A brief homily on conscience

A brief homily on conscience July 27, 2016

There is a notable difference about the way in which the prolifer who feels obliged in conscience to support Hillary in order to stop Trump talks.  He feels no obligation to defend anything evil Hillary says or does.  He is free to note that she lies, that she supports abortion, that she is bellicose.  That she is corrupt and has enriched herself via her political career and is a dutiful slave of the 1%, etc.

But the Trump supporter finds it very difficult if no impossible to stop defending every disgusting thing he says and does.  He’s not really a racist.  His mockery of the disabled is understandable “in context”.  His massive lies are “his perspective”.  He’s not technically a draft dodger so his mockery of POWs is somehow okay.  His calls for torture require massive rationalization of what “torture” (the word *he* uses) means.  His calls for murder of civilians are fine Because Reasons.  His support for abortion and Planned Parenthood don’t matter Because Reasons.  His grotesque ignorance of and hostility to the constitutional order are fine *because* he is a supposedly “unknown quantity” and may surprise us.  His fascistic Strong Man rhetoric is “not PC” and therefore awesome.  His contempt for women is strength and honesty.

Likewise, the denunciations of culture war opponents is remarkably different.  I have been told countless times that Hillary is “pure evil” and “Satan in the flesh”.  Any acknowledgement of even the slightest virtue she might possess is blasphemy and support for her in order to stop Trump is a mortal sin worthy of the everlasting fires of hell (despite the fact that Benedict says that voting to stop a graver threat for proportionate reasons is, in fact, morally permissible).  But all a prolife Hillary supporter need do is say that Trump is worse than Hillary, that he is, for instance, documentably crazy and she is not.  You do not have to declare him the devil incarnate or “pure evil”.  You merely have to point out that you have the facts on your side when you say he is much worse than Hillary.  You have reality on your side.  The Trump supporter has feelings.  Relatedly, you need not excommunicate or declare his supporters to be “pure evil”.  You are free to state that support for him, while completely unjustifiable in light of the facts, is not a “mortal sin” since people may be mistaken about the fact or acting from a host of reasons that reduce or  eliminate culpability.

I think this imbalance and absence of parity is telling evidence that Trumpkins sense, at some deep visceral level, the poverty of their arguments for him.  And I think they should take it as a warning of what they will surely end up doing in their Faustian Bargain of support for him.  Somebody who supports Hillary in order to stop Trump need never offer a word of support for any of her evil policies (though, of course, it is only fair to praise her when she does something good like helping Anastasia Somoza, just as it was only fair to praise Trump when he made a decent public statement after the shootings in Dallas, or when he challenged Cruz and Rubio in the debates on their cheapskate approach to denying poor people health care).

But what is already happening with Trump is that his fanboi cannot afford to admit his flaws at all and have to devote all their time and energy to defending the many evil and disgusting things he says and does.  Because once you become honest about his flaws, you quickly have to admit that he advocates the same evils Hillary does, plus many more.

And so the Faustian Bargain plays out:  You sell your soul and get *nothing* in return.  The energy and time you hoped to devote to the unborn instead go to defending the vengeance he took on an infant nephew with cerebral palsy in a spat over Daddy’s money, (while searching for some way to spit on the fact that Hillary has worked to help people with cerebral palsy–because his winning is now more important to you than helping people with cerebral palsy).  Or his 60% lie rate.  Or his contempt for the first amendment.  That’s the drain all your time energy is now circling.

Or you could just listen to the Church’s whole life teaching (and her instruction on voting for proportionate reasons), stop defending evil, and defend virtue instead. Then your conscience will not haunt you as it haunts the hearts of the people who screamed down Ted Cruz for saying “Vote your conscience.”

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