The lesser of two evils principle, also referred to as the lesser evil principle and lesser-evilism, is the principle that when faced with selecting from two immoral options, the least immoral one should be chosen. The principle is sometimes recalled in reference to binary political choices in democratic voting under a two-party system.
The maxim existed already in Platonic philosophy. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle writes: \"For the lesser evil can be seen in comparison with the greater evil as a good, since this lesser evil is preferable to the greater one, and whatever preferable is good\". The modern formulation was popularized by Thomas à Kempis' devotional book The Imitation of Christ written in early 15th century.
In 2012, Huffington Post columnist Sanford Jay Rosen stated that the idea became common practice for left-leaning voters in the United States due to their overwhelming disapproval of the United States government's support for the Vietnam War. Rosen stated: \"Beginning with the 1968 presidential election, I often have heard from liberals that they could not vote for the lesser of two evils. Some said they would not vote; some said they would vote for a third-party candidate. That mantra delivered us to Richard Nixon in 1972 until Watergate did him in. And it delivered us to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in 2000 until they were termed out in 2009\".
In his DarkHorse podcast, Bret Weinstein describes his Unity 2020 proposal for the 2020 presidential election as an option that, in case of failure, would not asymmetrically weaken voters' second-best choice on a single political side, thereby avoiding the lesser evil paradox.
The principle of \"the lesser of two evils\" is sometimes jokingly changed to \"the evil of two lessers\", such as in the titles of these articles about the US presidential elections of 1988 and 2016.
\"Between Scylla and Charybdis\" is an idiom derived from Homer's Odyssey. In the story, Odysseus chose to go near Scylla as the lesser of two evils. He lost six of his companions, but if he had gone near Charybdis all would be doomed. Because of such stories, having to navigate between the two hazards eventually entered idiomatic use. Another equivalent English seafaring phrase is \"Between a rock and a hard place\". The Latin line incidit in scyllam cupiens vitare charybdim (\"he runs into Scylla, wishing to avoid Charybdis\") had earlier become proverbial, with a meaning much the same as jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Erasmus recorded it as an ancient proverb in his Adagia, although the earliest known instance is in the Alexandreis, a 12th-century Latin epic poem by Walter of Châtillon.
\"I can see the very real struggle of Bernie Sanders supporters right now as they're being told angrily that the only adult thing they can do is support the lesser evil. I'm just thinking, which one is that\" Funiciello said, sparking applause. 1e1e36bf2d