A Lesser Evil

Voting for a Lesser Evil

by R W Kropf, 10/1/16


“as pure as angels but as proud as devils”

“in 17th century Europe, and especially in France, there arose a very conservative religious reform movement known as “Jansenism” – which might be described as a kind of Catholic puritanism. In the face of the destabilizing intellectual “Enlightenment” of that period, the Jansenists frowned on free thought of any sort and demanded a very strict adherence to traditional Christian morality, so much so that even the Archbishop of Paris criticized the nuns of Port Royal, a famous center of Jansenist movement, as being “as pure as angels but as proud as devils.”  It was a kind of right-wing conservatism gone rigidly religious. But then, a century and a half later, came the liberal left-wing, French revolution, trumpeting a creed of “liberty, equality, and fraternity”. But then the supposedly “liberal” revolutionaries almost immediately started to behead both the high-living nobility and the clergy, as well turning the suppressed (by Pope Clement XI in 1709) and abandoned Port Royal convent into a prison.  In other words that even liberals, in their self-righteousness, can become just as fanatical as conservatives.

The lesson in all this?  It seems to me it is that as unequal and perhaps as unjust as American society is, and as imperfect we humans are, that to stand aside and refuse to tolerate a lesser evil in the face of an even larger threat is a sure way to bring about an even greater disaster.”

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