Jeremy has on occasion written about being one of the few conservatives in his very liberal academic world. My situation is just the reverse. I'm one of the few liberals in my very conservative academic world.
On Wednesday, I was in class telling my studens when a certain assignment was due: Nov 5th. On student said out loud "Nov 5th, Nov 5th. And we vote Nov 2nd." I joked "Only if you're voting for Kerry. If you're voting for Bush, your supposed to vote on the 3rd. Makes it easier to count the votes that way." (Yes, a very old and very lame joke. So sue me.) Only one person laughed. I think the rest immediately started praying for my salvation. Or maybe that I might get struck down.
After class, one of my students wanted to know why I was voting for Kerry. I started telling him all the reasons I was dissatisfied with Bush. He said "But you're just attacking Bush. You haven't said why you like Kerry." I explained that "In a two party system like this, if you don't like one candidate enough, then you either vote for the other one, or don't vote at all. I'm choosing the first option." He persisted: "But you're just attacking his record. That's not a good enough reason not to vote for him(!)." I stared at him goggle eyed, "Are you saying that if I disagree with his performance as President, I should reward him with a second term?" He said, "No. You shouldn't vote based on his record(!), you should vote for him because he shares the same morals as you(!!)."
(So much for an elctorate that votes based on issues, records and facts. Heck, we're not even voting based on character traits, charisma, or style. Now we're reduced to voting based on shared morals?)
Now it is a bit presumptuous to assume that Bush shares the same morals as I do and that Kerry doesn't. All three of us are Christian (one Methodist, one Catholic, one Baptist), and though there is a common morality we share in Christianity, there is a wide range of morality that is held to under the very large umbrella that is Christianity. But as it turns out, my confronter was only concerned about one matter of morality: abortion.
Abortion trumped all else for him. He agreed with my assesment of Bush's performance. It didn't matter. Bush is the only pro-life candidate in the race. He is voting for him. And so should I.
I told him that I just couldn't value that single issue so highly that it would outweigh the rest. But he could. He held to the following convictions: 1) The unborn are rights-bearing persons. 2) The more helpless a person is, the more imperative or necessary are the laws to protect them. 3) The unborn are the most helpless of all possible persons. Therefore, outlawing abortion is the single most important issue ever. He went so far as to say that if Hitler was the only pro-life candidate in the race, he would vote for him without hesitation.
He's certainly consistent if nothing else. I had to admire him for that.
I've long wondered if there were any pro-lifers who would take their axioms to its logical conclusion to support a theoretical pro-life Hitler. Turns out that there is at least one.