How to intuit or rationalise ‘rather than + that-clause’?

[Source:] The British Military Governor in Germany, Air Marshal Sir Sholto Douglas, was strongly opposed. He wrote: “We are apparently prepared to send these men, including one who is 73, to trial by the Americans. I frankly do not like this. I feel that if the Americans wish to be critical in our inaction in trying war criminals, I should prefer that they should continue to criticise rather than ♦ that we should commit an injustice in order to avoid their criticism.” ♦

1. Any other formal terms describing this syntax? I know that rather than is a conjunction.
I added the lozenges to surround my guess at what is the that-clause (in this quote).

2. I can’t pinpoint why, but this syntax looks strange and wrong to me? How can I naturalise it?

3. To investigate 2, I tried to replace rather than with its synonyms. So is it perfectly right to form instead of + that-clause, in place of + that-clause, … ?

Footnote: I had never before encountered this syntax (which seemed more intricate); so suspected that Sir Sholto studied languages in some way. I seem to be right; he did classics at Lincoln College, Oxford.

Answer

It’s parallelism:

I should prefer
that they should continue to criticise
rather than
that we should commit an injustice in order to avoid their criticism.

rather than = “not the following”; expressing a preference for the former in a pair of alternatives.

It’s not quite the same as “instead of” because “instead of” cannot take as complement a that-clause.

P.S. Instead of = in (the) place of.
Thus ‘instead of‘ needs a nominal because of “of“. A gerund can follow ‘instead of’:

I should prefer
their criticizing
instead of
our committing an injustice

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : NNOX Apps , Answer Author : Tᴚoɯɐuo

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