Friday, July 22, 2016

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

I made some comments on Facebook regarding Cruz's convention speech. Here's what I said:

i) I don't condemn people who voted for a non-Trump candidate in the primaries, but will grudgingly vote for Trump in the general. I condemn people who voted for Trump in the primaries. That created a moral dilemma for conservatives. 

Given that predicament, I understand that some conservatives are supporting Trump in the general, not so much as a vote for Trump, but a vote against Hillary. 

ii) But by the same token, when the Trumpkins created this double bind, they can't turn around and order me to impale myself on their preferred horn of the dilemma. The problem for me is that November is a lost cause regardless of who wins. It's now a choice between two worst-case scenarios. Once the Trumpkins invaded the primaries and succeeded in getting their candidate nominated, our fate was sealed. It's like pulling the pin on a live grenade. You don't have the same options after you doing it that you did before. And there's no going back. Someone's going to get hurt. Just a question of who. Time to dive for cover.

iii) Yes, there's a sense in which Cruz used code language. But in so doing he created a dilemma for Trumpkins. Cruz said: "We deserve leaders who stand for principle. Unite us all behind shared values. Cast aside anger for love. That is the standard we should expect, from everybody. And to those listening, please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution."

Trumpkins can only take umbrage at that statement by walking right into an ambush of their own making. They sensed that Cruz was taking a backhanded swipe at Trump. I'm sure he was. But you can't be offended by that statement without sharing Cruz's interpretation. Unless Cruz's insinuation is plausible, why would you assume the statement excludes Trump? To jeer Cruz for what he said is an unwitting admission that Trump's not a leader who stands for principle, with shared values, whom we can trust to defend our freedom and be faithful to the Constitution. 

I think Cruz just wanted to distance himself from Trump. I doubt he intended to lay a trap. For one thing, I doubt he's that good at reading an audience.

The Trumpkins made it trap when they took the bait. They sensed that he was snubbing Trump. Problem is, he phrased it in such a way that they couldn't be affronted without stepping into a trap, which is just what they did.

The smart thing to do in that situation is not to take the bait. But they're not that smart. They don't really listen to content. They are easily manipulated.

iv) There's no reason to demand that every speech at a GOP convention must endorse the candidate. Speakers can perform other useful functions. For instance, a speaker can make the case against the Democrat nominee. Or a speaker can make the case for conservative values. Define and defend conservative ideology and policy. By the same token, a speaker can made a case against liberal ideology and policies. 

It's a good thing to have speakers who are independent of the GOP nominee. Who don't have to cut-and-tailor their message to suit the nominee. We shouldn't measure conservatism by the nominee, but measure the nominee by conservatism.

v) If the objective was to defeat Hillary, primary voters should have picked a candidate who was more acceptable to conservatives, and without Trump's stratospheric negatives. It's too late to salvage the disaster that Trumpkins wrought in the primaries.

vi) The question is whether Cruz's self-interest coincides with the public interest. By definition, politicians are ambitious. The issue is whether what they want what lines up with what the country needs. 

I think Cruz is calculating. But from what I can tell, he is a genuine conservative ideologue. Some of his positions are arguably opportunistic, but as politicians go, he seems to have more core convictions than most. 

vii) I don't know that Cruz's speech backfired. Sure, he proved once again that he's not a team player. The party apparatchiks will shun him. But I don't think that hurts him with the base. Just the opposite. 

viii) In Num 30:3-5, a father has authority to void the vow of a minor. That exception is sufficient to establish the fact that vows are not irrevocable in principle. An illustration of that fact.

I'd add that OT case law was never meant to be exhaustive. Rather, it gives OT judges hypothetical situations. They are to apply the law to analogous situations. 

That doesn't rule out other potential exceptions. There are priorities within OT law. This crops up in the Sabbath controversies between Jesus and the religious establishment. 

Lev 5 describes what to do in the case of a rash vow. You perform a ritual to atone for nonperformance. That illustrates the fact that vows are not ipso facto inviolable. However, it's culpable to make a rash vow, which is why noncompliance must be redeemed. That's the alternative to keeping the vow.

By your logic, if a hitman vows to assassinate the wife of a judge, then becomes a Christian, he must still carry out his vow rather than repent of his vow. 

Incidentally, there's nothing necessary wrong with taking circumstances into account. Although some actions are intrinsically right or wrong, the morality or immorality of other actions is contingent on the situation. For instance, taking life is generally wrong or prima facie wrong, but there are situations in which taking life is morally permissible or even morally obligatory.


  1. Voting for Trump in November has so many negative long term ramifications for conservatives and/or Republicans that it's not worth voting for him in order to vote against Hillary.

    For example:

    1. In the eyes of the world it confirms the suspicion that conservatives and/or Republicans are racists and idiots with poor judgment in matters of politics and character. Making the GOP even more despicable in the eyes of the general population.

    2. Often perception amounts to reality or tends towards and then becomes reality. Voting for Trump will make it seem that the the GOP as a whole does want to move toward more liberal positions. In which case GOP candidates at every level will tend to be more liberal in order to gain/maintain support and votes by catering to perceived popularity/desires. It's the Bandwagon effect on a national level.

    3. It misses the opportunity to vote 3rd party and thereby making it clear by the post election STATISTICS that Republicans really still are conservative and really do dislike Trump's style, morals, character, behavior, methods etc. In which case the GOP, if it wants to remain a force in future elections, should continue its tradition of conservatism. This the perfect time for conservatives to make a mathematically QUANTIFIABLE statement by voting 3rd party. It didn't make that much sense in times past, but it definitely does now. If Trump isn't a candidate that's polarizing enough to cause conservatives to make a protest vote, then there'll never be such a candidate. By voting 3rd party NOW you WON'T be wasting a vote but rather making a statistically discernible statement. You waste you vote by NOT voting 3rd party conservative. Don't miss the opportunity.

    4. By voting for Trump in November, future Trump-like candidates will continue to appear on the scene and therefore continue to make liberal Democrats appealing (or less unappealing). As unappealing as Hillary is, Trump makes her less unapealing to many voters and will likely secure her victory.


    1. 5. If Trump wins, he'll likely be a YUUUGE failure as a "Republican" President and so tarnish the Republican brand like Jimmy Carter did for Democrats. Hence, likely ensuring the next POTUS after Trump will be a Democrat. Resulting in at least 8 years of bad Presidents (Four years of Trump plus the four or eight years of the next Democrat President).

      6. Trump not being an intellectual who immerses himself with details, someone who shoots from the hip, acts based on his gut instinct and makes decisions based on what's convenient for his own ego/reputation will be an unpredictable POTUS. He might make a huge mistake (or more) that results in a long term disaster (either politically, economically, militarily etc.). At least with Hillary we can predictably know she'll pretty much continue in the direction of Obama.

      7. An argument could be made that since voting for Trump would have such negative future ramifications for conservatives that conservatives would be better off voting for Hillary than for Trump. Hillary's first term would in essence be Obama's 3rd term of failure. Thus setting up a future desire in the nation for a radically different type of candidate in 2020 (maybe even a conservative one, say a Rubio who models himself after Regan). However, this option doesn't have the additional positive advantage of #3 above which you get by voting 3rd party.

      The one argument for voting for Trump that makes some sense to me is that he might possibly nominate Supreme Court justices who are more or less literal in their interpretation of the Constitution. Unlike Hillary who would definitely do the opposite. But is THAT worth destroying the GOP and it's political AND CULTURAL influence for generations for come? People are so sinful that the Bandwagon effect is a massively real phenomenon. IMHO the Republican party is a providential means by which God manifests, preserves and promotes Common Grace conservative values in the nation. That'll be destroyed if Trump-like RINOs become popular in the party. Supreme Court justices may interpret laws in a way that virtually legislates law by (in effect) "changing" the laws. But the GOP can help sway hearts, minds and attitudes in ways laws by themselves can't. So, IMO it's not worth voting for Trump. By my fallible analysis, it seems to me that it's best for conservatives to vote 3rd party for all the reasons mentioned above.

  2. Here's just another take away from the Cruz speech and also after I listened to his remarks from this morning addressing why he did what he did at a gathering of the Texas delegation breakfast.

    It goes to the bit about vote your conscience up and down the ticket. I came away with this sense about that that he might have had this idea in mind about the outcome of both the House and Senate races across the country this November that would be needed to shore up the republican vote needed to success in those respective Senate and House races so that the United States Congress comes into a very strong control of the Republican side of the isle, so strong with a stronger majority than now Congress could impeach Hillary for lying to Congress.

    So what then? So what if Hillary wins? What difference does it make then, to use a previous phrase if she wins or loses the Presidency. They would be able to impeach her if she won the presidency or have her arrested and prosecuted for lying to Congress if she did not.

    Say Hillary wins the honor of the Presidency and goes to the White House and the U.S. House and U.S. Senate gains the necessary seats to impeach her for the things the FBI Director laid out she is guilty of before that committee in the House a couple weeks back?

    Let her win the White House and then impeach her for lying to Congress and this time the Democrats won't have the votes or ability to block it.

    Vote your conscience. Vote out of power the Democrats in Congress. So what does it matter then if she wins or loses the race for the Presidency? The United States Congress would be empowered to bring about justice either way.