THE GREEN PARTY’S MORAL DILEMMA
by Bob Wheeler
Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein
In this very unusual and unprecedented election cycle attention has been turned to possible third party alternatives to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. One such alternative sometimes mentioned is the Green Party and its candidate, Jill Stein.
The Green Party has a very long and detailed platform, and a quick survey shows it to be very liberal and “progressive.” Yet on closer examination we can see the underlying moral contradiction of the political left.
The party’s platform has a great deal to say about various kinds of “rights,” and in one sense it presents a very idealistic agenda. But it raises the fundamental question of where these rights come from. What exactly is their foundation?
The section on “Social Justice” begins by saying that “Historically, America has led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination.” But the U.S. Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . .” And at one point the Green Party platform itself says that “We acknowledge the spiritual dimensions of life, and we honor the cultivation of various types of spiritual experience in our diverse society.”
But then the platform goes on, under the heading of “Religious Freedom and Secular Equality,” to call for “the elimination of displays of religious symbols, monuments, or statements on government buildings, property, websites, money or documents,” including the removal of the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.
But if we are not “one nation, under God,” where do our rights come from? At one point the platform mentions the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights,” which would imply that rights are man-made. Something is “right” because everyone says so. But that would mean that we are subject to the moral guidance of an international body made up of the likes of Russia and China. Are foreign politicians like Vladimir Putin or the Chinese Communist Party really safe guides to right and wrong?
At other points the platform appears to appeal to raw pragmatism. It points to a variety of social, economic and environmental problems, and takes it as a given that we would all be better off if these problems were resolved. But that is tantamount to saying that what is right is what happens to be convenient at the moment.
But in the absence of any clear moral standard the platform is led into some perplexing contradictions. Perhaps the most astonishing of all is its position on “Youth Rights.” Remarkably that section begins with the statement that “All human beings have the right to a life that will let them achieve their full potential.” That is, unless they have a right to life itself. For in the section “Women’s Rights – Reproductive Rights” the party insists that “It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remain available.” But if a mother has the right to terminate the life of her unborn child in utero, then the whole section about “Youth Rights” is utterly meaningless. There is no guarantee that the youth will even make it out of the womb alive, let alone enjoy “a life that will let them achieve their full potential.”
All of this raises a profoundly disturbing question about the nature of morality itself. Presumably the reason that women must have the right to have abortions is that “Women’s right to control their bodies is non-negotiable.” “Unplanned conception takes control away from individuals and makes them subject to external controls.” Moreover, “The Green Party affirms the right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex.”
“The Green Party affirms the right of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.” It calls for “ending governmental use of the doctrines of specific religions to define the nature of family, marriage, and the type and character of personal relationships between consenting adults,” and “the use of religion by government to define the role and rights of women in our society.” And yet the platform itself notes that “Single mothers are the largest and most severely impoverished group in the United States, which explains why 22% of the children in our country live below the poverty line.” Duh!
But if people have a “right to self-determination” and “to control their bodies,” why would they be required to do anything against their will? And if the government cannot use religious doctrine to define sexual relations, then what does govern such relationships? What would a society, free from such restrictions, look like?
The answer is, Donald Trump. When asked about his numerous bankruptcies, lawsuits and use of eminent domain to force people out of their homes, and the fact that he hasn’t had to pay income taxes for a number of years, he replies by saying that he is a smart businessman who knows how to take advantage of his legal options. In other words, his concept of right and wrong is whatever he can legally get away with. For him life is all about the right of self-definition and self-determination. Welcome to the Green Party’s vision for a secular America!
The Green Party, then, is caught on the horns of a moral dilemma. It professes to believe in the lofty ideal of social justice; but it advocates a social philosophy of raw narcissism. What it gives with the one hand (a vision of a just and humane society) it takes away with the other (the radical autonomy of the individual). Absent some transcendent moral authority (God) we have exactly what we see today: a society of self-serving individuals looking for ways to game the system. Any notion of character, duty, honor or integrity has all but vanished.
We must all face the fact that we live in a universe that was created by an intelligent Supreme Being. And as human beings we are ultimately subject to His moral law.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?”
(Micah 6:8; NKJV)