The human race is ordained for absolutes. We can see evidence of this in the world today, and the argument for it is explained by St. Thomas Aquinas. People act toward an end in all of their actions in service to some higher ideal. This ideal is our highest motivator and what drives our actions throughout the day. For some people, the pursuit of wealth and power consumes them and takes their primary focus. For others, hedonistic pursuits are their absolute and other desires take a back seat. For yet others, it can be a sports team that they fanatically follow, or popular culture that they obsess over. In short, people, whether they believe in God or not, deify something and hold that as their end, implicitly or in actuality. Everything in nature tends to an end. Man is a natural being, and so Man tends toward an end. Examine now, what is your end?
The current political landscape has thrown into sharp relief that our culture has a scattered and confused concept of ends, and what virtues we may possess. With our differing idols and ends, our country is more divisive than ever. In my opinion, this is due to decay in the virtue, morality, and conviction of our culture and our leader. This can be exemplified in the 2012 election cycle during the debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. A question was postulated to the vice-presidential candidates, who are both baptized Catholics. The question essentially asked how their faiths played into their politics and whether or not they were observant. Paul Ryan said that, yes, he was observant and his Catholic views helped to for his political views, such as those opposing abortion and gay marriage.
Joe Biden’s answer was very troubling, and whether you are Catholic or not I will explain to you why his answer is disconcerting. Mr. Biden said that of he personally believed the teachings of the Church to be true and he was observant, but it wasn’t his business to tell other that. This, I think, is fundamentally wrong and a symptom of modernist blight on our society. If something is true in your personal view, how then can it not be true in public? It is of my opinion that this shows that Mr. Biden values power and position more than he does his own convictions and his God. Thus, he deifies an errant part of society rather than what he should.
When Pontius Pilate was presented with a captured Jesus, the governor knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong. When the Pharisees and the mob of Jews insisted upon Jesus’ crucifixion, Pilate infamously said “Quid est veritas?” (What is truth?) Pilate then proceeded to wash his hands, signifying Jesus’ condemnation by the Pharisees and not by him. Though Pilate did not personally believe that Jesus was guilty, he did not impose his views on the crowd and thus allowed an injustice to be done. Pilate served his end, desiring his position and relative security of the region over justice and moral responsibility.
Too often nowadays there are modern Pilates who fail to recognize truth even when Truth incarnate is staring them in the face, scourged and crowned with thorns. Truth by its very nature is absolute, something cannot simultaneously be true and false, just ask the teacher you tried to dupe by writing a “T/F” hybrid on a test in order to give yourself plausible deniability. Too often are their people pursuing the wrong ends, and damaging our society, our culture, and ourselves. Perhaps you are like myself and have already personally noticed this. However, I urge you to take the words of Saint and martyr Maximillian Kolbe to heart. Speak truth, instruct the ignorant and chastise the wrongdoers and “don’t blush for your convictions.”