Sunday, February 26, 2012

On the "Buckley Rule"

“Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable”—William F. Buckley, Jr.

This statement is held up by conservatives as the “golden rule” about the best way to vote. See which candidates are likely to win. Test them for being “conservative” (whatever that means, for the definition has changed over time and even changes between people). If they have a shot at winning and are more conservative than the other, vote for them.

The Means.
The goal is to elect a conservative candidate (more on the problems of that later). But are the means accurate?
“20Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:”—Daniel 2:20-21
In these verses, Daniel makes it quite clear that God, not man, sets up and removes kings.
First, who says that man is always going to back a winner? How many voters would have backed an obscure monk against the whole church hierarchy? But Martin Luther changed the world. How many good leaders would have been (or even have been!) rejected if this philosophy had been followed?
Second, man is put in the place of God by determining who is electable. Apart from the fact that man is often wrong (see above), this puts him in a place where he has no right to be. We are to obey God, and let God take care of the results. If we try to foresee the results, we run into big problems. If voting for an “electable” candidate is right, how can you gainsay fortune-telling? Both endeavor to see into the future and act accordingly.

The Goal.
While the means are flawed, the goal they are trying to reach is not even right! The goal is to elect a conservative candidate. Conservatism is thus made an end in itself. The litmus test should be the Word of God, and if a candidate is faithful to the word of God, Christians should vote for him, whether his party is Republican, Democrat, Tory, or anything else.
But don’t conservatives tend to be closer to the Word of God with sound money, sanctity of life, etc.? This is probably true, but never hand someone a so-called blank check. That is, don’t slither out of your duty by saying “they’re conservative (or Libertarian, etc.), so they must be right.” Instead, evaluate all candidates individually by the Word of God, whether Libertarian, Cameronian, or any other. And if no candidate is Biblically qualified, don’t vote for anyone! But…but that’s wasting your vote, isn’t it? Nope. God (not man) sets up kings (and presidents). If you obey God, that’s all God is concerned about, not whether you throw away a privilege by obeying Him.

The Conclusion.
I will conclude with a quotation from Mr. Kevin Swanson from his lecture on Overpopulation and the Coming Demographic Bomb, given at the Baby Conference. He is discussing pragmatism, and how “Super Uzzah” demonstrated it in 2 Samuel 6. “Super Uzzah” tried to save the day by catching the Ark from falling and God killed him for it.
“‘But…but…but…but God, I was just trying to…I was just trying to save the country! Oh God, I…I voted for somebody who didn’t fear God, hate coveteousness. I…I…I voted for somebody who’s the better of two evils, God. I…I…I know he promised that he was only going to kill 800,000 babies a year instead of 1.2 million a year. But God, he was going to kill less babies, that’s what he said, anyway. And…and I really believed him and stuff. And God, I really wanted to save the nation and so I voted for Hitler instead of Stalin! I knew Stalin was going to kill 20 million! I knew Hitler was only going to kill 6 million! And I…I did it, God! I did it! I voted for the lesser of two evils! Hitler over Stalin! And God, I did it! I saved 13 million people!’”
“I’m sorry; God doesn’t appreciate that, because God wants you to vote for a man who fears God and hates coveteousness. He’s not asking how many babies you think he’s going to kill, He’s asking you ‘Does the man fear God?’”


  1. Amen Jordan! It's always refreshing to hear other young men who recognize the importance of remaining faithful rather than making decisions based on pragmatism.

    "The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses." - Daniel 4:25

    Stand fast!

    "Duties are ours, events are God's!" - Samuel Rutherford

  2. Amen, Jordan!

    Everybody wants wise leaders. Nobody wants foolish ones. However, not many voters seem to take into account the fact that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

    I always tell people that we will answer to God for our one vote, not for how the other one hundred million people in an election voted. If others vote foolishly, we cannot take upon ourselves responsibility for their votes.

    Stand Fast,

    Andrew R.