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Monday, Dec. 14, 2020

Silence is Not Golden

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Can the ends justify the means? Not in this instance

There are always motivations to do what is wrong in order to gain something. Maybe it’s lying on a resumé to get a job or taking something from someone that doesn’t belong to you just because you wanted it (or needed it). Maybe it’s not speaking out against injustice or not defending someone who couldn’t defend themselves, just because you wanted to be popular and not make waves.

In these instances, some would say, “Well, the ends justify the means.”

But do they?

Or does this philosophy merely give us an excuse to do what we know is not right?

Indeed, it’s an ethical dilemma because saying “the ends justify the means” rationalizes small injustices to achieve what one perceives as the “greater good.” It makes the rules subjective to our desires and disregards the consequences to others. It’s a way for us to take the law into our own hands.

And this is why the ends cannot justify the means. It leads to chaos, as each person or group begins deciding what is “right” or “wrong” based on their situation or perspective and not based on the law. After all, in the words of John Adams, we are “a nation of laws and not of men.”

Or is that no longer true?

In the past four years, we saw a sitting U.S. president illegally spy on his rival party’s presidential campaign, and then have the Department of Justice, the FBI and the CIA further facilitate the false narrative that Trump had “colluded” with the Russian government to interfere in our 2016 elections, even though there was no evidence of such in the first place. The supposed proof was pure fiction – a dossier manufactured and paid for by Hillary Clinton.

You then had FBI Director Rod Rosenstein name Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the fictional claim that Trump was a Russian agent. Mueller then spent 22 months and $32 million to produce any evidence of this “collusion,” but there was none to deliver.

Then there was the impeachment over Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president. Democrats in Congress claimed that Trump colluded with the Ukrainian government to hurt his presidential rival, Joe Biden. Adam Schiff even recited a fictional version of the phone conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian president, but when the transcript was released, it showed no quid pro quo at all.

Now, for the Democrats who orchestrated these theatrics, the ends would completely justify the means if it meant overturning the results of the 2016 election.

But at what cost to the integrity of our country and its institutions? It’s illegal for the government to lie to the FISA court. It’s unlawful for the FBI to lie to the president of the United States. It’s immoral that Democrats in Congress knew the truth all along and voted to impeach him and conduct a trial nevertheless.

You see, one of the problems with “the ends justify the means” philosophy is that we’re only focused on the results. And even when those objectives may be good ones, how we accomplish those objectives matter so much more.

A federal judge once wrote, “Justice is not served by inflicting injustice.” But isn’t this what our country has become? Businesses being looted and buildings set on fire by those who justify their actions in the name “change” or “justice”?

How about violently attacking and shaming anyone whose political opinions are different from yours, all in the name of “making them pay”?

So when 47% of likely voters say it’s most probably true that Democrats stole votes or destroyed pro-Trump ballots in several states to ensure Joe Biden would win, the question for nearly one-third of these Democrats is, do the ends justify the means?

That’s over 20 million voters who believe the election was stolen and why are we not hearing their voices? Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about the things that matter.” Well, this matters – a lot.

Because if it’s OK to steal an election in America, what else is it OK to steal, as long as the ends justify the means?

The philosophy of the “ends justifying the ends” has never worked for any society – at least, not for very long.

Democracy, after all, is about the means.

Dictatorship is about the ends.

And what possibly is worth justifying for that?

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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