Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead

For centuries, philosophers and logicians have used the word “antinomy” to designate mutually inconsistent conclusions each of which are supported by sound arguments.  Anglophone philosophers nowadays use the term mainly in connection with some deep and thorny issues arising in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).

Shorn of the technical meanings that cluster around the term, and speaking loosely, it would be fair to say that, in this November’s midterm elections, voters will be confronting a colossal antinomy.

On the one hand, there are good and compelling reasons to vote for Democrats.

On the other, except in rare cases where the Democratic candidate is someone that a broad-minded, non-sectarian, moderately progressive voter could conscientiously support, there are good and compelling reasons to hand that (slightly) less odious duopoly party the thrashing it deserves.

This is not to say that there will be good reasons to vote for Republicans this November; there almost never are, and this year will be no exception.

Neither is it just to say that the familiar arguments for and against lesser evil voting apply. They do, of course; as much as ever, but that is no longer the whole story – except perhaps for voters who are fine with Democrats and Republicans as they are.

Call it the voter’s dilemma. On the one hand, lesser evils are, by definition, better than greater evils; and voters ought always to aim at better outcomes.  On the other hand, lesser…

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