“Lesser Evil candidate knows they don’t have to be good, they just have to be slightly less evil than Greater Evil candidate.”
Welcome to the Comment of the Week, where we highlight good comments in order to inspire more of them. You can help us choose our next one by replying with “comment of the week” to any comment you think deserves recognition.
Everything I know I learned from the BikePortland comments section.
Okay, not really, but we do regularly get commenters who are quite knowledgeable about their subject—you can learn a lot from them even if you don’t agree with what they are saying.
In response to our post about City Council now appearing to support the I-5 Rose Quarter project, Damien grabbed the elephant in the room by the tusks. What do we have to do to get representatives who don’t just talk tough on climate change but actually follow through in their decision making?
Damien’s insightful comment points to voting (and just happens to be a nice follow-up to today’s article on charter reform). Here’s what Damien wrote:
Quite the contrary, dwk – supporting compromised candidates is what gets us bad candidates. It incentivizes it.
The problem with the “lesser of two evils” rationale/strategy is that it’s only rational in the context of one election. Over multiple elections, it’s a self-defeating downward spiral, i.e., it always leads to greater evil. Taken to its absurd conclusion, we eventually get a choice between, say, just for example’s sake, a mass-murdering psychopath who killed 100 people last week and a mass-murdering psychopath who killed 99 people last week, and well, you’d better vote for the 99-count murderer because they are the lesser of two evils. In the next cycle they’ll double those numbers, because Lesser Evil candidate knows they don’t have to be good, they just have to be slightly less evil than Greater Evil candidate.
Thank you, Damien, for the pushed-to-the-extreme example. You can read Damien’s comment and the full comment thread under the original post.