On Wednesday, hours before the government would have exhausted its borrowing power, both chambers of Congress voted on legislation to raise the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014. Failure to pass this legislation would have left the U.S. government to default on its debt, the consequences of which would have been catastrophic.

Fortunately, the bespoke legislation passed in both chambers, despite No votes from, among others, Sen. Mike Lee, Rep. Rob Bishop, Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Rep. Chris Stewart. In other words, four of Utah's six congressional delegates used the representational power given to them by the people of Utah to express their preference in favor of what would have been the first default on U.S. government debt.

The categorical imperative argues that we should only act (e.g. vote) according to how we would prefer for everyone to act (e.g. vote). Unless these four legislators voted in violation of this principle on Wednesday, it was their expressed will for Congress to allow the U.S. government to default.

However, because their votes were marginalized by the realists among their peers who opted against voluntarily impairing the nation's credit, they managed to selfishly uphold an uncompromising image before like-minded constituents without changing the legislation's outcome.

Brad Barth

Salt Lake City