Wednesday 7 November 2012

Trotsky on Lesser-Evilism

Trotters (apparently) once wrote:
The occupation of eastern Poland by the Red Army (in 1939-40) is to be sure it is a ‘lesser evil’ in comparison with the occupation of the same territory by Nazi troops, but this lesser evil was obtained because Hitler was assured of achieving a greater evil. If somebody sets, or helps set a house on fire, and afterward saves five out of ten of the occupants of the house in order to convert them into his own semi-slaves, that is to be sure a lesser evil than to have burnt the entire ten. But it is dubious that this fire-bug merits a medal for the rescue . . . ”
Okay, this doesn't really work for lefty fire-bugs who called for an Obama vote yesterday, but still. At least he didn't condemn lesser-evil'ers as petit bourgeois dilettantes or unprincipled combinationists.

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