Mitt Romney is now the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.
Ok, technically he isn’t. At 1,024 delegates, he is twenty short of the number needed in order to formally secure the nomination.
Like I said, Romney is the GOP nominee.
No other candidate comes close, and even though my candidate, Ron Paul, hasn’t officially withdrawn from the race as of yet, at a mere 143 delegates, it is axiomatic that he most assuredly will not be our next president.
Romney is a Massachusetts center-left politician. No two ways about it. He is anything but the conservative that he is now styling himself to be. Not by any stretch could he ever credibly be confused with a friend of liberty.
Still, he is preferable to Barack Obama.
Anybody is preferable to Barack Obama. And because Romney is somebody, he would make a less damaging president than our current “transformer-in-chief.”
This is the thesis for which I have argued recently. As a consequence, I have been excoriated by my fellow Ron Paul supporters.
For the most part, I have been on the receiving end of two criticisms. First: not only isn’t there the proverbial dime’s worth of difference between Romney and Obama, the former may actually be worst than the latter. After all, Romney is more militaristic than Obama. Second: even if Romney is “the lesser of two evils,” evil is still evil and a vote for Romney, then, is a vote for evil.
The first proposition is false. I have already explained why, given Obama’s aspirations to “fundamentally transform”America into a bastion of “Social Justice,” he is significantly worst forAmerica in both the short and long terms than either Romney or anyone else who may have been his opponent.
However, for argument’s sake, let’s just say that the charge is accurate and Obama really is not as bad as Romney. If so, then perhaps prudence would suggest that we vote for Obama. We must crawl before we can run. If the objective is to restore constitutional government (liberty), then we must do what we can to decelerate the rate at which America is hemorrhaging liberties.
The second charge is just as problematic as the first. “A choice for the lesser of two evils is still a choice for evil.” This is a logically sound statement. But so what? So is “All green unicorns are colored objects.” Is this choice under these constraints a choice for evil? This is the question that my critics must address.
Certainly, from their perspective and mine, to vote for Romney is make a choice that is, at a minimum, far from ideal. It is indeed to “settle,” as one Facebook friend put it. To vote for Romney is to compromise. But compromise what?
As far as my fellow Paul supporters are concerned, the answer is obvious: in voting for Romney, I am guilty of compromising my “principles.”
Not so fast. “Principles” is a word mired in ambiguity. We wouldn’t know this given the ease—the thoughtlessness—with which we toss it around. But it is true just the same. Without getting into all of this, it seems clear enough that Paul supporters allege that if I vote for Romney, I will sacrifice my convictions, those things in which I have always claimed to really believe. This, in turn, is but another way of saying that I will expose myself to have been a fake all along, a man without any real conviction.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
I believe today what I have always believed. I believe that a country with more liberty is better than a country with less liberty. I believe that of the contestants that have been in this race from the beginning, Ron Paul is liberty’s greatest advocate. This is why I will vote for him in the New Jersey primary come this week. But Paul is not going to be a viable alternative to Obama come November because he is no longer going to be in the race then. Romney will be that alternative and Romney is less an enemy to liberty than is Obama (see above).
Circumstances have changed; my beliefs haven’t. So, in order to advance my beliefs, I must make radically non-ideal choices between severely constrained options.
This is called compromise. It is what the mature and wise apostle of liberty has always recognized as a function of the virtues of temperance and prudence. “Principles” aren’t what’s being compromised, however. The prudential person forgoes all of he wants at a given moment so that rather than get none of it, he gets some of it.
Neither is it correct that the person who votes for Romney “chooses evil.” Even if it is true that Romney is an evil, my choice is not primarily for Romney as it is against Obama. This is a morally relevant distinction.
Not long ago, my dear grandmother passed away. She had a surgery from which she never regained consciousness. While unconscious, the vast majority of her breathing was sustained by a ventilator. The doctors informed us that she was dying, but slowly, uncomfortably. If we took her off the ventilator, she would die, but more quickly. To prevent her from suffering, they would administer a morphine drip. My family and I opted for this latter plan.
Did we choose for my grandmother to die? We wanted for her to live! The choice we made was a choice to end her suffering. We knew, though, that her death would be a foreseen, if unintended, consequence of our decision.
Did those of America’s Founders who opposed slavery choose slavery when they “compromised” on the question of slavery in order to forge a new nation “conceived in liberty?” Did they choose evil?
Rand Paul, clearly a big fan of his father’s, had already announced that he will support the GOP nominee, regardless of who he is. Is he guilty of compromising his principles or choosing evil? Or what if his father decides to endorse Romney? What we will we say then? By becoming Republican Party office holders, both Pauls have already endorsed this party. Have they chosen evil or foregone principle?
Finally, to my fellow Ron Paul supporters, Fb friends, and critics, ask yourselves this: in not voting for either presidential nominee, are you not forsaking your “principles,” are you not “choosing evil?” A choice to refrain from voting is still a choice. Refusing to vote, or insisting on voting for third party candidates whose percentage of the popular vote promises to be negligible will not only fail abysmally to mitigate the erosion of liberty.
It could very well hasten its demise.