Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Single Issue Voting

A friend of mine, who is Catholic and politically liberal, mentioned to me the other day that he would be voting for Barack Obama should he win the democratic primary. Obama, is NOT pro-life. I asked him how that squared with voting pro-life and he said he would not be made a "one-issue" voter. I didn't have the time to tell him he had been had, but that's what blogs are for.

I think there is one basic problem (and all politicians/political parties tend to do this), that is to discuss things in terms of "issues" and forget the fact that they're discussing real people. This leads to an easy breakdown of any objective moral value. Case in point, abortion and the right to life becomes a single "issue" right alongside talking about taxes or military base closures. Its easy to then quantify instead of qualify. You can say "I won't be made a single-issue voter" instead of "I care more about welfare programs and the war in Iraq than the tens-of-thousands of children murdered every day due to abortion." Sounds much better right?

If "issues" are about people, then we need to be discussing issues in terms of 1)their potentiality for good and evil, and 2) the moral weight of the potential evil which could be done. While tax law A has the potentiality to do good or bad, abortion has only the potentiality for evil. The fact that a tax law could potentially have good or bad effects makes it somewhat negotiable compared with a law which can only bring evil. Next, what would be the moral weight of these issues? A tax law which turns out to hurt the economy can force us to lose some money, maybe some jobs, but no lives are taken (as a direct effect anyway) and so the moral weight could again be considered negotiable. On the other hand, legallized abortion is murdering a baby. Murder, is obviously a very serious and evil crime and therefore it is non-negotiable in nature as far as whether it should be condemned.

Weigh the consequenses of whatever you like and the result turns out to be the same. Even, the Iraq war has its potentiallity for good (even those ardently against it must admit the potential good) while abortion is never allowable. US war deaths have been numbered at 3,431 since the war started in March of 2003. The number of deaths due to abortion in the US each day is about 3,700. That leaves the total number of US abortion deaths since 2003 at around 5.5 million. You do the moral math.

I realize that the "Hannity argument" is compare something, anything, to Nazi Germany and you win, but this comparison really does work- If you lived in Nazi Germany and the "issues" surrounding your next election (imagining you get one) are taxes, the military build-up, the invasion of Poland and the Jewish Holocaust, which issue would be more important to you?

We do live in a country, and a world where there is a holocaust going on. What should we choose?

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Finals are finished so I should have more time to blog now. Whew.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Where was her choice?

Another reality check to those who think "pro-choice" is really about some kind of freedom to choose something- article HERE.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Social Justice?

In the social justice section of the Diocese of Austin's newsletter The Catholic Spirit in the section entitled "Social Justice" I found an article titled "Catholic immigration position is pro-life, pro-family." HERE is a link to the article.

The article gives the story of a family father, Enrique, who recieves a temporary worker permit and comes to the US to work. He has to work in the US because he can no longer make any money from farming corn in Mexico due to the United States' free trade agreement with Mexico which makes the corn shipped from north of the border extremely cheap. Aside from being a shot at the US' free-trade agreement and implying its our fault his corn doesn't make money, the article continues to go on by saying that it could be seven or eight years before his family could join Enrique as legal immigrants. The article's author, Barbara Budde, tells us

"The realistic picture is that Enrique and his family are completely separated for seven to eight years. For seven to eight years, Enrique’s wife is deprived of her husband and their children are left fatherless –– not because of death, but because of immigration laws. Is it any wonder that people would consider breaking such laws to be with their family?For every Enrique who came to the United States legally, there are thousands who have been forced to come illegally because they cannot support themselves or their families in their home countries. That is why the Catholic Church supports immigration reform. We are pro-life and pro-family. Families facing starvation is not a pro-life concept and families living in long term forced separation is not a pro-family concept."

It is certainly a sad story, but while Enrique is certainly separated from his family for maybe seven or eight years, is his family really fatherless? Separation doesn't leave a family fatherless. Do the children not know who sends them the money they eat with? While not ideal, is he not setting a fatherly example of sacrifice for his family? It seems to be assumed that immigration to the United States is an inherent right for everyone.

There are two main points I want to make regarding the short-sightedness of both the article and immigration liberalization supporters. First, no one every mentions why there is a problem in Mexico (save Mrs. Budde's blaming the US because of NAFTA). In the United States we always work for social reform, how much are we hearing this call in Mexico? In the US, the government subsidizes farmer's crops, paying them not to grow more than a certain amount, therefore keeping the prices and the supply at a reasonable level. Is this happening in Mexico? I certainly don't know, but surely if corn prices are bad in Mexico they should model their system after ours rather than send their population to us. A certain "give a man a fish..." cliche comes to mind. If the Church in Mexico and Mexicans would support government reforms (they are a democracy after all) in that country to help the people in the long term then immigration laws would be a non-issue. Instead, blame America for not letting more people be Americans is the rallying cry.

Point number two, in a post 9/11 world liberalized immigration laws can't work. I happen to have a particularly different insight into this since I was a military intelligence analyst and I worked the Americas for a couple of years. Interestingly enough, its not just Mexicans crossing our borders. Other foreign nationals have been caught, and low corn prices weren't their motivation. I've been reminded by so-called immigration "reformers" that the US is a nation of immigrants. While true, it would be self-deception to say that we weren't also now a nation of true Americans. Would it not be pro-life and pro-family to protect those who are citizens of this country? Mrs. Budde says "Starvation is not a pro-life concept." Were the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center buildings pro-life?

As far as claiming the labels "pro-life" and "pro-family" for her own crowd, Mrs. Budde has neglected the fact that there is a country on the other side of the border just as responsible for the separation of families and the potentiality of its people's starvation. Mrs. Budde neglects to see that there is a choice of either running to our country or fighting for life in their own. She has shown neither the pro-family or especially not the pro-life side of immigration reform.

The answer as to the morality of Mrs. Budde's opening question still remains: "Why would the Catholic Church be in support of law-breakers?" She doesn't answer it but instead tells us the sad story. Catholic philosophical thought supports the man who must steal bread to feed his starving family- if he has no other lawful alternative. Is there an alternative? Yes, Mexican reform for their own people. Can the Church support the breaking of immigration laws? St. Thomas Aquinas has said that it is okay to break the laws which are really "unlawful." Is the United States' position on immigration unlawful? By no means. It is designed to protect it's own citizens. Is this in some way not pro-life or pro-family? No, on the contrary it is pro-family and pro-life. I wish Mrs. Budde could see her own countrymen, she probably could if her nose wasn't so high.