Something I’ve recently heard from a Catholic: “I’m neither Left Wing nor Right Wing. I’m Catholic!” What a cop out. What a weak thing to say. This is not something said by someone from a position of strength. No, that is a phrase of a coward. I’ve heard that phrase stated many times by Catholics, and it’s embarrassing every time I read or hear it.
We live in the world, and the things in this world are measurable. Refusing to take a position–when you are by no means ignorant–is to refuse to be measured. Many people, not just Catholics, refuse to take a position. Doing this is conflict avoidance, it is weakness, it is avoiding civic responsibility, and it is “the wasting of talents.”
There may be an ideal configuration for our society. There may be a perfect utopian setting for how things ought to be set up. But in this fallen world, you will never see this take shape, and to passively wait with baited breath for paradise to emerge will keep you sitting on your hands until the end of time.
As an example, Davis Aurini recently pointed out how during the Obama presidency, every time Ron Paul was thwarted and ridiculed in U.S. national elections, people seemed to retreat into their own private “world building.” This was back before the Alt-Right movement coalesced, and young right-thinking intellects were termed as being in The Dark Enlightenment.
It was during this period that non-leftists were insular. The libertarians were trapped in an endless spiral of navel gazing. Other groups, such as anarcho-capitalists, were occupied with constructing their own castles in the clouds. Sure, the Tea Party did emerge for a minute, only to be swiftly ridiculed and co-opted by the Republican Establishment. But for the most part, during that time, there was hardly any actionable measures being taken to form a counter measure against the constant tide of the Left.
(And to be clear, Donald Trump doesn’t count. No one saw him coming. He was a surprise that appeared out of nowhere. He was our “wild card.” His role was that of a deus ex machina, and it is unlikely we’ll see another phenomenon like him in our lifetime.)
Mistaking Weakness As Meekness
“Oh, I don’t like to involve myself with politics.” These are the words of a person who squanders their place in society. It is the words of someone who will likely be forgotten, and who will likely not contribute to making any civic difference.
If you are in a football game, but you pretend that no game is being played, then your opponent will score a touchdown frequently and often. By not engaging in what is happening in our society right now, you give way to all of the dark forces that seek to overcome whatever remnant of order is left. Taking no position on an issue is an abdication.
When Christ tells us that the meek shall inherit the Earth, He does not mean that the world belongs to ineffectual, soft, capitulating invertebrates. As Jordan B. Peterson recently reminded us, you are meek if you have the potential to harm, but you choose not to. If you have a loaded weapon, but you keep it in the holster during an argument, you are exercising this kind of meekness. Keeping your sword in your scabbard when you know very well you could decapitate your foe–that is being meek, and those people are the ones who inherit the Earth.
Now, there are those people whose vocation prevents them from taking a position. The first thing that comes to my mind are the religious who live cloistered lives. If I understand correctly, St. Padre Pio was not too involved in the affairs of society. He was too busy with his own miraculous life to trouble himself with external matters. (And yet, he had a prescient sense of what was going on in the world, courtesy of the miraculous foresight given him during his ministry.)
You people reading this, however, are not special cases. You are here, on the internet, glossing over the words of others to familiarize yourself with daily news, Vatican gossip, and social trends. You are online and imbibing civic discourse. It therefore behooves you to take a stance. Judge what you see righteously, not hypocritically, and pick a side. Because the position of “I will not choose the lesser of two evils” guarantees that the most evil will win out every time.