Monday, June 13, 2016


Weekly Opinion/Editorial

by Steve Fair

     The “lesser of two evils” principle is the principle that when faced with a choice between two unpleasant options, the one least harmful should be chosen.  Situational ethics is the doctrine of flexibility in the application of moral laws according to circumstances.  Both of these principles are rooted in theology.  Some say the two principles are one and the same, but they are not.  The fact is everyone makes a choice between the ‘lesser of two evils” in every election.  All people, regardless of political Party affiliation, theology/philosophy, education, cultural background, or gender have an inherent sin nature, so every candidate on the ballot is evil, in varying degrees.  It is certainly a voter’s right to abstain and not vote in any race, but to use the argument that they can’t bring themselves to vote for the “lesser of two evils,” shows they are ignorant of the true nature of man.
     Situational ethics on the other hand is a different matter.  In practice, situational ethics had been around for centuries, but the theory itself was systematized by Joseph Fletcher in the 1960s.  A Harvard Divinity School professor, Fletcher was a leading academic proponent of the potential benefits of abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, eugenics and cloning.  “We need to educate people to the idea that the quality of life is more important than mere length of life. Our cultural tradition holds that life has absolute value, but that is really not good enough anymore. Sometimes, no life is better," Fletcher said.  Fletcher advocated that all decisions regarding interaction with others should be pragmatic, relative, positive and personal.  Fletcher proposed that loving ends justify any means. Fletcher claimed situational ethics provided a balance between Antinomianism (no law) and legalism (all law).  But Fletcher’s theory is self-contradictory.  If there are no absolutes, except love in every situation, where is God in the equation?  Those who practice situational ethics remove God from the throne as the moral sovereign of the universe, and substitute man in His place.  Situationists have no true north- no absolute truth, except their conscience.  Jeremiah 17 says the heart of man is deceitful- you simply can’t trust your heart.
     As we approach the 2016 elections, you will have opportunity to interact with many candidates for office.  Question them on their stance on issues, but if you want to know what guides how they will govern, ask them their philosophy on these two important theological/philosophical principles- the nature of man and situational ethics.  If a candidate believes man is basically good and all we need to do is change their circumstances, then they will likely do anything to help improve those circumstances, including spending more tax dollars.  If a candidate believes that circumstances dictate how you respond (situational ethics), then they don’t believe in absolute truth, so they will likely change their position on issues depending on the circumstances.  Probing into how a candidate will make decisions will give you a much better idea of what type of elected official they will be.  Be prepared to have candidates give you a blank stare when you ask them ‘philosophical’ questions and not ‘issue’ questions, but be persistent.  Their worldview is more critical than where they stand on a single issue.  Issues change, but their worldview will guide their decision making process.
       A word of caution; many political candidates will give you the right answers, but watch the works of their campaigns.  They don’t always walk the walk.  Candidates, including many professing Christian candidates, have been duped into believing it is acceptable to lie, cheat, steal, gossip, and backbite to win an election.  God doesn’t bless that mess.  That is nothing more than situational ethics.   
      So go out on June 28th AND November 8th and vote for the candidate who has a worldview consistent with yours.  Make no mistake; they will be the lesser of two evils because until Jesus Christ is on the ballot, you will always be voting for the “lesser of two evils.”


Sandra Crosnoe said...

I believe the headline should be worldview (dang autocorrect) ;-) and I agree!/sc

Allie Burgin said...

Good article Steve. At university they will try to get you to believe there are no absolute truths, but they are wrong. The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling is my favorite poem and it portrays this message perfectly.

Steve Fair is a political activist. said...

Thanks for reading. I corrected the headline and I love Kipling- and the Gods of the Copybook Headings.