The Error of the Lesser of Two Evils



Most of us make choices based upon the error of the lesser of two evils. Circumstances produce what appears as only two choices, neither of them attractive. We examine the options and choose one more attractive than the other, but still the lesser of two evils. The statement itself describes the “best” one of the options as less than desirable.

This philosophy undergirds the present Republican presidential primaries. To cultivate important voting blocks for their candidates, certain political pundits proclaim the superiority of their candidates (and some candidates of their candidacies) as the lesser of two evils. “My candidate is not as bad as the others,” they say.

Almost in concert with these pronouncements, polling results indicate that support switches frequently from one candidate to another, revealing the current lesser of two evils.

This common error stems from commonly held fallacies. Often times we succumb to it because of the pressure of time. Candidates and their shills stress urgency…we must decide now. Time flees.

Our microwave society has little esteem for patience. We think we must make a choice now. Such a belief assumes that one knows more today than (s)he will know tomorrow. It leads us to believe that today provides the best offers from which to choose. Seldom does that prove true.

Again, we yield to choosing the lesser of two evils because we fear that waiting will produce loss of opportunity. Someone coined the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

This statement describes a popular myth. Too often, the discomfort and uncertainty of patience causes one to sacrifice the future on the altar of today. Impatience clouds clarity, whereas time gives perspective.

A former boss of mine used to say that I could call him anytime for help. But, he always closed this offer with the following advice: “Very few things in life cannot wait 24 hours.” In fact, most of the time, issues can wait for much longer periods. Few occasions demand immediate choices.

Waiting can prove beneficial. It frequently produces new options that clearly outweigh the earlier unattractive, yet seemingly sole options. Circumstances change, which could improve the options in contrast to today’s choices. Haste frequently creates waste and regret.

Americans know little of the virtue of waiting. Patience strengthens resolve to seek and accept nothing but the best. Why settle for second best, or the lesser of two evils?

Given the present list of candidates, remember the adage, “The best is yet to come.”

© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org (Used with permission)


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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    While it’s very nice to think the best is yet to come (and for those who know Christ, it will), it is difficult to apply this to a Republican primary where the field is set and the day of decision is about a week away. As a Californian, I won’t face this decision until May, but by that time the field will be even narrower. Almost by definition, Democracy asks me to choose between candidates who each agree with me on some things (yes, I can find areas of agreement, even with Obama), and disagree with me on others. Then, in order for the country to move forward, our elected officials must find areas of compromise with those with whom I disagree even more. The greater evil we reject, however, is not voting at all, and letting true powers of evil run unchecked.