One of the many arguments going around as to why people should not vote for Trump is that, while Hillary will be horrible in the short term, long term she just may cause a resurgence and renewal of conservatism, which will not likely happen under Trump. Let that sink in for just a minute. The argument is simply that Hillary, while destroying conservatism in the short term, will cause it to be purged and flourish in the long term, a sort of, “if it don’t kill you it will make you stronger” argument.
Now I have been accused of being a utilitarian because I believe that we should seek the best outcome in every circumstance, an outcome that may not be ideal, nor through ideal means, but a sort of “make the best with what you got” mentality. This “Hillary will make conservatism stronger in the long term” is really what utilitarianism actually teaches. Utilitarianism is concerned with the ends, and it doesn’t care about the means, if the ends can be considered the greatest and best. The other flaw of this view is they do not have any objective standard of truth to even judge the ends by. Thus Utilitarianism fails because it neither considers just means, nor has an objective standard to judge ends by, but I believe in both righteous means, and a universal judge by which all aspects are reckoned.
Yet, to argue that Hillary is better than Trump because of a long term prediction, is true Utilitarianism and of utmost hubris and historical ignorance. I will assure you that of the people I have heard express this truth about Hillary verses Trump, none are actually voting for Hillary (which you would almost assume they would if they truly believed their own logic) because they have an ethic, that on one hands seems to demand they only consider the means in a moral choice (they cannot get to any good end through a vote for Hillary nor Trump), but then on the other hand they put forth a justifying “ends” for their current choice (that by not supporting Trump, Hillary will probably win, but that is good because it will make conservatism stronger in the end). However they get there, they claim that they cannot vote for Hillary, and they cannot vote for Trump, but they secretly wish Hillary will win, because they believe she will do more to help the long term conservative cause than Trump will, who will actually hurt the long term conservative cause. Allow me to respond to the wrong ethic, backwards logic, and the historical illiteracy this view is based on.
Rejecting the Utilitarian ethic is very simple, if one only considers the ends in any choice, then we should be able to murder millions of people under the guise of making the rest better off. Surely if we murdered 49% of the world’s population and gave their wealth to the other 51%, the majority would be much better off right? Or should I spend all my money trying to win the lottery because my family will be better off in the end right? Anyway you slice it, we are not to put such great weight in future possibilities, especially long shots that require us to compromise clear immediate principles. Would these “Hillary saves conservatism” people really come right out and argue that the better moral choice is all the short term evil, oppression, destruction, etc. of America and its people, for a future that is but a pipe dream? I doubt it.
If a hungry person came to you about to die, would you tell them to wait until next Friday, when you get your paycheck, then you will help them out? Is this the ethic we see in Scripture? Did Jesus make people wait to be healed? Remember, with Hillary we are talking waiting decades most likely, not hours or even days (and Jesus didn’t ensure more evil would happen before He got around to healing). It seems to me, that the testimony of Scripture and the history of the Church is that the Christian ethic is to do the most good one can immediately, and not to postpone it until later, while making sure the short term good doesn’t actually cause the future to be worst (which is why Christians don’t give 100% of their money to the poor, they would then become poor and need to be helped by others). This doesn’t mean we also don’t work for long term gains, but we don’t purposefully allow or encourage short term evil and destruction in hopes the long term will even it out.
But this is precisely what the “Hillary will save conservatism (HWSC)” camp is arguing, that we should embrace the short term evil, because it will all balance out in the end, the long end. Of course if one watches history long enough, they could claim some evil led rise to some good, and there-by justify it. “Hey, the Nazi’s killed millions of Jews, but if they didn’t do that, then Israel wouldn’t be a nation, America wouldn’t be a bastion of freedom in the World, we wouldn’t have iphones, and the Church wouldn’t have spread around the word.” I am sure all Christians during that era who sided with the Nazi’s came up with some narrative too: “sure, let a few Jews die now, but in the end Germany will be great, and everyone will be better off.” I’m not saying the “HWSC” crowd are Nazi’s, but I am saying that their logic has justified many atrocities in human history.
The proper ethic is: “Make the best of every circumstance you are in, choose that which will both have the greatest impact for good today, without compromising tomorrow, and look towards a better future. Trump is clearly the ethical choice. Under Trump we have the most reason to believe that people will be more free, America will gain strength, conservatism will thrive, Christianity will be free, babies will be saved from abortion, the supreme court will be righteously appointed, etc, but if not compared to today, definitely compared to Hillary. Trump spells for America, more short term betterment than Hillary, and by all logic and Historical analysis, a better long term as well. Remember every moral choice is not made in a vacuum, but always in a context of other choices by which it must be compared.
Voting is completely about the promoting of the most good based on the options before us, with the very real expectation that someone will win, and we definitely don’t want it to be the worst likely person. Nowhere in the Christian ethic is abstaining from a vote an option, nor is throwing away one’s vote for the least likely. Christians are to make the hard moral choice of choosing between the 2 most likely options, and supporting either the most righteous or least evil, however one slices it. If you have to choose between your drowning dog, or that neighbor you hate, you must save your neighbor. If you have to choose between lying and giving Jews up to be murdered, you must lie. If you have to choose between Hillary and Trump, you must choose Trump.
Speaking of Logic, the “HWSC” supporters are simply backwards. Up is down, left is right, and good is evil, in their argument. Hillary represents an oppression and silencing of the opposition to her views (conservatives and Christians) that is both unheard of in American history (in such blatancy), and no more attainable than today. Yet, the “HWSC” peeps want to argue that even under all this persecution, conservatism will thrive in the end and be stronger than today, perhaps they are confusing the Church with Conservatism, as God promised to sustain His Church, not Conservatism, under persecution. Since when is it prudent to willfully accept and almost call for suffering, persecution, and hardship upon oneself (and ones neighbor) in order to hopefully make one stronger in the long term? If this is so right and effective, then why hasn’t Conservatives and Christians been more active in trying to get in a “Hillary” type so that we can purge the ranks and be stronger in the long term?
While the logic doesn’t even get traction, let us look at it from the other end, the Utilitarian end, and see if it holds weight there at least. For the sake of argument, let us grant them that in 50 years America will see new highs of Conservatism, freedom, prosperity etc. that it has never seen in its whole existence. Will that end result justify all that came before it? First, clearly if we look at all the evil done before the “great enlightenment,” and we look at it in its historical context (not looking down the corridor of time), we have to agree that it was in fact evil, and it violates ethical and moral norms. The means are corrupt and evil in and of themselves, but can the ends justify such things? No man created or hope for ends can justify any means, only God’s ends justify the use of means, but they never justify the means in themselves. That is, while God may allow the means of evil and suffering to sanctify and ultimately glorify His children, meaning He had good reasons to do what He does, it doesn’t mean the means in themselves were actually good, but they are vindicated by the purpose God had for them.
Before you, the “HWSCer,” thinks I just agreed with your logic, consider this: we are talking about God, who is sovereign, and works all things (evil and good) righteously to His purposes, while still calling evil, evil, not man who neither works anything according to his purpose, nor has any power in himself to justify anything. God acts, man responds; God directs, man obeys or disobeys; God commands, man listens; God gives life, man lives; God determines, man plans. As you can see, God has the power to cause things to happen just as He wants for His purposes, and nothing He plans to do sovereignly can be thwarted. But man is a fallible creature, who may plan something, but get thwarted, he may think something will happen, but he was wrong, he cannot see nor understand everything, and thus his choices are fallible, frail, and unsure of success. God never calls us to be like him in this way, but to use wisdom, to make the best short term choice, with the most realistic long term consequences, we can with our limited knowledge, the ends do not justify our choices nor means, but our choices and means must be righteous and wise. Letting Hillary win, and helping her by not voting or throwing ones vote away is neither righteous nor wise. Logic fails them, but so does History.
What Hillary represents to America is the continuation of the great push towards leftism and its socialist fascism that is represented by the broad range of European nations, Canada, Russia, China, Cuba, Greece, etc. In the history of this type of leftism and totalitarianism, once it grabs a nation, what has been the long term effects? Has conservatism and Christianity flourished across the board? Aside from the underground Church in China, none of these other nations really demonstrate a strong resurgence of Christianity, and definitely not of conservatism. Perhaps we need another 50 to 100 years until conservatism can really regain ground, but will that really justify all the horror going on in China right now? Does even the growth of the Church in China justify the millions of babies aborted and the human rights of its people trampled upon? I don’t think God would see the church growth as a justifying outcome to such evil. Thank God the church is growing there, but wouldn’t we rather see it grow under a more righteous government like American democracy if given the choice? God works righteousness out of evil, but He doesn’t will or cause the evil to happen in a way that makes Him guilty of evil. Yet, we are not called to be God, we cannot justify allowing evil to happen in hopes that God will make good come from it, the “HWSCers” who are Christians seem to forget the verse: Rom 3:8, “And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.”
You see, conservatism dies in these countries because it is removed from any influence by force. While Conservatives value free speech, and the exchange of ideas, the left are totalitarian by nature. Once they gain power, they are willing to use all means necessary to keep their power, because they are true utilitarians: they believe the ends justify the means…a similar argument to which we just heard, interestingly.
The church has grown amazingly well in America, and arguably to a higher percentage of the whole population than in China, and has had more freedom and global impact than the Chinese church, so why would we willingly embrace the Chinese model? There is simply no Historical example that teaches us that Hillary will be better off for Conservatism and the Church in the long term, that wouldn’t have even a greater benefit had it grown along the lines of freedom and righteousness. That is to say, if Trump represents more freedom than Hillary, less tyranny, more religious and conservative freedom, more historical America than Hillary, and all our evidence shows he does, than History teaches us that Trump will help us reach the end of a greater Conservatism and Church than Hillary will (if ever). History ebbs and flows, but we must take this to justify preventable and resistance evil.
A stream of water may eventually reach the ocean if man builds a system of dams and pumps that moves the water from one mountain top to another mountain top until all is lost through evaporation or ground seepage, and thus makes it into the ocean, but wouldn’t that water, more immediately, completely, efficiently, and meaningfully reach the ocean the less man interferes or moves back towards the original design? Why make the path to a resurgence of conservatism through the most difficult and evil way possible? If after 8 years of Obama we get Hillary and a Trump, why do you think after 8 years of Hillary we will get a Regan, and not a Castro and a Putin? Even our own history shows us going downward, so why would you want to hasten the spiral, and is that even the ethical wise choice? No one lives like that in their personal life: hastens ruin so they can more quickly rebuild a better life.
As I have said before, the choice is simple: someone will win the election, it is the obligation of each person to pursue the most righteous choice, the one that spells the least amount of evil and damage, and promotes the most amount of good, of the choices available to the best reasoning and knowledge and possibility. There is no ethical rule, in Scripture, that demands, as its highest duty, the abstaining from voting or the waste of a vote for any reason. Voting is a real tangible example where a Christian can promote the most good, love their neighbor, resist evil, and have a real presence in the culture. None of this can happen by not partisipating, or unwisely wasting a vote that allows the worst option to win. Life is full of moral choices which, with each one taken separately are untenable, but taken together, one must be chosen over the other.
In a very real way Christians are called to actually love their neighbor in action, which means voting the best, of the two options in, and not love them only philosophically by making statements and arguments how some 3rd option would be better for the neighbor, although they will only likely get one of the 2 and therefore the neighbor should be happy and respect the fact that we are fighting for their ultimate best, and not their likely actual best. Personally I would rather you give me a piece of bread, when I’m hungry, then tell me how you are really fighting for me to get a steak…that will probably never come.
If one doesn’t vote for Trump, one is supporting Hillary through the simple fact that one is making her path to the White House less difficult. When good people do nothing, evil triumphs. Not voting for Trump means one is not making the best use of their possible resistance to evil, and there-by one is helping evil triumph. You may not believe any war is ethical, but if you choose not to fight and your city is taken over, you are held accountable for its destruction because you didn’t resist the evil responsibly and adequately. The evil of losing the war, is greater than the evil of you partisipating in it. It really is that simple.