Do the ends justify the means?
“If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan”
Benghazi attack of September 11, 2012 caused by reaction to an Anti-Islamic film!
The independence of the FBI questioned with the Steele Dossier!
The first four tidbits above concern progressives. They are representative of so many lies perpetrated on the American people all in the name of the end result. The ends justifying the means has become the rallying tactic of the progressive movement it seems.
The last comment relates to President Donald Trump. Trump who is accused by progressives of lying virtually nonstop.
The question really is: have progressives gotten to the point where they believe that the ends justify the means? Concurrently, are progressives convinced that the tactic of lying to justify the ends is inappropriate for anyone but themselves.
My purpose is not to judge whether or not any of the above comments are true or false but to express my concern that when a society’s moral fabric becomes so distorted that the ends justify the means in the minds of society, the society is likely to fail.
What progressives misunderstand is that the public, most of whom do not fit into the stereotype of either progressive, liberal, moderate, Democrat, Republican, conservative, or Libertarian, will not distinguish between a progressive’s lie and the claim by the progressives that Donald Trump is lying. Once you have desensitized a society to the dangers of lying, the impact of accusing someone of lying is lost.
There was a time in our culture when, if someone was caught lying, they were disgraced and humiliated. In fact, former Vice President Biden was forced out of the presidential race in 1988 because he plagiarized a speech.
The character of a nation and its core values determine whether or not a nation will survive. Be it the fall of the Roman Empire, the fall of the Third Reich, or most other empires, the root causes usually point to some “decay”, “self-indulgences” or other failures of character traits that are frequently rooted in Western Civilization.
A core value is your philosophy about your way of life. A core value is intrinsically who you are. The core value is your character, your leadership, and your upbringing frame of reference. In Western Civilization those traits, directly or indirectly, relate back to Judeo-Christian principles.
In the United States Marine Corps, for example, we teach leadership principles and leadership traits. Loyalty, justice, take responsibility, dependability, and courage are to name just a few. These principles and traits guide us in our dealings with fellow service members and the civilian leadership that we work for.
A society’s character are the principles or the structures under which the society functions and serve as the boundaries of acceptable behavior within a society. These boundaries can change over time. If the change is well thought out, the society will flourish. If the change is poorly thought out, the unintended consequence may, in fact, be the failure of the society.
Many Americans today are confused about our national character. What we stand for is not as clear as it once was for many. A prime example of the confusion and a source of much of the perceived problem of deterioration of our core values is the institutionalization of the lying as a way of life. Brian Williams, for example, did not lie, he misspoke? He misremembered. He is suffering from PDSD (Post Dramatic Story Disorder)
In the United States, our nation has proclaimed its Judeo-Christian heritage in our Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”
Our laws and our frame of reference have been based upon such principles.
This does not imply that our nation is governed by religious leaders but that such Judeo-Christian principles serve as the framework for our national character, what we, as a nation, stand for.
A law is intended to be followed. A core value is intended to be lived.
Central to any national character is for a person to accept personal accountability for their actions. Accepting that a lie is a lie and that ends do not justify the means are central to our national character if we are to survive
Being accountable for your actions is a core value.
Taking responsibility for your actions is a core value.
The ethics of the means to the end are as critical as the end itself. It is our character at stake – no more – no less.
Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) represents the 101st District in the PA House of Representatives. He is a retired Marine Reserve Colonel, a CPA and specializes in corporate restructuring. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at [email protected].