I am coming more and more to agree with Lew Rockwell that voting is a waste of time, but what about the argument that we should vote for the man who will do less damage? Why not vote for the man who will drive off the cliff at 40mph instead of the man who’ll drive off the cliff at 50mph?
In the church, the moderates do the real damage. Few believers listen to strident liberals. More influential is the reasonable-sounding man who tries to edge things toward peace at all all costs, or the woman who appeals to civility as she suggests a small step that just so happens to undermine Biblical authority (and there will always be another step after that). It’s the evangelical with the disarming smile who is just kinda sorta trying to move the church toward — and really in just the most limited way — ordaining women deacons. He supplies the credentials and the legitimacy. He seals the deal.
I think it’s basically the same in politics. The man doing the real damage is the one who fraudulently claims to present a real alternative when he is 98% the same as the other guy (and actually even worse on some issues like war and civil liberties). The Republicans had Congress and the presidency for years and they could not defund Planned Parenthood. There are powerful interests in the party who want it. It’s just an issue to run on in some districts. You vote on a meaningless measure that will never get through both houses of Congress, everyone gets the scores they want from the advocacy groups, and let’s go have drinks.
The guy who gets your vote doesn’t care if you’re holding your nose while pulling the lever for him. It’s a vote all the same.
But here’s the larger problem: pulling the lever for empty rhetoric and table scraps enervates a true opposition. It saps it. It doesn’t act to reverse the train heading off the cliff or even stop the train, it stabilizes the engine so it can steam toward destruction. The 19th-century theologian R.L. Dabney put it well:
Its history is that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at least in the innovation. It is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward to perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.
Moderates do the real damage.