Mr. Austin Ruse has an article at Crisis Magazine last week where he tries to make the case for pro-life Catholics not just continuing to support the GOP vs. switching to the Democratic party, but that we have a home in the GOP. However, given only those two choices, GOP seems to have diminishing returns for pro-lifers. For years many have suspected the GOP (in general) keeps with the pro-life rhetoric in order to garner votes and then does nothing to change to the light of the unborn. Witness two weeks ago when the Republicans couldn’t gather enough votes in a Congress they control to pass a pro-life bill outlawing most abortions after 20 weeks if pregnancy.
I have read Mr. Ruse’s argument over and over by others, and while I don’t agree with it, I can understand why many Catholics will continue to support the GOP for the reasons Mr. Ruse gives.
However, what I don’t understand is Mr. Ruse’s attack on Distributists who (in general) do not advocate supporting the Democratic Party. Mr. Ruse starts his close with the following diatribe:
As for Catholic Social Teaching, the cudgel this group likes to beat us with, who says Catholic Social Teaching requires us to follow the policy prescriptions of the hard left? ……
This makes no sense to me. Most of the people I know who are concerned by the GOP’s lack of understanding of Catholic Social teaching would definitely not support the Democratic party no matter the failings of the GOP, and would also argue that the policy proscriptions of the hard left don’t follow the Catholic prescription of subsidiarity.
Finally, he decides to start throwing insults instead of making a coherent conclusion:
While we’re at it, let’s get the Federal government out of the land business. The Feds own a third of all US land, up to half and more of many western states. Let’s have a modern day land-rush for all those Distributists out there who are just itching to fish, farm or make cheese—though one suspects they’ll stay exactly where they are, blogging and adjunct teaching.
As a Distributist, a blogger, and an Adjunct for a technical college who doesn’t just itch to work a homestead but actually does, I suppose I could take offense, as could many others. May be Mr. Ruse has someone in particular in mind, but he uses a broad brush – exactly what he criticizes in those who criticize the GOP’s commitment to life issues. (I suppose the adjunct remark is to imply the adjuncts are just not good/smart/etc enough to get another job?)
Perhaps it isn’t the time for a third party to rise and take the place of the GOP or the Democratic Party as many of my ilk would like, but it is clear that increasingly neither party has a coherent vision compatible with primary life issues (abortion, contraception, euthanasia) or secondary life issues (subsidiarity, economy, poverty, social teaching, war, etc.)
From my view, both major parties seem more interested in staying in power than anything else. That is why they won’t vote on controversial issues near an election. This is why they come out against policies they supported previously based on the support or opposition of the opposing party. It is about power.
A case could be made to continue to support the GOP, but saying that Catholics have a HOME in the GOP, as Mr. Ruse trues to argue, seems to be stretching it. Mr. Ruse becomes even less convincing when he decides to take broadsides at people he clearly knows very little about. (And Mr. Ruse should recall that the likely biggest 2-3 contributors to the next GOP presidential nominee will likely be pro-same sex marriage as they were in the last election.) I would argue that a stronger case could be made to support neither party. The GOP would either have to re-evaluate and re-up their pro-life commitment or be regulated to a secondary party. (Of course the argument that we then would be stuck with very a majority of anti-life Democrats until the GOP decided to change would be a compelling argument against this course.)
I guess this is why it is said that politics makes strange bedfellows. This is why, I suspect, many want to stay out of the bed these days!
Oremus pro invicem!