When “Lesser Evil” Won
by David Botkin on Monday, November 5, 2012
Imagine that it’s 1932. In your country the Communist party is rapidly and consistently gaining seats in government. Their leader, Thalmann, has close ties to Stalin; the Soviet Comintern has declared that Thalmann has their “complete political trust” (which at a time of bloody purges is saying a lot). Communism is killing millions in Russia. The Soviet regime is confiscating all possessions of “Kulaks” (land owners and other enemies of the State) and deporting them to Siberia in droves. And now it looks increasingly likely that the Communists will gain political power in your country. Your incumbent government is weak and is consistently losing seats to the Communist Party. Just two or three more elections and the Communist Party will have the most seats; Thalmann is running for President against an incumbent who is 84 years old and in poor health. As if that all wasn’t enough, members of the Communist Party have started physically attacking members of other parties. Gun battles in the streets involving the paramilitary arm of the Party are common.
The general feeling is that the old party and systems can’t stand a chance against the Communists and Thalmann. And as a result, thousands of your countrymen are flocking to a new party. Some of this new party’s policies are kind of radical, but the party is pro-family, pro-children, pro-Germany, and has a solid strategy for creating jobs and wealth. In the last election this new party gained over 80 seats; it’s no longer a distant third party but actually a viable option. They can win - your vote can help keep the Communists out!
So what do you do? As a good German you vote for the lesser of two evils: the Nazi Party and Hitler. Your vote makes a difference; the Nazi Party is catapulted to power with 230 seats. Soon afterwards Hitler is appointed Chancellor. Within a year the other political parties are banned (converting Germany into a single-party political system) and the “Enabling Act” gives Hitler and the Nazis almost unlimited power. With President Hindenberg’s death in 1934, Hitler merged the offices of President and Chancellor, making himself “Führer und Reichskanzler.” What followed is commonly known as the Second World War.
Twelve years later, Europe and Germany were in ruins. Germany lost about 10% of her population and the Soviets took control of about a third of Germany. The Germans lost everything they wanted, and got everything they feared. I believe that God judged the German people for supporting a leader as wicked as Hitler, even if he was “the lesser of two evils” in 1932. Judges 9 is clear: When you support a political leader, you bear some responsibility for his actions. 1 Timothy 5:22 teaches the same when it comes to elders in the church. The German people shared in the sins of Hitler and were judged accordingly. Their compromises resulted in their destruction. And the same is true for the Austrians.
Shortly after he came to power, Hitler started pushing for the “unification” of Germany and Austria. The Austrian government tried to placate Hitler with concessions and compromises even as Nazi terrorists were killing hundreds of Austrians. Following a Nazi Coup, Germany annexed Austria in 1938 and sent in soldiers to enforce an “Anschluss.” The Austrians were allowed to vote to ratify or reject the annexation. 99.7% supported the Nazi takeover of Germany. No doubt they were afraid of the consequences of voting “nein”; they wanted to avoid a war with Germany. Instead they got a war with most of Europe, America, and the USSR. They lost almost 6% of their population and were not really independent again until the 1950s.
Hitler also wanted to annex Switzerland; he considered the Swiss to be Aryans and wanted them to join his Thousand-Year Reich. But tiny little Switzerland said no and they stuck to their guns - literally. Hundreds of thousands of Swiss militiamen fortified the mountain passes and prepared to face the German military that had just beat the combined forces of France and England. Hitler hated the Swiss for their response but chose not to invade a country filled with such principled and tenacious foes. The Swiss lost 0% of their population and remained free.
It turns out that voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t always work out so well; the lesser evil still behaves wickedly. And it also turns out that sometimes the impossibly idealistic principled stand is the only one that results in true peace.
Don’t be afraid of Obama or Romney; be afraid of sharing in the sins of an unqualified candidate.Be afraid of the consequences of moral compromise. Be afraid of a just God who has standards for civil magistrates (Exodus 18:21, 2 Samuel 23:3, etc), and who holds accountable people who support wicked men.
It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. - Psalm 118:9