|THE MORALITY OF MEANS AND ENDS
The following item by Alistair McConnachiefirst appeared in a Special SOVEREIGNTY Report distributed free with the July 2001 issue.
Moral dilemmas are powerful inhibitors to success. They are often introduced by the opposition in order to confuse, frustrate and consequently paralyse your attempt to accomplish your goal.
Therefore, if you are going to get involved in any kind of direct political action, you need to have your morality straightened out, otherwise you will be undone.
You need to have your internal moral compass set for success, or you will crash on the rocks of your moral doubt and drown in the sea of your moral confusion.
In 1971, the professional agitator, Saul Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals. His book is a clear and helpful guide to direct action. His chapter "Of Means and Ends" is worth studying in depth because it clarifies the proper moral psychology necessary for political success.
THE MORALITY OF ACTION VERSUS THE MORALITY OF
THE 10 RULES OF THE ETHICS OF MEANS AND ENDS
1) One's concern with the ethics of means and ends varies
inversely with one's personal interest in the issue, and one's distance
from the scene of conflict.
2) The judgement of the ethics of means is dependent upon the
political position of those sitting in judgment.
"Our cause had to be all shining justice, allied with the angels; theirs had to be all evil, tied to the Devil; in no war has the enemy or the cause ever been gray. Therefore, from one point of view the omission was justified; from the other, it was deliberate deceit ... The opposition's means, used against us, are always immoral and our means are always ethical and rooted in the highest of human values."
3) In war, the end justifies almost any means.
4) The judgement of the ethics of means must be made in the
context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other
chronological vantage point.
As Alinsky writes: "Today we may look back and regard Adam's action in the same light as the British did, but remember that we are not today involved in a revolution against the British Empire."
5) Concern with ethics increases with the number of means
6) The less important the end, the more one can afford to engage in ethical evaluations of means.
7) Success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
8) The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being
employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
9) Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.
10) You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with
Alinsky examines Mahatma Gandhi's legacy of "passive resistance" and points out that, "it is blasphemous to question whether this entire procedure of passive resistance was not simply the only intelligent, realistic, expedient program which Gandhi had at his disposal; and that the 'morality' which surrounded this policy of passive resistance was to a large degree a rationale to cloak a pragmatic program with a desired and essential moral cover...
"Confronted with the issue of what means he could employ against the British, we come to the other criteria previously mentioned; that the kind of means selected and how they can be used is significantly dependent upon the face of the enemy, or the character of his opposition. Gandhi's opposition not only made the effective use of passive resistance possible but practically invited it. His enemy was a British administration characterized by an old, aristocratic, liberal tradition, one which granted a good deal of freedom to its colonials and which always had operated on a pattern of using, absorbing, seducing, or destroying, through flattery or corruption, the revolutionary leaders who arose from the colonial ranks. This was the kind of opposition that would have tolerated and ultimately capitulated before the tactic of passive resistance."
Gandhi's passive resistance would never have stood a chance against a totalitarian state. Indeed, as Alinsky points out, eight months after securing independence, the Indian National Congress outlawed passive resistance and made it a crime.
"Means and ends are so qualitatively interrelated that the true question has never been the proverbial one, 'Does the End justify the Means?' but always has been 'Does this particular end justify this particular means?'"