The Lesser of the Two Evils

Let’s say there’s a race for public office that you’re interested in. And the ideal candidate is running for this office. But he really doesn’t have a chance of winning because, when it comes right down to it, he’s too much of a gentleman to do what needs to be done to win.

And let’s say that there are two viable candidates for this office. And both of them have serious issues that makes you doubt whether either of them is suited to the job.

And let’s further say that one of them is unquestionably much worse than the other.

So you’ve got A, who should get the job but can’t; B, who shouldn’t but who has a shot; and C, who really really really shouldn’t but is the frontrunner. Whom do you vote for? A, because he’s the right guy for the job? Or B, because your vote might keep C out of office?

Now suppose that you’ve got dirt on B. Do you publish?

The lesser of the two evils is, after all, still evil.

0 responses to “The Lesser of the Two Evils”

  1. Hmmm. Very ominous.

    I know you are MY attorney, but let me advise you on what MY opinion is.

    You’ve got a good heart and a sharp mind, my friend. Although we may often disagree over what the “right thing” is, I’ve never doubted that you tried to achieve what you believed WAS the right thing. Life is filled with ambiguities. You have to figure out what is best in the end.

    So, I will close with the immortal words of Fess Parker, I mean, uh, Davy Crockett: “Know you’re right, and then go ahead.”

    NOTE: I realize that this post was probably of no help to you, whatsoever. It’s up to you to decide what “right” is.

  2. From a philosophical point of view, truth is neither good nor bad, it just is truth.

    We each have our karma, I say just give whatever information you have and let things just sort out however they may.

  3. Ron,
    Let me know your thoughts on what I just posted about “snookems” on my site, if you get a second.

  4. AHCL,

    “Do the right thing.” Very helpful.


    “A truth that’s told with bad intent / Beats all the lies you could invent.”

  5. Mark

    Yeah, I suppose you’re right. However, that is your karma and not the person that you know the truth about.

    If you’re doing it with bad intent, well, then that’s something I guess you’ll need to deal with.

  6. Ron,

    My point was that while the truth is neither good nor bad, the act of revealing it might be.

    If telling the truth with bad intent is wrong, how ’bout telling the truth with neutral intent when it might do harm (do these jeans make me look fat?) or how about withholding the truth with bad intent?

    If I thought it were a simple question, I wouldn’t have thrown it out to the brain trust.

  7. The very fact that you have to throw it out there for debate makes me think that you know you probably shouldn’t reveal the dirt you have on candidate B… especially if it could help candidate C in any way. Would revealing this dirt help candidate A at this point? Not likely.

    “Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.”

  8. Way to tease, Mark. I’m impressed that you’re wrestling with this ethical dilemma. You should write a column for the Daily Pravda or something. Oh, wait, those guys don’t have any ethics. Doesn’t matter to me whether you dish the dirt on Kelly or not. I’m voting for D.

  9. AHCL, the check is in the mail.

    cjclawyer – if this were something other than a hypothetical question, it might just as well mean that I know that I probably should reveal it. Where’s the justice quote from?

    J – Would that be D for Doug, or D for Dem?

  10. If the dirt goes directly to how this candidate would treat the office or the constituents, then I think you have a duty to let it be known.

    If it is just personal dirt that, in most respects, will not effect a candidates ability to do the job then keep it to yourself.


  11. “All merit ceases the moment we perform an act for the sake of its consequences.”
    Wilhelm von Humboldt

    With lesser eloquence, I tell my kids that they should do what’s right, not because they fear the consequences of action or inaction, but simply because it’s the right thing to do.

    And then there’s this . . .

    “It’s worth considering that the truth is relevant only as long as it has potential to influence. Held too long, truth often is of little more than retrospective interest.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.