the lesser evil

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lesser evil

The less offensive of two undesirable options. Both options are unpalatable, but the lesser evil, in this case, is selling the house. Polls show that the candidate is not well-liked, but is viewed as the lesser evil.
See also: evil, lesser

the lesser evil (or the lesser of two evils)

the less harmful or unpleasant of two bad choices or possibilities.
See also: evil, lesser
References in periodicals archive ?
Assad, one of the lesser evils, has tried to attract the support of the West since the breakout of the crisis in Syria by focusing on the rights of the minorities in his country.
Brian Johnstone, an Australian moral theologian who teaches at The Catholic University of America in Washington, said that Benedict's words clearly reflect the theology of counseling the lesser evil.
In 1996, Bishop Rouet of the French Bishops' Social Commission issued a statement on AIDS which, through an appeal to the principle of the lesser evil, recognized the preventive function of the condom.
A word about Ignatieff's approach is due before discussing the main argument of The Lesser Evil.
When one is told that condom use is the lesser evil, the advice may be perceived as undue toleration of evil and neglect of proper spiritual direction.
In moral psychology, the purpose of the lesser evil approach is to focus the mind on the fact that even lesser evil is evil, and not rendered good by being a necessary trade-off to avoid something worse.
Regardless of the vote in a state convention or primary the Lesser Evil current set out to get as many of their supporters as possible to become delegates.
Indeed, there is no court in the world with greater authority and experience in managing the lesser evils of a counter-terrorist campaign and in keeping them under the rule of law.
Ignatieff's The Lesser Evil, like Walzer's book, is full of useful history.
The article begins with a citation of Nader's book as if it were a review, but nowhere does it bother to examine the book's central question: How will things ever change when the two major parties control the system, and voters feel compelled to vote for the lesser evil, rather than the candidate they really want?
As Eugene Victor Debs did in 1912 and 1920, as Robert La Follette did in 1924, and as Norman Thomas did time and again, Ralph Nader repudiated the choice of the lesser evil and stood on principle.
High Court judge Mr Justice Paul Butler said he regrettably had been forced to opt for the lesser evil by keeping him behind bars.
In such a case the right choice is the lesser evil.
5, many residents said they'd rather not have an overlay or a split, but that an overlay would be the lesser evil.
108, Elshtain refers to "Augustine's grudging endorsement of the lesser evil.