But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Why the End Does Not Justify the Means


Why don't we torture accused criminals in order to find who is guilty? Because the end does not justify the means.

It has become clear that many politicians and lawyers, and a few real people, don’t understand what is meant by The End Does Not Justify the Means.

They act like people are saying the desire to have pancakes cannot justify making batter. But this is more specific. It’s about good versus evil. In their unfortunate perspective, caring about what is right must seem insane.

But the truth is that this phrase sums up one of the most important principles of ethics and morality:

It means that there are certain fundamental principles that are “right”, “good”, et cetera, that are essential to those conditions…and you cannot justify violating them because you have some “right” or “good” goal in mind.

For example, you cannot have justice, unless you adhere to the principles of justice; It’s not OK to do unjust things to people simply because you have a just goal in mind.

This is a basic philosophical rule that is ignored or denied by almost all evil people you will find out there, and supported by almost all good ones. Marxists coined the modern use of the phrase “the end justifies the means”, and naturally they and their socialist spinoffs were responsible for the vast majority of all great evils, for the past century.

Evil Men

Joseph Stalin, for example, justified the deaths of tens of millions of his own people, by saying that the population was too large for (relatively inefficient) Communism to support. The mass death left Soviet society more sustainable. Did the betterment of millions of peoples’ lives justify the murder of millions of other people? According to Consequentialist socialists; yes.

Previously, the Dominican order of Catholicism was an advocate of the idea that the end justifies the means (in spirit), and it just so happens that they went on to conduct, among other great evils, the Inquisition. It was literally claimed that you may be saving the soul of the man you tortured or murdered in the name of God, so it was OK. All the ways the current Pope is less popular than his predecessor appear to center around his being of that Dominican mindset. In fact, the position he held before becoming pontiff was the Head of the Office of Inquisition, I kid you not…it had simply changed its name for PR reasons.

Likewise, when Machiavelli used that phrase in his satirical indictment of the evils and abuses of Feudal government, The Prince, he succeeded in hitting the nail on the head as to what is most wrong and unjust.

Required by Good

In reality, the end does not justify the means, in part because the long-term outcome of ignoring principles in order to buy short-term results is a failure of your own goals.

The idea that the wise principles override the short-sighted goal (a form of Deontology, if you like them thar fancified words) is why courts will overturn convictions on technicalities, one of the few good and just things remaining in the US legal system. Any honest — or as close as they get –prosecutor will tell you that the reason they hate that condition is how it keeps them from breaking rules and simply gambling punishment, in order to convict people they think are guilty. They are restrained from unjust acts, by this absolute enforcement of the principles of justice, even though it may let a guilty man walk in the short term.

When you have a principle, like “do not violate someone else’s property”, it cannot be overridden because you have some end in mind like “but the wealth I steal from his safe will benefit several other people who deserve it more”.

Like setting aside money for bills and emergencies instead of partying all of your paycheck away, sticking to the principles of what is good, right, and just produces the best outcome in the long run. You are investing in your ultimate goal by sticking to it when the going gets tough. When you panic and abandon your principles for a short-term benefit, you end up making things worse in the end.

THAT is why the end does not justify the means.

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May 12, 2011 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Those TSA Screeners Are Criminals


To claim we should surrender our rights for a promise of safety is Appeal to Cowardice

Ben Franklin was correct: To claim we should give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety is Appeal to Cowardice

TSA Screeners, known officially as TSOs, literally are committing a crime when they randomly scan or search you. There are several reasons why this is so:

Just Obeying Orders

I have rapidly tired of Liberals, especially Neocons, claiming we should sympathize with the Transportation Security Officers (screeners), because (yes, real quote) they are just obeying orders.

Has our socialized education system so failed that nobody remembers when, in the Nuremberg war crime trials, people who said “we were just obeying orders” were executed?

Anything for a Job

“They have to do it, or they will get fired!”

If you take a job as a private delivery man, and then discover that your employer is using you for drug running, the government would require that you refuse, even if you will get fired.

Doing something that is criminal is not OK just because you want your job. Not even if your employer is the government.

Porn-and-Grope is Illegal

“But it’s a law”.

No, it is NOT a law. It is a REGULATION. Regulations are not laws. To even treat them like laws is unconstitutional.

But even if it were passed by congress as a law, it would not be real:

An unconstitutional act is not law;
it confers no rights;
it imposes no duties;
affords no protection;
it creates no office;
it is in legal contemplation,
as inoperative as though it had never been passed.
Norton vs. Shelby County, 118 US 425 p.442

Because it violates the 4th amendment, part of the Bill of Rights, any rule requiring a random search is not a real rule at all. It has no validity.

Government Mafia

It is imposed only by threat of force, as any organized crime syndicate can do. When a government official violates the Constitution, he is nothing but a mobster, and has no more legitimate power or bearing on you than Al Capone’s hired muscle.

What’s more, it is literally illegal to randomly feel you up, in most cities with airports. Some actually are promising to arrest TSOs who try, if you call the police.

These TSOs are committing a crime each time they randomly search you. No constitutional law, or even regulation, supplies them with the power to search anyone without probable cause.

If the rule was that people behaving suspiciously, or otherwise giving cause to be suspected, had to be searched that would be legitimate. These random searches are not.

And anyone who engages in them is a criminal.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Family, Health, International, liberty, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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