Voting for Lesser Evil?

The American Solidarity Party is pro-life for the whole of life

For many years, when urged to vote for a US president, I’d push back hard. My favorite riposte? “Don’t vote; it just encourages them.”

Still, there’s a season for (almost) everything. And who says that a bloke can’t change after he turns 39? Not I, and here’s why. Note: As you read, you might think that I haven’t changed. Wrong, I surely have.

Mind you, I won’t vote as a “one issue” voter. There are far too many issues. Nor will I vote because a POTUS aspirant (plus VP choice) is likely to do more good than evil. Reviewing the contested issues, truly incommensurable goods come into play. Presidential policy can either advance or undermine the goods of knowledge, truth, civic friendship, the family, and life. These  core goods are the constituents of human flourishing. To weigh one against the other is to use an imaginary scale that quickly deconstructs into utilitarianism or self-interest.

Here the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions is helpful. Suppose a candidate and running mate are advocates for, say, knowledge. They support the serious educational system that makes democracy possible. I applaud them. Still that’s only a necessary, not a sufficient, condition for winning my vote. After all, they might advocate for abortion and same-sex “marriage,” and undermine the goods of life and the family. Or suppose a candidate shows a commitment to preborn children. Thank God. Still, that’s a necessary, not a sufficient, condition for winning my vote. The same candidate might relentlessly undermine the good of civic friendship and play games with the truth.

Let’s consider a test case. Kamala Harris is the vice presidential candidate of the hour, and there’s lots of buzz about her (how soon?) stepping into Joe Biden’s shoes.

In 2018, she posed a series of questions to Brian Buescher, a nominee for a district judgeship in Nebraska. Among her questions we find the following. “Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as ‘a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million (sic) deaths’…[w]ere you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

Harris also asked whether Buescher was “aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality” and whether he had “ever, in any way, assisted with or contributed to advocacy against women’s reproductive rights” (National Review, Aug. 11, 2020). Such are the questions of a senator who publicly undercuts the goods of life and the family. In posing a religious test for the judiciary, she also attacks the good of civic friendship.

The Knights, guileless as doves, invited the Senator to join them in an upcoming service project. Had she accepted, no doubt they would have offered her coffee and a doughnut free of charge.

To be sure, Senator Harris has Catholic supporters. Among them is Sister Simone Campbell, the director of Network, a social-justice action group. Ah, well. It’s a free speech country, if we can keep it. But without any serious argument, Sister’s opinion counts very little.

Now, gentle reader, have you concluded that my argument prevents me from voting this November, at least in the race that matters most? But didn’t I warn you against such a hasty conclusion? Beware the false dilemma! In the last six years a new party has emerged, the American Solidarity Party, about which I’ve blogged before. Pro-life for the whole of life, it meets all the necessary conditions for winning my support. And taken together, meeting those conditions is sufficient for winning my vote! Why not check it out?


Jim Hanink is an independent scholar, albeit more independent than scholarly!

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