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Thought Experiments

Thought Experiments June 22, 2016

A reader writes:

Suppose one day the devil came to you, and offered to completely and permanently destroy the entire abortion industry, all for the low, low price of your immortal soul. The Catholic answer is, and must be, “Absolutely not!”

Ergo, “non-negotiables” aren’t actually “non-negotiable.” It’s *not* a categorical imperative to stop abortion, as there are higher priorities (namely, the potential eternal damnation of your own soul.)

I’m not saying that Trump is the devil, just pointing out the flaw in the concept of non-negotiables.

I see what my reader is trying to do and he’s right as far as it goes.  You can’t take a good thing and absolutize it to allow evil: (“I’ll kill every man, woman and child to outlaw abortion” betrays a certain failure to grasp the concept.)  And indeed, the great failure of the prolife movement has, indeed, been it’s willingness to make the Faustian Bargain of prostituting itself to those grave intrinsic evils the GOP approves in order to chase after the fantasy of overturning Roe v. Wade.  That’s what the endless rationalization for unjust war and torture from Christians were all about.

But one can hold to certain non-negotiable moral values just so long as they are rightly ordered.  One can for instance, demand love of neighbor as oneself absolutely, just so long as one does not pit that imperative *against* the love of God with one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Another fun thought experiment is this: If you could outlaw abortion at the cost of getting rid of guns or, conversely, if you could get rid of guns at the cost of outlawing abortion, would you do it?

For myself, I see no downside to either and would see it as a win/win.  Both abortion and our gun culture are expressions of our deeply diseased culture of death. But for most Americans, it a huge dilemma.

Feel free to argue about it in the comboxes.


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