by Rod D. Martin
August 2, 2016
There is a video circulating right now that posits a hypothetical election between Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot. As you know, Hitler murdered 6 million Jews and plunged the world into the most ghastly war in history, while Pol Pot “merely” murdered 1/3 of his countrymen in just two and a half years.
It’s worth noting that both these men were self-proclaimed Socialists. But I digress.
The point of the video is that you shouldn’t vote for “the lesser of two evils.” But there are a couple rather large problems with this.
First, you only ever get the option of “two evils” because all men are fallen. This is true even if George Washington runs against the Apostle Paul. So you only ever get to choose the better of two candidates. This may sound like a small point, but it’s an important theological distinction the video entirely misses.
But second — and this is important — while the Hitler-Pol Pot race is obviously over-the-top as it relates to our current situation, the analogy is even more deeply flawed for two additional, related reasons:
A. Both Hitler and Pol Pot promised years in advance to do all of the evils they ultimately did. By contrast, we face an election in which one candidate promises to do grave evil, while the other promises to do the opposite, and is believed by credible people who know him and whom we have reason to trust. The belief that this candidate will do the opposite of what he says is at best speculation and relies on a degree of fortune telling. It might be right, but it is at least as likely wrong. So rejecting the candidate promising good in favor of the candidate promising evil is…problematic.
But even more important still:
B. No one ever chose between Hitler and Pol Pot. Rather, their choices were between Hitler and Hindenburg, and between Pol Pot and Lon Nol. You could extend this point elsewhere: Lenin vs. Kerensky, Castro vs. Batista, and so on. And in each of those cases, while neither choice was desirable, one choice was clearly and vastly worse.
So the entire “lesser of two evils” discussion suggests that the world would be better if Germans had refused to vote for Paul von Hindenburg because he didn’t live up to their standards, thus leaving it to fate to determine whether, and refusing to lift a finger to prevent, Adolf Hitler from taking power.
It seems to me that that position is not just logically but morally flawed.