What Is Evil?

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Today, the media are very glum. Down in the dumps. Don’t even want to talk about the meltdown. NPR had to dig through its closet of news stories to find something besides Bush’s victory to talk about. Here’s something on donuts, and here’s something on the Digital Divide. Anything, anything! Just don’t talk about the fact that Bush won Virginia by 9 points, Washington State by 20 points, and North Dakota by 57 points.


McCain, at least today, appears to be melting, wicked witch-style. And it’s all happening two days after the public finally was told about the bottom line on the John McCain campaign. He’s fighting against evil, he said. And what is evil? Not the state. Not war. Not violence and crime, nor even poverty and human suffering. No sir, he’s here to tell you that evil is the Christian right. To his mind, it’s a terrible special interest group whose influence must be smashed.

It’s certainly a novel strategy to campaign in the GOP primaries by demonizing “Christian conservatives,” who comprise most all the voters in the party. Whether McCain intended his message to collapse into this one point—to the wild cheers of the media, which had convinced him this would help in the election—that is message that he ends with.

The papers today catch McCain before the votes came in, speaking with stunning arrogance. “I’m hoping that one of the motivations for embracing our vision is that every one of Falwell’s and Robertson’s candidates lost in the 1998 elections — every single one of them,” he told reporters. “Now, if your job is to go on continued kamikazi missions, then fine. But if you want to change that and start regaining the majority that we had in the 80s, then you’ve got to change the party.”

There’s more. A reporter asked him whether he is splitting a winning coalition by attacking Christians. “Excuse me,” he interrupted. “A winning coalition? Which winning coalition are we talking about in a state that has lost the last two presidential elections, that has lost the last two Congressional elections. Here in California, it’s been an electoral disaster.”

Well, Mr. Straight Talk’s election strategy became its own kamikazee mission and has turned to dust. And what’s the new media spin on why Bush is winning among Republicans? In the hours after the Virginia victory, the line was that a backlash against McCain’s anti-Christian comments helped Bush in the South. One news story reminded readers that Virginia was “a proud member of the Confederacy.”

Hours later, after returns from Washington State and North Dakota came in, that line stopped working. Are the evil forces of the Christian right dominating the Plains States and the Pacific Northwest too? Or maybe there is simpler explanation. GOP voters know that McCain is a scary nutcase who favors war, taxes, and a nationalized election system. Maybe that’s why the media loves this guy. And maybe a candidate that the Clinton machine would go out of its way to support shouldn’t be the Republican nominee.

After the hate campaign against the “Christian right,” can we hear a few good words for conservative Christians? What is it that they want? They are often called dangerous theocrats who want to impose their view on everyone. In fact, and for the most part, they are part of what is called the “leave us alone coalition.” They want the state out of their churches, out of their schools, and out of their universities (Bob Jones University never asks for any favors from government). Many are against government power because they see the state allied with cultural and political forces that are out to destroy their families. Gee, I wonder why anyone would think that?

On to Bob Jones University. It turns out that the remark about the Pope being the antichrist was made in 1982, by a man who died in 1997. It was the conventional protestant opinion for the last 400 years or so, hardly a shock. The view has since been dropped by BJU. But let’s just say this institution was officially anti-Catholic. Are people not allowed to gather voluntarily to think whatever thoughts they want to think? If the left doesn’t like what’s going on there, there’s an easy solution: don’t go. The very existence of this university is a testament to free speech and freedom of assembly. It deserves a vigorous defense from every libertarian-minded American.

What about abortion? Doesn’t the “Christian right” want to impose its values on this issue? In fact, there’s a complicated constitutional history behind this history, and if you ignore it, you cannot understand anything about the politics of abortion. Before Roe v. Wade, the issue was left to the states to sort out. There was a diversity of legal regimes concerning abortion, exactly as the Constitution proscribed.

But in one of many acts of tyranny over the past 60 years, the Supreme Court took the power away from the states, unleashing a torrential political battle. The issue having been nationalized by the court, pro-lifers naturally saw the only way out as a nationalized amendment to the Constitution that would prevent abortion. That’s when the abortion lobby started hollering about value impositions. But what about the imposition of having the Supreme Court legislate the right to self government away from the states? There was only silence on that front.

The best position to take on this issue is the one that even most rank-and-file prolifers are willing to accept: a restoration of the status quo ante of states rights. Such a solution would not be an act of theocratic imposition. It would be an act that would bring peace. But the federal government wants war, with ever more restrictions on the right of free assembly of abortion opponents.

Enough of that diversion. There’s reason to celebrate today. An arrogant and out-of-control madman has been kept away from the levers of power. That by itself is a victory for liberty.

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., is editor of a daily news site, LewRockwell.com.

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