In a truly weird essay in the New York Times on Nov. 2, its resident conservative (with a soft spot for sharia Catholic socialists) Ross Douthat shows us why ordinary people have come to distrust intellectuals. It takes a special kind of smarts to write something this… wrong. Douthat says that he cannot vote for Donald Trump, because it would be the moral equivalent of shooting down abortionists in the street and starting a civil war.
No kidding — go read Douthat’s article. In it, he cites two pieces which I wrote. One was an essay where I tried to untangle the reasons why pro-lifers disapprove of using violence against abortionists — who are, you know, killing people, as surely as any hit man. (I wrote it right after a bearded nutcase nudist gunned down strangers at a strip mall near a Planned Parenthood clinic, and was quickly dubbed a “pro-life terrorist” by media.) I’ll unpack that argument quickly:
Douthat agreed with my reasoning. Pro-lifers don’t reject violence for crackpot Gandhian reasons, or because “violence never solves anything.” As my dad learned serving under Gen. Patton in Germany, it solves a whole lot of things. Definitively. But as Christians we want violence to be the last resort, when all peaceful means have been exhausted. And we still have viable legal options for stopping the killing of a million American children every year — for instance, electing a president who will appoint honest judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, who will admit, finally, that the Court was lying in 1973 when it issued Roe v. Wade.
Douthat also cited a piece in which I prove that electing Hillary Clinton to pack the Supreme Court with intolerant leftists would threaten our religious liberty, our gun rights, national borders, and a whole host of other things crucial to American safety and freedom. That would dictate a vote for Donald Trump. Yes, despite all those gross things he said. Despite his hair.
But Douthat doesn’t want us to choose that. He wants us to vote against Donald Trump because he considers him actively dangerous, and thinks that electing him as president is as destructive and irresponsible as starting a civil war. Yes, he actually says that. We should accept the election of Clinton, which really will take away our last peaceful means of resisting abortion and many other evils.
Douthat essentially admits that electing Clinton would imperil religious liberty, gun rights, national borders, and guarantee that we go on killing a million children each year, while denying voters any say in on such issues — which the Supreme Court will pluck or keep from their reach. We know now from WikiLeaks that Clinton is reckless with government secrets, that her foundation took tens of millions in payoffs from the Saudis which bought them favors in her State Department, and even that Clinton’s campaign knew Anthony Weiner was “sexting” with underage girls, and kept quiet about it. Her closest aide, and likely White House Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, who was complicit in setting up that illegal email server, has lifelong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and other sharia advocates — whose views she published in her family journal and has never renounced.
We know that Clinton will preside over a regime of Nixon-level corruption, paranoia, and secrecy. But we must accept all that, Douthat insists, saying of 2016: “[S]ome elections should be lost.” In fact, “[T]oday’s conservatism has far more to gain from the defeat of Donald Trump” because “the Trump alternative is like a feckless war of choice in the service of some just-seeming end, with a commanding general who likes war crimes. It’s a ticket on a widening gyre, promising political catastrophe and moral corruption both, no matter what ideals seem to justify it.”
Leave ideals aside. What about voting in self-defense? In politics, the most crucial question is always: “Compared to what?” Charles Martel was a bad dude, who likely exploited serfs and objectified women. Still, he was better than a Muslim-occupied Europe. No we wouldn’t vote for him in a primary election against Al Smith or Ted Cruz. But once we were stuck with the choice between Martel and the Moors, the answer would be obvious. And it’s obvious on Tuesday.