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The Strongest Argument for Romney

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 25, 2012

While we’re on the topic of the morality of voting in this year’s American Presidential election (see A Note on Political Choices, and Political Lies), I want to do justice to my other hand by explaining what I think is the most compelling argument to vote for Romney, even though I maintain that it is also moral to withhold one’s vote from both of the major party candidates. Remember that we are not searching for an argument here to vote for Romney rather than Obama. We take for granted that we cannot morally vote for Obama. Rather, what might convince us to vote for Romney rather than vote for neither of the two?

It isn’t the argument that the Republicans are more pro-life than the Democrats. This is generally true, but it has not been significant enough in practice over the past forty years. While the Republican Party is hospitable to pro-lifers, the Party as a whole has not made the culture of life a major practical priority, and the Party’s general incompetence, especially in the matter of military adventurism, has driven droves of people to align themselves with the Democrats out of a sort of desperation.

It isn’t the argument that only a Republican president can turn the economy around. Since we are morally constrained to consider intrinsic evils first, we aren’t going to get to the economy at all. Moreover, while it is possible to prefer one approach over another in terms of fiscal policy, the proposition that our economy can be restored through simple changes in public policy is, at best, dubious. So is the proposition that Democrat and Republican fiscal policy are, overall, two radically different things.

No, it is the argument that government, no matter how much evil it may permit, crosses a critical line when it enshrines evil in law to the point of coercing citizens to participate in evil. Call it the need to respect religious liberty (a very weak form of expression without some common understanding of religion) or the need to protect the rights of citizens to follow the natural law (a far stronger position). But whatever you call it, the Democratic Party in general and President Obama in particular are very much in favor of changing the rules of our social order such that citizens will be penalized if they refuse to participate in intrinsic evils, evils which they are absolutely right to abhor.

On the other hand, the Republican Party, including Mitt Romney despite his forays into similar territory as governor of Massachusetts, has credibly pledged to wipe out the beachhead established by Obama in this area, namely the HHS mandate. At the very least, this gives men of good will more time to work for a more moral society before the persecution begins in earnest.

The phrase “despite his forays into similar territory” ought to act as a sort of restraint on our enthusiasm here, but this still creates a significant argument in favor of voting for Romney rather than voting for neither. It is an argument which at least must be considered.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: impossible - Oct. 26, 2012 10:42 PM ET USA

    Where is Mr. Lawler? Perhaps he may have a different opinion on your rationalizaion about the tactic on not voting. Let us hear from him on this.