Pascal’s Wager – Bet On Trump

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Though born a few years after the official end of the Renaissance, Blaise Pascal was a true Renaissance man. He was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and top notch Christian philosopher. His most famous work is the book Pensees. The most famous item in that tome is a discourse on why it is logical and rational to live a Godly life even if you don’t believe in God.

This has become known as “Pascal’s Wager,” and can be summarized thusly: A rational person should live as though God exists. If God does not exist, you lose nothing except some worldly pleasures by believing in Him. But if God does exist, you gain eternal life by living a good life, but will suffer eternal damnation if you deny Him through a life of debauchery. (A giant hat tip to Father Lawrence at St. Francis High School long ago for patiently taking the many, many hours necessary to get this across to a bunch of thick-skulled seniors in “Apologetics” class.)

Pascal’s wager has become my fire-wall in arguing with the Kool-Aid drinkers of  NeverTrump. Backed into a corner on the fact that a federal judiciary appointed by a President Hillary is a clear and present existential danger to all things conservative, the last refuge of these scoundrels is that Trump can’t be believed. They say that Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court appointees – developed with the input of the impeccably upright and conservative Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society – is a scam, that he has no intention of appointing such stellar conservatives to the courts.

This is where old pal Blaise comes in. His wager applies to the Trump v. Clinton presidential choice in this way: If the NeverTrump folks are right and I am wrong – if Trump’s court appointments would be mediocre at best and as bad as Hillary’s at worst – then we are no worse off by voting for Trump. Whether he wins or loses, we still have an awful judiciary.

However, if I am correct and the NeverTrump folks are wrong, then Trump’s court appointments will be full of young Antonin Scalias and Clarence Thomases. That represents the difference between salvation for conservatives and our values from a Trump judiciary and the gang rape of the Constitution which is certain with a Hillary-appointed judiciary. This is a wager that ought to be obvious even to the most deranged NeverTrumpster. The only rational bet, the only safe bet – vote – is for Trump.

Rational thought, however, has never been a strong point of the NeverTrump cabal, and NeverTrump-land has lately become a logic-free zone. They obsess on irrelevancies, frothing about how much rent he charges his campaign office in Trump Towers, but ignore Hillary making the State Department a giant cash laundromat for her foundation. Hillary lying to the families of the four Americans murdered in Benghazi is not as important to them as how many copies of “The Art Of The Deal” the campaign has purchased.

NeverTrump-land is inhabited by large egos and small minds, happy to play into the hands of the left-wing media to elect Hillary. No minor official who served in a previous Republican administration is too obscure not to be given breathless headlines and interviews as they denounce Trump. Any former Fourth Assistant Undersecretary to the Chief Deputy Paper Shuffler in the Department of Swamps and Sewers is guaranteed 15 minutes of fame if he or she will wax hysterical about the dangers of Trump.

The moral preening of NeverTrump is as unending as it is astounding. Conservative icon Richard Viguerie aptly described the situation as a battle between “the new puritans and Trump’s revolutionary conservatives.” The conservative grassroots workers who are rallying to Trump are not rich or famous and don’t want to be. They want to be left alone to live their lives and raise their families as they see fit – through traditional conservative American values. By supporting Trump in order to do so they have become revolutionary conservatives.

On the other side of this divide is an a group of self-appointed conservative grandees – inside the D.C. beltway, insulated, isolated from the real world. Led by Billy Kristol, Bow Tie Will and National Review magazine, NeverTrump has devolved into a group of holier-than-thou pearl clutchers. They are the new puritans, horrified that this brusque, brash brute from New York dared to rouse the rabble in fly-over country, and did so without their permission.

Kristol and Will fit Vice President Spiro Agnew’s description perfectly of “nattering nabobs of negativism” and “effete, impudent snobs.” National Review was once a great magazine, founded by conservative giants Bill Buckley and Bill Rusher. As they rail against Trump, the new puritans currently running National Review have made it largely irrelevant. By embracing NeverTrump they are ignoring one of Buckley’s most famous bits of advice. He said that when faced with a choice between less-than-perfect candidates, conservatives should always choose “the most rightward candidate with the best chance of winning.”

Hmm, the most conservative candidate with a chance of winning. That’s apparently a tough one for our new puritans.

In closing, I want to once again make clear that I am well aware of Trump’s imperfections, both as a person and as a candidate. However, none of those imperfections threaten the future of the country. Hillary appointing far-left zealots to the federal judiciary and bureaucracy absolutely does. Longtime conservative warrior and comrade-in-arms Allen Brandstater  (we met in 1965 in “Youth For Reagan For Governor”) put the choice this way: “It’s between castor oil, which is unpleasant but won’t kill you and arsenic, which will.”

Bill Bennett, Secretary of Education during the Reagan years, put it a bit more elegantly: “Our country can survive the occasional infelicities and improprieties of Donald Trump. But it cannot survive losing the Supreme Court to liberals and allowing them to wreck our sacred republic. It would reshape the country for decades.”

Pascal’s wager would no doubt be on the castor oil, infelicities and all, instead of the arsenic.

Bill Saracino is a member of the Editorial Board of CA Political Review.


  1. In a case where we have such choices, as in this election, what more can we do than make the best of it.

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for more.

    • GoldenBear says

      Never was there a better more necessary time to vote 3P Governors Johnson-Weld and have some good laughs at their easy style and honest demeanor.

      You want hope over experience – vote for the other guys. If you want experience over hope, remember this is not the binary experience you think it is this year.

  2. Hillary’s courts and bureaucrats will indeed participate in a “gang rape of the constitution.” The fact that the NeverTrumpers are willing to enable that is disgusting. National Review,Kristol, Will have lost any moral authority they once had. Shame on them, and thanks once again to Saracino for a great piece.

  3. Fred Campbell says

    All (political, at least) choices are based on selecting the lesser of evils.
    Never truer than here.

  4. Alex Keledjian says

    Best line of the article, “That represents the difference between salvation for conservatives and our values from a Trump judiciary and the gang rape of the Constitution which is certain with a Hillary-appointed judiciary.”

  5. Dennis Johnson says

    In order to “save” the country from Trump, the Never Trump idiots are going to hand it to Hillary and her left wing gang …and destroy it. Disgusting .

  6. Owen Jones says

    A more important line from Pensees: “The greatest cause of evil in the world is the inability of a man to sit quietly alone in his own room.” But you don’t hire contemplatives to be President of the United States. It requires men of action. Which is why I am supporting Trump for more reasons than just Pascal’s wager.

  7. Kudos to Saracino. And Pascal.

  8. D.A. Lamar says

    Right on target.

  9. We know who Hillary is — remember Vince Foster, he decided to end his career with the Clintons after one year as Council to the President when the nine indictments from Arkansas re-emerged to the AG, Web Hubble. Vince decided to quit Clinton and go back to Arkansas… He and his family went to the shore for the weekend prior to leaving DC. Web Hubbell followed him and tried to talk him out of quitting. Vince said no!! And this cemented his death wish. The Clintons went to Hawaii while Vince was murdered and his body was dumped in Marcy Park… The law says all deaths of high ranking Presidential people must be investigated by the FBI!! Who investigated the Vince Foster death? the U.S., Park Police.. Where were the Clintons? Hillary and the daughter were in Hawaii…. Billl was in Seattle meeting with Jim Guy Tucker, the new governor of Arkansas. Just another bump in the road for the Clinton Machine and now we have this same machine attempting to deal themselves another round of corruption in the White House…
    Will the American People never wake up to what is happening to our

    • It is naive to expect the Washington Office of the FBI to effectively carry out law enforcement with respect to the Clinton/Obama regime. For instance, I was called by the Washington Office of the FBI after I returned from the US Mission in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1995 and provided complete testimony to their questions about fraud, waste and abuse of authority in the US Mission. After the session I got a call from “The Washington Post” saying they had “heard” I was critical of the Clinton maladministration of diplomacy and the fraudulent arrangements with the US Export-Import Bank, the US State Department, the US Dept of Transportation, and the Clinton White House. My attorney and I both provided detailed information about the subject. Then, on April 21, 1995 five or six gunmen appeared in my office in the Office of International Financial Services (where I was a Foreign Service Finance Officer). They threatened my supervisor and displayed their weapons. However, they had no warrants or written authority for their invasion of a quiet State Department office. My supervisor was terrified and begged me to leave. I asked to have my Union Representative come as well as my attorney. However, the gunmen would not allow it. Realizing how dangerous the scene was becoming I took my personal possessions and went out a back way to avoid possibly being shot, That was the end of my active career as a US diplomat. The US Constitution states that civilian Federal officers may only be removed through impeachment and conviction by Congress. However, with the Clintons they use gunmen to carry out their policies. And, the Washington Office of the FBI ignores the lawlessness.

  10. Sherry Marron says

    I love Trump because he has us all talking about real issues that would otherwise have been quietly ignored. Plus, I believe that once he’s in office, the dominoes will quickly fall into place. And everyone will benefit, chevron those who feel persecuted right now.

  11. We were told incessantly by the “NeverTrump” crowd when they were backing candidates such as Dole, McCain, & Romney, that we needed to “hold our nose and pull the lever” or the Republic will be lost. Yet, when the show is on their foot – and it’s pinching like hell – they all of a sudden have “found religion” and cannot in any manner support that which they find distasteful; and even worse, advocate for the Devil herself.

  12. Dan Ramirez says

    Bullseye ! Thank you California Political Review for providing sanity in the midst of the Never Trump derangement. “Never Trump” ought to equal “Never Again Trusted” for any of the leaders of that collection of fools.

  13. Bruce Whitaker says

    Great column Bill. Could this irrefutable logic penetrate highly ossified skulls? Perhaps. Surmount pristine and mountainous egos? Time will tell. I remind those “never-land” types that making emotionally charged, vengeful decisions is an intrinsically liberal trait.

  14. While the substance of Mr. Saracino’s essay is excellent I urge caution on one point. The essay seems to suggest that the judges and top officials of the Obama regime are not as bad as those Hillary would appoint. Actually, the people already in place are exceptionally bad, for example the neo-Castroite US Ambassador in Mexico City. Whether Hillary could find someone worse to appoint than the current Ambassador is hard to imagine, and Hillary would be likely to continue this Ambassador under her tenure for several more years. The US Embassy in Mexico City is a hot-bed of partisanship and political bias and has done much to poison the Mexican people against the rising tide of Americans seeking to restore their nation’s values and heritage.

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