The Ends Dont Justify the Means

reading time 3 min

(This was originally written in response to someone pointing out all the unethical things the GOP did to gerrymander the US to the point where we are no longer a democracy.)

The basis of the right-wing is that the ends justify the means. Kill thousands? Well, if we win, we’ll write the history books to either claim we didn’t kill anyone or that it was justified. In fact, if they win, it is justified.

The basis of anti-authoritarian (left) politics is that the ends must justify the means. Would it be easier to fuck over minorities? Sure. They’re in the minority and “majority rules”, so f— ’em. Would it be easier to shoot first, ask questions later? Sure. Would it be easier to just let poor people die? Sure. Would it be easier to lock up suspects without a free lawyer, a fair trial, a jury of peers? Sure. However we don’t do those things on the left because the powerless must be included in decisions. Everyone has respect, not just the powerful. The left believes that the ends must justify the means.

So why not lie if it means the right takes over the state governments? In a “might makes right” world-view it totally makes sense.

How can we (the left) fight this kind of thing? Should we even try?

Hell yes we should! We should absolutely fight like hell to gerrymander things in our favor! However on the left sometimes we confuse “fighting hard” with “fighting dishonestly”. It is lazy to say, “gosh, that’s freedom of speech in action, there’s nothing we can do or we might accidentally impinge on someone’s right”. Instead we should strive to be the loudest person in the room so that the other side doesn’t get heard. That’s not illegal or unethical, especially since we’ll probably just match their volume.

The left (myself included) gets so bent out of shape worrying about the slippery slope. Instead, we let others push us around.

We say things like, “we believe in democracy, so we shouldn’t HAVE to do anything because gerrymandering won’t happen in a perfect world” (it’s not a perfect world). Or “Legally Al Gore should be president, so we can sit back and be assured that the honest people in the supreme court will follow the law, and deliver our preferred President.” (Did you see the HBO docudrama about Bush v. Gore where the person running Gore’s campaign actually said that?)

We (the left) need to get rid of our fear of the slippery slope. Believe me… there are enough arm-chair ethicists in our numbers to prevent us from going too far. We just need to get to parity. There’s nothing unethical about developing wedge issues, out-shouting bad ideas, shaming people for being mean, gerrymandering.

Here are some things we should be doing:

  • Split California into 5 states so we have 10 senators from that area instead of 2… 8 of which will always go Dem.
  • Change SCOTUS rules so that every 4 years the president picks one person that has to retire. (Dems hold the whitehouse more frequently… we’d have a net gain)
  • Eliminate the effect of the electoral college… only in states where it would help us. That is, eliminate “winner take all” elections and go proportional delegates to the elec. college … but only fight for this in states where it would help Dems.
  • Make voter registration automatic. 18? You can vote. Anyone against this should be shamed for being anti-freedom. We can do this nationally or just in the states where it will help us.

There are plenty of things we can be doing. The ends should justify the means, but that doesn’t mean we should give up without a fight.

Tom Limoncelli

Tom Limoncelli

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