Silence is a true friend who never betrays.
I have been very busy the last couple of weeks. It has been hard to find time to sit down at this keyboard to write anything. I have also been detached from the wider world, so I have no material for a RTOVS post. So, I turn to the SOC option when I feel the need to write but have nothing to write about.
My busyness comes from three things. The first and most obvious was Hurricane Matthew. The second has been my digital sabbaths which has eliminated a large chunk of writing time from my life. The third has been my job and work in my parish. Letting the C-blog lie fallow during that time has been a bit vexing, but I am learning to relax with the idea of taking breaks from writing.
I have been enjoying a few different things on the internet lately. I haven't had much time to read everything the net offers, but there are a few things I take the time to check in on. One of those gems is the Bethune Catholic blog. I like that blog because the thinking is very similar to my own but different enough to make it thought provoking and interesting. The most thought provoking material lately has been the issue of Trump.
I really wish Donald Trump was not the GOP nominee. I would vote for Pence over Trump. But here is where we are. The real issue here is not about supporting Trump so much as supporting the Republican Party. I have never voted for a Democrat in my entire life, and I doubt that I ever will. This begs the most obvious question. Why should we continue to support the Republican Party?
People desperately want better options than the two they are offered each election cycle. This is why Bernie Sanders did so well. It is why Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are polling at the highest numbers those third party candidates have ever had. And it is also why Donald Trump won the GOP nomination. People want a different flavor from chocolate and vanilla. What they don't get is that our system is based upon gaining a majority or at least a plurality of the vote. I don't think people understand that aspect of democracy. The one thing our system guarantees is that no one gets everything that they want.
The reason the Democrat and Republican parties dominate is because they are filled with people who understand and accept that fact of life. Libertarians are now feeling the sting of that reality as they see the LP run two candidates who are not libertarian at all. The LP is basically a refuge for Republicans who smoke dope and support abortion. Their numbers are up this election cycle, and it has been achieved through the compromise of the principles that the LP espouses.
I am a former libertarian, so I am amused to watch all of this. It also vindicates my return to conservatism. Conservatism differs from libertarianism in one key respect. Conservatives espouse principles, but they are not principles founded upon abstractions. This is a very important distinction because it has to do with the issue of compromise. I will use taxes as an issue to highlight this distinction:
CONSERVATIVES--Limited taxationProgressives or liberals like Hillary Clinton are without principle on anything. When it comes to taxes, they will let you keep whatever income they deem fit. Your money and your resources belong to the State, and you live to serve the State. Libertarians go to the extreme opposite end of the spectrum calling all taxation a form of theft. Since order is a spontaneous thing, no government is needed, and that means no taxes are needed either to support the non-essential government. Conservatives believe government supports and promotes order, and it needs money to operate. But if it takes all of your money, why support it? This is why conservatives support low taxes but not zero taxes like the libertarians.
The problem is when it comes down to the numbers. A 10% top tax rate would be an atrocity for progressives, a total compromise to libertarians, and a dream come true for conservatives. But because some conservatives think it should be 5% instead of 10%, they become as uncompromising as the libertarians. Yet, this is not conservatism at all because these conservatives reject the dictum from the great Edmund Burke who said, "All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise."
"Compromise" is a dirty word to people today. It connotes having zero principles and a willingness to sell out. Somehow, being uncompromising is seen as a virtue. So, for the sake of not compromising, certain conservatives will reject any and all legislation that allows rape and incest exceptions on abortion. Now, I agree with the principle of these conservatives, but I also want to limit abortions and save lives. If compromising on a bill that limits abortions will result in lives saved, then I think we should compromise. Yet, there are pro-lifers who can't do this. They reject the better for the sake of the perfect. It is allowing all to perish because all cannot be saved.
God compromises. That may be anathema to people, but it is the truth. God is not the author of evil, but He does allow evils to exist. An uncompromising God would have already consigned us all to Hell by now, but He doesn't. God abhors sin, yet He shows mercy to sinners. Likewise, slavery was an evil, but it was permitted because the alternative was starvation. Divorce is also an evil, but it was permitted because battery of women and other ills are worse. Likewise, Donald Trump is a flawed candidate but not as flawed as Hillary Clinton. We should tolerate the lesser evil of Trump to thwart the greater evil of Hillary Clinton.
Prudence is the ability to hold to the perfect without sacrificing the good. True conservatives know this. This is why I knew Mark Levin would come around and commit to voting for Trump. Levin does not support Trump or agree with him on many issues. But Levin knows that Hillary Clinton would be a disaster for this country. The same goes for Ted Cruz and his late endorsement of Trump.
Trump is not a conservative. He is not Ronald Reagan. I have no illusions about the man. I am saddened that someone better is not the GOP nominee. But we are stuck with this guy. Trump is a scourge to the GOP, and his chastisement of the party is sorely needed. My hope is that Trump will be a kick in the seat of the pants of the conservatives in the party. And we can always challenge Trump again in 2020 should he get elected President. Reagan did it to Ford.
Another website I follow on the regular is Rich Roll. I have been listening to his podcasts, and they are awesome. I don't care for any spiritual insights Roll may have, and I know I don't share his politics. But he is a middle aged vegan who has managed to hit the reset button on his body. The man is 50. As I get older, I am also keenly interested in making this body last as long as I can. I need it for all the stuff I have yet to do. I take great inspiration from middle aged and older people who pursue a vegan/athletic lifestyle. None of us will live forever, but I don't want to be dead before I am truly dead. I have the vegan part nailed down. I just need to exercise more.