A Studied Indifference to Evil

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This declared indifference, but, as I must think, covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world,—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites; causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty,—criticising the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.

Abraham Lincoln, 1854



David Griffey at his blog Daffey Thoughts, shines a light on one of the more disgusting developments this election year:  the attempt by some Catholic and conservative bloggers to gin up support for avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, a 100% pro-abort:


I read this opinion piece at The Imaginative Conservative, I had to ask myself: When did abortion go from being the only sin that matters to a sin that doesn’t seem to matter at all?  I mean, we’re not talking about a pro-choice politician who has been sort of pro-choice.  We’re talking about someone who has tried to open the gates for any and all abortions, up to and including partial birth abortion even without the mother’s life on the line.  Something so heinous, that it has been called one of the worst murderous crimes in our country today.  And yet, so what if Sanders supports it?  Big deal, right? 

I understand – and have always maintained – that there are more than one or two issues to think about in an election.  But I also understood that there were certain issues that were off the table.  They certainly were when it came to Romney or McCain.  Certain sins that were non-negotiable.  Not because they were all that mattered.  But because there was no way to support them and do so in a sinless way.  There was no ‘right interpretation of abortion.’  There might be different opinions on how to limit it or eliminate it.  But at no point could you say ‘I support unrestricted abortion rights’ and be in the running.

Now it doesn’t just look like abortion isn’t the only big deal.  As more and more Conservatives and Catholics flock to Bernie, it looks like abortion is now no big deal at all.  And by my lights, that is something that will swim around and bite Conservatives, Christians and Catholics in the ass when all is said and done.  Especially if all of the things that have been said about the horrors and evils of abortion through the years are still, you know, true.

Go here to read the comments.  While you are there read some of the other posts.  Daffey Thoughts is a gem of a blog and I visit it every day.


Leave aside for the moment that socialism in all its manifestations is just as Sir Winston Churchill said:  Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.  Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.  However, let us wave that away for a moment.  Let us imagine that Bernie Sanders were, instead of a socialist, a conservative of my stripe.  Assume that I agreed with him on every issue except for his ardent embrace of abortion.  I would no more, for an instant, think of supporting him than I would think of engaging in cannibalism or incest.  Legal abortion has taken the lives of 58 million innocents in this country since Roe.  To make the head of this nation a man who looks upon abortion not as a monstrous evil but a constitutional right is an utter abandonment of the pro-life cause.  Pro-lifers who promote this tripe are either delusional or are not really pro-life.

More to explorer

Grant on the Civil War

  I have never liked Presidents’ Day.  Why celebrate all presidents when only a select few of them, like Washington and Lincoln, deserve to

PopeWatch: Uncle Ted

 “Yeah, five years. If we had five years, the Lord working through Bergoglio in five years could make the Church over again.”


  1. http://www.tfp.org/tfp-home/catholic-perspective/what-the-popes-have-to-say-about-socialism.html

    Check out this site to see what the last ten popes say about socialism – they all condemn it.And believe it or not, our good Pope Francis also came out a while back and condemned socialism.
    Churchill’s quote is a doozy, and the great Margaret Thatcher stated that – “Socialism is fine until they run out of other peoples money”.
    It stuns me that so many apparently normal intelligent people – particularly Catholics – think its wonderful. I even had an argument with our previous PP, who stated that he quite liked socialsim; I gave him the above list of popes who condemned it – he never raised the subject again. 🙂

  2. Wow. In what sense is the imaginative conservative conservative? Not about economic system, not about social issues…
    I can say that the term “imaginative” seems apropo.

  3. There’s a conservative case for socialism? Paternalism, sure. Nationalism, okay, maybe. Seignorialism/manorialism/feudalism, why not? –every group has its romantic cranks.
    But socialism?

  4. From what I’ve heard, America is even MORE liberal on abortion than most of Europe and the so-called blessed socialist nations (I am given to understand that they only allow it in the first two trimesters I think – if I’m misinformed, let me know).

    Shea once put up a stupid post about trading the 2nd amendment away for eliminating abortion. While I would trade the death penalty away, I wonder why so few ask about trading abortion (even the just to the limit of Europe) for socialism.

    So what do you say, socialist? After all, to pay for everything we’re going to need a constant influx of new people to replace the old and dying. Shall we open negotiations? The more socialism you want, the more time we knock off the window for legal abortion?

  5. It seems to me that a socialist must, in the interests of coherence, be in favor of abortion, euthanasia and contraception as socialism is inherently selfish and pessimistic. Doesn’t it make sense that if wealth is going to be spread around every one could get more if there were less people, i.e., If supply is assumed to be fixed demand must necessarily be reduced.

    It is high time the Catholic Church came out four-square against socialism and it many evil implications including repression of the Catholic Church itself.

  6. 1. Carl Sandburg-Poor scholarship even when it was written back in the forties, it is a magnificent oil painting of a biography that gets to the essence of Lincoln, while lacking the accurate detail of a photograph.
    2. Michael Burlingame’s recent massive two volume bio is great for looking at the more recent Lincoln scholarship.
    3. T. Harry Williams’ Lincoln and His Generals still remains, after more than six decades, the best look at Lincoln as commander in chief.
    4. James G. Randall’s Lincoln the President is an exhaustive look at Lincoln as President, from an interesting standpoint: an admirer of Lincoln who also thought the Civil War was unnecessary. Scholarship was superb, albeit dated after six decades.
    5. Allen Guelzo’s Redeemer President views Lincoln as a thinker, a surprisingly overlooked aspect of Lincoln as he first and foremost was a man of ideas. Lincoln had the ability of taking abstract and complicated concepts, stripping them down, and presenting them in his writing and speaking in a straightforward manner. He makes it all look easy, which perhaps detracts from what a powerful mind he possessed.
    6. Stephen Mansfield’s Lincoln’s Battle With God is the best book on Lincoln in years. First rate scholarship directed at Lincoln’s religious views, a perennial subject of vitriolic debate in Lincoln Studies. Mansfield details the difficulties of making iron clad assertions about Lincoln on many topics because Lincoln often kept his cards tucked against his vest, and contemporary accounts by people who knew Lincoln often disagree about the most basic items.
    7. Stephen B. Oates’ With Malice Towards None, stands out as perhaps the best one volume bio of Lincoln.

  7. Yesterday I saw several news stories noting that the “Bernie Baby” — a 3-month old baby boy whose parents had taken him to a Sanders rally wearing a wig and glasses to make him look like Sanders, and whose pictures posing with Sanders had been all over social media — had died, apparently of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The Sanders campaign had expressed its condolences to the family, along with many condolences being expressed on social media, comment boards, etc. by people of all political persuasions.

    The boy’s pictures were undeniably cute, and his death is a tragedy by any measure. I would not post this comment on a thread meant primarily to express sympathy for the child’s loss since I would not feel it was appropriate to sidetrack or politicize the topic (even though some did). But in this discussion, I feel quite free to point out the irony of the fact that Bernie himself would have had no issue at all with his mother killing him, if she had chosen to do so, just a few months earlier.

  8. The indifference of a socialist to abortion is more understandable than the indifference of evangelicals. Some one has said that the evangelical support of Trump is from not very religious evangelicals ? ?
    So one begins to wonder what the meaning of terms is anymore. What is a progressive evangelical. Evangelical about what? .
    People can be indifferent to abortion only because of the terms they explain it to themselves with.

  9. Elaine Krewer.

    I’ll pray for the family.
    Your spot on in your insight.
    What a few months will do for the blinded to regain sight.
    Sad commentary on our freedom shores.

  10. I can’t get around Catholics who think supporting a guy who identifies with the only political group in this election that’s specifically condemned by the Catechism.
    You can argue that he won’t have the power to do anything about abortion; you can’t really argue he won’t have the power to try to get us to socialism.
    (CCC 2425; amusingly, I’ve seen it pulled out with claims that thus-and-such person is a Capitalist, even though the condemnation of that is qualified and sorry, no, nobody is going for a totally unregulated market. Maybe a few hard-core Libertarians are arguing for it, but not one of the top ten for prez.)
    .Anzlyne –
    from what I hear, there’s some folks who are the Evangelical version of C&E Catholics– or maybe “wedding and funeral” Catholics. They went up to an altar call, they might wear a cross and even think Jesus is kinda cool, but they’re not going to be at church most months.

  11. “What I often find lacking in Catholic documents, especially the guides such as discussed herein, is any sense of concrete political situation, and how far a countries’ political structures must be respected in light of any otherwise laudable goal. The same seems to hold true for many Catholics. Some people, discussing a political question, look solely (so to speak) at whether a stated political goal is acceptable and laudable to the Faith, and then whether a certain candidate or politician supports it. If so, then other conditions seem secondary.”

    This passage you wrote Jonathan reminds me of this passage from the beginning of Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France:

    “But I cannot stand forward, and give praise or blame to anything which relates to human actions, and human concerns, on a simple view of the object, as it stands stripped of every relation, in all the nakedness and solitude of metaphysical abstraction. Circumstances (which with some gentlemen pass for nothing) give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing colour and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind. Abstractedly speaking, government, as well as liberty, is good; yet could I, in common sense, ten years ago, have felicitated France on her enjoyment of a government (for she then had a government) without inquiry what the nature of that government was, or how it was administered? Can I now congratulate the same nation upon its freedom? Is it because liberty in the abstract may be classed amongst the blessings of mankind, that I am seriously to felicitate a mad-man, who has escaped from the protecting restraint and wholesome darkness of his cell, on his restoration to the enjoyment of light and liberty? Am I to congratulate a highwayman and murderer, who has broke prison, upon the recovery of his natural rights? This would be to act over again the scene of the criminals condemned to the galleys, and their heroic deliverer, the metaphysic knight of the sorrowful countenance.”


  12. There’s been cars with Obama bumper stickers in the parish parking lot but today before this morning’s mass I saw my first Re-elect Gov. Jerry Brown bumper sticker in the lot.
    I pray the car with the Brown bumper sticker wasn’t a parishoner’s. And I do wish our bishop’s silence on abortion, socialism, rendering the poor unto the State, and coveting thy neighbors goods wasn’t so loud. There are a significant number of Catholics who regularly attend mass who take the silence of the bishops about these matters as tacit consent.

  13. Tacit consent! leaving the door open for “forming your own conscience”
    Sometimes tho the priest is just unwilling to teach the hard teachings or even to come out strong when other friend priest are not
    Contra Blaise cup inch etal. . pro lifers aren’t confrontational. Many of us can talk with like minded people but don’t want to be caught in a ruckus. ( we know they are meaner than we are )
    They don’t fear man or God. I have had people respond negatively to my “choosy mothers choose life”

  14. Pius IX rightly condemned socialism as a materialistic heresy unconcerned about anything spiritual and rooted in self. Bernie Sanders is a worthy exemplary of the Poe’s judgement.

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