Douglas Kmiec’s Contribution to the Insanity of the Fashionable

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Oct 31, 2012

Do you see an internal contradiction between the following two paragraphs, both drawn from the Catholic ex-Ambassador Douglas Kmiec’s explanation of why he will definitely vote for Barack Obama in the upcoming American presidential election?

Paragraph 1:

...when you see someone who's devoted completely to people who have less than himself, who worries about our tax system and society and economic opportunities, how can you not be for those ideas and the person standing behind those ideas? So it's a no-brainer for me …

Paragraph 2:

There is a tradition we trace back to Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, of the seamless garment — all life issues are interrelated: abortion, capital punishment, war, a family wage, the environment. You can't take these things apart. More and more Catholics understand that, but some very important Catholics are resistant.

The internal contradiction is this. Kmiec means to imply that pro-life Catholics are the ones who are “resistant” to the inseparability of the questions he enumerates. But in fact, it is Barack Obama himself who, more than any other significant politician in American history, has refused to recognize the inseparability of the life, marriage and family issues from the overall well-being of society, including economic well-being.

That Kmiec could put these two paragraphs side by side without being aware of the contradiction shows how difficult it is for those governed by fashionable ideas to see reality whole. Thus Kmiec can say that “Obama promotes social justice as if he were a Catholic”—which is even more evidence that the fashionable spend much of their time making self-contradictory statements without reference to reality at all.

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: - Nov. 02, 2012 8:41 AM ET USA

    If only Social Justice types had such unswerving faith in the salvific mission of the Body of Christ as they have in centralized govt to solve problems from the top, down! Sixty years of stats provide irrefutable evidence that interventionist govt destroys institutions like the family, church, neighborhood, village, county, state, etc. Result: centralized govt grows, dependency grows, and technocrat elite (R&D) designs an "efficient" society. "Progress" = destroyed families, churches, etc.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 02, 2012 8:19 AM ET USA

    Agree with jackist7902, but candidates are less important than authentically Catholic institutions which offer a legitimate alternative to govt or commercial ones. Resist Obamacare, of course, but where's the Catholic alternative? Where are the Catholic (non-govt) mutual aid societies, insurance and investment companies, homeless shelters and food kitchens? Let's offer an alternative!

  • Posted by: jackist7902 - Oct. 31, 2012 2:23 PM ET USA

    Both major-party tickets are so terrible that attempts to justify voting for either Romney or Obama are riddled with contradictions. When are we as Catholics going to seriously challenge the status quo and advance good candidates rather than attempting to prop up the lesser of two evils?