Laughter in Hell

September 10, 2008 § 45 Comments

That is what I hear when I see, among Catholic McCain supporters, all the minimization (“so he isn’t perfect”) and deafening silence about his relentless support of the medical cannibalism of the innocent in the form of ESCR.

Shame on you. Shame on you all.

Tagged:

§ 45 Responses to Laughter in Hell

  • Ed the Roman says:

    I don’t think his support is relentless. The party’s platform opposes ESCR.

  • Anonymous says:

    Who annointed you bishop? Why hasn’t Pope Benedict, in his prodigious writings, warned us off the perils of voting?

  • Anonymous says:

    Actually, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has advised that it is acceptable to vote for the candidate who is least likely to promote evil. The statement has been quoted to Zippy several times (and I’m sure that he is aware of it) but for whatever reason he won’t respond. Perhaps he doesn’t believe in the teaching authority of Catholic Bishops, but I could be wrong.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    McCain’s support is relentless, Ed. He is not bound to the platform. He has been open and avid on this subject right up until it became politic, during this election, just not to talk about it and/or to issue coy statements to the effect that he “hopes it will be academic.” That’s it. The guy has been a major ESCR booster. I don’t know where you’ve been all these years.

  • Scott says:

    <>The statement has been quoted to Zippy several times<>By all means, advance arguments that McCain is “less likely to advance sucha morally flawed position and morelikely to pursue other authentichuman goods.”But don’t forget the statement preceding that (and the one Zippy’s entry is getting at to my mind):<>35. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptableposition may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not toadvance narrow interests or partisan preferences <>or to ignore a fundamentalmoral evil.<><>

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    I think that the broader picture here actually lends support to Zippy’s position, as well. McCain has been strongly anti-conservative for many years. One of the most telling pieces of info. to come out during the primary was from Rick Santorum. He said that whenever a vote came up in the Senate on any conservative subject, not just stem-cell research but abortion or anything like that, McCain was always in the forefront trying to delay the vote. He wants the perks now of having had a “pro-life voting record” (oh, if you leave out the ESCR votes), but even that was in a sense forced upon him. This is not a person who is hovering on the edge of figuring out the truth on just one remaining issue. This is a cynical politician who has _never_ liked social conservatives, has fought them tooth and nail for years, and now wants their votes. He isn’t going to change his mind on ESCR. He doesn’t even think it’s important that he do so. He _may_ not sign legislation funding it, but even if so, it will be for no principled reason at all, and he’s leaving everyone to guess what he’ll do. If we act like he’s a deeply conscientious guy who is thinkng about all these things, cares about the pro-life cause, and is really on the right side of a whole bunch of other issues and is wrong on this one thing, we _might_ have some hope of his being convinced of the truth here too, though even then he would need to hurry up and get convinced before the election. But it isn’t that way at all.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think you’re wrong about this Zippy, per anonymous at 11:11am, and that’s what makes the topic so interesting and prompts this comment. For someone so intelligent to be wrong is like seeing a cow jump over the moon. But then being right is not simply a function of intelligence.

  • zippy says:

    <>Who annointed you bishop? Why hasn’t Pope Benedict, in his prodigious writings, warned us off the perils of voting?<>This post isn’t about disagreement with my take on voting. It is about the shameful way that many Catholic McCain supporters ignore, minimize, and make excuses for his relentless support of ESCR.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,<>Actually, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has advised that it is acceptable to vote for the candidate who is least likely to promote evil. The statement has been quoted to Zippy several times (and I’m sure that he is aware of it) but for whatever reason he won’t respond. Perhaps he doesn’t believe in the teaching authority of Catholic Bishops, but I could be wrong.<>This is “e.” (so as to distinguish myself from the anonymous above, if that is actually possible — although I am hoping it is with your administrator capability).I would like to re-visit this point as well.Aside from what’s been said by the anonymous above, there is also a statement you made in an earlier posting some months ago where a voter cannot be held responsible for what the candidate <>might<> do upon becoming president.However, it is clear that Obama will unleash incredible Pro-Abort policies that may permanently damage the Pro-Life movement but, even worse than this, result in such an incredible casualty of human lives, exponentially worse than the current 4,000 abortions/day count.Now, are you really intent on allowing the (not even a question of “if”) murders under Obama just because of what McCain <>might<> do as far as ESCR is concerned, especially given what LIFE NEWS itself has said about the matter?

  • SteveG says:

    <>This post isn’t about disagreement with my take on voting. It is about the shameful way that many Catholic McCain supporters ignore, minimize, and make excuses for his relentless support of ESCR.<>For me at least, I don’t minimize this at all, but I have to say that I am agonizing over this election.I don’t particularly like McCain and I am ‘leaning’ toward not voting, or voting third party (If I can find one that is palatable). My problem is that I am truly fearful about the prospect of an Obama presidency.I have no intention of voting FOR McCain, but I keep pondering the idea of voting against Obama. And being in a swing county, in one of the swingiest of states makes the talk of my vote being of negligible importance ring totally hollow.Zippy, are you saying that voting McCain in this scenario is objectively sinful, or that you have concluded it’s sindful for you and disagree with it as an approach to analyzing the election.I am asking sincerely, because I honestly don’t know what to do this election and am trying to work through that.

  • Tim J. says:

    I’m thinking of volunteering down at the local GOP headquarters – just so down the road I might have a bit more of a voice when it comes to issues like ESCR and Iran.The Dems have, for all practical purposes, gone over the edge, but the GOP is in no position to brag, as they are in deep moral peril, as well. The only chance that I see of influencing the direction of the process is by (*urk*) joining it.

  • zippy says:

    SteveG:I can try to summarize my view again, if it is helpful.In general there are two kinds of voting: for the sake of discussion we can label them tactical voting and conscience voting. Conscience voting is the easy kind: when you can vote for a person or law with no qualms. Tactical voting is when a vote involves a deliberate choice to materially cooperate with evil, and as such must be justified under double effect if one is to do it licitly.One of the criteria for double effect is that one must have a <>proportionate reason<> for performing the act which materially cooperates with evil. And part of the requirement for a proportionate reason is that the act must actually be efficacious in bringing about the proposed good effect. (We can see this in the Just War doctrine, which is an applied subcategory of double-effect: in order to be just, a decision to wage war must have a <>reasonable chance of success<>).Now as a legislator in a legislative body, or a member of a board of directors, or in a small local election, it is arguable that one’s vote is material to the outcome. So ‘tactical voting’ can be licit in those kinds of circumstances. In a national election, however, an individual vote is immaterial to the outcome: it is no more efficacious than waving a Japanese fan in a hurricane.So the bottom line in my understanding is that ‘tactical voting’ may be justified in a legislative body, or on a board of directors, or in a small local election. But in national elections one ought to conscience-vote, always, because to do otherwise fails double effect. (And of course if it objectively fails double-effect it is objectively immoral to do it, though I make no assertions about culpability and clearly it is nontrivial to reach an understanding that it is objectively morally wrong).Contra all my critics, this is not even slightly at odds with the very little that the Church has taught about democratic voting. All I’ve done is fill in some blanks; and though my interlocutors do not agree with how I have filled them in, I have yet to see a substantive argument which undermines the result. (The most common objection is the one I address in < HREF="https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2008/09/all-other-things-equal-ceteris-paribus.html" REL="nofollow">this post<>).

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,As I have said before in an earlier thread, just because I vote against Obama doesn’t necessarily mean I am <>for<> McCain nor does it mean (most especially) that I actually endorse his ESCR policy.There is quite a big difference.The “difference” (I refer strictly here to the <>difference<> itself) can be likened to a doctor performing surgery on a reproductive organ of a woman in order to save her life from Cancer.The doctor is not doing so in order to maim her reproductive capability and intentionally thwart her natural human procreative operations.I can’t help think that perhaps you might be imposing a too rigid interpretation of PDE, especially in light of the USCCB statement of “vot[ing] for the candidate deemed <>less likely<> to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human good.”However, I do greatly appreciate of how you bring such matters in the secular world and give them the serious attention they deserve with critical (albeit rigid, but that's good as compared to the outright laxity on the part of others; e.g., Pelosi, Biden) consideration under Catholic Teaching & principles.God Bless as Always,– e.

  • SteveG says:

    Zippy, That is very helpful indeed. Using your categories, I can eliminate the conscience vote in this case, because it’s just not possible for me in this election to vote for either candidate with no qualms.But one thought popped into my head as I read what you offered and I wonder if you could more fully address it. I am no philosopher, so apologies if my question seems stupid.You said..<>Tactical voting is when a vote involves a deliberate choice to <>materially cooperate with evil…<><>but then a bit later said…<>In a national election, however, an individual vote is <>immaterial<> to the outcome<>What confuses me here is that if the vote being cast is always <>immaterial<>, it doesn’t seem to me that it could <>materially<> cooperate with evil. The two positions you are positing <>seem<> to me to be mutually exclusive (I say seem, because I fully realize I may be misunderstanding).If that is the case, and the casting of the vote is only immaterial cooperation, does the principle of double effect still apply?

  • zippy says:

    <>What confuses me here is that if the vote being cast is always immaterial, it doesn’t seem to me that it could materially cooperate with evil.<>Fair question. Different meanings for the root ‘material’. Material cooperation with evil is by definition unintended (else it would be formal cooperation rather than material, and always illicit no matter what). ‘Material’ basically means ‘unintended’ in that term.Material cooperation can be proximate or remote. If someone were to suggest that voting is <>very remote<> material cooperation with any evil policies of the national candidate, I would agree (assuming that the voter does not support the evil policies). I would also point out though that the implementation of the evil policies of the candidate are not the only effects of voting. Voting also has rather more proximate effects on <>us<>.For example, supporting a least-bad candidate who happens to be a long-time rabid supporter of federally funded ESCR can have the effect of making us downplay the grave evil that is ESCR. People claim (or argue with the implicit assumption) that voting and supporting candidates can be done in a completely utilitarian manner without in any way coloring our personal loyalties. I think that is manifest poppycock.When I used the term ‘immaterial,’ on the other hand, I was referring to how effective the act is in bringing about the <>intended good effect<>. (In the case of a national election, a negligible effect). It is here where the <>proportionate<> criteria must apply in order to pass muster under double effect.Basically, the ‘material’ in my comment was referencing (a lack of) <>intention<> with respect to bad effects (presumably we don’t <>intend<> for our act of voting to compromise our personal loyalties, or to encourage others to compromise theirs, etc); while ‘immaterial’ was referencing causal efficacy in connection to the good effect.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,“For example, supporting a least-bad candidate who happens to be a long-time rabid supporter of federally funded ESCR can have the effect of making us downplay the grave evil that is ESCR.”This is an unfair statement, Zippy.For example, Dr. Beckwith, an ostensibly avid Pro-Life advocate, supports McCain; does this mean that since he is voting <>for<> McCain & even campaigning for him on W4, he does NOT think that ESCR is a grave evil?In fact, I myself happen to think so as well.I think here:“For example, supporting a least-bad candidate who happens to be a long-time rabid supporter of federally funded ESCR…”… you have already pronounced McCain guilty for presidential support for ESCR, which is not yet clearly the case.< HREF="http://www.lifenews.com/bio2546.html" REL="nofollow">LIFE NEWS<>EXCERPT:“While McCain supports public funding, he opposes the purposeful creation of human embryos for destruction, he supports funding adult stem cell research and opposes both forms of human cloning.That’s a contrast to the position pro-abortion presidential candidate Barack Obama takes — as he has said he would use an executive order to mandate funding for the grisly research as soon as he takes office.”

  • zippy says:

    <>This is an unfair statement, Zippy.<>I don’t think it is unfair at all. I think a lot of Catholics – even some of the very best and most informed, let alone the average pewsitter – downplay and ignore the issue of ESCR precisely because they support McCain. I don’t intend to turn this into an exercise in taking potshots at particular individuals though. I leave it to he who has eyes to see and ears to hear to look about the pews and the blogosphere, and to listen, and to see for themselves what they think of the veracity of the claim.

  • c matt says:

    <>As I have said before in an earlier thread, just because I vote against Obama doesn’t necessarily mean I am for McCain nor does it mean (most especially) that I actually endorse his ESCR policy.<>So what you are saying is that, in this case, your vote for McCain is to stop the evil of Obama, in spite of McCain’s support for ESCR, and therefore you do not endorse his ESCR policy.Fair enough. So how does that differ from the Obama supporter who says “my vote for Obama is to stop the evil of McCain’s unjust wars, in spite of Obama’s support for abortion, and therefore I do not endorse his abortion policy?”

  • Anonymous says:

    c matt:“So how does that differ from the Obama supporter who says “my vote for Obama is to stop the evil of McCain’s unjust wars…”What do you mean by “McCain’s unjust wars”?If you mean by this an conspiracy-theory based <>hypothetical<> war McCain is bound to engage in once president, then I don’t accept it. at all.However, FOCA, on the other hand, is <>real<>:http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08061010.html“The first thing I’d do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act,” Obama said in his July speech to abortion advocates worried about the increase of pro-life legislation at the state level. The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is legislation Obama has co-sponsored along with 18 other senators that would annihilate every single state law limiting or regulating abortion, including the federal ban on partial birth abortion. The 2007 version of FOCA proposed: “It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.”Obama made his remarks in a question-and-answer session after delivering a speech crystallizing for abortion advocates his deep-seated abortion philosophy and his belief that federal legislation will break pro-life resistance and end the national debate on abortion. (see transcript: http://lauraetch.googlepages.com/barackobamabeforeplannedpar…)

  • zippy says:

    Both McCain and Obama are free moral agents. Either one could do something entirely different from what we fully expect them to do. (They almost certainly won’t, but they could).Of course, from my perspective this is not merely about predicting what policies people are likely to implement. That is <>a<> thing, but not the <>only<> thing.For the record, I think Obama is quite a lot worse than McCain, viewed with a narrow and external lens. The big danger of Obama is what he is going to do that we oppose. The big danger of McCain is the things he is going to get us to stop opposing.

  • c matt says:

    Well, the point isn’t really whether you accept it as a McCain supporter. The Obama supporter accepts McCain getting us into unjust wars as certainly as you accept Obama’s signing off on FOCA. Based upon the Obama supporters view of McCain’s support for unjust wars, how does the reasoning differ? (I am not saying the Obama supporter’s assessment of McCain’s support for UW is necessarily correct).

  • Anonymous says:

    c matt:<>Well, the point isn’t really whether you accept it as a McCain supporter.<>You are mistakenly assuming that I actually am a McCain supporter, when, in fact, the only thing I do support is the prevention of an Obaman administration, which a vote for the opposition would most certainly do.And if you don’t believe that an Obaman administration will indeed manifest in such Pro-abortion havoc; well, unfortunately, when Obama does win, it won’t matter; those multitudes of additional infants, who unlike soldiers in a war, had not voluntarily to be snuffed out ever so callously.I feel sorry for you, c matt, that you don’t seem to think that this is a <>real<> consequence but rather as hypothetical as some conspiracy-based war.Simply put: soldiers at least got the chance to live their lives and decide to become soldiers at the peril of putting their lives at risk; what the heck do innocent babies have in comparison?

  • zippy says:

    <>I feel sorry for you, c matt, that …<>Oh brother.

  • Lydia McGrew says:

    FWIW (I don’t know how much it’s worth), I, as a McCain opponent and someone who is going to vote for neither person this next election, have little patience with all this “unjust wars McCain is going to get us into” stuff. I have little patience for it both because it is _very_ hypothetical and is _far_ less well-supported than Obama’s probable actions on abortion (or even for that matter McCain’s probable actions on ESCR!) and also because, quite frankly, war is a sticky question and is not unjust in itself. I really am very annoyed by the insistence that accidental deaths in war are equivalent either to children aborted with forceps or to children taken apart with whatever they use to dissect IVF embryos for their stem cells. Live embryo dissection and abortion are intrinsically immoral. War isn’t. Moral equivalency by doves really annoys the heck out of me, and I think it does the arguer’s cause no good at all.That being said, there are so many reasons even for those of us who are non-doves to refuse to vote for McCain that the point may seem pragmatically moot. But I could scarcely believe it when I saw one commentator on W4, after the Palin nomination, give the strong impression that the Palin nomination had taken care of all the pro-life issues except what he calls a pro-life issue–namely, all of these completely hypothetical wars McCain is going to start. So that’s why he’s still probably not going to vote for McCain. It showed a very strange set of priorities, and one I certainly don’t want to be associated with as a person who speaks out against McCain.

  • zippy says:

    On the substantive point, I really have no idea what wars McCain would get into or why, if he had his druthers. I certainly don’t trust him on the issue, and I think his ego drives most of his decisions. But I think he would be <>highly<> constrained by the real-world actual capacity of the US military, as well as the recent history of Iraq, in terms of what he could actually do.For that matter I don’t at all trust Obama’s judgment on it either. Less, if anything.I find it really ironic that the mantra is now that anyone who won’t vote for McCain is making a wrong choice in the interest of arrogant Pharisaical moral purity. They said the same thing to me about W, who I refused to vote for. And how did W work out for y’all, anyway? Only Nixon could go to China, and only W could have moved the entire country this far to the left in so short a time. Nice job.

  • SteveG says:

    Zippy,Your last comment was again very helpful. I see where I went wrong in conflating the different uses of material and immaterial in your example.Now, in trying to think this through, I’ve tried to take a step back to get a better grasp on the principles involved. Below is my attempt to translate apply those principles to the current situation. I wonder if you could comment on the conclusions and the thought process involved, and where (if anywhere) I may have gone wrong?Cooperation with Evil<>I. Formal<> – Formal cooperation is a willing participation on the part of the cooperative agent in the sinful act of the principal agent. This formal cooperation can either be explicit (‘Yes, I’m happy to drive the getaway car because I want to be an accomplice’) or implicit.Type 1: Explicit – N/A as this is clearly not the caseType 2: Implicit – PossibleImplicit formal cooperation is attributed when, even though the cooperator denies intending the wrongdoer’s object, <>no other explanation can distinguish the cooperator’s object<> from the wrongdoer’s object. An example of this would be employment in an abortion clinic.In voting for McCain, it is possible that the agent (McCain) may sponsor activities which are immoral. The voter then contributes in some degree to this immoral activity of the wrongdoer (McCain).<>Conclusion:<> Voting for McCain in order to prevent an Obama administration would <>NOT<> constitute formal implicit cooperation in an intrinsic evil because the object of the cooperator and the actor are clearly distinguishable. Is that conclusion valid?<>II. Material<> – Material cooperation has several inherent distinctions, the most basic being that of immediate and mediate material cooperation.Type 1: Immediate – PossibleImmediate material cooperation is equivalent to implicit formal cooperation because the <>object of the moral act of the cooperator is indistinguishable from that of the principal agent.<> Those who use the term ‘immediate material cooperation’ have understood this as ethically unacceptable behavior. An example of this would again be any form of employment in an abortion clinic.In voting for McCain, it is possible that the agent (McCain) may sponsor activities which are immoral. The voter then contributes in some degree to this immoral activity of the wrongdoer (McCain).<>Conclusion:<> Voting for McCain in order to prevent an Obama administration would <>NOT<> constitute Material Immediate cooperation in an intrinsic evil because the objects of the cooperator and the actor are clearly distinguishable. Is that conclusion valid?Type 2: Mediate Here the moral object of the cooperator’s act is not that of the wrongdoer’s. An example of this would be a health care worker employed in a secular hospital that also provides for morally prohibited procedures, but does not require the conscientious objector to such procedures to participate.<>This kind of cooperation can be justified (1) for a sufficient reason and (2) if scandal can be avoided.<>In voting for McCain, it is possible that the agent (McCain) may sponsor activities which are immoral. The voter then contributes in some degree to this immoral activity of the wrongdoer (McCain).And this seems to me to be where the discussion is most important. The key question here seems to be whether there is sufficient reason to vote for McCain or not. Scandal seems easy to avoid since our votes are by secret ballot and can remain hidden to outsiders.<>Conclusion:<> If there is sufficient reason to vote for McCain, then the cooperation can be justified. If the reason is not sufficient, the vote cannot be justified.I realize that you have another very serious point of contention here (what such a choice does to the chooser despite it’s being justifiable or not), but I just want to see if my thinking is straight before I do any further analysis.Thanks so much for the excellent forum you are providing for folks to work through all of this.

  • zippy says:

    SteveG:I think offhand that your exegisis is pretty much on the money, with a minor quibble unrelated to the present discussion: formal cooperation with evil is <>a willing participation on the part of the cooperative agent in the sinful act of the principal agent <>or any sharing in the evil intention of the principal agent<><>.This conclusion is correct:<>If there is sufficient reason to vote for McCain, then the cooperation can be justified. If the reason is not sufficient, the vote cannot be justified.<>So from there, we need to figure out what that means in the concrete circumstances before us.The ‘sufficient reason’ requirement is for an <>objectively sufficient reason<>, and is a restatement of the requirement that the act which materially cooperates with evil must be proportionate to its end. My argument is that no act of voting for a medical cannibal in a national election is objectively proportionate to its end, assuming its end (one of its necessary ends) is for <>this<> candidate to be elected to office rather than <>that<> candidate.A sort of bottom line rough summary of the principle is that deliberate cooperation with evil is only justified when our cooperating act is actually capable of achieving its good end. The less power we have to actually make X happen, the less justified we are in deliberately cooperating with evil in order that X. Our license to materially cooperate with evil in order that X is dependent upon us actually having some reason to believe that we are able to achieve X. Again, looking at the just war doctrine as applied double-effect, if we have no reasonable chance of success it doesn’t matter how well we meet the other criteria. Cooperation with evil is only licit in the pursuit of ends which we are actually capable of achieving.Aquinas, as far as I know, used <>proportionate<> to mean roughly ‘capable of achieving its end without going overboard’. Most of the blogosphere Catholic discussion of voting does not understand ‘proportionate’ in that way. An <>outcome<> of a genuinely proportionate act results in the goods obtained being greater than the evils which result; but ‘proportionate’ does not <>mean<> ‘the good obtained are greater than the evils which result’ simpliciter. All (as usual) as I understand it, and for what it is worth, and all that.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,In light of your comment on the so-described “substantive point”;Is the reason why you refuse to oppose Obama in the national election by submitting a vote for the opposition that would most likely result in an Obaman defeat (in the aggregate, of course, and, most especially, given how close the race appears before us); is genuinely because of that opponent’s history as far as ESCR is concerned or, more precisely, because he offends your seemingly paleo-conservative sensibilities?IF because of the former, quite understandable (though, again, I believe it somehow mistakenly assumes an McCain presidential ESCR support to an absolute certainty); if the latter, however, you are doing so for the wrong reasons.– e.

  • zippy says:

    e:I would say that it is both/and: (1) voting for McCain does not pass a double-effect test, <>and<> (2) the practice on the Right of pulling the lever for the least-bad candidate is destroying the country. In other words, as I have argued elsewhere than in this thread, I think voting for McCain is, independently, <>both<> morally wrong <>and<> strategically foolish.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,Thanks for the clarification.I wasn’t too sure; thus, the tentative language I deliberately utilized in my above communication.FWIW, I can understand your distaste for the aptly-put “Hegelian Mambo”.

  • SteveG says:

    <>My argument is that no act of voting for a medical cannibal in a national election is objectively proportionate to its end, assuming its end (one of its necessary ends) is for this candidate to be elected to office rather than that candidate.<>I think I finally fully understand your reasoning here, and I agree with it for the most part. The part I am now struggling with is whether I agree with the notion that the individual vote is always negligible in such an election, particularly given that we use the electoral college system.If I lived in the state of New York, or Washington, I would agree with you and this would be a slam dunk. I would not vote, or would vote third party.However, I think that cases like Florida in 2000, show that there are times when in ‘battleground’ states, the individual votes do matter. When the difference comes down to hundreds or even thousands of votes which determine whether a candidate gets the electoral votes of an entire, large state, I wonder if the vote of an individual in one of those states is not more ‘powerful’ (for lack of a better term) than in New York or California.Being a resident of one of those battleground states, which by all indications is exceedingly tight this year, I am having difficulty swallowing the idea that my vote is as meaningless as I think your analysis seems to posit (and add to it that my wife will very likely be heavily influenced by my decision, and it’s now two votes vs. one).<>The less power we have to actually make X happen, the less justified we are in deliberately cooperating with evil in order that X. Our license to materially cooperate with evil in order that X is dependent upon us actually having some reason to believe that we are able to achieve X.<>And for me at least, I am not (yet) seeing that I have no power here. My wife and I are THE people who McCain must have if Obama is to lose…or more correctly, he needs a bunch of ME’s if he has any hope. I am the disaffected former Republican who has Voted Bush I, Dole, Bush II, and VERY reluctantly Bush II again before fully realizing what a catastrophe the Bush administration has been on everything from the war, to torture, to financial irresponsibility.If I (and a bunch others like me) don’t vote at least ‘against’ Obama in my state, McCain has almost no prospect of carrying it, and without my state, he has very little prospect of winning the election.Is it possible in such a case that my vote is not so negligible, or is it your contention that everyone’s vote in this particular system is by definition negligible? Again, if it’s the latter that is the part of this analysis I think I am really struggling to accept.In reality I don’t want to vote for McCain, but my conscience (maybe malformed) is troubling me because I am concerned that my non vote will have real impact in causing Obama to get elected.

  • Anonymous says:

    “Is it possible in such a case that my vote is not so negligible, or is it your contention that everyone’s vote in this particular system is by definition negligible? “Dr. Liccione addressed this very point < HREF="http://mliccione.blogspot.com/2008/09/mccains-theological-rationale.html" REL="nofollow">here<>:“Taking his qualifications into account, Zippy’s argument is that one cannot have “proportionate reason,” under the principle of double effect, to vote for a presidential candidate who supports a practice that is intrinsically evil. One could only have such reason if one’s vote in a presidential election really mattered, which it doesn’t.The argument, as we philosophers like to say, proves too much. <>If one’s vote in a presidential election <>doesn’t<> matter, then there is <>no<> reason to vote for anybody, let alone somebody one could vote for in good conscience<>. But if the duties of good citizenship including informed voting for President, then one’s vote does matter. So the only question is: does it matter enough to render a tactical vote for somebody like McCain licit by the principle of double effect?There is no general answer to that question. The answer depends on a number of factors, including the candidate’s degree of commitment to the evil in question. I don’t think McCain supports ESCR as a matter of considered moral principle; my hunch is that he’s confused, and supported it for the sake of political deal-making. That’s a blot, but not to my mind enough of a blot to make tactical voting for him a matter of formal cooperation in evil.” (My Emphasis)

  • SteveG says:

    anon:Is that possibly the wrong link?That is to a post about McCain’s ‘gravitas.’ It’s an absolutely terrible post I might add where the writer does exactly what Zippy has been describing regarding ESCR. The writer, literally, gives the issue a ‘so what?’ I find that kind of thinking repugnant and I think it’s in large part why we’ve now ha two catastrophic Bush terms. Is there a different post where he addresses the importance of a particular vote?I do find this…<>If one’s vote in a presidential election doesn’t matter, then there is no reason to vote for anybody, let alone somebody one could vote for in good conscience.<>…to be quite compelling though. It seems to me that if everyone’s vote is unimportant, and everyone followed the advice to not vote for any but a perfectly acceptable candidate, well…then no one would vote at all, and the election would be meaningless altogether.Then again, maybe that’s the larger point here, and I am not so sure I disagree with that sentiment.What a freakin choice. *sigh*

  • zippy says:

    <>It seems to me that if everyone’s vote is unimportant, and everyone followed the advice to not vote for any but a perfectly acceptable candidate, well…then no one would vote at all, and the election would be meaningless altogether.<>Unspoken here is the “all other things equal” assumption that I address in another post though. An unspoken <>ceteris paribus<> presumption is always lurking immediately beneath the surface of these discussions. As modern people, even those who are not technologically trained tend to think in terms of partial derivatives reflexively, despite the fact that ‘all other things equal’ is a highly constrained artificial circumstance which applies to almost nothing interesting in reality. It isn’t even true in carefully designed machines where engineers have worked for decades to maximize this kind of orthogonality and stability in the system. A modern helicopter, for example, has four primary controls; and when you change the setting of one it always affects all of the others.That said, I do think that people misunderstand the primary ‘meaning’ of national elections when they think of the polity as a machine the levers of which the citizenry is manipulating by voting. National elections in modern polities are primarily a civic ritual in which citizens express their consent to the governance they happen to be offered, the vast majority of which is predetermined. Elections build the loyalty of citizens to the government we happen to have, and sociologically legitimize that government in the eyes of the governed. That is why even the Communists held elections. People think this view is cynical. I think it is objective, or certainly far more objective than the mythology which surrounds elections right now.

  • Anonymous says:

    Steve G.I admit to similar misgivings.As I’ve expressed previously, all I know is what Obama <>will<> do and the horrific consequences of such an administration not only to Pro-Life but, ever more significantly, to the countless thousands of additional casualities of innocent unborn children.To me, preventing the very enlargement & expansion of the Holocaust that <>will<> occur under such an administration necessitates the very action of voting for the candidate “less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods.”But that’s just me.Of course, I speak here as one who have seen actual casualties of the Holocaust as opposed to those to whom such casuality is but abstract.What I’ve observed thus far is McCain is clearly “anti-abortion” (which, thankfully, has manifested in the selection of a devoutly Pro-Life VP running mate as Palin); however, his ESCR history leaves many with a bad taste — quite understandable as it does so with myself.However, whereas an Obaman administration <>will<> indeed serve the very demands of a Pro-Choice Leadership; McCain, on the other hand, is ever the more accountable to a Pro-Life constituency (which his Palin pick has implicitly acknowledged) without whose support the likelihood of attaining the Presidency — indeed, his very presidency itself — has not any chance of success.He know this; thus, it would be in his own self-interest to serve the very demands of such constituency <>or else<>.– e.

  • SteveG says:

    <>People think this view is cynical. I think it is objective, or certainly far more objective than the mythology which surrounds elections right now.<>I have been trending more and more the last few years towards the same view you point out. It’s good to be reminded of that reality. And I agree that it is objectively speaking far more accurate then the mythology you mention…and yet…I still wonder if there isn’t just enough difference between McCain and Obama to partake of the ritual. The difference might well mean the lives of a large number of unborn babies. That’s where I am stuck. I still have a lot of thinking to do. I honestly don’t know what I am going to do yet. Maybe I need to pray about this a lot more.

  • Anonymous says:

    Zippy,“Elections build the loyalty of citizens to the government we happen to have, and sociologically legitimize that government in the eyes of the governed.”Are you saying, then, that if there was actually a candidate you <>did<> favor, you wouldn’t vote for him?After all, based on this statement, it would be in vain.

  • zippy says:

    <>After all, based on this statement, it would be in vain.<>If I think that by voting I am changing the electoral outcome, it <>is<> in vain.

  • SteveG says:

    <>As I’ve expressed previously, all I know is what Obama will do and the horrific consequences of such an administration not only to Pro-Life but, ever more significantly, to the countless thousands of additional casualities of innocent unborn children.<>As I’ve already said, I agree and this is where I am hung up.<>What I’ve observed thus far is McCain is clearly “anti-abortion” (which, thankfully, has manifested in the selection of a devoutly Pro-Life VP running mate as Palin); however, his ESCR history leaves many with a bad taste — quite understandable as it does so with myself.<>The problem I have with this is that I think his stance on ESCR indicates that he’s just really not thoroughly worked through his own pro-life position and indicates that he’s confused, and I think that bodes ill for decisions he makes in regards to these issues. If his is not a truly principled position, it seems more likely he’d be willing to 1) compromise on the issue and 2) not put it as a priority. After three decades of mostly republican governance in the white house, I am just not really satisfied with that any longer. I’d already decided to not vote for him, and it’s only his selection of Palin (as little as I honestly know of her) which has be double checking my math.<>He know this; thus, it would be in his own self-interest to serve the very demands of such constituency or else.<>I just don’t believe this. I think this is what we’ve been telling ourselves for too long. The repubs in power have mostly just given lip service and thrown a few scraps our way, but never really fought the battle in a serious way. Yes, I suppose it’s been better than if democrats had been in power the entire time, but I am hesitant to be part of allowing that too continue.I strongly suspect that if he gets elected, this issue will fade into the background as quickly as it has with every other president we’ve had who called themselves pro-life, starting with Reagan.

  • SteveG says:

    <>If I think that by voting I am changing the electoral outcome, it is in vain.<>I am not sure I understand this?

  • zippy says:

    <>I am not sure I understand this?<>Voting (in a NE) does have morally relevant effects — on the person who does it. If by definition my act of voting is futile unless it affects the election outcome, then yes, it is futile, under that understanding of futile, no matter who the candidates happen to be.

  • e. says:

    Zippy,“If I think that by voting I am changing the electoral outcome, it is in vain.”You appear to have avoided the question — if there was a candidate that you actually favored in the election, would you vote for this person?If you like, have you ever voted for any candidate in the past?I just find your statement here about elections being essentially futile (your repeatedly drawing a parallel between our elections to those of the Soviet Union) remarkably dubious and even seemingly hypocritical.

  • zippy says:

    <>You appear to have avoided the question — if there was a candidate that you actually favored in the election, would you vote for this person?<>Probably. But not with any inclination that I was affecting the outcome.<>…remarkably dubious and even seemingly hypocritical.<>And I’m finding your comments increasingly irritating and unwelcome. Just so you know. I only say what I really think.

  • e. says:

    Zippy,Apologies, Zippy.I hadn’t realized and I appreciate your being forthcoming about it.FWIW, my remark was toward the statement itself, and not a comment on you personally. It’s like calling a statement somebody made stupid. Not that the person who said it is necessarily stupid, but that the statement was.I shall cease along those lines though if you find them offensive.I am without the benefit that face-to-face conversations have where I can tell whether or not my statements were offending those whom I am conversing with, at which point I would most certainly cease any and all such statements out of respect for those persons.

  • SteveG says:

    <>If by definition my act of voting is futile unless it affects the election outcome, then yes, it is futile, under that understanding of futile, no matter who the candidates happen to be.<>Got it. So is there anything to my analysis about my own situation regarding being in a very tightly contested ‘battleground’ state, or am I just fooling myself about that?What comes to mind again is Florida 2000. I am not saying that a Gore presidency would have been better, but I think it’s plausible to say that the ‘bad’ outcomes may have been different (maybe no torture, maybe no Iraq war, etc.). Did those votes not matter?And maybe I just answered my own question. They didn’t matter did they? It ended up being decided in the courts.I even remember seeing George Will write something to the effect that elections aren’t really going to ever be accurately counted, so we get, and should be happy with, the closest approximation that we can manage and then just live with the outcome. Now THAT is a cynical view I think.Anyway, I am coming to accept that my vote really is inconsequential. I think I’ve known that for a while now, but it’s a tough pill to swallow, and the myth that it matters is indeed hard to let go of.It’s funny because this realization came not through politics, but through a study of the history of public education. That study has shown me very clearly that the America that we dream of began dying over a hundred years ago. When the industrialists basically took things over (including funding a system of education meant to break and mold our children to be good workers and consumers). Sorry for the tangent, and I know it’s a terrible oversimplification.But it’s very clear to me at this point that this is what’s happened over the past century or so, and is why we find ourselves where we are today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Laughter in Hell at Zippy Catholic.

meta

%d bloggers like this: