Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Response to Michael

My pal Michael P. is on the case, looking out for me, and so has commended to the attention of those of us who opposed Sen. Obama's election this letter -- published on the very fine new-ish website, "Public Discourse", from John Haldane to "America" (!!!).  As it happens, I, like Michael, am a regular reader of that site, and had already read, and reflected on, Haldane's letter.  Obviously, much of what Haldane says is correct (and little of what he says -- i.e., lots of "conservatives" opposed the current wars, the Republicans are not perfect as vehicles for conservative policies, etc. -- has ever been denied by any MOJ bloggers who opposed Obama's election).  Still, I would be assisted greatly, I'm sure, in my reflections if Michael were to share with us, more specifically, what *he* thinks of the letter (that is, besides the fact that it is commendable).

Haldane writes:

Social conservatives who look to politics should be seeking to work within both parties, and in the case of the Democrats, seeking to return them to a historical position that was once more in line with Christian moral values and Catholic social teaching than was that of the Republicans.

There is also a further reason to be wary of confusing moral concerns with the fortunes of a political party. Those within a chosen party whose primary interest is pursuing electoral victory may prove fiercer enemies of one’s moral position than political opponents in other parties.

Now, in a way, this is not very controversial.  I'd be surprised if any "conservatives" on this blog -- or many people who read it -- ever had any doubts that the merits of the Republican Party consist entirely in its ability to deliver policies that, in their / our view, are more consistent with freedom, human dignity, and the common good, properly understood.  

Still, the letter is food for thought(s).  And so, again, I'd welcome Michael's:  Given all the givens (including, for example, the careers and views of those whom Sen. Obama is choosing to be his chief advisors), where, and how, would Michael advise "social conservatives" to "work within" the Democratic Party, in its current form?  Politics being what it is -- after all, Democrats, no less than Republicans, have "pursuing electoral victory" as their "primary interest" -- it is not clear (to me, and to many political observers and strategists) that the Democrats really need (very many) "social conservatives" to win.  (Haldane notwithstanding, it seems clear that the overwhelming majority of "social conservatives" voted for McCain, which is not to say that no pro-lifers voted for Obama.)  Where are the openings?  What, specifically, does Michael have in mind?  What reasons are there to think -- I would, certainly, like to think -- that the current Democratic Party has any political need to return, or interest in returning, "to a historical position" -- on religious freedom, pro-life issues, etc. -- that "was once more in line with Christian moral values and Catholic social teaching than was that of the Republicans"?


Garnett, Rick | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Response to Michael :