The Instigator
BennyW
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Phoenix_Reaper
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

The Lesser of Two evils is a dangerous mentality.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/23/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,392 times Debate No: 16096
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (3)

 

BennyW

Pro

The lesser of two evils mentality in voting is a dangerous and destructive philosophy. It stems from our flawed false dichotomy of a two party system which has been ingrained into us. If you vote for the lesser of two evils then you could be seriously compromising your moral values. The more you appease the idea of the lesser of two evils, the more alike the two evils will become. If you had to choose between someone like Hitler and someone like Stalin could you do it? If you could, you would only have yourself to blame for the outcome by condoning it with your vote. In fact in Germany in the 1930s much of Hitler's support came from those who feared the Communists and Hitler was the lesser evil when compared to them.
In American political discourse, it is often said that voting for a third party or not voting is throwing your vote away. I would ask you, isn't voting for someone who's values conflict with your own merely because they are slightly less in conflict than the other guys truly throwing your vote away? Is it ethical to vote strategically rather than with your moral and ethical convictions? Lets assume for the sake of argument that by your voting for a better candidate than the lesser of two evils it caused the greater evil to win. Couldn't it send the message that enough people were dissatisfied with the choices they were given that they rejected them? Especially if there are a significant number of votes for alternate candidates. In Europe there many countries have more than two choices.
In the real world, there are quite often more than two choices and so choosing the lesser evil of two would be disingenuous. We often think in terms of this or that, but what if the answer is in fact, that other thing.
Phoenix_Reaper

Con

First off I would like to thank my opponent for making this topic of debate. My stance is Con, against.

My opponents stance is that "if you vote for the lesser of two evils then you could be seriously compromising your moral values."

I will be refuting his statement by explaining that voting in favor of your interest, in this case the lesser of the two evils, is in fact a wiser choice.

The pro brought up the point about the American two party system, saying it compromises a persons moral values. To which I ask what is more realistic to vote for stances that will effect you or stances that will make you feel bad.

Hitler and Stalin are recorded in history as extraordinarily reprehensible people. Does history tell you about who their opponents were? During their time those two people were the people to save them. Those who opposed those two may have been a worse option. We will never know what would have happened if there were different leaders. I chose not to play a if, what argument and leave it at that.

The lesser of two evils is assuming that both options are evil. In the U.S. Elections, the outcome is between one of two parties. Never in the history of the U.S. Has a third party won and I doubt that will change any time soon. To which I suggest that you vote in your interest not your morals. It is better to live happily within the choices the president makes than by how you feel about his stances.

"In American political discourse, it is often said that voting for a third party or not voting is throwing your vote away. "

That statement is entirely correct. Sure one may vote for their feelings about certain topics because it will make them feel good but it will have little effect on the end result.

Yes the two party system is broken. Until something drastic happens it will not change any time soon. Until such a time comes it is vastly better to chose in the interest of yourself than your morals.

"I would ask you, isn't voting for someone who's values conflict with your own merely because they are slightly less in conflict than the other guys truly throwing your vote away? "

Yes. One vote is not a game changer in a pool of over 200 million.

"Is it ethical to vote strategically rather than with your moral and ethical convictions? "

Again yes. Also to add to that if the voter is convinced of something before even hearing both sides of a argument than not only do party's prey upon such ideas but the voter also falls victim to it.
Debate Round No. 1
BennyW

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for responding.
You mention that Hitler and Stalin are both considered to be morally reprehensible in History. This is correct and you also are correct to assume the possibility that their opponent was worse. From what we know of History is it really right to justify what either of them did? If I was someone around in that time who voted for either of them, I could be held morally responsible for the death of millions of Jews or other Europeans or for millions who died in Russia. My argument is deals with the whole mentality behind it. Voting for the lesser of two evils is still evil. The mentality is what needs to be changed, only then will we have more real options. In a debate like this there is a certain level of what if that is necessary, although I will try to keep speculative hypotheticals to a minimum.

You said "Never in the history of the U.S. Has a third party won and I doubt that will change any time soon." That is not entirely true. In the election of 1860 Abraham Lincoln ran on the Republican ticket and won. At that time for all practical purposes the Republican Party was a third party, it had only been around since about 1854. [1] We could also look at the election of 1912 where Theodore Roosevelt ran on the Bull Moose Progressive party ticket and although he didn't win, came in second beating out the Republican incumbent Taft. [2] It happens throughout history that third parties can gain strength particularly when one of the other parties is in turmoil.

In fact for the moment let us take it down a level and rather than focus on President look at Governor. In 1999 Jesse Ventura ran for election on the Reform party ticket for Governor of Minnesota and won. His party eventually changed their name to the independence party and have had a major influence on Minnesota politics ever since. [3]
You said "It is better to live happily within the choices the president makes than by how you feel about his stances." I am not sure I entirely understand your point there as the choices the president makes inevitable stem from his stances. Therefore if I have a problem with his stances I should have a problem with the choices he makes.
You mention that a single vote will not affect the election. I entirely agree which is why someone voting for a third party that better fits their values cannot be blamed for "throwing an election".
You said "Also to add to that if the voter is convinced of something before even hearing both sides of a argument than not only do party's prey upon such ideas but the voter also falls victim to it." I agree and I don't see how that refutes anything I have said.
I await your response.

1 http://www.socastee.com...
2 http://www.u-s-history.com...
3 http://www.independenceminnesota.org...
Phoenix_Reaper

Con

"Therefore if I have a problem with his stances I should have a problem with the choices he makes. "

Yes my wording was poor and you are correct with what I have quoted. The point I was attempting to make was that vote in favor of which party benefits you the most as compared to the nominee himself. The president is more likely to get bills passed if their party backs it.

"I entirely agree which is why someone voting for a third party that better fits their values cannot be blamed for "throwing an election". "

Again I bring up the point of interest. Yes one vote will not make a difference in a small third party but it will assist in a larger party's pool.

Example: Democrat wants to raise taxes, Republican want to lower or keep the same.
*Tried to keep to a minimal*

Now it comes down to would one rather chose the lesser or evils and vote Republican to lower taxes or keep them the same or Democrat because the voter knows taxes need to be raised for X reason.

It is now better to chose the lesser of two evils that benefit you the most in the best way that can "fit" with your morals. Yes you can vote for that third party but it is not helping anything. Throwing an election seems exaggerated it is more of one less variable.

"I agree and I don't see how that refutes anything I have said. "

My comment was more of a side note that could effect a persons vote and elections.

I pass it on to the opponent.
Debate Round No. 2
BennyW

Pro

I would again like to thank my opponent for responding.

Now to address several points you brought up
"The point I was attempting to make was that vote in favor of which party benefits you the most as compared to the nominee himself." The problem with that is that the nominee may not represent the stated goals of the party.
"The president is more likely to get bills passed if their party backs it." Actually, it is the other way around. Congress proposes bills and the president has the option to vet them. So what you should be saying is "The congress is more likely to get bills passed if the president backs them". However, not all bills that come to him are good, so a veto is not always a bad thing. If there were a third party president it could help to keep the other parties in check, it could improve checks and balances.
Isn't it better for someone to be informed before they vote than to vote and have no clue about the issues? Too many times people will vote when they don't have a clear understanding of the issues or the candidates. Isn't it better to not vote if you are not well informed? [1] People who vote for third parties tend to have a better understanding of the issues or at least are more concerned because they don't see either major party addressing them. Also, are you aware f the actual percentage of American voters who vote? It tends to be just over 50% so then whoever is in power already does not represent a large group of people. [2] The reasons for such turnout numbers vary and are hard to pinpoint, some of it could be apathy, but some of it is also a dissatisfaction with the options. [3]
People talk about viable and non-viable candidates, much of what makes a candidate viable is media perception, and the media quite often projects their bias onto an election. So often the media influences who people vote for. [4] [5]
"Now it comes down to would one rather chose the lesser or evils and vote Republican to lower taxes or keep them the same or Democrat because the voter knows taxes need to be raised for X reason." The particular issue you brought up is often a party split, however what about an issue that neither party addresses, such as foreign policy where the two parties now pretty much agree, just to differing degrees. Both the Democrats and Republicans want same level of interventionist foreign policy, while Libertarian and Greens, despite being on opposite ends on social issues, both want a more non-interventionist foreign policy. [6] [7]
Now let us not focus so much on the viability of third parties and get back t my original point about the morality of voting for the lesser of two evils. So to put it concisely, there are some issues that the two major parties aren't addressing and so if those issues are important to you then voting for either would be immoral.
Thank you and I hope to see your response soon

1 http://www.princeton.edu...
2 http://www.infoplease.com...
3 http://www.cbsnews.com...
4 http://www.mitpressjournals.org...
5 http://www.strategicforesight.com...
6http://www.progressiveaustin.org...
7 http://www.gp.org...
Phoenix_Reaper

Con

"Now let us not focus so much on the viability of third parties and get back t my original point about the morality of voting for the lesser of two evils."

I will abide by your request as it has gotten a little off track and for that I apologize.

"So to put it concisely, there are some issues that the two major parties aren't addressing and so if those issues are important to you then voting for either would be immoral."

There is a reason that the top two parties will not address certain issues of all kinds. As my opponent has pointed out it is because of the media and how it will effect the outcome. Also to add is a major flaw in our country's lack of interest because we who do not vote nor pay attention to politics since the end result is all the same, two candidates who are evil.

Which brings me back to what I have mentioned earlier, vote your better interest. If neither party has your interests than do not vote at all your time has better uses.

My opponent brings up the point, again, of morality. I failed to attack this point earlier.

Immoral - not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted or established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics.

Morality is a feeling of correctness which in turn is emotional bias.

Emotional Bias - to believe something that has a positive emotional effect, that gives a pleasant feeling, even if there is evidence to the contrary.

Voting for your morals may compromise what actually needs to be fixed.

Example: Conserving natural habitat.
Politician A suggests that we need to keep these habitats for our future generations to enjoy.
Politician B suggests that this habitat may be destroyed in order to fulfill our needs as a species to grow and prosper.

Of course this is just an example which suggests that B may be on the right track but A is using an emotional tactic in order to make is point saying that our children need it.

I pass it back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 3
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent for his response and will now address his points:

"Also to add is a major flaw in our country's lack of interest because we who do not vote nor pay attention to politics since the end result is all the same, two candidates who are evil." Yes apathy is often bred through all the failures we have had. However, it should actually make us more dedicated to try to change things.
"Which brings me back to what I have mentioned earlier, vote your better interest. If neither party has your interests than do not vote at all your time has better uses." I agree and that is actually part of my argument, that voting for none of the above may be the best option.
"Morality is a feeling of correctness which in turn is emotional bias." I would like to commend my opponent on presenting as view of morality I have not heard before, at least not worded in that way. It almost sounds like a form of moral relativism. I will probably address that in greater detail in a later debate but basically the problem with that line of reasoning is that everyone's personal morality would conflict with another's. If there is no unified morality then anyone can do whatever they want and be able to justify it. Something that is immoral may illicit an emotional reaction, such as a murderer killing a bunch of people would likely make you angry. In such a case those emotions are justified. Voting for someone who is in line with your beliefs or not voting at all because no one fits your beliefs gives you a clear conscience, which is a justified emotional response.
Your example is on the right track and so we should look at the implications of any particular proposal. However, we must not dismiss something merely because it illicit an emotional reaction.
I thank you again and look forward to hearing your closing remarks.
Phoenix_Reaper

Con

"The problem with that line of reasoning is that everyone personal morality would conflict with another."

There in is the problem with morality as a whole. Morality is variable between persons.

Morality - conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.

The conduct is completely variable by social norms and those who influence you.

My point is that morality is trivial when it comes to most topics of debate which is also why we have so many debates. Facts may often be overlooked when emotion enters the debate.

"If there is no unified morality then anyone can do whatever they want and be able to justify it."

To begin with there already is no unified morality. As mentioned above morality is variable by norms and influence. It is basically human to justify any personal action as correct.

"Something that is immoral may illicit an emotional reaction, such as a murderer killing a bunch of people would likely make you angry. In such a case those emotions are justified. "

The word murder alone illicit emotion. If people take a step back and see how they have came about it may change their minds. What if it is a solider who has killed people in war, ect.

"Voting for someone who is in line with your beliefs or not voting at all because no one fits your beliefs gives you a clear conscience, which is a justified emotional response."

Conscience - the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one's conduct or motives, impelling one toward right action.

Again I use the variable by norms stance. To eaches own fits well here. You justify a choice made by making it appeal to irrational senses.[1]

"Your example is on the right track and so we should look at the implications of any particular proposal. However, we must not dismiss something merely because it illicit an emotional reaction."

Proposal in this case are bills presented before Congress.

On the contrary it should be on the plate to be dismissed. Should the argument be founded upon a base of irrational thought – in this case emotion – it should be dismissed. Bills have a huge effect on the country as a whole and should be backed by facts.

My opponent brought fourth the argument that "the lesser of two evils mentality in voting is a dangerous and destructive philosophy." I have argued the contrary with as reasonable responses as possible. Not only is the less evil a better option to chose it is also less dangerous than my opponent suggests. Also calling it destructive saying morality has a better outcome in the end than the lesser evil, where as morality bias is more destructive to any process of bill making than any evils.

I thank my opponent for this debate.

[1]http://biosingularity.wordpress.com...
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
Vote pro, I used better sourced arguements.
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
I would gladly do that, though not as my next debate, but i do plan on doing it.
Also, if the voting period is set to indefinite does it never get resolved?
Posted by Phoenix_Reaper 6 years ago
Phoenix_Reaper
It almost sounds like a form of moral relativism. I will probably address that in greater detail in a later debate

Feel free to challenge me sir. =)
Posted by Phoenix_Reaper 6 years ago
Phoenix_Reaper
Glad it is a 72 hour period. Been busy sorry for the wait.
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
That's cool, i will probably be busy myself for a while.
Posted by Phoenix_Reaper 6 years ago
Phoenix_Reaper
I am sorry but i haft to put off my response for about 10 hours. It is 11:30 here and I need sleep.
Posted by Phoenix_Reaper 6 years ago
Phoenix_Reaper
Sorry had work. I will be submitted shortly, thought about it during work.
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
Phoenix since you have blocked all other forms of communication, I am hoping you will see this. I am still waiting for a response, if you are getting sources ready that is fine.
Posted by BennyW 6 years ago
BennyW
Freedo, that would be better than doing the same thing over and over.
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
I picking between two evils, I always go with the one that I've never tried before.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 6 years ago
quarterexchange
BennyWPhoenix_ReaperTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: countering headphoneguts vote bomb who did not provide a valid RFD and if his RFD is valid then mine will be also, "the winner is clear here"
Vote Placed by headphonegut 6 years ago
headphonegut
BennyWPhoenix_ReaperTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The winner is clear here
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
BennyWPhoenix_ReaperTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: This was more of a discussion, it would have helped on both sides if clear summary arguments were given. Con did not fully address Pro's arguments, but Pro also did not fully carry the BoP and give enough detail as to exactly why giving a 3-party vote does lesser mental harm, which is a fairly extreme position. 1/3 to Con.