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Means does not justify the end.

Bad ends, however unintended, unjustify means, however well-intended.


The truth is, our pursuit of success doesn't come from the Bible at all. It comes from the surrounding culture, which
has infused us with false values. I do not believe that any pastor will stand before God and give an account of
how many people attended his church. I do believe that he will stand before God and give an account of how he
treated the people whom God had given him to serve. That goes for a Christian boss in a secular company, the
leader of a community or parachurch organization, for fathers and mothers in families. God isn't looking at our
results. He's looking at our faithfulness.
The end doesn't justify the means. The means justify the end. We may fail miserably in this world--in our churches,
our businesses, our jobs, our associations, even our families. But if we can say that we did what we did with
integrity, with kindness, with grace, with honesty, with faithfulness, then I believe we will be able to stand before
God and hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest."
You can definitely use your own examples; that was just a possible route.
Possible routes:
Means: torturing someone; Ends: information for national security
Means justifying ends would work the other way around. It focuses on the quality of our actions rather than the
consequences. On the one hand, this is the essential argument of all empirical research. If I do the experiment
correctly then the results (whatever they are) are valid and justified. But suppose I rush to help someone who
has been in an accident. I pull the victim from the burning wreckage, but in doing so cripple him. Moments later
rescue personnel arrive with the proper equipment that would have allowed them to extinguish the fire and
remove the victim from the wreck without doing additional harm. I might argue that because I could not know that
the help would arrive in time and I was acting to save his life, then I should not be sued for the injuries I caused.
Here the question of whether the means (pulling him from the wreckage to save his life) justify the ends (my
causing him crippling injuries). In Milgram, it would argue that the ends (psychological harm) is justified because
those harmed were willing participants in a meaningful experiment (the means).
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It means that the way you accomplish or achieve your goals can invalidate the goals or make them little or much
less. Let's make an extreme example:
There is a big National Celebrity Dance Marathon Contest comming up that is going to be held in your town, and
you are among 16 lucky "Local Celebrity" couples that are also going to take part in the event. Besides being on
National TV, the First Prize is $ 25,000.00 cash, a new Caddilac Escalade, an all expense paid two week trip for
two to Hawaii, and a life time subscription to Travel Magazine - one of the Sponsers of the Event.
The nite the Gala is to start there is to be a Pasta Diner Buffet for all Competitors, (Only), @ 5:00 PM Sharp; then
a review of the rules, an introduction of the judges, then an hour to rest and dress for the competition, whose
"Theme" this year is the "Roaring Twenties" .
You want that1st place prize - BAD!! You research the internet for the PDR, (Physcian's Desk Referance), and
find what ou are looking for, - an organic based colorless, tasteless liquid hat can be introduced into warm or cold
food, which when ingested, will cause - in approximately 2 - 4 hours time severe gastric distress, symptoms
include bloating, diareahha, cramping, stomach ache, vomiting, gas, nausea, and dizzyness. The drug is nonlethal when ingested in any amount, and the symptoms subside in a couple of hours. The best part of all is that
the chemical is absorbed into the food and breaks down completely when ingested, (by the stomach acid), and in
the un-eated food left on the buffet tables the drug breaks down completely in approx 90 minutes, leaving no
trace residue.
You and your partner are accomplished "pairs" dancers in your own right - having won trophies and ribbons in
many competitions over the years, but you WANT THIS ONE. This is THE ONE you've dreamed of, and you are
going to have it - BY ANY MEANS.
You've already engaged an accomplice in the kitchen who will "dose" every dish that comes out of the kitchen,
except for two "special" cottage cheese and fruit plates for you and your dance partner. (it seems you are both
allergic to vermicilli, wheat, or other grain pastas, in addition to most lettuces, tomatos, and a multitude of starchy
foods - therefore the cottage cheese and fruit plates). Therefore your alibi for not having eaten off of the buffet is
also estsablished.

So you poisoned, (not fatally), about 60 people to win 1st place, (you did win 1st place). Was it really worth it?
What if someone had gotten so sick they died, - or had a stroke or heart attack because you made them so
violently ill, - just to win? In this case - "I don't think that the means justified the ends" Do you?

End result does not justify the means


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 elses 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.
It is a response to the expression "The end justifies the means", which asserts that sometimes you have to do bad
things in order for good things to happen. If in the end the good outweighs the bad, then the net result is good.
The response "The end does not justify the means" asserts that it is not possible to do good by doing something
that is inherently wrong. Each action done must be measured independently, good or bad, or otherwise people
will justify their bad actions based on the good they have done. This statement is essentially saying that the
methods of reaching a particular goal were not excuseable. An example would be if you were given a promotion,
but you had to lie and cheat to get it. Just because you were given the promotion does not excuse the fact that
you lied and cheated. It means that just because a goal was reached does not validate the process by which the
goal was achieved. So someone who got rich by ripping off other people does not mean the person is a good
business person. It just means that they got rich through illegal acts.
The answer to this question depends on what the ends or goals are and what means are being used to achieve them.
If the goals are good and noble, and the means we use to achieve them are also good and noble, then yes, the
ends do justify the means. But thats not what most people mean when they use the expression. Most use it as
an excuse to achieve their goals through any means necessary, no matter how immoral, illegal or unpleasant the
means may be. What the expression usually means is something like It doesnt matter how you get what you
want as long as you get it.

The ends justifying the means usually involves doing something wrong to achieve a positive end and justifying the
wrongdoing by pointing to a good outcome. An example would be lying on a resume to get a good job and
justifying the lie by saying the larger income will enable the liar to provide more adequately for his family. Another
might be justifying the abortion of a baby to save the life of the mother. Lying and taking an innocent life are both
morally wrong, but providing for ones family and saving the life of a woman are morally right. Where, then, does
one draw the line?

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