Thursday, April 12, 2012

Voting for Mitt Romney: Wilson vs. Mattson

There is debate in the evangelical community about the wisdom of voting for Mitt Romney for president of the United States.  Douglas Wilson has weighed in with a post over at BLOG & MABLOG as to why he will not be voting for Romney.  Here is a selection from Wilson:
The one saving grace of having to deal with the Obama administration is that he can't help but overreach. His love of soft totalitarianism is apparent to all who know how to read and think at the same time. But I would rather have that than have someone drifting in the same general direction in ways that will rarely if ever be guilty of overreach. If Marx and Lenin were candy apple red, then Obama is a dull brick color, and Romney is Alecia Beth Moore, better known as Pink.
At the same time, despite this, I do not place a great deal of faith in the ability of the American people to rise up as one in response to despotic overreach. After all, Obama socialized medicine in the United States, and the response of the loyal opposition was to nominate Romney. Oh, well. But I do think the odds are still better for a liberty revolt under the overreachers. Under Romney, say the odds would be 3 in a 100, while under Obama they will be 7 in a 100.
Note that my complaint about Romney is not that he has leftist convictions; my complaint is that he has no real convictions and is therefore susceptible to pressure. The pressure that will be applied will be applied by the kind of men who tend to live in the D.C. area, which is rarely a good thing. Winston Churchill once complained about a gentleman that he knew, comparing him to a seat cushion. He said that he always bore the imprint of the last person who had sat on him. It may well be that if Romney is elected, he will get enough conservative pressure to move him in a decent direction. That may well happen, which would mean that I would be wrong about all this. While hoping that might happen, I just don't think it is worth betting on.
 Brian Mattson has responded to Wilson's piece over at his site Dead Reckoning.  Mattson is associated with Andrew Sandlin and the Center for Cultural Leadership.  Here is a selection from Mattson:
First, note very carefully that there is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) principled about this view. Doug likes to cast his political views in principled terms, such as his swipe at the end about American civil religion, but, nevertheless, there is no principle in this piece. Both candidates articulate a vague American civil religion, as did both candidates in 2008. And Doug voted for one of them. So much for that. No, the opinions expressed in this piece are pure pragmatism. Based on the "ends" or "goods" he perceives in the future (damage leading to a "liberty revolt"), he supports what he believes are the best means to achieve that end: Barack Obama rather than Mitt Romney.
And it is those means that are the problematic part. It sounds all fine and dandy in the abstract to wish left-wing economic and moral destruction of our culture in the hopes that people come to their senses. But abstractions are just that: abstractions. What is blithely ignored in Doug's analysis is that his plan involves real suffering. Real economic stagnation and/or collapse. Real houses under water. Real 401(k) accounts depleted. Real babies aborted. Real medical death panels. Real Supreme Court appointments. Real Iranian nukes. Real race and class divisions and conflict. Doug's plan does not involve disembodied, abstract, gnostic "principles," but flesh-and-blood realities. And so let's recast his position as clearly as possible:
Rather than take the chance that Mitt Romney just might move our culture in the right direction (Doug's "count me out"), Doug Wilson would rather have real people really suffer in order to achieve his desired ends. What's a little "creative destruction" of real people and real wealth to achieve a desired political end? Forgive me if this strikes me as extraordinarily glib and misanthropic. It is frankly immoral to wish catastrophe on people in pursuit of one's agenda. That is a progressive, left-wing, "greater good" sentiment. Rather ironic to see it in the mouth of Doug Wilson.
I'm sure more voices will enter the mix regarding this topic.  But for now, Wilson and Mattson's pieces are worth reading and comparing.