Several people have asked me the question, “If Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are the two nominees for President of the United States next November, for which one will you vote?”
I have consistently responded that I would not vote for either of them.
When further asked why I would not vote for either one of them, I have replied as follows. “I cannot vote for either one of them because I consider them to be, on balance, evil persons”
After the shock of hearing me refer to them as evil persons wears off I am usually asked how can any person be characterized as evil.
I respond as follows:
We must think and speak logically.
In Thomistic and Aristotelian logic (the best system of logic) evil is an analogous concept, a relative concept. It exists, more or less, in any human act just as health is an analogous concept, a relative concept, and exists in a person more or less at any given moment.
Committing an evil act does not make a person evil. But committing many evil acts over a long period of time increases the justification for characterizing a person as evil. Especially if the evil character of the acts committed is heinous or grievous.
I would hesitate to designate Lee Harvey Oswald an evil person just because he assassinated President John F. Kennedy, even though that was certainly an evil act. On the other hand I suppose that there is general agreement that Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler and Pol Pot were evil persons because they killed millions of innocent people and did so over an extended period of time
The gravity and number of individual acts will eventually tip the scale of judgement in favor of the designation of “evil” to the extent that the acts are more or less numerous and serious. Obviously it is a matter of judgement. One man’s Mede is another man’s Persian! That is, depending on the character of the one passing judgment, human acts are deemed good or evil.
To pro-choice individuals aborting an innocent child is good and therefore such individuals would never characterize a serial abortionist as evil. To pro-life individuals the judgment would be that the number and heinous nature of the abortions committed have rendered the abortionist evil.
There is only one person who is totally evil: Satan. All other persons are relatively good or evil (subject to being characterized as either “good” or “evil”) depending on their words and actions over a long period of time.
For me, the public records of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are prominently filled with acts that by general consensus are capable of being characterized as illegal, immoral and therefore are more or less evil. On balance, their public record lends itself to the judgment that they have committed so many evil acts that they deserve to characterized as evil, relatively speaking.
For Roman Catholics (and ultimately all men and women) the teaching of Saint John Paul II is binding in conscience. In his Encyclical, Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth), clearly taught that one cannot choose evil when contemplating how to act. One must always choose good.
A MORAL PERSON WILL ALWAYS CHOOSE GOOD, NEVER EVIL WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE A CHOICE; AN IMMORAL PERSON WILL CHOOSE EVIL WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE A CHOICE AND WILL SOMETIMES CHOOSE EVIL EVEN WHEN IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO MAKE A CHOICE.
The principle of double-effect is often cited by individuals to justify “choosing evil” rather than good. But the principle of double-effect can only be invoked then there is a NECESSITY to act. The classic example of this is the case of a woman with an fetus developing in one of her fallopian tubes. It is obvious that one must act. To do nothing will result in the death of both the mother and child. One must act and the morally correct choice is to remove the fetus from tube which will cause the death of the fetus but that action will result in the saving of the life of the mother. One does not INTEND to kill the child, but one is justified in choosing the lesser of the two evils by removing the fetus. THE ELEMENT OF NECESSITY IS OF ABSOLUTE IMPORTANCE IN DETERMINING THE MORALITY OF THE ACTION.
In the coming general election an individual voter does not face such a moral imperative to vote for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. There is a third choice: write in the name of a person one believes would be a good president of the United States. That is what I will do. Since I consider Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton to be more evil than good I will write in the name of Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz is not a Third Party Candidate. Writing in his name on the ballot is not the same as voting for Ross Perot or George Wallace in previous elections since they were the candidates of a Third Party. I will write in the name of Ted Cruz not in the hope that anyone else will vote for him, but simply to ease my conscience that I have not voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, two candidates who on a scale of evil of 100 rate too high to be considered morally good enough to be president of the United States.