“The Lesser of Two Evils.”

I get so tired of hearing people tell me “The lesser of two evils is still evil.” This usually comes (in my experience–your mileage may vary) from the ideological purity types in the Libertarian party when I’m looking at the best candidate who actually has a chance in the election. (Yes, yes, I know, people don’t vote for the Libertarian because they don’t think he has a chance, but if the people who just didn’t think he had a chance would vote for him then…well, he still wouldn’t have a chance but he might poll a percentage point or two higher.  The Overton Window appears to be a remarkably good model for political processes.)

And yet, these same people, go all in and gush for the candidate of their chosen party.  But…well, consider this gem from the Libertarian Vice-Presidential candidate in 2016:


As the expression I’ve heard goes, “every word in that is wrong, including ‘a’ and ‘the'”. I’d say more it’s gibberish too incoherent to rise to the level of “wrong.” It’s simply meaningless word salad.

Now, I’m sure my friends on the left would be quite pleased with the sentiment (because “guns bad”) however wrong or meaningless the actual statement is, but from the stated values of actual libertarianism this should be anathema.

But that’s just the vice-presidential candidate.  What about the Presidential candidate, Gary Johnson?  Well, Johnson agreed that the government should, indeed force the Oregon Christian baker to custom make and decorate a cake for a gay wedding. (The key words are “government” and “force”.) And, yes, my friends on the left will no doubt cheer this assertion but let me add to you that he also said in a debate that a Jewish baker should be forced to make a Nazi cake as well.

“Government” and “Force.” Anyone reading much on this blog should have a pretty good idea about how I feel about that in the vast majority of cases.  And yet, Libertarians keep voting for these individuals even though what they’re espousing is anything but libertarian.  It’s Drazi Politics all over again.

So, the people who tell me “the lesser of two evils is still evil” don’t seem to realize that the only thing adding a third candidate does is change it to “the least of three evils is still evil.”  A fourth candidate? “The least of four evils…” And so on.

And even if I did find one who actually did go all-in on liberty, enough to satisfy me, well, if they tried to implement those policies too quickly, without very careful planning, the result will be disaster as I wrote about in The Arrow is Plugging the Wound.  But if they are methodical, careful, and gradual, why the same “the lesser of two evils” people will be all over them as yet another “evil” because they don’t give them everything they want now.

However many candidates there are, I’m left with “the least of X evils” with X being the number of candidates.

Or perhaps, just maybe, I can find a “best candidate I have a reasonable chance of getting” and give that individual my support.

It seems, at least, worth a try.

4 thoughts on ““The Lesser of Two Evils.””

  1. In a certain sense “the lesser of two evils is still evil” is correct but that’s more for situations where you have to choose one of two courses of actions both evil so you have to chose the lesser of them. But you shouldn’t forget that your course of action is still an evil. Hopefully, you can find another course of action that’s not evil. 😉

    Still, you have pointed out a flaw in the thinking of too many Libertarians (big L or little l).

    IMO you’re never going to find the “perfect candidate” so you should look for a “winning candidate” that meets some of your standards.

    Of course, the people who voted for the Libertarian Party candidates based solely on the Party Label were idiots but then I’ve found too many Big L libertarians to be idiots. 😦

    While I’ll be voting for Trump again, it would be nice to see some saner & smarter folks in the Libertarian Party. 😉


    1. The flip side of “the lesser of two evils is still evil” is that “the best you can realistically hope to get is still the best you can get.”

      It’ a matter of perspective.

      I voted Libertarian last time because going into the election I really didn’t expect Trump to be any better than Hillary–his history was as a New York Liberal and while his rhetoric in may ways sounded great (although even that was questionable–I counted no less than six of the Bill of Rights he threw under the bus on the campaign trail) he was the guy who gave the advice of “sell the fantasy.” I didn’t expect them to win but thought maybe if enough people voted that way the Republican Party would take a look and see that there are a lot of votes they pick up if they actually respected ideals such as those espoused in Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative.”

      That said, I have been more than a little pleasantly surprised and so probably will be voting Trump next time around.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hear, hear! You have almost perfectly summarized where I have found my political beliefs evolving for the last decade. Small (l) libertarian in concept, conservative in practice. I have always had to choose the candidate that would do the least damage to our Constitution and dreamed of the day I could have the “perfect” candidate. Keep writing these please, it is a comfort to know I am not alone out here in the wilderness.


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