The ends justify the means is just a statement that immoral means can be used to justify a moral end. In some life or death emergency situations this is indeed the case. Immoral murder exists during war and the end of war or peace is what justifies the murder.
It is immoral to murder someone, especially innocent humans but during War which is a life or death emergency situation and often a case of selfdefense, immoral murder can be justified.
Two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan during World War II and destroyed many “innocent” Japanese but it ended the war and the killing or murder. The two atomic bombs may not have ended the war and in this case many more Japanese cities would have been fire bombed, more “innocent” lives would have been lost, and the United States would have lost about 2 million soldier’s lives. Many lives would also have been lost in Japanese conquered territories where the Japanese acted in murderous brutal fashion. Is immoral murder justified during a selfdefense war? Yes, because it is an emergency situation of life or death of a nation and it’s inhabitants.
Dresden, a German city, was fire bombed during the war and many “innocent” citizens were killed. However, many of those innocent humans were contributing in a major way to the German war machine and leveling Dresden definitely shortened the war to some extent and in the end saved many more lives.
During war immoral lying is also justified such as feeding false information to the enemy about troop positions and plans of attack. Even though there are theoretical rules of war pertaining to the humane treatment of war prisoners, especially captured soldiers, even these rules can be broken as they were by the Japanese. It is a fact of life that immoral means can be used to justify the ends which are victory or peace and the cessation of murder or killing or the end of war.
More recently the Iraqis in their war against ISIS bombed many innocent civilians in Mozul. ISIS also used many civilians as shields for their soldiers and even had munitions and military occupying hospitals and schools. ISIS was ruthless and to win you had to be even more ruthless and bomb the shit out of them including many civilians. Did the immoral means justify the ends? Yes, because it was war, and even a war against a military which promoted its brutal terrorism worldwide.
In times of peace does the immoral means ever justify a moral end? Yes, sometimes immoral lying can be justified in emergency life or death situations.
If you were rather well off and a stranger with a weapon knocked on your door and asked if your offspring were at home then you would probably be shocked with fear that maybe it was a kidnapper or someone who wanted to kill your offspring. You may lie and say that your offspring were not home. Even though the probability that your assumption is wrong is probably rather great, trying to protect your flesh and blood from possible imminent harm with a lie can be justified. Better safe than sorry.
Although this is not a serious issue in most developed nations you could justify immoral stealing of food to feed you and your starving offspring in a crisis situation, especially in a third world extreme poverty situation.
Although not legally considered murder you can intentionally kill or immorally murder a lethally armed assailant in selfdefense. Once again it is a life or death emergency situation where either you or the assailant will die.
You may be able to come up with more life or death emergency situations where immoral acts may be justified but I will point out one which is not valid.
You may try to justify the immoral murder of one healthy individual to save the life of three dying patients who need a heart, liver, and bladder transplant. Your logic or reasoning may be that murdering one to save the lives of three is justified. However, follow this logic in the long duration and you will find that you definitely would not want to live in a society where many innocent victims would be murdered to save the lives of three or more unhealthy individuals needing transplants. You may be the next chosen to sacrifice your life so that many unhealthy individuals may live. That would be true injustice in society in the short and long duration.
Immoral means can seldom be justified to achieve a seemingly moral end in times of peace. If you feel that immorally stealing money or taxation is unjust then you are a moral purist and unfortunately taxation is a serious exception to the absolute moral rule.
There are basically 5 situations where stealing can be justified and I have written about these exceptions in my blog article and book STEAL. Yes, unfortunately many things in life are not black or white, yes or no, or completely moral or completely immoral, but shades of grey or exceptions to an absolute rule.
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