There are several things on my mind this week. Yes, the knee is still causing me pain, but I refuse to take any more chemicals into my body, so I am working on “pain management”. But, right now, there are more pressing matters bothering me. The shooting in Thousand Oaks hits close to home. I have a lot of friends and colleagues who live and practice law there, and Steve and I lived down the road in Encino for several years. I judged moot court competitions for many years at Pepperdine. I know people at Cal Lutheran. I have grandkids in college. Thousand Oaks was considered one of the safest places to live in the U.S. There but for the grace of God go my family, friends, and loved ones.
And, the Santa Ana winds have inspired arsonists for years. We always dreaded them in the fall because they were hot, dry winds coming off of the desert. And, they were strong. Usually would last from several days to two or three weeks. Then, the Marine air would come back with its cooling fog – a welcome change to the terrifying hot winds. Right now, friends and families are being evacuated because the wild fires are spreading rapidly. And, the rest of the Los Angeles and Ventura County will inhale soot for weeks to come.
But, worst of all, is the realization or knowledge or awareness or whatever you want to call it that many of the people I have considered life-long friends believe in their heart of hearts that the end justifies the means. Before Social Media, one never knew how friends voted because people kept it secret. No more. Now, with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I know the political beliefs of most of my “friends” and people I am “following” or not following. It is all out there. I may be wrong, but this is my observation.
They are fine with the end justifying the means. When I was young and in college, there was a “cold war” going on. And, when I tried to understand what that meant, I was told that it had to do with communism, basically meaning that a good outcome excuses any wrongs committed to attain it. For example, a person’s campaigning with illegal funds on the theory that if he wins the election the end will justify the means, or the police officer tricked her into admitting her guilt—the end justifies the means. It is clearly the conception that justified the atrocities of Stalinism and the use of terror by some who claimed to be pursuing the socialist objective. The idea that some means (such as the use of violence against political opponents or lying to the working class) which is inconsistent with the aim (socialism, world peace) can in some way serve that end is untenable.
“There is always some “tension” between Ends and Means – Means refer always to existing conditions as they are while the End refers to how things ought to be. But the means must be adequate to the ends; that is to say, the means must be such that attaining the End will mean the fullest development and flowering of the Means. So, the idea, for example, that deceiving the working class could be any part of the struggle for socialism is an absurdity, because the fullest development of the Means (deceiving the working class) could only be the disorganization and subordination of the working class, the opposite of socialism. On the other hand, a picket line in support of a wage-rise is a far cry from socialism, but insofar as a picket line is a manifestation of the self-organization of the working class and manifests elementary class discipline, it is a “means” which can be understood as an “embryonic” expression of an admittedly distant “end.”
Base political methods however, such as lying, conformism, personal denigration, which are to be found within the workers movement, would find their fullest expression, not in socialism, but only in some kind of Stalinist gulag. So, a claim that such unprincipled means are justified because they serve the End of socialism is false; in fact, base means can never serve noble ends. Precisely from this, it flows that not all means are permissible.”
“When we say that the end justifies the means, then for us, the conclusion follows that the great revolutionary end spurns those base means and ways which set one part of the working class against other parts: or attempt to make the masses happy without their participation; or lower the faith of the masses in themselves and their organization, replacing it by worship for the leaders.”
To get more specific, this is a post I saved because it causes me concern. A friend shared it, I assume, because she believes it too. Now, the original post – not the a “sharer” – may be Trump driven. I don’t know. But read it carefully.
These are the sentences that pierce me to the core: 1) “I don’t even care that his language skills are not academic.” WHAT? Not “academic”?????; 2) I only look at what he does and what his policies accomplish. WHAT ARE THEY? I see a booming economy. I see low employment rates. I see African Americans back at work. WHAT ???? WHAT ABOUT THE LOW-LIFE WHITES!!! ARE THEY BACK AT WORK? JUST AFRICAN-AMERICANS??? I see American companies that had fled overseas returning home. WHO?? WHY?
I am outraged by every sentence after that. No need to repeat it all.
SO, the end justifies the means. Now, I am not a philosopher, and I cannot argue point by point with a Trump supporter, but it is not rocket science to see that this poster, if he/she exists, believes this, as do many in Trump’s base. I thought America was better than this. Apparently, it is not. Apparently, this is today’s America. OK, all you people who know who you are, the ones who tell me, “Jay, I didn’t take you for a Democrat.”. And, share a post like this. Why? What makes you think I would be otherwise? I have lived my entire life fighting bullies of one sort and another. And, so have you. How can you be so passive and gullible? Turning blind eyes.
NO. I don’t agree with you. No, I don’t believe the end justifies the means. AND, as far as I am concerned, Trump is not a la carte. You don’t get to pick and choose what you like and ignore what you dislike and pass on the hateful, violent rhetoric just because “the economy is good” or he was old and got up at 3 am to meet an airplane or he supports the NRA or companies are moving back to the United States. If you support him and help maintain him in office, you support the entire package: the hate, the division, and the stoking of violence. It all goes to character.