June 16, 2019

Of ends and means

The other day my wife mentioned to me that the ends do not justify the means in regard to something appearing in the press. I have been mulling that phrase over the last few days and recalled this was what I had learned in my collegiate course on ethics … that both the results of an action and the action to achieve that result must both be ethically true, honest and not harmful in the least.

After thinking about this principle the last few days, it suddenly came to me that over the last several months we have been bombarded with propaganda that says that the end does justify the means. I am referring to the pro-casino and pro-racino rhetoric that promotes the idea that reducing property taxes, providing additional funds for education, for helping the elderly pay for expensive medications, and so forth. The ends … justify … the means … gambling.

I was pleased to see in this morning’s paper that other people in Maine have also realized this as the votes in Saco and Westbrook demonstrated.

I realize there can be an exception to this premise such as when one is providing false information to protect those fleeing for their lives from the Nazis.

Herman De Haas

Emeritus professor

of biochemistry


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