*The current attitude of Americans towards third party and Independent presidential candidates has led to much discussion here on OpEdNews. Much of the discussion was sparked thanks to Rob Kall’s article, “Will Progressives, with their No Difference and Lesser of Two Evils Psychoses, Give McCain the Election?” J.C. Garrett published an article that was headlined like Rob’s, which was called simply, “Lesser Evils.”
In favor of keeping the discussion alive (because it is a healthy one), I would like to not simply skim over all the articles and put together one article to address everything said in 2 or 3 pages.
I have written Part 1 to examine deeply what J.C. Garrett wrote. I will publish a Part 2 and a Part 3 later to deal with other writings I have come across.
Each will be linked so those who are not regulars to OpEdNews can become part of this important conversation. In fact, I hope if you enjoy talking about the role of third parties or Independent candidates in politics you will post comments and/or join the OpEdNews community.
Garrett writes in his article, “Lesser Evils”:
Every generation automatically believes they are experiencing current events that are new and novel. Because this is the first time they have experienced them, it causes the misperception that the events themselves are occurring for the first time. But people have been choosing the lesser evil since the very dawn of man. It is also the best way - indeed the only way - to make responsible decisions, not only in a political contest but in our everyday lives.- Advertisement -
This comment is grossly ignorant of history. People have not been choosing the lesser evil since the very dawn of man. In the 20th century, voters chose to vote for third party candidates in many elections. Eugene V. Debs, former president Theodore Roosevelt, Robert La Follette, Strom Thurmond, Henry Wallace, and the three most successful third party candidates in our nation’s history, George Wallace, John Anderson, and Ross Perot, all changed the complexion of past elections and have played a part in making it possible for candidates like Bernie Sanders, Jesse Ventura, Angus King, Lowell Weicker, Walter Hickel, and Joe Lieberman to run as independents in congressional and gubernatorial elections.
But before I get deep into a history lesson, let’s look at Mr. Garrett’s construct for his reasoning on "lesser evils":
The simple reason for [always selecting lesser evils since the dawn of man] is that no human is devoid of evil. We all have living within us the capacity for committing monstrously evil acts depending upon the circumstances. Most of us cannot know with absolute certainty how we will respond in any given situation that we have not already experienced personally. We tell ourselves we do, but we all know it's only a lie we tell ourselves to feel better.
Under this concept, Garrett rightfully admits that all people are capable of committing evil acts. Like Lord Acton said, “Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Since we cannot know precisely what we, ourselves, would do in certain circumstances, it is impossible to predict with certainty how another would act. That leaves us with only past conduct and personal perceptions to rely on when choosing the lesser evil.
Garrett contradicts himself by saying it is impossible to predict with certainty how one would act and then suggesting that we can judge which candidate is the lesser evil by using personal perceptions.
Wouldn’t predictions be based on personal perceptions? If so, that leaves we the people with past conduct and only past conduct to discern what one may or may not do in office. Past conduct is all we have to make the right decision, one that gets the true lesser evil in office instead of the more evil than the lesser evil.
With one contradiction, Garrett has now laid the foundations of what will be used to show Americans who they are required to vote for if they wish to keep evil from continuing in our nation’s name.
However, there's one small problem that I do not know Garrett knows exists if we follow his "lesser evils" construct.
This foundation of his argument makes predictions that McCain would ruin the Supreme Court, unions, science, ignore global warming, forget the poor and unemployed, maintain the gap between rich and poor, poorly address taxes, trash social security, and more baseless. Unless substantiated with stories of past conduct, humans, under Garrett’s construct, are incapable of perceiving what one may do and so how can one know McCain would do such things?