An Integralist Voting Guide

Election day in the United States of America is November 6th.

Modern democracies, which claim to be governed by the voice of the people, are almost universally disappointing. Only those who worship the State, or a certain party, can be truly peaceful with the results of an Election. This ‘liturgy of liberalism’ is an extravagant ceremony, but it often comes off as insincere, rigged, and ridiculous.

For the rest of us, the time after an Election is a return to the usual agony of politics. We wait and see whether those who we elected do the things they promised to win our vote. By voting, we feel some degree of allegiance to our chosen candidate. The mental discomfort of such decisions is set aside when convince ourselves that we have made the right choice. Our pride demands that we cannot feel cheated, so we are tempted to pave over the inconsistencies between our values and the politics of whoever received our support.

There is, of course, an argument to be made for strategic voting. Because it has already been made at nauseating length, a brief summary suffices: When we think about the horror of abortion, the brutal mass murder of the unborn, our hearts justly burn for these innocent childrenand we might take the Republicans up on their promise. When we think about the plight of workers, the economic persecution of the family, we are rightly indignant at the outrages of capitalism—and we might turn to the Democrats for help. This debate should not be dismissed, but it should not be our only consideration.

In the past decades, Republicans have delivered only occasional anti-abortion policy, though they may nominate some judges who quibble with Roe v Wade. And most Democrats do nothing to dismantle capitalism, though they may expand the bureaucracy of the welfare state. There are some rare cases where a partisan candidate might do good on multiple fronts. But these are very rare indeed.

There are also third parties in America, despite what it seems. But the voting process—through gerrymandering, ballot access rules, and first-past-the-post—has made it structurally impossible for them to succeed. These important political organizations can do great good on the local level and in the national discourse: the American Solidarity Party is a promising place for the post-liberal politics of virtue to organize. But the ASP, as of yet, is not likely to field candidates for even one of the positions on any given local ballot; much less are they poised to win office.

So until the day arrives when there are just candidates, how does a Catholic vote, if at all? Barring the many obstacles of law or circumstance, he or she should vote, for it is the duty of Christians to “proclaim to the nations: the Lord is King” and the Church tells us that “co-responsibility for the Common Good makes it morally obligatory to exercise the right to vote” (CCC 2240).

One answer is this: a write-in vote for “Christ the King” in all offices. The purpose of this is threefold. First, it removes the temptation to defend the unjust actions of a strategic single-issue candidate who received one’s vote. Liberalism is constantly tempting us to an idolatry of the State. Second, it refuses to be stained by association with the wickedness any liberal faction. “Liberal democracy is the Devil’s tool to make us complicit in the sins of tyrants.” And third, it sends the clearest possible message about the allegiance of one’s heart. No one can discern the exact motives behind votes for various liberal parties, but a vote for “Christ the King” begs no such ambiguity. And while a dozen integralists voting in this way would amount to silence in the noise of our modern media, a growing movement of Christians with such a protest would eventually demand recognition. We may someday soon have candidates supporting the politics of virtue. Still, we cannot allow meaningful political activity to be reducible to voting. Integralists have much work to do throughout the rest of the year.

The world will not be redeemed through the ballot box. It is money, not the masses, that truly drives liberal politics. But we can nonetheless subvert the Devil’s weapon to praise his conqueror, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Christ the King

 

An Exegesis on Abraham and Lot: Communities of Virtue

by Isaac Miller

The next morning Abraham hurried to the place where he had stood before the LordAs he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region of the Plain, he saw smoke over the land rising like the smoke from a furnace.
Genesis 19:27-28

 

A commenter recently suggested fleeing the corruption of the Church as Lot fled from Sodom. This is an interesting take, but I think the analogy isn’t quite on target:

First, let’s rewind a bit. Abram was not told to bring Lot along when he left Haran to go to Canaan. But he did. He was told to leave his “country and kindred” and go to a land he would be shown. Upon returning from a brief period in Egypt, Abram and Lot’s herdsmen fight, so they decide to separate. Lot gets to choose first and chooses based on what he saw with his eyes—the well-watered areas of the plain of Jordan. There is nothing inherently wrong about rightly discerning the land most likely to yield prosperity. But what was Lot’s end? His end was oriented to prosperity and good living; Abraham’s heart was inclined to God.

Afterward, Abram was also told by God that the land he was in would be his and his seed would be as the dust of the earth—note that this only happened after Lot had separated from him. God knew what he was doing. Next, Lot’s presence in Sodom made him vulnerable to capture by the nations, so Lot had to be rescued by Abram, after which Abram expresses his disdain for the King of Sodom and famously encounters Melchizidek.

Some time passes, and Ishmael and Isaac are born. Abraham has the interaction with God where he pleads that if a certain number of righteous people are in the city, he will not destroy it. It is unclear if Abraham knows whether Lot is still there or not.

Notice that Lot returned to Sodom—despite having been captured by the nations and rescued, he returned to Sodom. He had figured out a way to coexist with the evils committed in Sodom. In other words, he did not attempt to change the society or its laws to be more in line with God or to change society’s end to incline itself to God. Many in the modern world are in the same situation. They live quietly without rocking society’s boat. It’s clear from Lot’s actions that he was a good man, overall—he noticed the angels, thinking they were men, and asked them to abide in his house and not in the street (since he knew the danger they would be in)—however, notice that Lot’s family did not receive his righteousness. His wife looked back, defying the commandment of the angels. His daughters got him inebriated to conceive incestuously. His son in laws thought he was joking. They didn’t take him seriously.

He may have been righteous himself, but because of the society he acquiesced to live in, his family paid a price. The Church today isn’t taken seriously because we have acted as Lot and not Abraham. The environment Lot lived in corrupted his family, and the incestuous relationship with his daughters produced Ammon and Moab, enemies of Israel. Lot learned to coexist with the world, and despite his own righteousness, he saved only himself.

Many of those who live as if they were Lot and not Abraham currently populate the Church. Some moan at the evils of Sodom, but many have become accustomed to it or participate in its evils themselves.

Abraham had the covenant relationship with God, as the Catholic Church does. St. Paul writes that “the gospel was preached beforehand in Abraham, saying, ‘In you all nations shall be blessed.’” Yet, Abraham didn’t hide among the world, avoiding political issues, merely saying “everyone should believe in X.” He built a community of security—the servants trained in his house. Individual spirituality is not and has never been the only dispensation of the gospel.

Abraham’s unique position empowered him to save Lot. Afterward, Lot still chose to dwell among the world and by its rules in spite of being saved from it. We are being derelict if we do not recognize that rejecting the social kingship of Christ has consequences.

The Lord Jesus says that the end days will be as the days of Noah and as the days of Lot. In the days of Lot, Abraham dwelt safely away from Sodom. We are called to seek to be part of a holy community, not merely an atomized righteous person in a sea of corruption. Ultimately, we are affected by those we allow to set policy. Our families are affected.

Our high calling is not only to be ready to leave Sodom if necessary, as Lot was forced to do, but to be Abraham, who, if necessary, blazes a trail to be a “Father of many nations.” Abraham was already building and maintaining his land. Integralism is not a fanciful idea that would be nice if it were possible. It is our high calling, and souls hang in the balance of the safeguards and communities we create.