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The Greater Good, Ends and Means

1. Would it be ethical to sacrifice one person to save many?

Yes, but only if that one person was yourself. Or you could ask someone else who is in a position to sacrifice, but the answer is always no if force becomes involved.

Jesus: "I am the door of the sheep. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. NO ONE TAKES IT FROM ME, BUT I LAY IT DOWN OF MY OWN ACCORD. I HAVE AUTHORITY TO LAY IT DOWN, AND I HAVE AUTHORITY TO TAKE IT UP AGAIN. THIS CHARGE I HAVE RECEIVED FROM MY FATHER."

2. Are ends wrapped up in means?

I believe so. I believe this must be one of the most important and fundamental principles of this movement.

From Martin Luther King Jr.'s Christmas sermon (1967) on peace:

"So, if you’re seeking to develop a just society, they say, the important thing is to get there, and the means are really unimportant; any means will do so long as they get you there? They may be violent, they may be untruthful means; they may even be unjust means to a just end. There have been those who have argued this throughout history. But we will never have peace in the world until men everywhere recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and ultimately you can’t reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree."

"We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means."

So is this principle true?


PS: The whole article is worth your time to read. This was one of King's last sermons, he was murdered in April of the following year.

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Good Read

Thanks for link. I have been thinking about this since the Rand Paul fiasco, especially because I was taking a US history course at the same time and thinking about Lincoln and what he did to achieve the ends he thought was just.

"you're a funny dude, but who gives a fuck about that? I don't care about someone's wit, I care about the courage of their heart and the honesty of their mind."

Either make the tree good, and his fruit good;

or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

Matthew 12:33