Harry Potter and the Vote for the NARAL Candidate

May 21, 2008 § 41 Comments

A reader asked me via email about the Doug Kmiec kerfuffle. I have to plead a combination of ignorance and ambivalence on the subject: I simply haven’t studied the matter closely enough to be able to address it as a particular matter. I do expect that denying him Communion was a misapplication of Canon Law.

However, an interesting and more general question is raised by the hubbub. Clearly it is abstractly possible for a Catholic to vote for Barack Obama without formally supporting his abortion platform. But abstract possibility and actual possibility are not the same thing. It is abstractly possible for this world to be a Harry Potter world: for example, it is abstractly possible for things to appear and disappear at my command. The thing is, though, that in this actual world, they don’t.

And it is upon precisely this kind of actual impossibility, as distinguished from abstract impossibility, that the Catholic doctrine of intrinsic immorality and formal cooperation with evil rests.

Let me explain.

One way to describe an intrinsically immoral act is as an objective behavior (object) which it is actually impossible for a fully informed person to choose with a right intention. He may claim the conceivability of the contrary, and the contrary may indeed be conceivable, that is, abstractly possible in much the same way that a Harry Potter world is abstractly possible. But it isn’t actually possible for him to choose that behavior with a fully informed good will.

Formal cooperation with evil is a broader category of acts which, as I understand it, includes intrinsically immoral acts but also other acts besides: to formally cooperate with evil is to do anything whatsoever with a wrong intention.

And yes, ignorance can excuse partially or even (in the case of invincible ignorance) completely the culpability for an evil act. But an evil act remains an evil act even when the imputability of its evil to the acting subject is in doubt: as Pope John Paul II tells us, and I’ve repeated many times, “It is possible that the evil done as the result of invincible ignorance or a non-culpable error of judgment may not be imputable to the agent; but even in this case it does not cease to be an evil, a disorder in relation to the truth about the good.

The point, for my purposes here, is that formal cooperation with evil and intrinsic evil rest on an actual connection between a morally good, fully informed will and particular objective behaviors. That is, they rest on the fact that in actuality one simply cannot choose an intrinsically immoral behavior (either directly or by proxy) with a fully informed and morally good will. In particular, avoidance of intrinsic evil and formal cooperation with evil does not rest on the mere conceivability or abstract possibility of having a good will under the circumstances: it does not rest on a fundamental option disconnected from an actual concrete choice in the actual world we live in.

Now I can conceive the abstract possibility of voting for Obama without intending his NARAL agenda (recalling that to intend something is to make it an object of choice, not to want it: we choose things while wishing we did not have to choose them every day). I can conceive that because God gave me the gift of a very powerful and creative imagination.

But I have a much more difficult time conceiving of it as an actual possibility.

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§ 41 Responses to Harry Potter and the Vote for the NARAL Candidate

  • discalcedyooper says:

    You could told the reader (Mr. Shea in turn links to me) that he should never question my judgement and you are slightly disappointed that he did. 😀 *chuckle*On the actual point of your piece, I think it depends on 2nd and 3rd order reasoning that necessarily opens itself up to other intentions. When evaluating the salpingectomy, we don’t work from the baby died from lack of nourishment, the lack of nourishment was caused by removing the fallopian tube (no, I don’t mean umbilical cord), removing the tube was the action of the doctor, therefore the mother chose to kill her child. The action necessarily must have form and the intention must necessarily be tied to that action. (I’m curious if moral theology by chance has a concept similar to the computer programming concept of atomization.) While voting is certainly a way one could futher abortion, abortion isn’t necessarily furthered or diminished by voting. A particular instance of voting could prudentially be argued to do so, and I’m meaning prudentially in the proper sense. Like salpingectomy, I think voting is accessible to double effect.

  • zippy says:

    <>…that he should never question my judgement and you are slightly disappointed that he did.<>YOW!🙂<>Like salpingectomy, I think voting is accessible to double effect.<>I’ve long had conflicting intuitions on the matter, and I haven’t resolved them. But what I hope to at least tease out in the current post, in my usual conflict-avoiding style, is that the resolution (whatever it may be) depends on the actual concrete nature of things (including ourselves as acting human subjects), and <>not<> on abstract claims about (for example) <>conceivable<> states of the will. What we are dealing with is like gravity itself acting on real objects, not some mathematics which describes it, if you will. Pointing out that the stone falling up is consistent with the equations of General Relativity isn’t the kind of argument that applies — reality and logic are distinct, the former conforming to the latter but far more limited in its scope of ‘possibility’.

  • discalcedyooper says:

    I agree we need to move away from create-our-own-reality kind of evaluations. For my part I have stated that Senator Obama is pro-abortion and his election is not a positive for the pro-life movement. The extent to which he would harm the movement I think has been grossly exagerrated. I have come out against people and organizations that try to minimize his actual positions though. This is an area where leadership from the bishops would come in handy. Unfortunately agreement on course of action tends to be a prerequisite of leadership.

  • zippy says:

    <>The extent to which he would harm the movement I think has been grossly exagerrated.<>Well, that is a whole ‘nother subject. I’d tend to look at it the other way around: not at what harm Obama can do to the pro-life movement, but what harm the pro-life movement does to itself (and individual pro-lifers do to themselves) by supporting Obama.

  • William Luse says:

    <>Clearly it is *abstractly* possible for a Catholic to vote for Barack Obama without formally supporting his abortion platform.<>Really, really abstractly. The degree of Obama’s support for the abortion liberty is literally bloodthirsty. Christians who support him are saying that, abstractly, they’re against abortion but that, really, they <>don’t care<>.

  • discalcedyooper says:

    As if a vote for McCain was some sort an act of pro-life solidarity. And it really is hard to construe a vote against both as anything other than an act of indifference toward either candidate, because one of them will win. It is like the classic moral scenario of an out of control train and one fork will kill 5 and the other will kill one. The nature of driving a train isn’t killing people, and one dearly hopes the nature of voting isn’t killing people, although I have my doubts amongst the McCain supporters. I would much prefer someone other than Obama be elected, except McCain. Those are the choices, and considering so many of my blood thirsty nuke-the-Middle-East Republican friends are trying to put McCain in office, I’m going to do my best to keep him from getting there and hopefully save a million Iranians the horrors of being liberated like Iraq.

  • zippy says:

    <>And it really is hard to construe a vote against both as anything other than an act of indifference toward either candidate, …<>I think people actually believe that when they say it; though why they believe it is a complete mystery to me.

  • discalcedyooper says:

    Why? I think you used the example of voting between Hitler and Stalin. In that case I would be closer to indifferent on who was chosen. To quote the great Canadian band Rush, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choose.” Perhaps you can elucidate on what positive action one takes by not voting for either of the two candidates competing to win the Presidency. In fairness and if we are going to maintain that self-delusion over the chosen behavior is not an option, 3rd party candidates are not in any real sense competiting for the presidency.

  • Tom says:

    Zippy:You’re pretty much completely wrong here.Or, less judgmentally, you contradict pretty much everything everyone — moral theologians, bishops, bishops’ conferences[, and I think popes] — has ever written about voting and cooperation with evil.

  • JohnMcG says:

    But if we’re looking at reality, don’t we also have to consider that electing Republicans has had litte to no impact on abortion policy, and a large impact on war policy?I don’t think there’s much danger of the “pro-life movement” supporting Obama; he’s not getting ALL’s endorsement. But individuals may support Obama, is that what you’re concerned about?My suspicion is that the danger is less when that support is with eyes wide open — someone who goes in declaring his distaste for Obama’s position on abortion is not likely to be seduced into taking it on.We’ve seen in the last year how many people’s support for Bush on abortion led them to defend him in other contexts.

  • JohnMcG says:

    I think part of what complicates this is the distance (dare I say “remoteness”) of the act of voting from an actual abortion.If the president were authorized to unilaterally order executions, and a candidate promised that if elected, he would order the execution of innocent person X, it would be hard to see how a vote for that candidate was not a vote to execute X. I know I would not be able to vote for such a candidate, regardless of his position on other issues, including abortion.

  • William Luse says:

    <>And it really is hard to construe a vote against both as anything other than an act of indifference toward either candidate, because one of them will win.<>By “vote against” I assume you mean refraining from voting. And why does it have to be an act of indifference? Why not an act of disgust? If you think McCain’s a moral monster, then don’t vote for either candidate.<>I’m going to do my best to keep him [McCain] from getting there and hopefully save a million Iranians the horrors of being liberated like Iraq.<>So you’ll punish McCain for a war he’s yet to initiate by voting for Obama, who will do <>his<> best to perpetuate a declared war of over 30 years standing, the war against the unborn. This is just another way of saying, re abortion, “I don’t care.”<>..between Hitler and Stalin. In that case I would be closer to indifferent on who was chosen.<>Indifferent? I should think you’d be horrified.

  • zippy says:

    <>You’re pretty much completely wrong here.<>A possibility that anyone who reads my comments should always keep in the forefront of his mind.<>Or, less judgmentally, you contradict pretty much everything everyone — moral theologians, bishops, bishops’ conferences[, and I think popes] — has ever written about voting and cooperation with evil.<>Part of what is interesting about this criticism is that my own commentary was at least in part inspired by < HREF="http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=1073" REL="nofollow">the Archbishop of Denver<>. I think of his approach as a kind of reverse-Rawlsian ‘veil of knowledge’: Rawls’ abstract and deliberate ‘veil of ignorance’ is replaced by us having to concretely face the actual victims of abortion and justify our own personal concrete choice to them; not as an abstract exercise, but as the eschatological reality of the Final Judgement. Precisely what is at issue is abstract possibility versus actual concrete reality.(As an aside, John McG’s < HREF="http://manbitesblog.quiblit.com/index.php/2008/05/20/conversations-with-a-strawman-how-to-explain-it/" REL="nofollow"><>tu quoque<><> on the Archbishop’s point seems to me to have some degree of validity).I would suggest three things: First, I think you overstate the univocity of the Magisterium and moral theologians when it comes to voting.Second, there was a time in history when pretty much the same criticism could have been raised with equal validity had I claimed that Christ is both fully human and fully Divine.Third, my argument wasn’t that theologians and bishops conventionally draw this distinction between abstract possibility and actual possibility in its application to voting. I was making the distinction myself, not re-stating something that someone has already said.That doesn’t invalidate the criticism, mind you, and certainly there are a great many people whom one ought to listen to before consulting a pseudonymous blogger named Zippy. But I don’t think the criticism is dispositive.

  • zippy says:

    <>We’ve seen in the last year how many people’s support for Bush on abortion led them to defend him in other contexts.<>An interesting and I think valid point. How many people have been drawn into or encouraged into formal cooperation with different evils because of their support for Bush on abortion? I don’t know, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the number was nontrivial.<>I think part of what complicates this is the distance (dare I say “remoteness”) of the act of voting from an actual abortion.If the president were authorized to unilaterally order executions, and a candidate promised that if elected, he would order the execution of innocent person X, it would be hard to see how a vote for that candidate was not a vote to execute X. I know I would not be able to vote for such a candidate, regardless of his position on other issues, including abortion.<>And another very interesting point. (Maybe ‘concreteness’ is a better characterization than remoteness?)So for example if a presidential candidate promised that, if elected, he would reverse the executive order prohibiting abortions on foreign-soil military bases, would that be a concrete enough connection to actual abortions to count? It isn’t quite as concrete as <>this<> execution of <>that<> person, but it is the legalization of <>those specific currently illegal abortions<>.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    I’m having a very difficult time wrapping my mind around this abstract possibility that one could vote for Obama, knowing his position not only on abortion but also on protection of born infants who are too young while doing no wrong. Even in the abstract, I’m having a problem with imagining it. I must not have a good enough imagination.But this is probably because of my notion of what a vote is. It has to indicate some degree, in my opinion, of endorsement of the person. That’s what it is in its essence. Yes, I think there is an essence to voting, even though it’s a man-created activity. I think that people who try to treat voting as just pulling levers in a political machine to get a particular outcome are fooling themselves. Various thought experiments help with this. Imagine being a Jewish father and explaining to your 7-year-old why you voted for Hitler. I mean, I don’t care _what_ convoluted set-up we put in place as far as some alternative universe wherein this might actually have good consequence. Imagine trying to explain it to the kid. “See, he wants to murder all of us, but I’ve figured out that by voting for him, I can actually avoid a greater evil…” Or whatever. Now, try that with Obama: “Well, see, honey, he thinks babies should be able to have their brains sucked out and stuff and it’s their mother’s right. But maybe by voting for him I’ll help to prevent a war, and innocent people get killed in war, too, and war is really bad, so really…” Hopefully, at this point, the speaker trails off in shame.Hopefully.

  • zippy says:

    <>I’m having a very difficult time wrapping my mind around this abstract possibility that one could vote for Obama, knowing his position not only on abortion but also on protection of born infants who are too young while doing no wrong.<>Well, by ‘abstract possibility’ I mean the same kind of possibility that applies to me suddenly acquiring the ability to fly around on a broomstick in a way contrary to all of the known laws of physics. The opposite of ‘abstract possibility’ is ‘logically impossible’. I think that a lot of people kid themselves into thinking that because the given reasons are <>not logically impossible<> they have passed the threshold required for ‘possibility’ to obtain; and I am suggesting that in moral reasoning that isn’t the kind of ‘possibility’ which applies.This is related to another theme I harp on with some regularity: that it is possible for a prudential judgement to be objectively wrong. “Prudential judgement” does not a moral license make.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    Well, yes, I know, but still…I mean, I play with silly logical possibilities like that all the time. It’s useful in philosophy, especially when you’re a Cartesian. 🙂 And it’s fun, in a strange and geeky sort of way.So I’m trying to make up a story in which giving the type of endorsement to Obama that I think a vote is, irreducibly, is morally acceptable, and I’m not coming up with a story. Even if he’s going to save the planet or something, it just ain’t right. It would be different if we were imagining his having a real and dramatic change of heart, but I gather that’s not what’s in view.So, yeah, weird though it may sound, I’m saying this: Given who Obama in fact is and that we’re not just attaching the name to some totally different person with different positions, I don’t think it’s logically possible for a pro-life person who knows these things about him to be doing no wrong in voting for him.

  • JohnMcG says:

    It’s probably also true that if Obama were elected he would almost immediately liberalize the rules regarding funding of embryo-destructive research, which may get even closer to my hyopthetical.

  • Tom says:

    Zippy:Your appeal to Archbishop Chaput helps to localize your mistake.Remote material cooperation with evil can be justified if there are proportionate reasons for the cooperation. If there are not proportionate reasons, then remote material cooperation cannot be justified.But remote material cooperation without proportionate reasons does not therefore become formal cooperation. To say that it does is to say that we necessarily intend every foreseeable consequence of our actions, which is to discard the principle of double effect, which is to paralyze us as moral actors.

  • zippy says:

    <>But remote material cooperation without proportionate reasons does not therefore become formal cooperation.<>I didn’t say that it did. I think you may be responding to something I haven’t said.

  • JohnMcG says:

    It may be a useful exercise to identify the level of cooperation for differnt actors in an abortion. For example,* The abortionist* The woman procuring the abortion* The nurses who assist in the abortion* The support staff of the abortion clinic (receptionist, custodial staff, etc.)* Business partners of the abortion clinic (accountant, lawyer, etc.)* Those who donate to Planned Parenthood* The person who pays for the abortion* The friend giving the woman a ride to the abortion clinic.* The cab driver who drives the woman to the abortion clinic as part of the duties of his job.* The bus driver who takes the woman to the abortion clinic as part of his normal route* The politician who votes for a law legalizing abortion.etc.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    It seems to me that it is wrong not only to cooperate in someone’s doing something evil but also to endorse, stand with, and act to promote to high and honorable office a person who stands for what is evil. The actual practical consequences are by no means the only consideration.Zippy’s best comment on this craziness (pro-lifers seriously considering voting for Barack Obama) was on the thread at W4: “This may really be the first postmodern election. Zionists for Hitler.”

  • JohnMcG says:

    IMO, a vote for Obama or McCain for president is a determination that he is the better positioned of the two candidates to carry out the duties of that office at this time in history. This post started out about the actual world that we live in. And in that world, either the president has much more freedom to act on matters of war/peace than on abortion, or the pro-life presidents we have elected have not used their powers. I think the pro-life movement wastes <>far<> too much energy and political capital fighting against pro-choice people receiving “honors.”

  • Tony M says:

    Two points1. Zippy, I was not very satisfied with your exposition of “abstractly possible” versus concretely possible. I don’t think the way you put it helps. For a moral discussion, “abstractly possible” should be limited to an act that is possible in <> this world <> as God created it – in other words with all of the natural laws in place and unchanged – but with different concrete <> contingent <> circumstances than the ones in front of us. I can (partly) imagine a kind of universe in which adultery is not immoral, but in doing so I cannot imagine that universe being this universe regardless of what concrete circumstances I imagine changed in this universe. A moral consideration of what is abstractly possible generally refers to something that could be in this world (under the natural laws as they actually exist) if some circumstances changed. 2. A vote for a person is never JUST a vote for his specific plan of action, or his plan of action and his platform, or even his plan of action, his platform, and his philosophy of life. It is a vote for a person and his character as well. And no person is wholly evil. Further, a vote does not constitute an across-the-board moral support for everything the candidate is, says, and does – it is formally a choice towards someone filling an office, and the office (with its legal, logical, and practical constraints) can never provide an absolute expression of all that the candidate is. It is, therefore, abstractly possible <> in this very world, without dreaming up new natural laws <> to conclude that a certain candidate and good elements of his character and some good portions of his plan of action will do more good for the country than his defects, his plans for bad actions, and all the other voting options will do harm to the country. Thus I cannot see how one can say that a vote for a candidate who also has intrinsically immoral actions in his plan of action must of necessity constitute formal cooperation with the evils in his plan of action. And this is pretty what much what the bishops stated in ’04 in explanations surrounding their voting guide. Generally I would agree with John’s comment that the President can do far more about war/peace than about abortion, except that a single appointment to the Supreme Court can have vast effect on the abortion situation. Right now, depending on the abortion case, a likely vote would be 4-4 with 1 possibly going either way. It’s balanced on a knife’s edge. So one appointment may have an incredible effect. On the current topic, a person might say that Obama’s abortion policy will increase abortions only slightly more than McCain’s and his other policies will reduce immoral warfare FAR more than McCain’s. I personally don’t agree with that line of thinking, but it is possible. I detest a share of McCain’s policies, but don’t see Obama as being better in any way that matters (detestable about other issues than McCain). I have considered voting for a third candidate like Ron Paul, but frankly, while many of his policies are quite good, I don’t think his grasp of the office of President and the Constitutional framework is sound. So, do I vote for someone doesn’t <> get it <> regarding the very office I am voting him into, or someone who has certain policies which are detestable? Is one of these an <> immoral <> choice as opposed to merely an imprudent one? I don’t think so.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    John McG says, “I think the pro-life movement wastes far too much energy and political capital fighting against pro-choice people receiving ‘honors.'”I disagree profoundly. We should worry about that more. I think we waste far too much energy worrying about mere practicalities instead of keeping our eyes focused clearly on the importance of incarnate symbols–like political office, for example.That I should see the day when so-called pro-life conservatives are considering voting for a candidate the likes of Barack Obama. I swear, it disgusts me so much that I cannot even bring myself to write a free-standing blog post on the subject, because it seems to give too much credit to so bizarre a position. And I was getting all geared up last year to write a post on “what is a vote” against the conservative capitulation on Giuliani. Obama is, if anything, worse, and they can’t even prattle about his likely judicial appointments as they tried to do with Giuliani (unconvincing though that was). Is this nonsense what comes from the whole “seamless garment” stuff? I guess you seamless garment Catholics can go join Tony Campolo and the liberal emergent evangelical protestants. What a combination!

  • JohnMcG says:

    Yes, it is part of the “seamless garment” thinking, which I often see mocked but rarely engaged.Right now there are a million abortions a year, we are engaged in a war that is very likely unjust, have been engaging in evil interrogotory tactics, and we are opening the doors to more and more life-destroying research. The momentum for euthanasia and genetic screening continues.But what do I see Catholics getting upset about? Terry McAuliffe claimed he might become a Knight of Malta! A “Catholic” university might give an honorary degree to a Democrat! The bishops aren’t denying communion to this politician!To the outside observer, it would appear that the pro-life movement is more about rear-guard actions and making themselves superior to others than in actually helping the unborn.And that has both symbolic and practical consequences.

  • Tony M says:

    John, just out of curiosity: you say <> we are engaged in a war that is very likely unjust <> Taking that at face value, you appear to accept that there is a real though limited basis to think the war maybe is actually a just war. Given that uncertainty, voting for a person who says he intends to continue the war for a good while would be not automatically supporting an immoral war, and therefore not cooperating with evil as an act of voting, right? What I mean is, as long as there is REAL uncertainty (and I don’t mean the kind of doubt John Kerry has about abortion being wrong in all cases) as to the correct stance on the war, voting in favor of a candidate who is for the war cannot of itself be formal cooperation with evil, can it? (Please note the action in hand is voting, not that of supporting or even choosing the war itself.) I suspect Zippy will come in and say either the war is, in itself, just or not, and therefore support for it is objectively right or not, and thus a vote on the basis of the candidate being in favor or this war must be objectively right or wrong. Maybe the way he is using objectivity he would be right, but (granting the also objective reality of our lack of total information which would clearly resolve the question on the war) a vote is a concrete action that must be made so as to accommodate the voter’s real lack of full data, and therefore his objective incapacity to make a definitive judgment about the war himself – which is why we let leaders make the decision rather than vote on each political choice ourselves. If our notion of “formal cooperation with evil” is such that we are unable to say for sure that voting for candidate A is NOT formal cooperation with evil because we are unsure whether A’s policy in favor of X is definitively an evil policy, then in most elections most of the time we will be unable to vote at all. (Nearly all candidates – Jesus is not yet running for office – have one policy or another that may turn out to be evil, which we could determine if only we knew more.) And yet choosing not to vote is a choice of its own.

  • JohnMcG says:

    My judgement is that the war is unjust. I cannot imagine circumstances or new information that would cause me to alter that judgment. My firmness in holding that belief is sufficient that I can base my deicsion-making on the assumption that it is objectively unjust.Some do not share that judgement, and I cannot claim with metaphysicial certainty that the Church compels faithful Catholics to share that judgement, hence my somewhat weak claim that it “might” be unjust.For my purposes, it <>is<> unjust.

  • JohnMcG says:

    To summarize, for <>me<> to vote for a candidate who would continue the war would be some form of cooperation with an unjust war. I cannot say the same for you.

  • Tom says:

    <>“But remote material cooperation without proportionate reasons does not therefore become formal cooperation.”I didn’t say that it did.<>Oh, dear.Then you’re simply conflating effect, intent, and object — which I now see you’ve done explicitly in writing “to <>intend<> something is to make it an object of choice.”

  • zippy says:

    <>Then you’re simply conflating effect, intent, and object…<>Well, no, I’m not; though my understanding of what <>intent<> means may well be different from yours.

  • zippy says:

    <>Is this nonsense what comes from the whole “seamless garment” stuff?<>It strikes me as more of a ‘who cares if there are seams” garment.

  • Tony M says:

    Johnmcg, Let us suppose as hypothesis that getting into the war was unjust because there was no sufficient jus ad bellum – the basic moral requirements to go to war were lacking. Is it automatically true for a new leader that the ONLY moral approach is to get out of the war immediately? I don’t see that. Even if Bush was unjust in going to war, McCain or Obama will have a different question before him than Bush did: what to do NOW. And the now includes circumstances that didn’t exist then, such as no Iraq government that can keep the peace. I do not presume that the current circumstances demand our continued presence – I am just saying that this is potentially a moral choice even if going into Iraq was wrong. Do you believe going into Afghanistan was wrong?

  • zippy says:

    <>Is it automatically true for a new leader that the ONLY moral approach is to get out of the war immediately? I don’t see that.<>I don’t see that either. I’m baffled by the certainty people seem to have about the matter, because (speaking for myself) I find it intractably difficult; and that even without having done the diligence on it that I would need to do if I were in the unenviable position of having to make any actual decisions. I assume that doing that diligence would produce even greater complexities which need to be dealt with.

  • brandon field says:

    <>I’m baffled by the certainty people seem to have about the matter, because (speaking for myself) I find it intractably difficult;<>Does the question of how to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of unborn children present similar difficulties?

  • zippy says:

    <>Does the question of how to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of unborn children present similar difficulties?<>It does indeed. But the question of whether it should be <>legal<> or <>illegal<> to slaughter millions of unborn children does not. The answer to <>that<> question is perfectly clear.

  • JohnMcG says:

    I don’t know that it’s certain what the moral course of action now in Iraq is, but I’m more certain what the correct course of action in say, Iran is.Electing people who do not acknowledge that the Iraq invasion was a mistake seems likely to leade to more of the same.

  • brandon field says:

    <>But the question of whether it should be <>legal<> or <>illegal<> to slaughter millions of unborn children does not. <>No dispute from this corner. But then the question is whether the question of legality is really in the correct question to be addressing. There are a lot of things that should be [legal|illegal] that are not. This is perhaps the most pressing, but not the only, issue where the American legal code sets itself in opposition to the Natural Law.

  • brandon field says:

    Please note that my comments are directed at the specific text that I copied, not at any of the earlier comments or the body of the original post.

  • Tony M says:

    I too am more certain of the moral course of action with Iran, but not so certain that I feel confident that a candidate should officially <> rule out <> war with Iran – depending on future events. What I am thinking is: Iran is a state which has and continues to sponsor terrorism in a number of other areas, but especially Palestine, Israel, and Lebanon, as well as Iraq. If we had cold, hard, public proof that this continues in a major way, and it were to result in an eruption into full scale war (again) in Lebanon and then spread further, I could see a moral possibility of including Iran in the countries considered to be <> at war<>, one of the active belligerants. This might or might not imply waging war on Iranian soil, but I wouldn’t preclude it. While I agree that a Muslim state calling us Satan, and building nuclear weapons (even against its own international agreements to do so), do not by themselves present a causus belli, state-sponsored terrorism potentially IS a causus belli. I say potentially because it would depend on a concentration of other concerns. Given that Iran is such a sponsoring state, how could one rule out future war as one of the possible avenues for dealing with it?

  • Anonymous says:

    <>I don’t think <>[Ron Paul’s]<> grasp of the office of President and the Constitutional framework is sound<>Ironically, of the current candidates, I think his grasp is the only one that is sound.

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