Pragmatism vs. principle: what to do with Mitt
October 15, 2012
Stephen Stone, RenewAmerica President

Most informed, decent Americans realize that we as a nation are faced this election with a choice that is entirely unthinkable on the one hand (Barack Obama), and profoundly unacceptable on the other (Mitt Romney), for President of the United States.

We can all agree — as moral conservatives — about the first choice. It's the second that divides us.

Some of us have resigned ourselves to the now-cliché "lesser of two evils" rationalization and are planning to support Romney for purely pragmatic reasons: "Obama's got to go, and Mitt is our only realistic hope of stopping the radical communist." Some of us instead are third-party supporters who are aligned with someone like Ron Paul (as a write-in), Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, or Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, in the hope of influencing public policy (if not the outcome of the election itself). And some of us are platform-minded Republicans who support the unifying published principles of the GOP, but can't tolerate the thought of voting for Mitt Romney — who is arguably the most liberal-socialistic (not to mention opportunistic) Republican nominee ever, despite his feigned conservatism, and who, by the way, has distanced himself from the party platform.

A lot has been said about the two "evils" these "twin-party" choices pose for moral conservatives. Obama is obviously disqualified for his Marxist/Islamist/destroy-America agenda, likely to play out to a catastrophic conclusion if he's re-elected — that is, if God doesn't intervene in our hour of extreme need and spare our nation from Obama's evil designs.

For his part, Romney is unqualified for a long list of reasons that make voting for him problematic for anyone determined to do the right thing this election. More on that in a moment.

A perfect test

I would argue that this election is a perfect divine test of our faith in God — or alternatively, our faith in man.

I think it's fair to say that God has had a hand in the absurd "lesser of evils" choice placed before us this year, as part of His judgments, to see how we will act with our nation's very existence on the line, and with seemingly no real choice for president. He wants us to demonstrate whether we will trust in Him, or rely on ourselves, in determining what to do.

Our nation's continued existence, I believe, hinges on which way we opt to go in the face of this reality.

If we prove ourselves worthy, by doing what God wants us to do, we have nothing to fear. He will stand with us and fight our battles, and we will survive the calamitous future we would otherwise lose.

If we prove ourselves unworthy, however, by ignoring God's will and teachings, and following the dictates of our own will and wisdom, we "have no promise" of a desirable, positive outcome (to paraphrase one of Mitt's Mormon scriptures), and we set ourselves at enmity with God. We can expect our country as we know it, in that scenario, to fade into history as a failed experiment in representative democracy within our lifetimes, for lack of God's intervening hand in preserving our nation.

Such is the sobering "test" that faces every American citizen who professes to love our republic and wishes to see it survive in liberty. It's God's way or the way of destruction (typically at our own hand).

God's Word confirms this repeatedly.

Pretense is impotent to save us

Jesus said of those who "make pretense" of belief in deity that "they say, and do not" (Matt. 23:2-3, 14). It astonishes me to see people who profess to believe in God act as though they really don't.

I consider this phenomenon the defining evil of our time.

It's not enough that, year after year, polls suggest an overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God, or claim to have confidence in His reality and authority. What matters — at least to the Divine Being most Americans say exists and reigns Supreme — is what these people do when confronted with choices that test the genuineness and sincerity of that professed belief.

I happen to feel, if I can speak candidly, that a fairly large number of us who profess to believe in God not only contradict that profession of faith when truly tested by God, but behave like atheists in doing so.

I apologize if that offends anyone, particularly those who consider themselves believers in God but whose actions contradict that belief. I can't help noticing a self-contradiction when I see it.

If a person says, for instance, that God has the power to spare our nation from destruction at the hands of its enemies, internal and foreign — and they also concede that only God can spare our country in these dire times because things have reached a point that they are beyond human solution — and then they act as though the future of our nation depends, in reality, on the election of Mitt Romney, for whom they "pragmatically" have decided to vote as a way to rid us of Obama and his legacy, as they suppose, they might as well not believe in God.

Why is that? Because they are attempting to "serve two masters" — God and human power — in a way that places God second and reveals themselves to be "double-minded," inconsistent, even hypocritical. (See Matt. 6:24; 23:2-28.) In all cases, our political allegiances should reflect our allegiance to God.

Is that too hard to admit? Think it through. If God is our only hope for saving our nation from looming disaster, then Mitt Romney is not that hope. He is not the solution — on any level, in any way. It follows that our role as God-fearing citizens is to leave the outcome, not just of this election, but of our country's history itself, to God, while we focus on making sure our own behavior as citizens reflects His will.

If God inspires you, therefore, through His spirit and in harmony with His truth, to vote for Mitt, then — and only then — should you cast such a paradoxical vote.

But if you choose, instead, to vote for Mitt on the basis of some "practical" rationalization you've worked out in your mind that is not truly inspired of Him, or pleasing to Him, you're committing serious sin — considering that our country will survive only if you (and other professing believers) are willing to rely upon God, not your own wisdom, in fulfilling your obligations as a citizen.

Your job as a voter is to act in accordance with that reality and not get fooled into supporting an absurdity — one that would disqualify you from God's blessings for behaving contrary to your profession of faith in Him.

Does that make sufficient sense?

A word about "pragmatism"

Before we look closely at Mitt, a word about so-called pragmatism as the basis for deciding what to do this election.

I occasionally come across superficial arguments that justify voting for Mitt because — in the end — a responsible voter must be "pragmatic," as a matter of prudence.

As I've said elsewhere, to God, the ideal (or principled thing) and the practical (or productive thing) are one and the same, just viewed from different perspectives of the same realities and truths. God is both the most "truth-based" being we know and the most "realistic." All his thoughts come to pass.

Unlike our own. We delude ourselves if we think that, by taking thought, we can bring about any particular outcome. Only God has such power over reality. At best, we humans can only hope for a desired outcome as a consequence of our choices (based on our limited wisdom), for which we typically express disappointment when things don't turn out as we expect (all the while, excusing our foolishness).

But here's something I ran across recently that troubled me deeply: a national political figure who professes to be Christian said he was voting for Mitt purely on pragmatic grounds because he saw it as his duty, and implicitly encouraged others to do the same.

In his rationale, he defined "pragmatism" essentially as being "practical," in and of itself — even though in fact the terms are worlds apart.

The problem with this naïve thinking is that "pragmatism" is another term for atheism. Pragmatism is a well-developed philosophy that justifies doing anything that promises to "work," without regard for moral considerations, biblical truth, the will of God, and other "metaphysical" standards.

Pragmatism is a humanistic rationale that permeates, and justifies, all of natural science (that is, science defined in a way that arbitrarily ignores the reality of God and the existence of the "intangible" realm).

It's also the rationale that underlies all of socialism, as Marx made clear in his theories.

Any way it's viewed, "pragmatism" is an inherently godless approach to human judgment, and the basis for believing that "the end justifies the means."

Ultimately, it's atheistic in its premises, because it ignores the will (as well as the existence) of God.

So to vote on the basis of pragmatic assumptions and imaginary (that is, wished for) outcomes is, itself, serious sin, from a divinely-defined perspective.

The moral case against Mitt

With that discussion of "how to judge," let's now turn to the moral case against Gov. Romney. I'll emphasize the most compelling facts at issue, and their implications for professing believers in God, and then throw in for good measure a handful of other facts that further disqualify him.

STRIKE ONE: The institution of same-sex marriage. Mitt has done what no other executive in our nation's history has ever done: of his own initiative — egged on reportedly by his gay-supportive legal adviser — Mitt introduced same-sex marriage to the United States when he was governor of Massachusetts.

Other than socialized "Romneycare," Gov. Romney's executive order directing public officials to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples (under penalty of dismissal for refusing) was Mitt's signal accomplishment, setting off a gay-marriage revolution in other states that threatens to destroy the most basic institution in America: traditional one-man/one-woman marriage.

Unlike Romneycare, however, which was a bipartisan legislative achievement, the introduction of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts was a unilateral action undertaken solely by Mitt, in abrogation of his executive authority.

More than anything that can be named, this shockingly immoral action defines who Mitt is, what he really believes (as opposed to what he says), and what we can expect of him as president.

If he'd murdered his family in a shocking, widely-publicized manner — and that act were proven by the facts — no sane American would cast a vote his direction. Of course, no one's accusing Mitt of such a despicable thing. What he's done, however, is something far more detrimental to society itself: he murdered the family as an institution when he opened the floodgates to same-sex marriage in the U.S. by his own executive decree — with neither legislative authorization nor judicial mandate to do so; and moral Americans should be so outraged by this one resume item (an item ignored by the gay-supportive mainstream media, which explains why most citizens have never heard of it) that they could never vote for Mitt, period.

That's the main reason I can't support him. All other considerations pale in comparison, as far as I'm concerned.

And while I appreciate the sincerity of those who disagree, I'm surprised that all professing moral conservatives don't feel the same about this "first strike" counted against Mitt — his undermining of God-ordained marriage — caused by his pragmatic, gay-friendly worldview.

STRIKE TWO: Romneycare. Mitt's well-known "signature" legislative achievement, "Romneycare," was not only the first socialized healthcare plan of its kind in America, but served as the inspiration for Obama's tyrannical overreach into the free market known as "Obamacare."

Both plans are based on the "individual mandate," requiring Americans to purchase health insurance against their will. Without the individual mandate, both programs fall apart and are unenforceable.

For his role in effectively imposing Obamacare on America, Gov. Romney has been called "the father of the individual mandate."

As Mr. Obama pointed out in his first debate with Mitt, the president's healthcare plan was deliberately modeled after Romney's Massachusetts healthcare plan, and the president's people worked closely with Mitt's advisers to devise a federal adaptation of Mitt's plan.

Conceivably, had it not been for Romney's enthusiastic support for socialized medicine in his own state as governor, paving the way for the debut of the individual mandate (which he defended in a revealing exchange with Fred Thompson during the 2008 GOP debates, and which he pressed Obama to adopt as a national model a year later), we would not have Obamacare today.

Gov. Romney cannot, therefore, credibly claim to oppose Obamacare — and can reasonably be expected to renege on his promise to abolish it. He will predictably retain the individual mandate — the most hated part of Obamacare — if elected, and will likely reason, "The Court has spoken, and I will abide by its judgment."

Just watch, if he makes it to the While House.

Such waffling on his promise was presaged by Mitt's recent statement that he liked parts of Obamacare, and planned to keep them.

We must earnestly ask self-professed moral conservatives —

How can they in good conscience support a man who was the inspiration (and impetus) for Obama's detested socialized medicine scheme — which the Supreme Court has all but ensured is now permanent, no matter Mitt's empty promises to rescind it? Doesn't that make these supporters party to Mitt's already-documented agenda of big-time socialism, and no small degree culpable when Mitt pursues that agenda as president?

From God's perspective, no doubt, that's two strikes against Mitt.

STRIKE THREE: Abortion on demand.
Strike three is not quite as obvious as the other two strikes. It requires a bit of checking to accurately appreciate.

As most conservatives know, Mitt had an epiphany midway through his term as governor that led to his claimed "conversion" to being pro-life, after many years of being vocally pro-choice. The less gullible at the time saw through this politically-motivated conversion and were unconvinced, just as they are today.

Why is that?

Primarily because Mitt has never made protecting the unborn a vital part of his political message, despite his claimed "change of heart." He never speaks out unequivocally or forcefully in defense of the unborn. Anyone who's genuinely "converted" to something can't be constrained from adamantly advocating the core principles they've adopted. Mitt never does. He treats being "pro-life" as a check-off item on a list of orthodox positions.

That's mere expediency, even duplicity.

Duplicity? Yes. Because even after claiming to be pro-life, Mitt approved or implemented policies that have resulted in the growth of taxpayer-funded abortions. That's true, for instance, of provisions of Romneycare and its direct offspring, Obamacare.

More recently, Mitt has said he wouldn't "legislate" against abortion if elected president; he condemned Rep. Todd Akin's strong (if imperfectly-worded) support for the rights of the unborn; and he's been tied to a company, while at Bain Capital, that engaged in disposing of aborted babies. (See "If 'legislation' regarding abortion is not on Mitt's agenda, is he really pro-life?," by Alan Keyes.)

Additionally, Mitt's "pro-life" position makes allowance for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and the nebulous "health" of the mother. To many in the pro-life trenches, such tepid support for the pro-life cause is less than authentic and persuasive, since it permits the killing of innocents for the sins of others.

At best, Mitt's self-proclaimed "pro-life" position is a foul-tip-to-left-field source of confusion. At worst — after a few more half-hearted attempts — it's a swing-and-a-miss strikeout, and thus a calculated fraud.

I would suggest that, by now, anyone who is truly a "moral" conservative would be unable to vote for Mitt in view of the above three strikes against him, no matter any pragmatic, faithless arguments for doing otherwise. Such arguments place Mitt above God as the "savior" needed to rescue our nation from almost certain destruction, arguments that are based in wishful thinking above divine wisdom.

To vote for Mitt — an act that presumes he's needed to prevent our nation's collapse — is to ignore reality, and to offend the only One capable of delivering us from the very real threat of destruction that confronts us (evil originating from our own hearts as a people): the Creator God.

There's more

The "big three" reasons, above, why God Himself would not vote for Romney are sufficient for those of us who wish to please Him, I believe, as we struggle with "what to do with Mitt." But there's more.

Consider these additional facts:
  • Consistent with Mitt's boast in 1994, when he ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, that "I'll be better than Ted for gay rights," Romney has consistently supported allowing gay scoutmasters in the Boy Scouts — reiterating that stance just last August.

  • Likewise, he's said he "wouldn't change" Congress's dangerous abandonment of "Don't ask, don't tell" in the U.S. armed forces — allowing homosexuals to openly solicit fellow soldiers in the military, and preventing chaplains from condemning the gay lifestyle.

  • A "big-government capitalist," Mitt has defended TARP — the $700 billion financial-industry "bailout" in 2008 that President Bush said led him to abandon the free market in order to "save it." (Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, we should note, voted for the bailout.) Keep in mind that the bailout was what precipitated the Tea Party-led GOP takeover of the House of Representatives in 2010.

  • On the subject of the Tea Party, Romney was on record last year as saying he didn't value — or need — their support.

  • At the Republican National Convention in August, Romney's people rammed through new rules requiring state parties to send only "bound" delegates to the national convention. This action — passed by bullying tactics — will allow future "presumptive" nominees to "choose which delegates are sent from each party to the national convention," enabling nominees to control the convention with little opposition.

    The action stripped state Republican parties of much of their current authority, and amounted to a power grab by the Karl Rove-led Romney camp that will affect future conventions. It's been condemned by grassroots conservatives as un-American, unrepresentative, and "Stalinist."

  • Mitt funded nearly half of his 2008 campaign expenditures with his own moneyputting him in position to run successfully in 2012 (attracting powerful elites to back him with record fundraising). That is not the "American way" of running for high political office, and should offend anyone who believes candidates should run for office mainly "on their merits." If Mitt wins Nov. 6, he will effectively have bought the presidency.

    In fact, if Mitt does win the presidency, he will be the most wealthy president in 200 years (surpassed in affluence only by the theoretical value of Washington and Jefferson's large land holdings). He has an immense fortune at his disposal to spend on amassing power. Doesn't that fact trouble those who believe in "representative" democracy?

  • Throughout his political and public career, Mitt has shown himself to be an unprincipled compromiser who seems to possess no discernible moral core — as many have pointed out. It is Mitt's tendency to compromise that is his principal legacy, and his undoing. In a word, he can't be trusted to do anything he claims or promises.

  • In fact, truth be told, Mitt has proven himself a skilled liar and deceiver who will say anything to gain influence. He's a classic "salesman" who cares little about what is best for the buyer. Might we prudently warn, "Buyer beware"?
Stand with God, and He will stand with you

In view of the foregoing, to vote for a proven deceiver who possesses a progressive/socialist agenda that rivals Obama's in its power to weaken our moral, cultural, and political foundations is to forfeit any claim to God's intervention at a time when our nation needs it most.

God is not only merciful, of course, He is just, and we will be found wanting if we are deceived by the sophistry of the "Romney-is-our-best-and-only-hope" phenomenon. We will not merit God's merciful blessings if we succumb to such sophistry.

And if that happens, we will only have ourselves to blame.

[If readers are interested in a reasonable alternative to voting for Mitt Romney, they should check out Alan Keyes' "Platform Republican" movement. It's a great idea!]
© Stephen Stone

 


They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31