar like Romney. And I am sick of being told that not voting for Romney is the same as voting for Obama, as if the liar with an (R) after his name is the default vote for a Catholic.
And again with my comments:
  • And no, I am not looking for the "perfect" candidate. But I will not vote for a pro-abortion liar like Romney. And I am sick of being told that not voting for Romney is the same as voting for Obama, [I did post the following in the comments at the other blog, but found them to be ignored: a vote diverted from Romney for whatever reason is one less vote that Obama needs to overcome to win election.  He's "sick" of being told that?  What I said was simple fact.  So why does that make him sick?  This is is quintessential curmudgeonly behavior to the point of being unreasonable.] as if the liar with an (R) after his name is the default vote for a Catholic. [I mean no judgment on Mr Eggers, but his remark here is utterly clueless.  That is not how Catholics vote; this is cynicism, pure and simple.]
In a follow-up comment, he said he'd be staying home if it were not for his 3rd-party pipe-dream.  What??  Are there no other races in Virginia that interest Mr. Eggers?  Again, I think Mr Schneider lends a voice of reason to that discussion.  I caution anyone who is evincing the same angst as is Mr Eggers to please snap out of it immediately.  It is destructive behavior.  Clearly the "3rd party / abstention" stance will accomplish no tangible benefit and will actually prevent it.


  1. Guess I'm going to hell then, cause I ain't voting for that clown. Now he's trying running ads that basically say 'oh no, I'm not THAT pro-life, I believe in birth control and lots of cool exceptions, so vote for me suburban hags.' Screw him.

    1. Pray tell, just what tangible, objective good do you think your proposed course of action will accomplish? If you say you're going to hell, well, those are your words, not mine. We are all answerable to God for our votes.

  2. FYI: Your blog post was included in Tito Edwards's blog round up titled "Obama vs. Romney Debate" on "National Catholic Register" online today!

  3. I think third party voters have double effect covering them - they do not intend to facilitate Obama's election, though their (principled) vote may not forestall that outcome. But what you fail to realize is that Romney is much worse than you think ("health" of the mother covers almost all of the abortions, pro-gay marriage, he's the father of Obamacare (what do you think he'll "replace" it with anyway?), approves the NDAA, is NOT small-government, brags about the test-tube origin of his grandchildren. We're looking at a choice between Hitler (Romney) and Stalin (Obama). (Remember Hitler ran against the Communists - vowed to fight them. Should a German Catholic have deemed him the "lesser of two evils" and voted for Hitler because he would fight communism? (and he was the lesser at that time - in 1932 the Communists were forcing starvation on the Ukrainians, resulting in significant cannibalism, even within families - this is not well known in the US, but the Germans had a sense of the communist threat). It's time to shut down the Republican party when its nominee categorically rejects its platform. Get a clue, both candidates are bought and paid for by the CFR and take their marching orders from the same master. I'm not saying don't vote Romney, just don't demonize those who take things like intrinsic evil seriously. What part of the following statement of Bishop Lori does not apply to Romney - "The question to ask is this: Are any of the candidates of either party, or independents, standing for something that is intrinsically evil, evil no matter what the circumstances? If that’s the case, a Catholic, regardless of his party affiliation, shouldn’t be voting for such a person." So you're the cafeteria Catholic if you apply this statement to Obama but not Mitt "Rape, Incest, Health of the Mother" Romney.

    1. It is not sufficient, under the Double Effect Principle, to examine only the intentions. One must also examine all foreseeable outcomes of actions in question. In this case, I'm examining the actions of either voting 3rd party or not voting at all. Let's be real. This action will contribute (maybe even cause) the reelection of Obama. We can all think of the disasters that will be visited upon this country if that happens. On the other hand, I am at a loss to think of one single good outcome that can result from an Obama win.

      When I bring up that point in various discussions, those who are like-minded to you ignore that consideration. I find that attitude to be both cavalier and utterly disingenuous.

      By the way - your "Hitler vs Stalin" analogy is absolutely silly. When were those two men ever running in the same election?

      As far as me being a "cafeteria Catholic", by the same reasoning, you must be accusing Pope Benedict XVI of the same. I found this quote from Father West of Human Life International: Voting for Romney is not a choice to do evil. It is choosing to do good to limit evil as much as possible. In 1982, Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, wrote a letter to the U.S. Bishops in which he said "...according to the principles of Catholic morality, an action can be considered licit whose object and proximate effect consist in limiting an evil insofar as possible."
      "Thus, when one intervenes in a situation judged evil in order to correct it for the better, and when the action is not evil in itself, such an action should be considered not as the voluntary acceptance of the lesser evil but rather as the effective improvement of the existing situation, even though one remains aware that not all evil present is able to be eliminated for the moment."


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