For some time now I've been sharing (via Twitter, Facebook, etc.) articles I run across that document the fact that Mitt Romney is a crypto-socialist (i.e., a socialist who hides it behind some other label) who has already implemented leftist measures Obama has had trouble implementing on account of strong resistance. I've been including a tagline that asks (regarding an Obama vs. Romney election) "Where's the choice?" As expected, the comments I've seen in response include a significant number like this one I saw on Facebook: "It's certainly not an ideal choice … but Obama is just so horrible Romney is amazing by comparison."
I was particularly struck by the use of the word "amazing." In the context that word seems particularly appropriate, since it's related to the word "maze" and includes, from its origins, overtones that imply something that leads to delusion, stupefaction, bewilderment, confusion and even insanity. An amazed person is often paralyzed, trapped or confounded, like someone lost in a maze with no way out. I think this is precisely the condition of people who have surrendered to the "lesser evil" political fallacy.
The above quoted Facebook comment led to an exchange that included some thoughts worth sharing here. I replied to the commenter with the following:
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"The difference between Romney and Obama is that Romney has done and will do all the horrible things Obama wants to do, only you'll be embarrassed to oppose Romney because you voted him in. For the horrible things Obama is trying to get done you can blame someone else (assuming you didn't vote for him). For the horrible things Romney (has done and) will do you will have only yourself to blame. Tragically for you, you don't escape evil by supporting it. You just take responsibility for it. So let me get this straight – if evil occurs and you're not to blame that's the greater evil. If evil occurs and you are to blame, that's the lesser evil. Good luck with that. You'll need it."
My interlocutor soon replied. He scoffed at the idea that there would ever be anyone good to vote for since "men are by their nature depraved." He concluded that "if I just waited to vote for only righteous persons, then I would be holding my breath for a long time." Since this comment also reflects a mentality I'm encountering quite a bit, I took the opportunity to try reasoning with it, in a second reply.
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"My problems with Romney are not about his character, but about his record. Your whole discussion about depravity, etc. deals with a straw man of your own invention (a tactic I've been encountering a lot from people who call themselves conservative but who are trying to justify their support for someone they know to be a committed crypto-socialist, i.e., a socialist who hides it behind some other label.)
"You take the position that Obama is so evil you're just forced to vote for someone whom you assert is just a little less evil. With this reasoning you make evil the standard for office in America, guaranteeing that we will never again see good represented in office. In fact, it guarantees that we will get progressively greater evils (since by offering more and more extreme evil the bad guys can guarantee that you and those like you will support more and more extreme, though supposedly somewhat "lesser," evils.) Don't you realize that this is the repeated tragic error that produced Obama in the first place, and will produce others still worse than Obama? In fact, Romney may be just that (worse than Obama), since he has already gotten away with implementing policies (legislation with government-funded abortions, individual mandates, coercion of conscience, imposition of gay marriage, etc.) that are being strongly and successfully resisted coming from Obama.
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"By your logic, evil is greater when it fails than when it succeeds; the bullet that we only have to fear is a greater evil than the one that actually kills us. That doesn't make sense. At some point we run the risk of falling into the trap that has us pleading fear of evil when what we are really doing is acting on behalf of forces that hate and reject the possibility of good. That is precisely the trap our God-rejecting elites have prepared for us. I will go on praying and working to warn people against falling into it.
"If, instead of surrendering fearfully to (supposedly lesser) evil, folks like you would spend your whole effort finding and lifting up what you sincerely believe is good for your country, you would be able to do what previous generations of Americans have done: Surprise yourself and all the world with breathtaking results that honor God and decent liberty."
The saddest part of this surrender of decent choice is the ripe political opportunity it foregoes. Many Americans are seeing through the competition of evil being offered by the twin-party scam. An Internet article under the typically deceitful headline "Pew survey: Partisan polarization hits 25-year high" reported that "Fewer Americans are affiliating with either of the major parties than at any time in the past 25 years, Pew found. And when Gallup poll data going back to 1939 are factored in, Pew concludes that there are now more political independents than at any point in the past 75 years." The headline lies. Partisanship isn't increasing. To the contrary, an increasing number of Americans are rejecting the party scam. Behind a haze of elitist media misdirection and deceit, the twin-party scam is fighting for its liberty-corrupting, self-government-destroying, tyranny-promoting life.
Apparently, many Americans don't accept the notion that evil, more or less, is good enough for their country. I agree with them. That's why I've been trying to help people think through an alternative to the sham party system's choice of evils, based on the vision of representative government America's founders implemented in the U.S. Constitution. The founders knew full well that people are not angels, as Madison observes in Federalist No. 51. But unlike the scheming demagogues of our day (and their obliging apologists), this didn't lead them to conclude that people have no choice but evil for government. They had faith that, given the chance, people could sustain a government that lived up to their God-endowed conscience, rather than spiraling ever downward toward the evil within them that they most fear. Do you share the good faith of America's founders? If so, it may be worth your while to read the series entitled "Restoring Representation: A Strategic Proposal" now featured (and soon to be available as a downloadable pamphlet) at my blog, Loyal to Liberty.