Thought for the day: The lesser of two evils

Alert: This post contains no technical information. It is provided as a stimulus for thinking only.  The reader decides if they wish to participate. No answers provided, just concepts to ponder. This particular story is the first in a short chain or related questions to consider or ignore.



During the Soviet purges and mass executions of the 1930s, Winston Churchill was a harsh critic of the Soviet Union, and this continued when they joined the Germans invading Poland in  September of 1939, igniting WWII.  21 months later, the Germans turned their fury on the Soviets, who now found themselves on the allied side of the war.


Churchill, by then Prime Minister, was put in a difficult positon of now supporting the Soviets as an ally. His political opponents called him a hypocrite. After short consideration, he decided that on very rare occasions one must decide between the lesser of two evils, and defended his choice with the famous quote:


“If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”



Above, Churchill holding an American M1928 Thompson submachine gun.


This week in America, about 100 million voters are facing their own Winston Churchill moment.  I have no advice to offer, save this: 25 years ago I decided that I would only vote for people or ideas not against them. There is a lot less heartburn simply voting one’s conscious and ignoring all the media, polls and amateur strategy. In a normal year, such action might anger 40 or 45% of your friends, but this year affords the opportunity to anger up to 98% of them, and in doing so you can give them something they will have in common.


In the last 25 years I have heard countless times “A vote for X is really a vote for Y”  or  “You will be throwing your vote away”.  I will politely listen, but what if a vote for X is really just a vote for X?  Perhaps you are never throwing anything away when you are acting with your conscious. In the long run, the best way to stop being served choices between two evils is to demand a choice which isn’t evil.




Your Aviation Connection:


Countless times in a single flying season, you will hear pilots, mechanics and builders, all frame questions in aviation as a required choice between two evils, when a clear minded  person listening will reject it as a false choice;


You will hear pilots say: “we have to either fly VFR on top or scud run below the clouds.”  The pilot making the statement is framing it as a required choice between two evils, when it isn’t. One simply has to decide that it isn’t flying weather they are ready for.


When you are at the airport, be alert to any proposed action which is presented as a choice between two evils, as almost invariably, there are better options, even if taking one of them hurts someone’s feelings. Keep in mind that it is your well being and life, and you don’t want to ‘throw it away’.





About William Wynne
I have been continuously building, testing and flying Corvair engines since 1989. Information, parts and components that we developed and tested are now flying on several hundred Corvair powered aircraft. I earned a Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics and an A&P license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and have a proven 20 year track record of effectively teaching homebuilders how to create and fly their own Corvair powered planes. Much of this is chronicled at and in more than 50 magazine articles.

2 Responses to Thought for the day: The lesser of two evils

  1. Chuck Callahan says:

    Great thoughts to start the day.

    As for your last item of reflection. I have found myself needing to hand out many of these lately to offenders. Asking them for three copies, keeping one for themselves.

    Have a great day everyone.

  2. I always consider a candidate for their enemies not only their friends.

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