The concept of the “lesser evil” typically implies a selection of a less damaging option with the goal of avoiding a perceived greater harm. This concept holds particular significance during election seasons. Yet, the idea of opting for the “lesser evil” is fundamentally flawed for several reasons:
Firstly, evil, no matter its degree, is never justifiable. Our moral compass stands firm on the premise that wrongdoing can’t be used as a means to an end. Consequently, any conscious decision to choose an evil, regardless of it being “lesser,” remains a moral transgression.
Secondly, resorting to the “lesser evil” may inadvertently pave the way for legitimizing and normalizing wrongdoing. This could gradually blur the lines between what’s ethical and unethical, leading to acceptance of actions once deemed as immoral or wrong.
Thirdly, the pursuit of the “lesser evil” risks sidelining the quest for genuinely good solutions. As Catholics, we’re called to rise above settling for the lesser of two evils and instead, actively seek and advocate for the greater good.
Fourthly, the term “lesser evil” is ripe for manipulation, potentially justifying a range of wrongs based on individual perceptions of what constitutes a “greater evil.”
In conclusion, while the allure of the “lesser evil” might seem tempting in challenging circumstances or, for instance, during elections, for Catholics, this approach may normalize wrongdoing and shift focus away from the pursuit of genuinely good solutions.