Essay No. 134:
Means Justify The Ends: The statement means that one should try to satisfy one’s ends (desires) based on the availability of resources. If means are not available, one should stop thinking of undertaking any project. If the idea is to construct a house — big or small, then one must have the necessary resources at one’s disposal to finance the project.
If resources are inadequate to construct a big house, then the plan maybe abandon. One should not exceed the length of the purse under any conditions. If one resorts to corruption to mobilize additional resources, it is not morally justified. It is wrong to achieve one’s objective through an ill-gotten resource.
All religions bear upon man not to flout the canons of morality. Islam, in particular, brings home to believers that they should live within their genuine means. It strictly forbids believers to indulge in unethical ways of earning means. The offspring are to be brought up with hard-earned money.
Islam lays emphasis on the need for a righteous mode of living. I agree with the statement in toto that means should justify the acquisition of given ends. A society constructed on this principle can endure for long. People in the Third World countries are motivated to indulge in corruption and other social vices in a craze to maintain a better standard of living.
Their material aspirations have increased beyond proportions. They are not guided by moral considerations to earn legitimate means to gratify their desires. People apparently condemn corruption but practise it when it involves the satisfaction of their motives. Corruption is rampant in Pakistan.
Politicians, rulers, bureaucrats in the higher, lower echelons sneakily do corruption. They have abandoned morality, yet they have the cheek to preach moral sermons. The philosophy ‘means justify the ends, seems to have thrown down the gutter. The most accepted and widely practised philosophy is: Ends justify the means.
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It was Nicoli Machiavelli – The author of the ‘The Prince’, who authored the philosophy that it ends which justify means, employing thereby that you are free to deploy all sorts of means – fair or foul to attain your objective.
This philosophy aims at demolishing the structure of morality because it gives a message to its practitioner never to bother about moral principles in connection with the attainment of his objective. Kings/emperors/rulers are given the piece of exhortation that to perpetuate their rule they should go to any length by trampling upon moral principles.
It veers round economic opportunism, which appears to be the order of the day both at the domestic, international levels. The solo power – US, invoked the doctrine of ‘Pre-emptive Strike’ in case of Iraq, and openly violated the U.N. mandate. It was nothing except opportunism wrapped up in the Machiavellism.
It is the condemned but widely practised doctrine. Rulers are subject to their ambition, particularly in Pakistan and seem to be subject to the influence of this doctrine. It is a pernicious doctrine, which should be said a farewell once and for all. Being Muslims we should make the doctrine ‘means justify ends’ as the bedrock of our conduct because it is akin to the spirit of Islam.