Morality and Politics: Do You Try to Make Moral Choices?

 

I am cringing while I write this post, in a way I never have. I don’t trust that we can have a civil conversation about this topic; that I may open old wounds and create havoc. I’ve asked myself over and over whether I can trust all of you to be decent, moral human beings. I think I can trust you; I hope I can because this question has been nagging at me for months, and I need your help to resolve it. Let’s make this an opportunity to do it together, in our search for truth and understanding. That means putting aside the need to win or be right; I don’t think either of those efforts will be successful.

All that said, I have been struggling with my own morality related to politics.

First, if you know anything about me at all, you know I strive to be a moral person. I’m not bragging about it; I feel compelled to do it. Most of the time, I think I do that with ease; I have clarity about my values in relation to how I act, what I do and how I treat others.

I bring up these questions as I’m nearly finished with a book by Charles Lane, called Freedom’s Detective , a book about Hiram Whitley, the man who began the Secret Service. That organization was originally started to find counterfeiters but eventually was key in rounding up the Ku Klux Klan during and following Reconstruction. It was a fascinating story, but I was especially struck by Whitley himself. He was an excellent manager and strategist, but he was also a liar, thief, finagler, and also showed many other disreputable attributes. Eventually, he was fired, but he did great things under the Grant administration. He was both celebrated and condemned in his time. He made me think of Donald Trump.

That led me to the issue that has been bothering me the last couple of years, particularly after 2016: how to frame and comprehend and hold true to my own morality, particularly in relation to politics. Part of my problem is that I hold people I connect with or feel connected to, to a high moral standard. If you want to be my friend, you have to be a decent person. Figuring out what a “decent person” is might be a key part of this discussion.

I also believe that most of you who participate on Ricochet are moral and principled people. I can’t think of a better place to initiate this discussion. So here it is:

In terms of morality, Donald Trump is a mixed bag. In fact, I guess I could say that most of us are. Some of you believe that G-d will be the final Judge of whether we pass muster on the morality measure.

I wonder how you weigh the question of who to support in any area of life when the person is far from the perfect person. Regarding Trump–

-I realize that many of you might have decided that you would vote for just about anyone who could “clean out the swamp,” no matter their moral attributes or limitations.

-You may have decided that morality was not an issue, that the country was in such dire straits that the questions about the morality of the person you voted for were irrelevant.

-Since we are all a mixed bag, you may have decided that Trump was sufficiently moral, given how he treated his family, how he cared for our veterans, how he loved America and wanted to help us, and the other moral traits he showed.

Please do not use this post as an opportunity to defend Trump or yourself, or to bash others who do not. And for those of you who don’t like Trump, this post may not be for you.

 

This post is primarily about the moral choices you make regarding politics and politicians, not necessarily attacking or defending particular officeholders or candidates. As a point of information, I didn’t vote for Trump or support him before the election (and I say that without judgment of those who did); I made judgments about his character and reputation. But the simple fact that he is president means for me that I will support him when he does good things, and criticize him when I think he doesn’t. On balance, I think he has done a good job.

To me, supporting him is a moral choice, because the country elected him.

In that vein, what did you think of Hiram Whitley mentioned earlier? What role, if any, does your morality play in your political choices? Does morality play a different role in the policies you support versus the persons for whom you vote?

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  1. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

     All things equal, sure, I hope to reward the person with a better moral reputation.  But all things are seldom equal.  

    If I burst a pipe and my kitchen is overflowing uncontrollably, and the plumber who is a saint will be three hours but the plumber who is a lecherous, sinful lout can be there in 15 min, I take the lech.  

    That isn’t to say I would go with a plumber who has cheated me or others I know, or who is incompetent, or is undependable.  Those aren’t exactly moral failings, but they affect the job at hand.  And the job at hand is the top consideration.  

    If the guy can get the job done and the failings I perceive in his moral fiber don’t affect that ability, barring the saint being available I say, get the job done.  

    After all, which of us is qualified to judge?  (not me.)  If we want to wait around for an stainless soul to do every dirty job, we will wait a long time.  (Politics is a very dirty job). 

     

    • #31
  2. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Andrew Klavan put it best. I paraphrase slightly, “The biggest moral decision is whether I get to be free or not. Donald Trump’s many flaws are secondary to the question of freedom.” Trump lets gays and Christians live free lives in equal measure. His sexual predilections aren’t as important as what he does to the country. I will leave G-d’s judgement to G-d. 

    • #32
  3. Locke On Member
    Locke On
    @LockeOn

    I consider a vote a moral choice, but the personal morals of the candidate are a ways down the list of considerations, behind the effects of candidate’s stated policies and known track record on republican governance, liberty and specific impacts on my own situation.  Given that I’m a constitutional conservative, the chances of having two (or more) reasonably electable candidates that I find so balanced on these considerations that personal morals are the deciding factor are remote, so much that I can’t recall making a choice on that basis in 45 or so years of elections.  And I don’t regard politicians are my moral agent, they are hirelings in whose choice I have a small fraction of the decision power.

    As a moral choice, a vote is somewhere around a nerf bat for effectiveness.  In contrast, I find decisions made with the dollar – the ‘second vote’ – much more scalpel-like and worthy of consideration.  Contributions are nearly 100% moral choice. I’m putting money earned with my own life and labor at the service of something or someone else that is entirely optional – with a little wiggle room for helping neighbor’s kids go to camp and the sort.

    Buying decisions are somewhere in between.  There’s also a factor of utility – the old ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ – as well as any moral valence I attach to the vendor.  But those vendors who indulge in moral preening at the expense of liberty are going to find my choices lead me elsewhere, even if it involves some inconvenience or expense.

    • #33
  4. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    33 comments and no Gary Robbins. He must be suspended.

    • #34
  5. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    33 comments and no Gary Robbins. He must be suspended.

    Over at Bulwark they have just broken news that there are more naked pictures of Melania, and Trump is a despicable grifter who taints our Presidency and world-standing and makes me look personally immoral since I am a Reagan Republican. Bill Weld, Hogan, Shultz or Klink ( even though he’s a nazi) are better candidates and I urge everyone to donate as I have to whoever can beat this horrible menace to my self-esteem as a Republican.

    – Guess Who

    ( there, feel better?)

    • #35
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Andrew Klavan put it best. I paraphrase slightly, “The biggest moral decision is whether I get to be free or not. Donald Trump’s many flaws are secondary to the question of freedom.” Trump lets gays and Christians live free lives in equal measure. His sexual predilections aren’t as important as what he does to the country. I will leave G-d’s judgement to G-d.

    This was my thought as well. There is personal morality and civic morality. Civic morality has to do with the structure in which individual moral beings operate. That structure has to strike the right balance between individuals whose personal morality (or lack thereof) brings them into conflict — or would but for the structure imposed by civic morality. Our constitution is the embodiment of our civic morality: citizen control of government, unalienable human rights, equal justice under the law. Politicians who best promote that civic morality get my vote.

    • #36
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    @franco, @skipsul, and @phenry— all three of you are people I respect. Actually there isn’t a person who’s commented that hasn’t impressed me and taught me a whole lot. But you three guys in particular have clarified a way to look at a candidate–I won’t re-state your comments but you had a great deal in common. You’ve given me a whole lot to chew on. I may say more later. Thank you so much!

    • #37
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I do have one thing to say (now that I said I don’t have anything to add to my previous comment) that I’m realizing that I judge people by what they do, what they accomplish (however limited that might be) and their being a benefit to others. I do use my morality to evaluate them, but that, in terms of political service, is what matters. I’m understanding that more and more. It’s hard, because I want people to behave well, and I especially cringe when I believe they get in their own way. But I realize that I’m the one who is cringing, not Trump, and he is still getting things done. So then I have to say what, or who, is the problem here?!

    • #38
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Franco (View Comment):

    PHCheese (View Comment):

    33 comments and no Gary Robbins. He must be suspended.

    Over at Bulwark they have just broken news that there are more naked pictures of Melania, and Trump is a despicable grifter who taints our Presidency and world-standing and makes me look personally immoral since I am a Reagan Republican. Bill Weld, Hogan, Shultz or Klink ( even though he’s a nazi) are better candidates and I urge everyone to donate as I have to whoever can beat this horrible menace to my self-esteem as a Republican.

    – Guess Who

    ( there, feel better?)

    Thanks for cracking me up, @franco! Those who criticize Trump are looking sillier all the time.

    • #39
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    I had a hard time coming to a decision on this.  I went over several possible “Respectable Positions on Trump” in a post around that time.  I thought Trump was so bad that supporting him could only be justified as a resistance against the greater evil of Hillary Clinton, but I wasn’t sure it was ok to support a lesser evil that bad.

    In the end I hit on the difference between voting in a swing state and voting in a red state.  I was from Texas, so my vote wasn’t going to be a decisive one; so I didn’t vote for Trump.

    I expect to next time.  His use of Twitter is somewhere between unsavory and barbaric.  His judicial appointments and deregulation have been magnificent, magnificent, magnificent.

    • #40
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I had a hard time coming to a decision on this. I went over several possible “Respectable Positions on Trump” in a post around that time. I thought Trump was so bad that supporting him could only be justified as a resistance against the greater evil of Hillary Clinton, but I wasn’t sure it was ok to support a lesser evil that bad.

    In the end I hit on the difference between voting in a swing state and voting in a red state. I was from Texas, so my vote wasn’t going to be a decisive one; so I didn’t vote for Trump.

    I expect to next time. His use of Twitter is somewhere between unsavory and barbaric. His judicial appointments and deregulation have been magnificent, magnificent, magnificent.

    The trick is figuring out whether they will do what they  promise, isn’t it, St. A? After the fact, you and I have come around and he was elected without us. But we can pitch in this time!

    • #41
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I had a hard time coming to a decision on this. I went over several possible “Respectable Positions on Trump” in a post around that time. I thought Trump was so bad that supporting him could only be justified as a resistance against the greater evil of Hillary Clinton, but I wasn’t sure it was ok to support a lesser evil that bad.

    In the end I hit on the difference between voting in a swing state and voting in a red state. I was from Texas, so my vote wasn’t going to be a decisive one; so I didn’t vote for Trump.

    I expect to next time. His use of Twitter is somewhere between unsavory and barbaric. His judicial appointments and deregulation have been magnificent, magnificent, magnificent.

    I was in Illinois, a blue state. All I could do was cancel out my grandfather’s vote. He’s been a loyal Democrat ever since he died in 1986.

    • #42
  13. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    We all fall short and are works in progress. We all have family members, friends, neighbors, and politicians that fall short and are works in progress – we love them anyway. As a Christian, I can’t think any other way – as hard as it is. You have to look at “the fruit” – what is being produced – flawed, rotting or fruitful? You said your post is about politics. I think the Trump over the last 2 plus years has shown fruit that is the opposite of what was/is acceptable to the Democrats. He stands up for the unborn, the frail, Israel, the children in Syria, the workplace (including opportunity for all – irregardless of race or gender), he has brought a refreshing reality to many gov. across the world who were used to the statue quo – burying their heads. The Bible says not even the angels can judge – that is for God alone. I think as one Ricochet member described Trump as a flawed vessel, he with all his flaws, is trying – to promote what is good, right and true.  Aside from that, let God do the rest (like that flawed family member or irritating neighbor) – love the person and be forgiving.

    • #43
  14. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I had a hard time coming to a decision on this. I went over several possible “Respectable Positions on Trump” in a post around that time. I thought Trump was so bad that supporting him could only be justified as a resistance against the greater evil of Hillary Clinton, but I wasn’t sure it was ok to support a lesser evil that bad.

    In the end I hit on the difference between voting in a swing state and voting in a red state. I was from Texas, so my vote wasn’t going to be a decisive one; so I didn’t vote for Trump.

    I expect to next time. His use of Twitter is somewhere between unsavory and barbaric. His judicial appointments and deregulation have been magnificent, magnificent, magnificent.

    I’m also here in Texas and also didn’t vote for Trump, due primarily on his at that point 38-year history of modifying positions based on where he seemingly thought the majority of the public was coming down on an issue, depending on where the swing voters were. That’s why my most pleasant surprise so far has been the past four months, since the swing voters in the 2018 midterms tacked left and Trump has not followed (though given the left’s desire to grind him into dust, he might not have had much of a choice but to follow Reagan in 1983 and “Stay the Course” after his ’82 midterm drubbing).

    The current situation seems to be one where the perfect is the enemy of the good, and you can’t replace something with nothing. Continuing to virtue signal based on who Trump is now comes up against his record in office, versus in the current two-party system and what the binary alternative offered up by the Democrats is going to be. You can already see a lot of people out there in #NeverTrump world trying to convince themselves that Uncle Joe or Mayor Pete won’t be that bad. But they could get Bernie, Liz or Kamala next fall.

    • #44
  15. Keith Rice Inactive
    Keith Rice
    @KeithRice

    Depends on the situation. I just rewatched the classic “Devil’s Brigade” with William Holden and in the scene where the brigade is named so, Holden’s character is also said to be the Devil. When you’re at war you need to be an unrelenting bastard … or you’ll lose.

    But, I don’t normally expect a national level leader to be held to a high moral standard because there’s a significant paradigm shift from the individual to the national. Who liked Carter at the end of his presidency? Not very many.

    Some years ago I was in the recovery room at the blood bank having a discussion with another donor. She brought up Anton Scalia’s biography and started enumerating his evils. When she was done I just responded “It’s almost as if he’s human, eh?”

    The type of indiscretion matters, some have more gravitas than others, and some can become serious personal liabilities but ultimately that’s between you and “God” … if you’re going to represent me in the big bad world just don’t be a shlemiel. 

     

    • #45
  16. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher
    Goldwaterwoman
    @goldwaterwoman

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    But I realize that I’m the one who is cringing, not Trump, and he is still getting things done. So then I have to say what, or who, is the problem here?!

    I only cringe when he says something that could have been phrased in a more diplomatic way and offended fewer people. Since I’ve met and known socially many politicians over the years, believe me when I tell you not one of them would qualify for sainthood. As time goes on and we learn more about the private lives of past presidents, it’s clear that none of them would qualify for sainthood either. What makes Trump stand out is that his life has been an open book from day one as he never expected to keep his private life secret in hopes of one day becoming president. 

    • #46
  17. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    The fruit of his decision was the flowering of Christianity, so the fruit was good.

    Another very important consideration, @seawriter! Thank you!

    I like the show Blue Bloods, but if I ever have to listen to the Atty character say fruitofthepoisonedtree again I think I’ll lose it. As a legal principle I get it because law has to be applied equally and that requires a meticulousness that works in a sealed courtroom environment. 

    Real life is anything but laboratory conditions. It’s messy, we’re messy. 

    • #47
  18. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    namlliT noD (View Comment):
    There’s the comparative levels of morality of all the candidates running to consider.

    @dontillman, could you elaborate on this point? Do you mean the moral set of each one, or the morality set when we compare all of them–or both? Yes, the media’s role, especially in these times, is despicable.

    Several candidates running. “A” has some colorful history that you might judge as not the best. Okay. Do you then vote for “B” regardless of “B”‘s morals? Probably not. Because as bad as “A” is, by your judgement, which we’ll assume is fine, “B” could be much, much worse. But you might not know.

    So you’d have to consider the comparative levels of morality (for whatever definition…) of both candidates “A” and “B”, with similar amounts of knowledge.

    Next, “B” is presented in the press as Mother Theresa. That makes it tempting to go with “B”.

    But the members of the press happen to be in bed with “B”. Possibly, literally.

    And “B” could, in fact, be really dangerous. And even more dangerous with the press in tow.

    So I guess I’m saying that it’s difficult to make a reasonable decision this way.

    It is hard. But it sounds like we have to try to be clear aboutour own moral set to make any kind of consistent judgment about any of them. I think too many people just rely on their “feelings,” or their “intuition.” I need a lot more to back up both of those. Thanks!

    I agree, but there are so few facts to be had that we pretty much have to go with intuition. 

    • #48
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):

    If the Sheriff is attempting to keep a mob from lynching a (probably-innocent) prisoner, then the moral choice, in my view, is to support the Sheriff….even if he is known to take bribes and to seduce and abandon young virgins.

    Pretty much sums up my view. Another example – the Emperor Constantine. He was not a “good” man by most measures. Yet he is a Christian saint because he supported the Christian church at a time where it very much needed his support. Did he throw his support to the Christians for political reasons? Probably. The fruit of his decision was the flowering of Christianity, so the fruit was good.

    It is also claimed that Constantine marked an enormous and lasting temptation and destruction of the true Church, as the incentives all pointed to collaborating with Caesar in the false name of God. From Ezekiel 22:

    25 There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof.

    26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.

    27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

    28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken.

    • #49
  20. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I tend to ignore all of the sexual politics stories as well as the graft and corruption stories about the politicians. I find so many of those stories to be motivated by political animus that I disregard them.

    However, I cannot forgive traitorous actions–thus John Kerry’s selling out and denigrating the U.S. military during his Vietnam protests will never find forgiveness in me. Nor will Al Gore’s going around the world trashing the United States for our supposed fault in “global warming” while the world was against us during the Iraq War.

    Perhaps the only relevant ‘sins’ are sins against our county; we reasonably avoid marrying adulterers and should similarly avoid electing traitors. 

    • #50
  21. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    I’ve had this debate many times. My wife used to insist that she could never vote for a known philanderer, while I pointed out that Hitler was an abstemious prig, so I’d take the philanderer. (Just getting ole’ Godwin out of the way early here).

    The hard truth is that all of us have (to put this in Christian parlance) our own besetting sins and passions, and those sins differ from one person to the next. One person may be free from anger and jealousy and vanity, but struggle all his life with lust. The next may be free from all sins but pride alone, but their pride is so overwhelming that they’ve become a moral monster, and a tyrant to others, their pride being fed by their “freedom” from more fleshly passions. You have to take the whole person (as much as you can know anyway), and you have to judge them by their actions and what they reveal of their motivations.

    But those decisions also come secondary to their jobs, and “Politician” is as much a job title as Janitor. If I’m hiring a janitor, I want a janitor who shows up on time and does his work well. Matters of the heart, or of his marriage, or his pride, are all secondary to that job until they bleed into his work. So it is with politicians – if they do what I voted for them to do, and their other passions don’t infect their work or spoil it, let it lie. The fact is that until very recent times we remained happily ignorant of their infidelities – how many people knew of FDR’s affairs while he was in office? Were the American people owed that information at the time? Or might we have gone into WWII with a hamstrung and isolationist administration instead?

    To this day, a couple of my friends still fret and worry in genuine rage at people like me who fail to be as outraged as they are over “Trump’s Bad Character”. Every week they find some new outrage and try to get me to join in on it. I honestly don’t care, so long as they don’t affect his job (and I don’t count the media fainting couch types and gossipers dredging it up endlessly as affecting the job – that’s muckraking in an attempt to create a story). Do what I voted for you to do, it’s your job, it’s what I hired you for in the first place. I have enough besetting sins of my own to worry about, rather than being daily scandalized by someone else’s.

    Exactly so. As we are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, so we should expect of Caesar a set of virtues in governing. So, does my elected representative earnestly follow through, however inconvenient to him or her, on campaign promises and the party platform? Are the promises and the platform morally superior to that of the other major (so only real other possible winner) party or candidate? If not a clearly moral issue, is one party/candidate showing results in office that tend towards restoring constitutional order and starting to restore a populace that is imbued with basic respect for, and knowledge of, our constitutional system?

    Insincerity, even duplicity, demonstrated through decades of party and personal political action and inaction, has to operate as a heavy discount on the moral weight of a party or candidate’s election positions. Yes, I’m looking at you, Paul “Lyin” Ryan!

    I am uninterested in what I take as, based on decades of observation, fraudulent concerns about morality outside of the conduct of office.

    • #51
  22. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    In politics, I find it is almost a matter of choosing between the more and the lesser of two evils. Because of its very nature, it seems that very few career politicians escape the lure of personal gain, either in direct monetary benefits or career achievement/tenure.

    • #52
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    I had a hard time coming to a decision on this. I went over several possible “Respectable Positions on Trump” in a post around that time. I thought Trump was so bad that supporting him could only be justified as a resistance against the greater evil of Hillary Clinton, but I wasn’t sure it was ok to support a lesser evil that bad.

    In the end I hit on the difference between voting in a swing state and voting in a red state. I was from Texas, so my vote wasn’t going to be a decisive one; so I didn’t vote for Trump.

    I expect to next time. His use of Twitter is somewhere between unsavory and barbaric. His judicial appointments and deregulation have been magnificent, magnificent, magnificent.

    In the context of a presidency his tweets look bad. 

    In the context of tweets qua tweets, they are masterful. 

    • #53
  24. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Edit: Removed by better angel.

    • #54
  25. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    TBA (View Comment):

    Edit: Removed by better angel.

    Hey, can you give the rest of his contact information?  We could use his help.

    • #55
  26. Keith Rice Inactive
    Keith Rice
    @KeithRice

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    But I realize that I’m the one who is cringing, not Trump, and he is still getting things done. So then I have to say what, or who, is the problem here?!

    What makes Trump stand out is that his life has been an open book from day one as he never expected to keep his private life secret in hopes of one day becoming president.

    And despite this there’s still very little dirt on this wealthy son of privilege approaching 80 years of age. Would that all politicians be as clean as Trump. Not a saint by any measure (except maybe on Reddit’s “The Donald”) but a reasonably decent man.

    • #56
  27. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    EJHill (View Comment):
    If Christ commands me to take care of the poor and the sick, is that a political directive or a personal one?

    Personal.

    Helping the poor becomes political when it’s outsourced to government, thus impersonal.  It also makes people participate (via taxes) who otherwise wouldn’t.  Out another way, forced charity really isn’t charity.  Even donating to charitable organizations isn’t as “hands on” as The Big Guy would like, but it’s certainly better than government because of its voluntary nature . . .

    • #57
  28. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):
    It is also claimed that Constantine marked an enormous and lasting temptation and destruction of the true Church, as the incentives all pointed to collaborating with Caesar in the false name of God. From Ezekiel 22:

    I’d be careful there.  That has been used to justify some rather horrific things against both Catholics and Orthodox.

    • #58
  29. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Inactive
    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu
    @YehoshuaBenEliyahu

    My father, of blessed memory, always told me this:  “You can tell a person’s true character by how that person feels about Jews.”  Based on this moral criterion, Trump is a saint.  In this vein, actions are, of course, more important than feelings or words. Nixon’s tapes are full of anti-Semitic gibes but when Israel was in danger during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, he did not hesitate to re-supply the IDF.

    • #59
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Andrew Klavan put it best. I paraphrase slightly, “The biggest moral decision is whether I get to be free or not. Donald Trump’s many flaws are secondary to the question of freedom.” Trump lets gays and Christians live free lives in equal measure. His sexual predilections aren’t as important as what he does to the country. I will leave G-d’s judgement to G-d.

    I’m troubled by Klavan’s focus on freedom, though I am an admirer of his work.  I think that liberty is an important value, but it is often in tension with other important values.

    I’ve heard Klavan say things like: “I just want you to be free.”  I don’t just want you (or me) to be free.  I want you (and me) to be virtuous, and successful, and have a meaningful life and a valued place in our society.

    Obviously, Klavan’s statement will appeal somewhat more to libertarians and somewhat less to conservatives.

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