Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Someone asked me to post on “when there are not any goodcandidates in an election, should you pick the lesser of two evils orabstain from voting?” I responded, “What’s wrong with Ron Paul” and he came back, “The question is a general one. It does not pertain to the presidential election in particular.”

I haven’t read “The Serious Catholic’s Guide to Voting” in a while, so maybe my thoughts here are heresy, but here is my hip pocket answer: It depends, but in general, pick the lesser of two evils.

As the old saying goes, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” In the words of St. Thomas More, “What you cannot make perfect, make as little imperfect as possible.”

On the other hand, a strong argument could be made that there are non-negotiable issues.

But what if everyone in the field has the same bad stance on a nonnegotiable issue? Suppose all the candidates support euthanizing every child with Attention Deficit Disorder. Are you prohibited from voting? What if they all have this stance, but all but one also has the stance that experiments should be done on these children first and without pain killers? Would the principle of double effect come into play (i.e. in voting for the one, you are voting for children not being the subjects of experimentation and not for euthanasia)?