On Lesser Evilism

This post won't win me many friends, but fuck it, I'm a misanthrope anyway. As for accusations, throw them at me all you like. I doubt any are true. If they are, I doubt I have the energy or motivation to care.

Let it just be said now that I don't like lesser evilism. I don't like the idea of inflicting suffering on some to stop many others from suffering - because that is how it works. And in principle, I would like the idea of boycotting a system that runs on lesser evilism.

In practice, boycotting it just leads to the greater evil getting more votes - because the people who could have stopped them were too disgusted to do so, and with good reason. That just left the people who tried to stop them by voting and a large number of people willing to vote for the greater evil. Boycotting the system would assume that there are enough people to make this boycott successful instead of running the risk of making things worse - which doesn't seem to be true.

I'd like to be able to not say this. I'd like to be able to say that boycotting the system with the numbers we have does work - but from what I've seen, it doesn't. I've sided with the people who rejected the lesser evil on the grounds that it's still evil before, and I've regretted it - because we're stuck with the greater evil. We're stuck with a more difficult system.

This is the other thing about the lesser evil: it's still evil, but it's easier to work against. No, I don't care about your theories about how it's easier to induce the masses to revolt under the greater evil, it also inflicts more suffering and it's more repressive. Not only is it more difficult to work against due to this repression, but it hurts more people at the same time.

I'm not a reformist. I used to be, but now I'm not. I don't think we have enough time or political inclination for serious reform, and besides, capitalism is the root of the problem. All the same, I am against those who oppose reform on the grounds of ideological extremism. If reform will alleviate people's suffering, even by only a little, it is more desirable than an ideological purity that leads to suffering. No idea, or pre-packaged set of ideas, is worth the death and pain of millions. No idea at all.

I suppose the bottom line is: do what works. Do what reduces the suffering of others, even if it runs contrary to ideas you hold dear. In the end, that's what matters in building a better world.