The Lesser of Two Evils is Still... A Crock of Muddled Thinking

By Proof

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I saw it again today.
"If you vote for "X" over Obama, you're just choosing the 'lesser of two evils'. And the lesser of two evils is still evil."

I mostly hear it about Ron Paul, usually delivered in a vaguely smug and condescending tone. "X" is only different in degree from Obama, (in this area or that) therefore if you vote for anyone but "Y", you are choosing evil."

This facile argument is deeply flawed. It takes a statement which is true and weds it in unholy matrimony to an assumption which may be (and generally is) completely false, but the true statement gives it some semblance of truth.

While it is true that when you choose the lesser of two actual evils, you are choosing evil, it does not follow that every time you choose between a lesser and a greater good, that any of your choices are evil.

Voltaire, pointed that "The perfect (or the better) is the enemy of the good." If you reject everything or everyone that isn't perfect, you reject all (or in the case of the Paulites, nearly all). If you compare candidates on a scale of one hundred where one hundred is the perfect conservative and President Zero is, by some coincidence, zero, maybe your candidate comes in at an eighty five, but that doesn't mean that the other candidates, who may only come in in the seventies or low eighties, are "evil". That is a mere verbal "sleight of hand", where one directs your attention away from what is real and shows you what one wants you to see.

Please banish the "lesser of two evils" argument from your discussions. It only muddles the very important discussion of which of the flawed* individuals running for President, on both sides, will be the greater good for our nation. He or she, I guarantee you, will not be perfect.

I intend to vote for the person who will bring greater good to this country. Part of the ability to bring this greater good, is the ability to get elected first. A "perfect" candidate who cannot get elected can sit on the sidelines for four years and say, "See? I told you so!", but that will not stop the harm being done to the republic in the meantime.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. Those who call "evil" that which is not evil are enemies of the good as well.

*See: Original sin

Cross posted at Proof Positive


  1. Last Presidential election I did not vote for McCain, I merely voted against Obama... AKA, the lesser of two evils!
    But I think in the primaries we have the opportunity to vote for the candidate we feel best represents what we believe in...
    So I concur Proof!

  2. John: I think a lot of votes McCain got were of the "He's not Obama" nature. And the next Republican may benefit from some of that as well. But, it is incumbent upon us (pun intended) to choose the best and brightest conservative we think can win, to run against Barry O. This does not mean we compromise on principle, but merely recognizes that some good men (and women) carry a lot of baggage that make them virtually unelectable. (I could name names!)

    The struggle is too grave and the consequences too perilous to waste our votes.

  3. Closed captioning for the Teutonically Impaired:

    "genau" = "exactly", or "Hell, yeah!"

  4. We hit rock bottom with Barack Obama. A step in the right direction is a step in the right direction. ABO 2012!

    If we could get someone better than Romney in the White House, that would be great. But I've noticed that "Mr(s). Generic Republican -- Perfect Candidate -- Better Than George Washington -- More Handsome Than JFK" isn't running this year.

  5. I'm not Teutonically Impaired, and I don't see any "genau" in John's response, Proof.

    In a two candidate race, the median voter determines the victor. The median voter for a party isn't necessarily close to the median voter in the voting population of the states that are crucial for winning the presidential election.

    As much as we would like the ideal conservative to win, I haven't seen him or her on the podium lately. We are stuck with choosing from the set of bozos who stepped up this year.

    A successful candidate must seize upon the staatliche zeitgeist, inspiring pride and confidence. There mustn't be any nose holding. And it's not US he needs to inspire, but rather the 3-4% of people near the median voter in important electorally significant states. He doesn't need to appeal to people in California or Texas, but rather in Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan to name a few.

    After the election, the character of leadership projection must suit the entire nation to retain power and invoke the general principles for which we stand. Pelosi, Reid, and Obama overestimated and overreached their mandate. We should not return the favor.

    So while I heartily agree with Proof's message, I don't think some people truly grok the implications for the nomination, the general election, or the consequences. We can't pin our hopes on Obama making fatal errors, and we can't be too confident that the Reaganesque Republican du jour won't fall flat on his face in office and put some other Demon Rat in office in 2017. This is not time to vote for a lovable amateur.

    Vielen dank, meine Damen und Herren.

  6. Nick: "I don't see any "genau" in John's response, Proof."

    Perhaps you could scroll down to John's second comment, where he said, and I quote: "Genau!"

    "This is not time to vote for a lovable amateur."

    This is a time to vote for the best possible candidate who has the best possible chance of winning. My point is, you do not get to that candidate by demonizing everyone in the field who is not your favorite.

    RK: I agree with you. We are three years overdue for some (good) "change". There is a difference between vetting the candidates because of their weaknesses and demonizing them, because they don't meet someone's high standards. Some of our brethren seem to be slow in learning that.

    "If we could get someone better than Romney in the White House" From your keyboard to God's email.

  7. Perhaps I wasn't clear. I saw him use the word "genau" but he wasn't saying exactly what you were saying. He was saying the primaries are where we get to pick the person who best represents our views. That's not even close to the pragmatism of which you're speaking.

    I recall that Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney were not conservative enough in 2008. Look where that got us. Would either one have beaten Obama? I don't know. But either one would have done better than McCain.

    If people are saying we can do better than Romney, the lesson has been cast to the wind. The fact is we can do better than all of them. That's not the question which will be decided next November in a Swing State not near you. The question is who a white, middle class, politically moderate, woman from Iowa will prefer: Obama or.......who?

  8. Good job, Proof. You are a very wise man. (as your name and your photograph imply :)

    Truth be told, I vote only to vote against. I'd stand in the cold rain in a loincloth to vote against a filthy democrat.

    The one thing I blame on George Bush is the election of Brakabama. I liked the guy, but he was a hyper-confident mother-fcker. He could have easily done what Clinton did and kept his image afloat for the sake of not only himself, but also for the sake of the country. He figured his honesty and decency were simply enough to counter a 24/7 onslaught by the lecherous liars who populate the American left. He was wrong. Dead wrong. He figured if he didn't play the game, the game wouldn't be played. I blame his nonchalance for the rise of Brak. Thing is, as a President, he was very competent and had pretty good policy instincts most of the time. He did plenty I disagreed with, but compared to a sniveling, adolescent vagina like Brakabama, he was the second coming of George Washington.

    I'd vote for him again.

  9. By the way;
    "Please banish the "lesser of two evils" argument from your discussions. It only muddles the very important discussion of which of the flawed* individuals running for President, on both sides, will be the greater good for our nation."

    Brevity being the soul of wit and all that, I'd say, "Be a grownup and vote for the better of the two.". If you see salvation through politicians, you are devoid of hope.

    Jefferson advocated that women convicted of prostitution have a giant hole drilled in their nose that they might not only bear that mark forever but also suffer the discomfort such an injury would cause. Was Jefferson a bad guy? Maybe. He was the better alternative, though.

    Utopians are the worst race of people to ever live. Utopians are the cause of this world's problems.

  10. Lets see..........................................

    If A equals A then A cannot possibly equal B......

    If reality exists irrespective of consciousness then regardless of ones perception of reality reality exists s it is.

    Thus the lesser of two evils is in reality still evil.

    Thus the result of voting for the lesser of two evils in effect results in electing an evil only slightly less evil........................

    Got it.........................................

    Which is precisely why I will vote for Ron Paul in the primaries and should he fail to get the nomination I shall vote for Donald Duck as a write in in the General election...............

    Principles matter folks. And until we all vote principles over special interests we shall get that which we deserve.

    Thought provoking post Proof....................

  11. Nick I am simply in agreement with proof! Not always but in this case, I am "exactly" in agreement...

  12. And for the record I said "best represents our views"...
    No one will "represent our views" better than our selves! But neither you or I are running are we...

  13. If you vote for someone you think is evil, you are evil.

    Words have meaning. Serious people understand this. Children...not so much.

  14. .

    Vote for what is in your own best self-interest! Doing otherwise is totally beyond understanding.

    - Is giving tax breaks to the wealthy/rich in your own best self-interest?

    - Is allowing corrupt and corrupting banksters to control USA Congress people in your own best self-interest?

    - Is spending money on keeping troops in Iraq/Afghanistan in an endless war in your own best self-interest?

    Vote for what is in your own best self-interest!

    Ema Nymton

  15. "Vote for what is in your own best self-interest! Doing otherwise is totally beyond understanding."

    It's only beyond the understanding of a self absorbed parasite. For decent people, voting is something one does for the sake of their country's future. Civic duty ring a bell, not my NamE?

  16. John, I didn't mean to pick a fight with you. I was just pointing out that what you said and what Proof said are not the same. He wants to beat Obama as his main objective. You said we should use the primary elections to express our preferences. If Romney, Cain, and Perry all had an equal chance of beating Obama, then go ahead and vote for your favorite OF THE THREE. But remember that in politics, a milimeter miss is as good as a mile. These candidates are NOT equally positioned to beat Zero.

    Some people, like Rational Nation, vote their principles first. I respect that view. But like a sports coach, you have to adapt your strategy to THE GAME based on the PLAYERS YOU GOT, not the players you wish you had.

    In my view, principles count for nothing if you are constantly losing the game. it's the view of the armchair revolutionary. The Miss Congeniality award doesn't make your laws or pick your judges.

    Ron Paul isn't going to win enough votes to have a seat at the bargaining table. This isn't a parliament where getting 5% of the vote gets you 5% of the seats, and other parties might have to add you to their coalition to get a majority. Our political system is different, so the rules of the game and hence THE WAY YOU PLAY TO WIN must change.

    A vote for Ron Paul is as good as a vote for Mel Gibson or Lady Gaga. In my opinion, a vote for Cain is a vote for Obama. Only Romney or Perry have the campaign experience and apparatus to beat the Obama machine. And I like Herman better than either of those guys.

    Cain will not win IA against Obama and he might lose OH or FL. Losing OH or FL loses the election, and not winning IA makes it really difficult to win the presidency. 9-9-9 is a gutsy move, but it's too much of a target for criticism in a battle which will come down to subtle persuasion of the 3% of the voting population, none of whom are reading this blog, who will decide the outcome.

    If Obama were truly "one and done", he'd face a primary challenge. That's not the case, and it gives you fair warning. Even if the unemployment rate drops to 8.5% in the next year, that would make Zero a formidable opponent. Anything short of a double dip ensures his political viability. And we have to worry about the 2016 election too just in case we win.

  17. "A vote for Ron Paul is as good as a vote for Mel Gibson or Lady Gaga. "

    Come now. I'm hated by Paultards, but even I wouldn't consider a Ron Paul campaign against Brak to be any sort of democrat slam dunk. Brak won't face a primary challenge because the brain dead left would simply call anyone attempting it a Klansman. Brak is the ultimate token. There is tremendous power in that for him.

  18. .

    Chuckie poo poo - "I'm hated by Paultards, ..." Oh pshaw. You're such a victim.

    Can you name any one who doesn't hate you?

    "For decent people," What do you know about 'decent people'?

    Ema Nymton

  19. Isn't it neato that you and I both agree that you're far too stupid to argue the merits of your decrepit positions, not my NamE? I certainly enjoy knowing you and I share that common ground.

    Yours in agreement,

  20. Chuck, Brak is still polling ahead of ALL the Republicans, including the front runners. I always think polls are 3-4% to the left of reality, but they were very accurate in 2008 and 2010.

    Granted, there will be a bump up when a prospective candidate becomes an actual candidate, but it would take nothing less than a catastrophe for Paul to beat Obama. Even if lightning strikes, he will have to build enough support and confidence to win again in 2016.

    The US Supreme Court is in too much peril of a left turn to take ANY risks with winning the 2012 election. That court could change the face of government for 25 years if Scalia or Kennedy leaves. And each year, there are hundreds of federal court and US attorney appointments.

    The idea that The President is an imperious leader who will take us to the Promised Land is exactly what we conservatives and libertarians don't believe in. So why are you people seeking such a person? 9-9-9 or whatever still needs to pass Congress.

    Republicans control the House and will likely win the Senate, so RINOs pose no threat. In this election, we are NOT voting for a president. We are voting for JUDGES.

  21. Seeking? What do you think I'm seeking? I think Romney will be the nominee and that doesn't bother me in the least. That said, Brakabama is going to lose next November. Honestly, I'm a hell of a lot more worried about what that greasy little shit is going to do between now and then than I am about his replacement.
    He's a Manchurian candidate. A saboteur.

  22. I apologize Chuck. I began with a benign comment directed to you and then digressed into an open letter to a broader audience. That's what I get for being preachy. By the time I got to "seeking", I forgot where I started.

    I think you and I are entirely on the same page. Maybe I just give Zero better odds because I still remember the disappointments of 1976, 1992, 1996 and 2008 and the close calls in 2000 and 2004. We shouldn't have lost any of those races and the wins shouldn't have been close. We had inept candidates.


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