Evil is as Evil does: the Lesser Evil is the Enemy of the Greater Good

As I noted the other day, desperate Democrats are resorting to political histrionics in their efforts to convince voters to support the Democratic "lesser evil" over and against their Republican counterparts in their bipartisan conspiracy of dunces. In Colorado, embattled Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes has taken Democratic-Republican political theology to a new level, effectively declaring that his campaign is a fight against evil as such. From the Boston Herald:

A defiant Dan Maes told a group of conservatives gathered in Durango on Thursday that the political process is surrounded by evil.

"I love that you opened with prayer because this is not just political war, folks, this is a spiritual battle," Maes said in remarks reported by the Durango Herald.

"There is evil out there. When I interact with some of these people, I can feel the evil. They’re not evil people, but evil finds its way into the system. And we must stand and fight this to the end."

Unfortunately, I have not been able to track down a full transcript to determine the entire context of these remarks. Nonetheless, Maes apparently does not grasp the irony of denouncing the "evil of the system" from his position as a gubernatorial candidate for one of the two primary political factions which constitute that very system. Perhaps Maes' rhetorical excess was necessitated by the triviality of his assertion. Or maybe he really does believe that the best way to fight the devil is to declare one's allegiance to Satan. This is, after all, one of the primary tenets of Democratic-Republican political theology. They make the lesser evil the enemy of the greater good.

The choice in favor of evil, whether the result is support for a Democrat or a Republican, may actually go some way toward explaining the lack of accountability in Democratic-Republican party government. In a discussion of Immanuel Kant's conception of autonomy in the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Paul Guyer recounts one of the German philosopher's arguments on the nature of evil and wrong-doing. He writes:

because no human being is simply unaware of the demand of morality - that is implied by the 'fact of reason' - acting immorally never comes from mere ignorance of the moral law, but rather from deciding to exempt oneself from this obligation.

Does this not perfectly explain the way in which an individual such as Maes can not only denounce the political system of Democratic-Republican party government as evil, but also assert that he is engaged in a fight against the evil of that system even though, as a Republican, his candidacy explicitly represents the reproduction of the evil that defines the system? One might take this line of thought a step further and argue that carving out exemptions from the demands and obligations of morality and reason is the defining characteristic of Democratic-Republican party government. Sadly, this point is so obvious it needs virtually no elaboration. It is succinctly encapsulated by the maxim which states that "if the president does it, it's not illegal." In theory, the latter is not true, but under the conditions of Democratic-Republican party government the evasion of accountability is a matter of course, even on matters of such grave importance as illegal wiretapping, torture and war crimes.

Fortunately, not everyone in Colorado will have to suffer a choice in favor of the evil that is Democratic-Republican party government when they cast their votes for governor. Prominent Republicans in the state have already opted in favor of the greater good over and against the lesser evil and thrown their support behind Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo. Grassroots libertarian-leaning groups, on the other hand, have come out in support of Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Jaimes Brown. From the Highlands Ranch Herald:

When Liberty on the Rocks — which Langford describes as a free-market, free-mind, Libertarian party — was founded in 2008, the group had trouble finding candidates to run for office. Two years and many meetings later, the Denver-based group has chapters in Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Gelnwood Springs and Lakewood, as well as nationwide. Langford heads up the Denver Tech Center Chapter.

“Two years ago we were struggling for candidates, and we have virtually a full ticket this time,” he said. “People are coming out of the woodwork this time.” Langford says he will vote for Jaimes Brown, of Centennial, who is this year’s Libertarian gubernatorial candidate.

Given their options, for conservatives, libertarians and probably many other folks in Colorado, the choice in favor of the lesser evil between the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates is in fact a choice to exempt oneself from the obligations and demands of morality and reason.

No comments: