Imagine the following situation:

A new law is voted in a parliament. The overwhelming majority of the population consider this new law to be very good. However, in the first voting-round there is initially no majority for this new law in the parliament. In the second round of voting, the "ABC"-parliamentary group surprisingly voted in favor of the new law and the new law thus received a parliamentary majority. The problem is that the "ABC"-parliamentary group is seen as absolutely evil. They are referred to as "New Hitlers".

Should the good law be passed now, even though very badly respected people voted for it?

And based on this question:

In the second case, a president is voted, not a law. The presidential candidate is regarded as very good by the entire population. In the first vote there is also no majority for the good candidate. In the second round of voting, however, the very evil "ABC"-party surprisingly votes for the good candidate and he receives the absolute majority.

Should the good candidate assume the office of president even though the evil party has helped him win a majority?

  • 1
    There is no universal "good", what is "good" depends on the goal or value in question. It is "good" in the sense of being arrived at democratically, and it may well be profoundly "bad" as far as even the intended goal is concerned. But in your example it is not even clear what makes the candidate "very good" and the party "evil", and, if that is so anyway and the rules are observed, why we should then care what the "evil" party did. – Conifold Feb 9 '20 at 1:39
  • Even if you accept the distinction, good and evil people still have underlying needs in common. Perhaps the decision answers a shared underlying motive unrelated to good or evil. The other players should ask whether the opposition has discovered some ulterior reason for investment in this law, or whether they have just recognized an underlying commonality. – hide_in_plain_sight Feb 10 '20 at 1:46
  • @Conifold I agree with you that there is no universal "good". "Good" means in this case considered to be good by overwhelming majority of the population. One can specify this example by considering "good" as democratic and "evil" as very undemocratic – TobKel Feb 10 '20 at 8:45
  • 1
    If the "overwhelming majority of the population" got their candidate, and, by definition, we do not question their "wisdom", what is the problem? And how can the ABC party be "absolutely evil" if it contributes to the "good" majority that passed the law? Why is it not "good" enough? What about laws supported by majorities that are not "overwhelming" generally? If you want to make this meaningful you need a more intrinsic standard of goodness than majority rule. – Conifold Feb 10 '20 at 8:52
  • 1
    Such a situation is only possible when the group making the determination takes "disagrees with us" to be identical to "ultimate evil." The examples taken from the answers demonstrate this quite amply. – puppetsock Feb 11 '20 at 17:39

This sounds opinion based because Good and Evil are man made concepts, what one person would consider good another might consider evil and vice versa.

But coincidentally there is a practical example of this which is really recent, the prime minister of the "Free State of Thuringia"(A german state) resigned within 24 hours after being elected. Why? He got elected thanks to the far-right AFD (Alternative Für Deutschland), this sparked out rage with the German Vice Chancellor (Angela Merkel) speaking about it while visiting South-Africa and even going as far as Firing an important member of her party over the debacle (https://www.dw.com/en/merkel-fires-commissioner-over-far-right-thuringia-fiasco/a-52303452).

A less recent example would be the Dutch PVV, who is considered far right (While holding several left wing ideals) was being boycotted with some parties vowing going as far as voting against them no matter what. This got retracted by most parties very shortly after seeing members of those parties threatened to quit because of this. This was because this "far right" party wanted more government spending for elderly health care and animal rights which members of the left wing parties were forbidden to vote in favor of by their party leaders. (https://www.medischcontact.nl/nieuws/laatste-nieuws/artikel/pvda-doorbreekt-boycot-pvv-en-steunt-zorgmotie-.htm)

Personally i think that in a Democracy every vote is equal and should be treated as such, so it would not matter if bad people vote for it or not. If you are going to vote against the best solution just because you dislike the person who submitted the idea or who also supports it you do not belong in politics.

This also is the plot of a South Park Episode (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chef_Goes_Nanners) , where Chef tries to replace the city flag that he deems racist. In the episode Jimbo infiltrates the local KKK and tries to convince them to vote in Favor of changing the flag so that other people will vote to keep the flag just to spite the KKK. making fun of how ridiculous the entire motion of "Voting against it because somebody else supports it" is.

  • i don't mind getting downvoted, but could the person downvoting at least say why he or she disagrees? because it seems every answer here got down voted without any explanation :) – A.bakker Feb 10 '20 at 5:51
  • Yes. Your first example inspired my question. – TobKel Feb 10 '20 at 8:56

Here's one way to look at it:

We're evaluating two different things, 1) a law (or president) and 2) the process by which that law or president was selected.

If you have some way of knowing that a law is "good," then it should be good regardless of how it was enacted.

For whatever it's worth, a politically astute person would be very suspicious of any law passed by unsavory people. But since you say this law is good, let's assume it is good, for this example.

Another aside: Just because a group is called "The New Hitlers" doesn't necessarily make them bad. Hitler did do some good things, and the best people are often the most demonized in the political arena. But, again, we can assume these "New Hitlers" really are bad in your example.

Your question is somewhat similar to the continuing debate over capitalism vs socialism, with each side demonizing the other. It might be more accurate to think of capitalism and socialism as neutral tools that can be perceived as either good or bad depending on who's in power.

The USSR and U.S. = bad socialism/bad capitalism. Libya and Canada = good, or at least better, socialism/capitalism.

Regarding your last question, "Should the good candidate assume the office...," the answer would ordinarily be YES, if that candidate was legally elected. However, your wording suggests you're asking if the candidate should ACCEPT his victory and willingly assume office.

That, of course, would be a very complex personal choice. I suspect most people in such a situation would step into office, then try to distance themselves from the "bad" people who got them elected.

  • "However, your wording suggests you're asking if the candidate should ACCEPT his victory and willingly assume office."................So is it ethically flawless to run for office as a candidate? – TobKel Feb 10 '20 at 8:59
  • Having run for office myself, I think it depends on a candidate's goals. If a candidate is honest and truly wants to help society, then running for office is an ethical act. If, however, a candidate is just another corporate stooge, then running for office is unethical. In fact, I'd describe most candidates I've met as downright sleazy. – David Blomstrom Feb 10 '20 at 11:02

The essence of democratic systems is negotiation and compromise. A group that is largely defamed as 'evil' might vote for a good law or a good leader because they recognize they will not get what they prefer, and that the good law is better for them than whatever it replaces.

One of the problems with using labels like 'evil' is that it masks the fact that the people in question are capable of being reasonable and rational. If ostensibly 'evil' people do something good, don't be surprised; just credit it to them having a moment of clarity.

  • Also, the defamation might be nonsensical. As it is in the examples given in other answers. – puppetsock Feb 11 '20 at 17:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.