I did not watch the Vice Presidential debate, because I can feel myself getting stupider watching the political discourse that the modern Western mind finds compelling. But I did hear sound clips, and there is only one I would like to address, because I have heard friends say it.
Let me paraphrase. “Yes, I am a Catholic,” Biden said last night, “and I believe personally that abortion is wrong. But I would not want to impose my values on other people.” I only have two things to say about this ridiculous statement.
First, Mr. Biden has had no problems through his career as a lawmaker imposing his personal values on others – values, mind you, that do not have the rich intellectual tradition the Catholic Church does for picking apart, analyzing, and vetting before they are put in place. Mr. Biden has never hesitated to tell people that his opinions should be enshrined in law, whether the realm be economic, moral, religious, or all of the above. Many of these beliefs were adopted as a response to needing votes, and nearly all are founded in economic ignorance, a confusion of social cause and effect, and a utilitarian concentration on ends over means. The man’s career has been built upon the capricious and whimsical imposition of values, and yet here, he is refraining to do so. Irony this is not. Hypocrisy of the most disgusting order it is.
Second, and this one is even more glaringly foolish, is the doctrine of abortion in this context in the first place. The Catholic Church holds that abortion is the intentional killing of a human being. Joe Biden says he personally agrees with the Church on abortion. So what his words truly mean are that he thinks that this is murder, but he does not have the right or ability to impose any restrictions of these murders on anyone. Is this not the most basic purpose of government – to protect the lives of citizens? And yet, we have a politician saying that he doesn’t think there should be restrictions on what he (supposedly) believes is murder.
The cognitive dissonance of the matter is shocking, thick, and palpable. Word on the internet is that this response was extremely intelligent and “the kind of response that the Founders, who believed in the separation of Church and state, would have given.” This latter statement belies the speaker’s understanding of history, philosophy, and Western Civilization itself. Many doctrines and moral standards of today have come from the Church. Many of these beliefs have been adopted and applied to government action by the very people who believe that separation of Church and state is important (which of course it is), even in a secular context. Western Philosophy, for over 1500 years, was projected through the prism of the Church. That does not mean the results thereof should be rejected automatically. It merely means that it must be vetted for truth without having to invoke a creator (which is a bit incoherent in the first place, since humanity is a mere collection of higher monkeys if there is no God, but I digress). The seminal location of a belief has no bearing on its truth. The appropriate question here is “At what point do we become human beings?” This question does not require Church teaching to decide. It is philosophical and scientific, and well-within the realm of the 1st-Amendment-lover’s ability to decide outside the walls of a holy building.
With the level at which political issues are pondered today, it is no wonder that the words of Joe Biden, traitor to his own religion, would be taken as wise and measured. But how far can we descend? Is Idiocracy around the corner?