Bookmark and Share
My Photo


    Opinions expressed on the Insight Scoop weblog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Ignatius Press. Links on this weblog to articles do not necessarily imply agreement by the author or by Ignatius Press with the contents of the articles. Links are provided to foster discussion of important issues. Readers should make their own evaluations of the contents of such articles.


« Hold the applause! | Main | From card-carrying member of NARAL to pro-life speaker »

Monday, January 19, 2009


Ed Peters

Exactly. Wish I'd said it.


"It is progress that the half the population that could not vote a hundred years ago possesses suffrage today."

And look at how 'progressively' worse things have become as more people have been 'progressively' allowed to vote...

Mark Brumley

Moreover, consider how much worse the world is since the advent of sliced bread, not to mention indoor plumbing and the electric razor :).

Beware of post hoc ergo propter hoc.


I meant politically, not things like the artificial ingredients in Oreos

Howard Richards

I'm sorry you feel so conflicted on the Obama presidency. I felt no conflict in voting against him in November, and I feel no hint of a desire to celebrate his ascension to power now. It's not the color of his skin -- I voted for Alan Keyes in 2000 -- but the content of his character to which I object.

As for giving women the vote, allow me to lift the concern of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Enfranchising women only seems necessary if one believes that men will only vote for their narrow, personal interests -- not even extending their considerations to the needs of their own wives and daughters. Extending suffrage to women endorsed that kind of selfish voting, and the "progressive" cause has always benefited from this kind of "me-first" politics.

I find Chesterton's argument somewhat persuasive that voting on laws (that will be enforced by deadly force) puts blood on one's hands, and that it is a good thing for half the population not to have blood on their hands, and that it is most natural for this half to be the female half. Just the same way as a priest should not have blood on his hands.

Mark Brumley

Howard, I hardly know what to say. May I suggest you reread what I wrote? You seem to miss the spirit of the thing. I say that because you seem to take it as being about Mr. Obama per se, rather than about the irony of social progress in one area (the election of the first black American President) and social regress in another (his proabortion stance), as well as the diabolic nature of that situation.

As for women voting, I simply deny that voting per se involves bloodying one’s hands. Why so? And if so, why should men do it? Surely they should be saints and not bloody their hands.

If one wants to argue that voting responsibly requires knowledge of civic affairs and acquiring such knowledge is beyond the capacity or inclinations of women, I will simply deny the gratuitous assertion. If one wants to say that women are so preoccupied with the chores of family life as to be practically incapable of bothering about the affairs of the commonweal, I will demand that proof of an assertion so heavily assaulted by the prima facie case to the contrary.

In any event, how is whether a husband sets out to vote for his self-interest or for the common good, relevant to the question of whether his wife should have the right to vote to advance the common good as she thinks it should be advanced? Why should women have to rely on the judgments of their husbands, however well-intended their husbands may be? If reasonable men can sometimes differ over the correct course of action, even when they are looking out for the common good, then why can’t a husband and wife, too, differ when both are looking out for the common good? Why should a wife be disqualified from contributing to the common good by voting simply because her husband votes? Why should she, in effect, be treated as a child, inherently incapable of exercising the discretion of voting? And of course what about the unmarried woman?

As for priests not bloodying their hands, I assume you are referring to priests not taking people's lives in warfare or police action, not to the idea that priests shouldn't vote. I can understand why the Church would want to avoid people associating the priesthood with killing. I don't see a valid parallel with wanting to avoid associating women with concern for the common good by allowing them to vote.


I find it ironic that right around the time of Dred Scott we were enacting laws against abortion of a state level because science discovered that life begins at conception. Then, right around the time when laws against segragation that recognize the evils of racism are enacted we enact laws that allow the murder of life in the womb. One step forward, two steps back......

Sandra Miesel

Mark has responded to Howard much better than I could. But do allow me to point out that a lot of us women--including me--aren't married! And a sizable minority of American women will never marry at any point in their lives.

There was, of course, a pope who thought universal manhood suffrage was a monstrous idea. Care to engage that opinion?

Ed Peters

Ditto Sandra. (except the part about "us" being a woman)

Mark Brumley

Pope Pius IX thought "universal manhood suffrage" was "madness" or something like that. I think he was mistaken on the point, though the matter is more complicated than liberals typically suppose. But in any case, my issue was the suffrage of women.


Thank you for your reasoned defense, Mark. I was too stunned by Howard's comments to respond, except to say that one benefit of his comments was that I sought the reassurance of John Paul II, via his encylical on the dignity and vocation of women


For reference, Howard appears to be referring specifically to one of the arguments against universal sufferage which Chesterton made in "What's Wrong with the World", which I think has been adequately answered above. Even Chesterton had his off days.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Ignatius Insight


Ignatius Press

Catholic World Report


Blogs & Sites We Like

June 2018

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog powered by Typepad