Of principles and politics

Of principles and politics December 5, 2017


The Stöwer Titanic drawing
“Der Untergang der Titanic” (Willy Stöwer, 1912); Wikimedia Commons public domain


I think that this is a very important little essay:


“Is Ideology Becoming America’s Official Religion?”


Let me apply it to the senatorial candidacy of Judge Roy Moore in Alabama:


Two prominent Latter-day Saints have recently indicated their views on Judge Moore:


“Romney on Moore: ‘No majority is worth losing our honor, our integrity'”


“GOP Sen. Jeff Flake writes check to Democrat opposing Roy Moore”


Governor Romney’s comment drew intense fire from Steve Bannon, the loathsome corrupter of American conservatism who is perhaps most responsible for Judge Moore’s increasingly likely ascent to the Senate of the United States of America.  And, in the meanwhile, as the evidence of sexual misconduct continues to mount against him, Judge Moore has been speaking out with his customary thoughtfulness and restraint:


“Roy Moore suggests George Soros is headed to hell”


It’s not just his highly questionable character that makes Roy Moore an unfortunate potential addition to the Senate:


“Constitutionally Illiterate: Roy Moore takes a blinkered view of the rule of law.”


And, while we’re at it, here’s an article, published before Judge Moore won the Republican primary (and before the recent sex scandals that have surrounded him), that I dearly wish Alabama voters had taken to heart:


“A lesson on Roy Moore from his former law school professor”


Serious, thoughtful conservatives in Alabama find themselves in the same dilemma that bedeviled principled conservatives in the months prior to the 2016 presidential election.


Roy Moore, rather like Donald Trump, is only dubiously a real conservative.  (Mr. Trump’s conservative bona fides — using the term conservative in a very broad sense — are actually weaker and of more recent vintage than Judge Moore’s.)  More importantly, though, both are men with grievous character flaws that, just a decade or two ago, would have rendered them incapable of winning political office.  Both are, very arguably, unworthy of such office.


I understand those who finally decided that they would have to vote for Donald Trump in order to defeat Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House.  I myself flirted off and on with that option, although, in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  (I didn’t vote for Ms. Clinton, either.  I simply threw my vote away.)  The one argument that weighed most heavily with me was Mr. Trump’s commitment to appoint conservative judges (from a list compiled by the admirable Heritage Foundation).  And, mirabile dictu, he has kept that promise — though Senator Mitch McConnell, much maligned by Trumpists including Roy Moore, deserves considerable credit for that.  (See “Who’s the More Effective Conservative?”)


I never could, though, understand or sympathize with those who chose Donald Trump when all of those other Republican candidates were still vying for the nomination.  And I find it rather difficult to forgive them for what they’ve done to the Republican Party and the conservative movement.


And now it’s happening again in Alabama.


If Roy Moore loses, the Democrats will gain a seat in a very closely divided Senate.  From my point of view, that will be a really bad development.


“True Blue in Alabama: If Doug Jones were pro-life, the race would be over.”


On the other hand, if Doug Jones loses, the nation will gain Senator Roy Moore.  And that, from my point of view, will be a really bad development.


I can understand those who will vote for Judge Moore in order to prevent a victory by the Democrats and Doug Jones.  But I don’t understand and can’t easily forgive those who, by voting for Roy Moore in the primary, forced this unpalatable choice on Alabama and the nation.



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