What Could Go Wrong?

What Could Go Wrong? January 26, 2017

Trump promotes torture as a good, saying it works. What exactly does it do? How does it work? It destroys the dignity of the human person being tortured, making them more willing to say and do anything as their will is destroyed. This is why saints have long said that those being tortured will not be guilty of what they say or do under duress.  Therefore, torture is not effective in information gathering, only in breaking someone down, undermining their humanity. It is inhuman, and strikes at the center of humanity, Christ, who takes all the blows anyone unjustly suffers onto himself.

Piece of the Berlin Wall in New York by By Gaurav1146 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Piece of the Berlin Wall in New York by Gaurav1146 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Likewise, Trump wants to put up walls, to divide the United States from the rest of the world. Humanity is supposed to come together, unified in love: this is the way that the evil of sin is to be overcome, for sin is unlove and divides being into abstract parts which lose their own integrity as they are cut off from the rest of being itself. Fracturing humanity into divided, hostile parts, is a reflection of the evil of sin in being into the world itself, it is the actualization of sin which then turns into tyranny as it seeks to uphold the division it creates. This is why Pope Francis has spoken out against the building of such walls to divide nations, a message he has stated since before the election of Donald Trump:

Walls that enclose some and banish others. Walled citizens, terrified on one side, excluded, exiled, and still more terrified on the other. Is that the life that our Father God wants for their children?

Dear brothers and sisters — all walls fall. All of them. Do not be fooled.[1]

This desire to isolate the United States can be seen in his desire to reduce the connection between the United States and the United Nations (and possibly, later, entirely remove the United States from the United Nations). Indeed, he rejects the global unity of humanity.  He rejects the universal humanity found in Christ and instead promotes the division of peoples which rejects the soteriological accomplishment of the cross. It is a heresy which is as dangerous as it is evil, especially when it is being engaged with an “American First” ideology which seeks to create a new world order with the United States dictating to others instead of acting in union with all for the good of all.  While imperfect, and capable of being criticized for its failings, the good of the United Nations must be embraced and promoted:

Without claiming to be exhaustive, we can mention the codification and development of international law, the establishment of international norms regarding human rights, advances in humanitarian law, the resolution of numerous conflicts, operations of peace-keeping and reconciliation, and any number of other accomplishments in every area of international activity and endeavour. All these achievements are lights which help to dispel the darkness of the disorder caused by unrestrained ambitions and collective forms of selfishness. Certainly, many grave problems remain to be resolved, yet it is also clear that, without all this international activity, mankind would not have been able to survive the unchecked use of its own possibilities. Every one of these political, juridical and technical advances is a path towards attaining the ideal of human fraternity and a means for its greater realization.[2]

What can go wrong with a new nationalism that desires to push all other nations down, to make them bow to the demands of Donald Trump? The very wrong that the United Nations was created to prevent: a hostile, belligerent force that considers its passionate desires to be justice and anyone who does not satisfy them to be its enemy, ready to be stomped upon and destroyed. The wrong which creates wars and wholesale slaughter of nations. The wrong which no Christian can ever defend.

A wrong that can cause slaughter to the people within the nation itself, once it is isolated from the rest of the world. A tyranny which is willing to torture its own people, and prevent them from leaving its borders once its walls have been put in place. That’s what can go wrong.

It’s not just the people outside the United States who will suffer the threat of such a belligerent, anti-human attitude as being demonstrated by Trump. While for those of good moral upbringing, that would be bad enough to create a worthy opposition, for those who need some personal incentive, the rest of what could go wrong should be enough to make them stand with everyone else who seeks to promote the common good.


[1] Quoted on CNN.

[2] Pope Francis, Address to the United Nations, Sept 25, 2015.


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