The Ends Do Not Justify The Means
"The ends justify the means" is a belief that can be called consequentialism. I do not agree with this philosophy; instead I believe that the ends do not justify the means.
The idea that the ends justify the means can be used to justify all sorts of evils, from extreme ones such as terrorism, to less visible (but still very destructive) ones, such as political corruption and badly-designed legislation.
I see achieving good ends in the world as a continuous process, rather than a finite project. Good is something that I want to be doing as much as possible, at all times. Achieving good by doing evil is something that I see as very unlikely. I thus place greater emphasis on how work is carried out than on what the supposed goal of the work is, although in the end, both are important.
This philosophy is represented by the following principles in politics, which can be summed up as acting with integrity at all times:
- Refrain from political corruption, even when it achieves a supposedly "good" political outcome.
- Refrain from irrational, alarmist, or extremist rhetoric, speaking and writing only material based on sound reasoning and accurate truths.
- Avoid creating overly complex laws, overly costly programs, or overly burdensome regulations even when they seem to be advancing your desired goals.
The third point here leads to a certain belief in fiscal responsibility, simplicity and transparency in government, and some degree of a libertarian approach. However, I believe strongly that libertarianism is a philosophy better applied to the means of government, rather than the ends. For example, there are many examples of poorly-designed deregulation schemes which look superficially libertarian but neither achieve good ends nor have good means.
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