Thursday, September 18, 2008

Einstein's theory of insanity revisited

Of all the election analysis pieces I've read this one hits the nail on the head. It is over on Godspy written by Angelo Matera, and is called The Democrats are Blowing the Election—and the Catholic Vote. It begins:

"The best thing about how the Democratic Party is kicking away what should be an easy victory in the November presidential election is that it might force them to finally reassess their support for abortion and gay marriage, positions that are unpopular with working class voters, their natural constituency. A subplot here is how the Dems were actually making inroads among faithful Catholics fed up with George Bush—until Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden opened their mouths in public about Catholic moral theology."
I thought that a lesson had been learned in 2006 when so many socially conservative Democrats won House seats in what had been Republican districts. I was wrong. The arguments that, rightly, have failed to convince a majority of voting citizens before are still failing to convince. You cannot deprive people of fundmental rights, like their right to life, without which no other right has much meaning, by exalting another person's choice and at the same time invent new "rights", like any two consenting adults (why not three or more?) in an arrangement can be "married". This is not irony. It is absurdity, irrationality.

The state has always seen marriage as something that, because of concern for the common good and recognizing that marriage pre-dates the state, is regulated to conform to its true nature. The family is the first society. Hence, it is the backbone of society. One does not have to be a social scientist to understand that the demise of the family, of fatherhood in particular, is a root cause of many of our society's ills. So, for the government to ignore the common good and common sense on this matter is inexcusable. It is taken for granted, not only in our federal constitution, but all state constitutions, that marriage is between one man and one woman. Look at all the hubub that resulted from Utah becoming a territory, even while the LDS practiced plural marriage. They had to renounce the practice to be admitted to the union. There are also laws against incest and marrying within certain degrees of consanguinuity, laws that require mental competency in order to get married, etc. To wit: if a so-called "right" does not and cannot be extended to all human beings, it is not a human right.

People are smarter and more moral than to fall for such specious reasoning, even if they have to concede a number of other important points. How can you keep your morality personal and private in the face of reality? Does morality have no bearing on our life together? It is not a question as to whose morals, we have a pretty far-reaching societal consensus on marriage and a majority of people, while they would not take the full-blown Catholic view on abortion, do not favor abortion on demand.

I am always happy to give credit where it is due; the Republicans have remained pretty rock-solid on abortion and marriage and, to a larger extent than the Democrats, on the creation/harvesting of fetal stem cells. Sen. McCain supports the latter, which is inconsistent with his long-time opposition to abortion.

UPDATE: Matera is hugely wrong when he writes that in the areas of the economy and foreign policy the Democrats are offering the same as the Republicans. Last week, in response to an article in the WSJ by Fouad Ajami, I posted "The Foreign Policy Difference," in which I agreed with Ajami that the two candidates could not be more different from one another. I disagreed with him about McCain's foreign policy, which is an extension of the failed policies of Pres. Bush, being the superior of the two. I think many people, perhaps a majority given the past eight years, favor the Democrats when it comes to these matters. Nonetheless, for morally serious voters, despite their misgivings about the Republicans' pro-business bent and American exceptionalism when it comes to international relations, the proportionality does not add up.


  1. The line in the article that strikes me most:

    What the Democrats don’t understand is that when they focus on the Catholic voter who supports a Democrat despite their support for abortion—a “prudential” choice that is allowed, based on the U.S, bishops document on politics and the common good—they can win some Catholics over, thanks to Republican policies on war and the economy that don’t square with Catholic social teaching (although I’m not convinced the Dems offer anything different)

  2. Giving credit where it is due extends to both sides. To wit: there are stark differences between Republicans and Democrats on both foreign policy and the economy. Dems are far more realistic about capitalism run amok than are Republicans. Hence, they have no problem regulating instead of de-regulating, which is what led us into our current crisis.

    I don't think it would be possible in our two-party system to have a more stark choice on foreign policy. I think Ajami, writing in the WSJ did a good job of pointing that how fundamentally different the approaches of the two candidates are. I have a post over on Cahiers about that article, which I linked to from Paper Clippings. All is not one; atman is not brahmin.


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