Choosing the lesser of two evils
So some would say that supporting the current political system, whether it be democracy or a constitutional republic or a monarchy or whatever exists these days, they are simply doing their best in the current situation. They would claim that by vocally and actively supporting one political party or another, they are simply choosing the lesser of two evils, or the lesser of more evils. This is not the world where the Seven Commandments, where even common decency, is the crux of our legal systems and many of our interactions. So as with many other things, voting is just another way of doing our best in a broken and imperfect system.
And yet this is what I don’t understand about what I see around me. Good people, people who I would expect to at least desire the best for their fellow man, think that the only way to get along in the current political system that opposes the implementation of the Seven Commandments is to see a choice between two or more evils and to actively support the persistence of the current anti-God, anti-Torah legal system by voting and supporting one of those forces against God’s law. And someone may say, “what else can I do? I’m given choice between these candidates and political parties. I have to choose one so that I have a voice in the direction of the country.” One of the main questions in my mind to such thinking is this: why choose? Why support evil, immorality and injustice at all when you have a choice between one state of injustice and another?
I’ve repeated a certain position like a mantra: we Gentiles are obligated in two things at the same time. We’re obligated to set up righteous and fair courts of justice; and we are prohibited from supporting injustice or perverting justice. What sort of justice? Justice according to the Seven Commandments! And according to another point of view, the courts need to reflect or parallel the “civil” laws of Torah, the laws that apply to Jews, but not exactly.
Those around me who are learned in both the Seven Commandments and in more Torah can plainly see that legal, political and judicial systems in the nations of the world fundamentally fail to uphold the core obligations of Gentiles. I see this myself also. And upholding the core obligations of the Gentiles is not just for the perfect world where they are naturally observed; we’re obligated and accountable to those laws right now. I’ve seen a “noahide” say that just having traces of the Seven Laws is enough for a system to get her backing. And yet it is important to be clear what one is voting for when one votes. I won’t go into the actual ineffectiveness of the individual vote. I’ll just deal with the action of the voter. The UK general elections are coming up, so it’s a good time for me to remind myself of this, if no one else.
A voter doesn’t simply put his active support and voice behind the “good” policies of the party or candidate he or she decided to back. So our candidate is called “Fred” and he’s part of the “Conicrats Party”. Amongst his policies, he is a staunch advocate of [insert your favourite political policy here]. And his party policies coincidentally ensures that euthanasia and extortion are forbidden and he wants to ensure that courts of law are strictly run by the rule of law. Yet, not only is he ignorant of the details of the Seven Laws, others of his policies flat out contradict the substance of those laws. Adulterers are left in peace. “Freedom” demands that we ignore idolatry, blasphemy and abortion after 40 days from conception. Now regardless of how I feel about these issues, let’s focus on principle and the consequences of the vote of the voter.
There are those voters who know the Seven Commandments and the injunction regarding injustice or setting up righteous courts. In spite of this, this voter by his action says the current system is more important than God’s commandments. When the choice comes to either support one system that breaks the law of Dinim and another that breaks the law of Dinim, this voter didn’t see the fact that the seven commandments reward or encourage inactivity in the face of doing or supporting wrong acts. To be more blunt, the Seven Commandments say “don’t act!” in certain scenarios. In the face of a choice of supporting one breakage of the seven laws, and another breakage of the seven laws, this voter could have just opted to not act, to not vote, to not support any breakage of the seven laws. But this voter said, through the act, that something else is more important.
Now there is a clause in the Seven that absolves a person of liability for breaking one of the commandments (except murder) if the forbidden act is performed under duress. But this defense is hard to call upon when there is no perceived threat on a person’s life if they refrain from supporting political parties of injustice. Also, when the voter who knows the Seven expresses joy and pride and patriotism when voting or supporting the injustice parties in other ways, then coercion has no part to play in the act. So when it comes to choosing that political party that will protect the undermining of the Seven Commandments, justication seems to be lacking.
So the person who knows the seven commandments, the bedrock obligations for non-Jews, and yet still puts their active support behind political forces that undermine some of those seven commandments, by their action, they place other things as more important than our continued existence on this planet, in the land of the living.
What’s interesting is that such a person in essence says, by their action, the following: I will not commit murder, yet I will support the protection of murderers; I will not bow to idols, yet I will support the protection of both idols and idol-worship; I must not wish harm upon God with my lips but I will support the protection of those who pour curses upon God because it is their mythical “freedom of speech”; I will lift up Torah or the core obligations of Gentiles personally, but with my vote I will support a system that in so many ways undermines it and promotes its being cast aside. Just pick any command of God and even good and moral principles highlighted in his directives to Jews that should be followed by Gentiles that the political forces neglect and cast away. Voting for the modern political parties protects the different evils God’s law is meant to remove from the human experience.
There are other negative consequences to voting, such as imposing your worldview on others by force of the governmental gun and state coercion, helping keep things the way they are by feeding the system rather than improving or breaking it, etc. But for me, the core principles in my life are morality and decency as taught by God’s law. Political parties, in one way or another, are enemies to those principles. And I don’t want to strengthen their hands in doing such evil by my conscious and willing contribution, in funds or in action. Voting being such an action that supports such forces, I reject it. It does not matter if I’m in a seven-law keeping society or this one. My obligation remains not just to my personal observance of the core commandments but to the upholding of those bedrock principles and advocacy of their implementation in society.
Holding so strongly to those values whilst in action and with volition supporting the maintenance of the system that contradicts any part of them, political parties that contradict any part of them is a betrayal to my convictions about the importance of God’s law. It’s like saying that I love my wife whilst physically abusing her and cheating on her.
If I’m given a choice between a devil and a demon, my safest bet is to withhold my choice and use my time for something actually constructive. In fact, even to withhold my choice is a righteous act in itself without any addition.
- Posted in: Noahide Commandments ♦ Politics
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