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Comparing the good and the les

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Comparing the good and the les

Barbara Harrison once said, 'The toughest choices in life are not those between good and evil, but those between the good and the lesser good.' She makes a good point given that those are the only types of choices that we must make. Sadly, there is a third type of decision that we fear the most, the decisions between the bad and the lesser bad. Distinguishing the lesser of two evils is far more difficult than identifying the greater of two goods.

Many times we are faced with situations where we are compelled to lie. Lying is wrong, but in many cases is less destructive than telling the truth. Take a police officer, for example, who has just apprehended a known criminal. He's taken away in an ambulance before the officer could finish reading his rights. In court the officer is asked if the criminal was read his rights in full. At this point the officer could either tell the truth and let the criminal get away or lie and have him put behind bars. In this case lying would be wrong, but telling the truth would be even worse.

Personal sacrifice is often one of the options when making a hard decision. In these cases we ask ourselves if we are willing to give something up in order to benefit others. At first glance this may seem like a decision between good (charity) and evil (selfishness). At a closer examination, however, we can see that in both cases one or the other party is at a financial loss. Help the starving children in India! Save the rainforest! What is it that makes us compelled to harm our checkbook? Guilt? Perhaps. It's most likely the belief that we can help a world problem by sending our money to a greedy corporation that will keep half of it for itself: a classic no-win situation.

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