Sunday, January 24, 2016

Trump meets Screwtape

There are times when it's important for Christians to be politically shrewd. In the US, that's been the case since the 70s (if not before then).

That said, it can be morally and spiritually hazardous to be too crafty and cunning. I'm reminded of C. S. Lewis's experience writing The Screwtape Letters. Now that's one of his most deservedly popular works. Psychologically penetrating.

Problem is, to write it, he had to assume the Devil's viewpoint. Had to think like the devil. He found it oppressive to cultivate that mindset. He could hardly wait to finish writing the book and put it behind him. 

When it comes down to making calculations about whether it's more prudent to vote for Trump or Hillary (or Bernie), I feel like I'm crossing a border into Screwtape territory. If it comes to that, the remaining options will be so appalling that I'm having to apply an almost devilish ingenuity to their comparative merits. I don't want to spend much time on that side of the border. I don't want to become acclimated to that side of the border. 

Admittedly, that's a melodramatic comparison. But there's a grain of truth to it. There's a point at which I find the calculations morally self-degrading. 


  1. So, are you going to vote for the lesser of two evils? You could go with a third party.

    1. I myself have mentioned a third party elsewhere, and so thought I'd weigh in as well:

      1. For starters, how likely is a third party to form? I'm not sure. I presume a "third party" would be comprised largely of disaffected voters. However, there would be disaffected voters from both parties - i.e. liberals none too happy with Hillary and likewise conservatives with Trump. Obviously both wouldn't or couldn't coalesce to form a third party together due to so many differences on so many levels.

      2. Perhaps there would be a third and fourth party if there were enough disaffected with their own party on both sides. However, I'm not sure if and how beneficial such further splintering would be for the nation. It's difficult to gauge. Unclear to me.

      Say if it's Hillary vs. Trump, and liberals form a third party behind Sanders, while conservatives form a fourth party behind Rubio or Cruz, then who will win? It's hard to predict.

      Plus, the best choice among these choices would be a Rubio or Cruz victory, yet is that even likely if conservatives split?

      3. Perhaps only either disaffected liberals or disaffected conservatives would have the will and wherewithal to form a third party. If it's a largely liberal third party (e.g. backing a Sanders/Warren ticket), then I'd hope liberals are so divided that the division costs them the presidency and all else this entails.

      However, this would mean a Trump victory (on a Hillary vs. Trump scenario), which I'm not so sure is necessarily overall better than a Hillary victory. Maybe, maybe not.

      4. If it's a largely conservative third party representing true conservatives beliefs and values, unlike Trump, then this might have some potential. Say if it's a Rubio/Cruz ticket.

      However, presumably this would divide conservatives so much that it'd hand Hillary the presidency. In which case results-wise it's the same as having voted for Hillary. Yet, if results-wise it's equivalent to having voted for Hillary, then at least conscience-wise it's not, I suppose.

    2. Chris W:

      "So, are you going to vote for the lesser of two evils?"

      That's only in play if one candidate is the lesser evil. If it comes down to Trump v. Hillary (or Bernie), who's the lesser evil?

      "You could go with a third party."

      As a protest vote. If the election is a lost cause, because both nominees are unacceptable, then there's nothing to lose by going with a third party (for that election cycle).

    3. Are there any third party candidates that you find favourable?

    4. We don't really have any at this stage in the 2016 campaign.