When The End Justifies The Means, Who Cares About Truth? By Tom Knighton


When The End Justifies The Means, Who Cares About Truth?

By Tom Knighton

One thing I get to enjoy as a full-time blogger is an up-close look at what the left publishes. I don’t get the luxury of living in an echo chamber, which is for the best. I have to listen to what they’re saying and, more importantly, how they’re saying it.

Now, there are some on the left who I believe may be misguided, but are actually decent folks. They’re True Believers, which can be a different brand of problem, but they also have some sense of morality that keeps some of the worst aspects of humanity in check.

But there are others who don’t really care.

Take this post from over at Medium.

Now, Medium is a pretty open platform and lots of people write at Medium with no audience to speak of, but this one got a little traction. The bulk of the post, despite a title about the supposed American collapse, is about a GOP candidate who is apparently a true racist.

Racists are scum and I would sooner vote for my coffee table than an avowed racist. I don’t have any issue with the author addressing the candidate’s claim that “God is a white supremacist,” which is the greatest load of bunk I’ve heard out of a candidate since “Hope and Change.”

What bothered me was his choice of photograph.

You see, when blogging, artwork matters. I remember the days when no one really cared about pics, but those days are long behind us. These days, the photographs grab people. Here’s the picture that the author, Umair Haque, chose to use:

Racist photoshop

Four women in white shirts at what is clearly a Trump rally saying “Make America White Again.” How was this not news when it happened? How was this not on the cover of every newspaper in the country?

Probably because it didn’t happen.

What you see above is a photoshop job. In this post, you can see these same four women as well a what their shirts really say. “Make America Great Again.” The same thing countless hats and signs at rallies all over the nation said during Trump’s campaign.

Yet Haque makes no mention of this. There’s no disclaimer that it’s not a real photograph, that he’s using it to make a point, or anything. This leaves two possibilities.

The first is laziness. Maybe he simply didn’t know it wasn’t real and failed to do any research on the validity of the image. If that’s true, then why should we take anything else he says at face value? He’s clearly not conducting rudimentary research on something as simple as a photo—Google’s reverse image search is a handy tool, after all—what else is he missing in his diatribe?

He may also have known it was fake and simply forgot to let people know, which is something he should have done from the start. Failure to do so is still laziness, and it also makes one wonder just what else he forgot to mention. If you can fail to provide such an important detail, what else did you fail to provide?

The second option, however, is malice. He knows It’s photoshop and didn’t care to inform his audience because he wants to paint the American right as nothing but racists. This image, and the fact that these four women would be so bold as to wear such shirts (if it were real, naturally) surrounded by thousands of other Americans, would easily show people just how white supremacist the conservative side actually is.

However, I seriously doubt Haque is lazy. It’s a long post with a lot of arguments included designed to dispute the idea that God is a white supremacist. Nothing in that reads as something written by a lazy person in any way, shape or form.

That leaves malice, and if that’s the case, I hope Haque has a good lawyer on standby.

You see, those four women are easily identifiable by those who know them. All it takes is the wrong soul seeing that image and they could lose their jobs and generally have their lives turned upside down. In other words, this could easily be considered defamation.

But for leftists like Haque, who cares?

After all, the American left has made it pretty damn clear that they don’t really care about the lives of people who disagree with them ideologically. They’ve taken to stalking and harassment in public spaces to try and shame conservative leadership into…who the hell knows? I guess they think they can turn the right into leftists with enough shame or something. That’s not how it works, mind you, but that’s what they apparently think.

Because of that, I can’t help but think that Haque doesn’t really care what happens to these women because of this photoshop job.

Now, I’m not saying he did it. I honestly don’t know who did the photoshopping here. I honestly don’t care all that much.

What I do care is that Haque has published it and promoted it while apparently presenting it as a factual and accurate representative of what was at a Donald Trump rally at some point in the past.

As of Sunday afternoon, it had almost 9,500 likes (or whatever Medium calls it). That means significantly more people saw that image. I mean, unless you think that everyone who saw the post clicked the little clapping hands icon. The likes to views ratio often varies, but I’ve often gotten hundreds more hits on a post than I got likes, so it’s not unreasonable to say that tens of thousands of people have seen this. It’s also not unreasonable to estimate that the number of reads that story got was in the hundreds of thousands.

In other words, Haque used that image to lie to thousands.

But, when the ends justify the means as so many leftists apparently believe, you can do that. Who cares if these four women have their lives upended? That’s just the broken egg necessary to make an omelet and all those other clichés.

Frankly, it’s just another variety of collectivist thinking. They don’t care what happens to four individuals because they think the group matters more.

What they always fail to remember is that no group of people is made up of a faceless mob. They’re made up of individuals. If you do what is right for the individual, you do what is best for the group as a whole. It’s the natural result.

But, when you do what you think is best for the group, there are individuals that are going to be hurt.

In this case, it’s possible defamation. In another it could be about jobs. Who knows?

What really matters is that collectivists like the American left will always tend to figure they can stomp on the individual, and that’s precisely what Haque is doing here.

If you like this stuff, check me out elsewhere. You can read my non-fiction stuff at PJ Media and BearingArms.com
However, if you want to follow me a little more personally, you can find me at http://byspearandaxe.com 
Additionally, in case you didn’t know, I write fiction from time to time as well, and you can find it and even a nonfiction book I wrote here: https://www.amazon.com/T.L.-Knighton/e/B00KUTEPOI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1531697823&sr=1-2-ent

193 responses to “When The End Justifies The Means, Who Cares About Truth? By Tom Knighton

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    When you use the “End Justifies The Means” to defend your actions, then you have no moral argument when your opponent uses the “End Justifies The Means” to defend their actions.

    Unfortunately, more and more I see the Left as “not very smart”. 😦

    • Ah, but you see the Left is more and more willing to embrace the double standard. They’ll argue openly that it’s okay for their ends to justify the means, because their ends are all about equality and justice and infinite clean energy and unicorns and rainbows for everyone. The Right’s ends, however, are all about segregated lunch counters and woman being forced into back-alley abortions and 6-year-olds working 20 hour days, seven days a week while drinking arsenic-laden water, and nothing justifies that.

      • And they control the loudspeakers and enforcers

        • They certainly used to, but that control is slipping through their fingers every day now, and that explains why they are rapidly going bat chit crazy, and resorting to ever increasingly extreme demonstrations and actions.

          • I dunno. Got 40% of population mesmerized and 98% of the federal enforcement apparatus. Could be realizing they can get away with more now. For example, if this photo was run on daily show or msdnc it would be completely believed

            • I wouldn’t trust that percent on federal enforcement– between folks keeping their heads down because of the last bunch being so open, and the number of outlets on the “right” who will ignore all other information to “prove” something is an evil lefty Federal plot, it just looks bigger.

              WHY folks think this is a great idea, I don’t know; the ones that are lefty bullies do quite enough damage without inflating their numbers.

              • Its a bit of hyperbole. But there’s still 70% support for headquarters from field offices of fibbies. And the sweetheart deals like the awans keep coming. And the special counsel is a department unto itself. They recognize that supporting DC means supporting their jobs even if they have to man the train cars.

      • the Left wants their sexual appetites, and their unicorns both. Unfortunately for them, they are mutually incompatible.

        • I’m currently entertained by the trans activists turning against the L and G and B parts of the LGBT rainbow coalition. There’s a sudden upsurge in the activists attacking both homosexual and heterosexuals for their sexual preferences, insisting that ‘a trans woman is a woman, end of, and if you’re not attracted to a woman who originally was a man/still has a dick, you’re being bigoted and unfair and unreasonable.’

          Or attacking people who have gone full on 2D/virtual/are asexual.

          What I did find a touch interesting is that the screaming trans activists tend to be male to female trans (there are probably some who are ftm, but they seem to be more relaxed as a group, I don’t see as many being so demanding and entitled to other people’s bodies and sexual attention) – and there’s an interesting subgroup of MTF who ‘identify as lesbian’ and are very upset when they don’t get lesbian sex.

          It’s quite interesting too, because a good number of the arguments done by these trans activists basically argue against the very core of homo and heterosexuality – sexual preference.

          Mind, I think this whole thing was inevitable, but it’s entertaining to watch the ‘But I WANT~’ happen.

      • And what really angers me about this, too, is that historically, the Left has been the ones segregating lunch counters, forcing women to have abortions and sterilizations they didn’t want, and so on, and so forth…

        Yet it’s the Right — the side that believes in the value of the individual — that’s the bad guys!

        • (Waggles hand) Not the Left, but collectivists–many of whom, in those days, were on the Right.
          By now, of course, the situation has changed, and 90% or more of America’s collectivist are leftists, but let’s not project present conditions onto the past.

          • Collectivists have always been on the left.

            • Incorrect. You can have right-wing collectivists as well. What else would you call aristocrats who insisted theirs was the right to rule by blood?

              • that is determined entirely by whether you use the European left-right/ progressive- conservative divide, or the U.S. one.

              • I wouldn’t call them a collectivist. Unless you’re defining them that way because they want to collect everything and keep it.

              • I tend to apply Heinlein’s division: there are two kinds of people in the world, those who want to tell others what to do, and those who have no such desire.
                How you label those two categories is secondary. You can call the first category collectivist, communist, fascist, left, progressive, enemy, whatever. Those are just N synonyms for that category.

        • Yep. I’m still unsure how they managed to make that flip and whitewashing happen.

          • Because they took who instigated out of history. Heck I barely got “it happened”, likely because it started stop happening when I was in early grade school, or I’m sure they would have whitewashed it, & I’m almost 62!!!

    • I said somewhere (here?) There are three types of leftoids. The ones stupid enough to think it works, those willing to ride them into power, and worse those who are both. Two of those groups are evil in my opinion.

      • All Progressives are a linar combination of stupid and evil.

        • Some are far more evil than stupid. Others (Maxine Waters) are equal levels of both

          • And some, probably the bulk by number if not power, are genuinely well-intentioned but don’t bother to think about the true effects of what they’re voting for.

            • Mass this Sunday was interesting; at a guess, I’d say that the head priest finally noticed who he’s marching next to…he actually spent more time yelling at folks to not hate those who disagree than he did ragging on media sob stories.

              • Probably the single greatest thing Trump has done for this country is prompt the “elite” to display how truly stupid and vile they are.

                • It’s definitely brought out more of the sort of folks who argue, then expect you to ignore that they just tried to pull a fast one– repeatedly.

                  Had someone actually BRING UP that caravan of “refugees” as evidence that things were just like they have been since 9/11, and that it’s mostly “refugees,” and when I pointed out exactly who that caravan had to be working with in addition to the Mexican gov’t they tried to do an “oh yes, of course” switch. And use Cato arguments for what “migrants” will do over the records of what they have been doing….which shows that in two months, the number of illegals-with-children who didn’t show up for their hearings and were deported in absentia is about one sixth of the total number of refugees the entire rest of the world took in last year.
                  (The two month apprehended-after-entering-illegally-with-children was roughly half of that number. Can’t do two links, but title is Pew study: Rest of the world takes in more refugees than US for first time, it’s on the hill, and it was published july 5th.)

                  • Don’t worry. Same judge that said they couldn’t be separated and reinstated catch and release now says they cannot be deported even after legal process. That’ll fix it all.

                • And yet current outlook is them regaining power

                  • This time two years ago the current outlook was Hillary would be President.

                    If you look at how far the Democrat lead in the generic ballot has fallen this year, and then look at the kind of lunatics the Democrats are putting the – the “future of the Democrat party” can’t keep her foot out of her mouth for 15 minutes at a time – the odds of them taking the Senate are zero. It’s not impossible for them to take the House, but I’m not betting on it.

                    • Okay everyone put on our Peter Pan hats & repeat “I believe democrat blue wave implodes come November 2018, I believe!” That & VOTE & get friends, etc., to vote, the rabid, frothing, democrats can stay home, but …

    • richardmcenroe

      “The end justifies the means” is nothing more than a self-righteous cover for BECAUSE I WANT IT.

      • The ends never justify the means, but the results sometimes do.

        The results of Leftism, however, have been mass murder and misery. And they justify running the Left out of town on a rail. Tar and feathers optional.

    • Of course they’re not very smart. If they were smart, they would not be Leftists.

    • Certainly nowhere near as smart as they think they are.

      • This is the bigger problem. Top men with empathy and intelligence could pull strings and keep a working society. Todsy we have cargo cultists that think the wizard in oz was right when he said that degrees conferred intelligence and prefer to import a peasantry to lord over

    • “It’s DIFFERENT when we do it!”

  2. Part of it I suspect is the Left’s belief that they are mind readers. Who cares if that wasn’t really what the shirts said? Haque knows that it’s what they MEANT. By “make America great again” of course they mean “make America white again.” Whoever did that little touch-up job was just more clearly illuminating that fact.

    I suspect it’s one of the side effects of being convinced you’re on the side of the angels: anyone who disagrees with you must be doing so out of the worst possible motives, not out of honest disagreement.

    • You see this to a certain extent with political candidates. The lefty activists knew that Obama supported same sex marriage, even if he said otherwise in his public statements. But if someone accused Obama of supporting SSM, then the activists would point to those statements – which they believed to be lies – as”proof” that Obama was opposed really opposed to it.

      So if the left does that sort of thing…

    • They are just simply following the precedent set by the CBS/NBC’s opf the world who have declared that “fake but true” is a legitimate journalistic approach, and they have been using it ever since Dan Rather slandered GWB with the bogus national guard story and the phony documents he concocted as part of it.

  3. That’s pretty much my objection to “social justice” as a concept. Society is made up of individuals. It seems to me that doing justice to society means doing justice to all the individuals who make it up; but justice to individuals is just what “justice” means, and the concept of a separate “social justice” is redundant. And if “social justice” means something different then it means doing injustice to individuals.

    • Social is an adjective that means “Not”. Classic examples: Social Security, Social Justice, Social Science, Social Media.

    • The original meaning of the phrase is quite good– the “military intelligence” example is a good parallel; it takes it from meaning “smart” to meaning “stuff you know about those guys we’re fighting with/beside/near.”

      “Social justice” takes it from meaning “the state of being fair and in keeping with what is deserved by an individual” to “setting up the situation to make justice as easy to accomplish as possible.” Basically, make it easy to do good in a culture– private property laws are a good example, removing inherently unjust laws, etc.

      • And, just as with most terms that the Left is trying to co-opt and redefine, the original definition still gets trotted out whenever someone wants to make a motte & bailey argument. Point out someone using guilt-by-association and other classic SJW tactics and call him an SJW to his face, and one of the “arguments” that will be deployed against you is “But social justice means setting up society so that justice for all is easy to achieve. You know, Pledge of Allegiance stuff. You’re not against that, are you?”

        • At which point I would reply, “If I thought that was what you meant or that the results would be just, I would agree with you. Since neither is the case, however…”

        • I haven’t run into anybody with that much introspection yet– oddly enough, since I am in Catholic circles!

          Probably because the only one I can think of that would pay attention to the original meaning, rather than the political one, has already made up his mind– and since they’re already doing outreach with the Liberal Then Catholic, I don’t want to trip them.

          • I’ve had the social-justice definition pointed out by someone who is not dishonest, BTW. But that was over a decade ago, before the SJWs really started up their antics, so he/she was not engaging in motte-and-bailey at the time since the original meaning of “social justice” was the only one involved in that conversation. I haven’t brought it up with this person since, because he/she is family, however extended, and saying, “Hey look, people on “your side” of the argument are doing bad things” would do nothing but harm the family relationship and wouldn’t do a thing to change anyone’s mind. (Nor should it: that’s not a valid argument in the first place. E.g., “Don’t listen to Al Gore about climate because his money isn’t where his mouth is” would be a valid argument, but “Al Gore committed sexual assault, therefore he’s wrong about climate” would be a classic example of the ad hominem fallacy.)

            • Specifically, Al Gore putting his money where his mouth is (and all other relevant information as to his behavior in regards to what he claims to believe is happening) is relevant to identifying how confident HE is in what he’s saying– it’s silly to put more trust in what someone else is saying than they do, unless they can manage both a persuasive supporting argument *and* explain why they don’t.

  4. If that’s true, then why should we take anything else he says at face value?

    Even people who recognize the image as false will often read the rest of the article and presume it’s true without recognizing the inconsistency. Gell-Mann Amenesia. It really is a thing.

  5. But there are others who don’t really care.

    Yes, for some people the ends justify the means, because they simply want what they want – and that is their bottom line moral principle. They will lie, cheat and steal (alter photos, etc.) to get what they want.

    As some are more devious than others, the questions have often occurred to me when I see something such as that picture is – ‘What do they mean by that? and What is their purpose in presenting that?’

  6. “But it’s what they really think.”

    I was brought up to care about Truth, about if something was factual or not, that it was specifically true or not. One of the most horrible eye openers I ever experienced was when I got up the nerve to go up to a visiting pastor at a very large church that wasn’t even my church, way back when the internet was new, to tell him that the central anecdote of his sermon was based on something that was never said by someone who had never appeared on the show where she’d supposedly said it. It was the bravest thing I’d done because I was so terrified I was shaking but I did it anyway… I’m not just a little bit conflict adverse! Truth matters that much. But the eye opener was when I related this story to a woman I knew and admired and she said:

    “But that’s what they really think.”

    It had never entered my mind that caring about the Truth wasn’t a universal thing, that telling the Truth wasn’t understood by all people, and certainly Christians!, to be the utmost important thing. False witness! Right up there with murder. I expected this woman to share my values. My admiration for her immediately disappeared. Gone. She thought it was okay to lie.

    I’ve seen similar statements lately and from context they *might* mean that they agree that it’s wrong to lie but are just pointing out “what they really think.” Maybe, just maybe, it’s not a defense of lying.

    But there’s one thing that is certainly not in question and that is that these lies prove the prejudice of those who use them to illustrate “what they really think” except that what they show is what they really think of their fellow citizens. That they can’t prove it with out “planting evidence” makes them the bad guys.

    • “False witness! Right up there with murder.”

      Not only falsifying something by modifying it, but taking something out of context & changing the meaning of the display, comment, or …

      I’m not discussing “exaggerations” or “dramatic”, which the left often flat out calls lying, gleefully. Exaggerations don’t change context or meaning. Don’t get me wrong, it should be avoided, but if the core truth is known, being dramatic can emphasis the point.

      “little bit conflict adverse!” Guessing from the context, this is just a little sarcastic. Good for you. Sorry you had to loose your illusions. Me? No way could I have approached, would have said something to my personal circle, but never could approach the person (stranger) stating it.

    • Yeah, I remember the time I finally realized gun control was not being pursued by well-meaning idiots. They -know- it won’t work. They’re purposefully lying about it to get something else. Usually money, sometimes power.

      Then I realized it was the same thing with most Leftist (and most Rightist!) policies. Universal healthcare, great example. I’ve talked to some of the biggest cheeses in the USA on this issue. They -know- it won’t work. But it lets them get something they want. So they -lie-.

      Tell you what, it is really something to stand up in a seminar full of doctors, ask Mr. Grande Fromage a pointed question, (I think it was essentially ‘who’s paying for this?’) see mouths fall open around the room as people can’t believe some schmuck (me) just asked -that- question… and then watch the guy flat-out LIE at the front of the room. He just fucking lied.

      But what was even more interesting was watching all the other people pretend it hadn’t happened, and that he wasn’t lying. That was educational.

    • Sympathy– both on the shaking, and the pain of respect being violated like that.

  7. The problem (well, other than morally and the expected judgement from God) with lying is that lying about *a* person can work, because there aren’t many people who can know if it’s a lie or not. But the person lied about *always* knows that it’s a lie.

    Lying about half the population, lying about the motives of anyone wearing a MAGA hat or anyone expressing concern about pretty much anything, or our publishing industry, or the world… when the lies are toward most of those around you, they ALL know you’re lying.

  8. That’s a pretty darn obvious photoshop. I can’t believe anyone would believe nonsense like that without checking. But I guess when you believe your opponent is Satan you can justify thinking the absolute worst of them.

    • When you have decided to believe a thing you will see accordingly. Having determined, for example, that candidate A represents hate then you why would you question images that support ‘what you know to be true.’

      One of the greatest pains of my life was that moment when I truly realized that much of what I had believed and based my life upon was not true. It is akin to having the cosmic rug pulled out from under me; it was very frightening until I found my footing again.

      • Indeed. There was an XKCD cartoon about challenging the teacher on the standard Bernoulli principle of how airplanes stay in the air, by asking “Why can airplanes fly upside down then?”.

        I had a double-take, and it threw me for a loop, to learn that something I accepted my whole life up to that point about airplanes is flat-out wrong: that there’s nothing to make the air travel faster over the wing, and thus the Bernoulli principle doesn’t apply! Perhaps it wouldn’t have hit me so hard, had I not spent a good amount of time learning about helicopter dynamics in an attempt to design a little helicopter…

        For a couple of weeks, I wondered if *anything* I knew was true….

        • Actually, that’s wrong. Airplanes can fly upside down partly because of excess power. Some aircraft can fly for extended periods upside down – and their wing cambers are different. It’s also how flaps and ailerons work – I have personal experience with not having the flaps down (unintentionally) and trying to land. It’s not a fun time.

          • Better none than one up, one down. You bet I “untouched” the flap switch as soon as I realized the problem! Thanks be the one that moved returned to the up position.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Bernoulli is not the most fundamental analytical model of fluid mechanics.

          Navier-Stokes can be pretty hairy, and I don’t blame anyone for wanting to take babysteps when walking others through fluid dynamics. I wasn’t really ready for it a dozen years ago, and I sure hope I am now.

          (To my knowledge, there are no general solutions to the Navier-Stokes PDEs. When you want to understand a situation, first you search the literature for the closest possible solution. For an analytical solution, you work on your PDE solving skills, then try to find the right simplifying assumption. For numerical, learn CFD, and see if you get a similar answer to whatever analytical solutions you found. Experimental? Good luck. Needless to say, transient effects, changes in velocity, and changing geometry make things much more painful.)

          A fluids teacher with the background to walk you through the math of what GWB said, with the real world data and the various cases considered, might not have the background to respond as completely to a similarly challenging question about, say, waves in a canal.

        • I wonder why the Bernoulli explanation keeps getting brought out, since “the airplane wing is angled, so that as the plane moves forward, it pushes air down” is a much simpler explanation to grasp. Plane pushes air down, therefore (Newton’s third law), air pushes plane up. The greater the angle of the wing (which the pilot can control), the more it pushes air down, so the more the plane gets pushed up. When flying inverted, you still want to push air down in a real sense, which is “up” from your inverted perspective, so you just have to tilt the wing to push air “up” (which is really down) and you can fly inverted all you want.

          The real problem of flying planes inverted is fuel or other fluids like engine oil: most airplane fuel pumps are designed so that gravity helps them (e.g., by putting the intake on the bottom of the fuel tank or other similar methods) and when gravity is pulling the fuel up, you can eventually run out of fuel available to pump into the engines. Most military airplanes are designed to take a small amount of upside-down time (since that’s often needed while maneuvering during a dogfight), but sustained inverted flight would eventually starve the engine of fuel, or of motor oil, or some vital fluid. (Some planes, like the ones the Blue Angels fly, are designed for sustained acrobatic maneuvers, so their fuel pump can function no matter what direction gravity is pulling).

          Source: https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/15981/how-can-airplanes-fly-upside-down and other related questions from the Aviation Stack Exchange site (which I won’t link to so that this comment only has a single link and stays out of moderation limbo).

          • Modern military aircraft are designed for sustained, positive g, inverted maneuvering. Start tossing in negative g and things get interesting. Civilian aerobatic planes actually do more negative g work than military birds do. (It’s not fun, IMHO, but it’s quite an experience. The one time I completely greyed out was going from negative to positive g. I was prepared for it, but it’s still a seriously strange feeling. Kids, do not try this at home!)

            • At least the fighters are. Heavies, not so much.

              • Right, not sure I’d want to try to fly a Buff (B-52) inverted. Although the test pilot did barrel role the original 707 (dash-80) at a Boeing demo (in front of the president of the company no less) as that maneuver is 1g stress (down) all the way around.

                • Even the B1 with its type dysphoria would not like it. Big differences in how structurally designed between fighter and everything else

          • BobtheRegisterredFool

            Where do the teacher’s get the curriculum from, and what is it designed for?

            Many teacher’s do not understand the subject they are teaching fully. They may have to rely on another expert to prepare the material.

            Fluid mechanics has a lot of painful stuff going on analytically. Forex, some of the basic advanced fluid mechanics tells us that there should be no drag on a cylinder under certain circumstances. Experimental data tells us that there is drag. At least one of the textbooks I have out on loan, I forget which, claims to explain which oversimplification causes the model to have that result. (I have forgotten the details, and I’m not sure how well I understood in the first place.)

            Net pressure across a wing shaped body is force over area. Bernoulli tells us this happens. The ‘it is at an angle, and relative wind pushes’ makes intuitive sense, and tells us this happens. Which one to use? (There are cases where both may be true enough.) Well, what works well as an intermediate step towards more advanced and more accurate models? Bernoulli is fairly simple when handled in a similar way to more advanced methods. ‘Wing as a flat plate at an angle to the relative velocity of air’ I think has to cover boundary layer effects. My (fairly uninformed) intuition is that the latter mode has a lot of hairy stuff that really needs very advanced fluid mechanics to really grok. Best to save the ‘well, actually, there is more going on than just Bernoulli’ for the flight mechanics course, for the people who might become flight dynamicists.

            Plus, once you start looking at force balances on an airplane, I intuit that the intuitive wing model has issues of balance and stability that you would need the hairy advanced fluid mechanics to address. Bernoulli, I think, might have less moment about the wing. That said, actual aircraft design seems to heavily use experimental work with models in wind tunnels. CFD is advancing to replace some of that, and the complex geometries are probably always going to make a pure analytical solution more expensive than CFD.

    • There are also a lot of people who aren’t particularly adept at spotting photoshops. They fall for this kind of thing all the time.

      • Spotting a photoshop requires the initial step of thinking, “Does what I’m looking at seem like something that my worst enemy is stupid enough to do?”

        • Which requires a certain degree of objectivity about one’s worst enemy. I’d argue that much of the American Left have such a distorted view of anybody to the right of Lenin that they no longer have that degree of objectivity. Heck, we’ve got a Republican President who’s arguably more liberal than Democratic icon JFK, and he’s denounced by the Left as “literally Hitler.”

    • I saw it pop up on my facebook feed– big screen, but I couldn’t tell it was ‘shopped in the small picture and honestly the jokey hair bits caught my eye more. I figured it must be a fake in one way or another because it would’ve been all over the news, and on looking closer at a big picture I could see the middle looked bad, but it took a “similar image search” with the ladies in a different pose before I could be sure it wasn’t just cruddy photo management.

  9. Yep, definitely a piss-poor photo editing job. Problem is, it’s just good enough that most people aren’t going to check; especially since most don’t have the time to run it down. And many are going to see it say what it originally said, not what he’s edited it to say. That’s just the way people’s mental filters work.

    • yes, but i could tell its a bad shop job at a casual glance… looking at it for a long period, i can literally point out what is wrong.

      • It’s not obvious to me. and I’m usually pretty good at spotting that. Help me out?
        (And it could just be that my monitor settings make it too small to see any issues.)

        • I’m not great at photoshop detection, but while the other words show signs of being wrapped around bodies, “WHITE” looks like it’s on a flat piece of whiteboard. Of course, I didn’t catch that until it was pointed out as a p-shop and I looked again.

          Also, are the sunglasses on Mrs. “America” and “Again” real or shopped. I refuse to use Google if I can avoid it and don’t know image search.

          I’ve photoshops done with less skill.

        • The perspective isn’t quite right on the letters, and they don’t form to contours the ladies in question obviously have. The rightmost woman has obviously has her skin tone adjusted if not her head totally replaced. The third and fourth womens’ hair has been replaced. They also have fake sunglasses, or they were wearing real glasses and the lenses were darkened to make them sunglasses.(there is no specular highlight on these ‘sunglasses’- no reflection visible) Several if not all of the people in the second row have had their skin tones adjusted and/or heads replaced, especially the woman in the center.

          • Now that you say it, those bits *are* obvious.

            • Part of the problem is that it *could* just be a really cruddy photo, too– one of the tricks to hide a photoshop is to use auto-adjust and some compression.

          • I caught the letters, and the sunglasses looked off, but I couldn’t figure out why. Not sure I can make out the face swaps and skin tone alterations, but my eyes are still slightly funky.

            • Just so long as you aren’t using the same meaning of funky you use when talking about your underarms.

              • Recovering eyes after eye surgery take funky to a whole new level. 🙂

                OTOH, it’s just over 3 months since the last(!!!!) procedure. Modulo one pupil stuck on “medium”, it’s close to fully recovered.

  10. Springboarding a bit.

    I’ve never liked the expression “the end justifies the means” either in straight or ironic mode because sometimes it does. Point out to someone using it ironically that there are cases where it does apply (the means of shooting someone dead is justified by the end of protecting ones family) and they’re “but that’s different” without articulating why it’s different.

    In my own thinking there’s three tests where (whether you call it “the end justifies the means” or not) doing something that on its own would be bad becomes justifiable in a particular situation or for a particular end:

    1) The end must, itself, be something “good”. “The Holodomor was necessary to get rid of the Kulaks and enforce the collectivization of farmland in the Soviet Union” (an argument I’ve actually heard), breaks down once you recognize that “getting rid of the Kulaks” (by starving them to death) and enforced collectivization were themselves evil. Evil cannot justify evil.

    2) The means must be necessary to the end. At the very least, one must reasonably believe that said means are necessary. There might be circumstances where I would have to perform emergency surgery on someone (stranded in the wilderness, for instance), but I can’t just cut someone who has an inflamed appendix open when the option of taking them to the hospital is available.

    3) The “means” cannot be “bigger” than the good “end” to be achieved–even if we accepted collectivization as a “good” the lives lost in the Holodomor weigh far larger than any “good” accomplished. This one is a bit more complicated in some ways because how do you weigh, for instance, one person killing six attackers in defense of themselves–one life vs. six. But you can’t weigh it like that, or not only like that. Six who threaten the lives of innocents vs. one who does not seems to me a much more justifiable balance. And add in that the six are unlikely to stop with the one, that one isn’t just defending himself but himself and all who come after.

    It seems to me the “bad” examples of “the end justifies the means” (the kind of examples used to claim that it does not) fails one or more of these tests.

      • “I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all… I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again, I would.”

        • There are ugly parts to war. There are certain rules that are looser in war. There are some things you shouldn’t ever do. That is the basis of war crimes tribunals.

    • If the ends do not justify the means it probably indicates that the ends are poorly defined.

    • And I think I have tonight’s blog post.

    • I fear I must disagree with you. The ends NEVER justify the means, because the ends are just intentions. Results can justify means, but that in turn means that you are obligated to do serious analysis on your means and your ends to see if the results you hope for are likely…or even possible.

      This is where the Progressive Left has been conspicuously failing for some time. ‘Renewable energy’ cannot, for the forseeable future, replace fossil fuels, because it cannot be balanced across a power grid. Thus all the propagandizing of wind and solar power, all the subsudising of them, amd all the demonizing of nuclear power, cannot be justified by the ‘ends’ stated; a more ecologically friendly oower grid. It simlky ain’t gonna happen.

      All the drumbeat and lying about climate change cannot be justified by the declaired ends, because they will have no effect whatsoever on the Earth’s temperature.

      Ends cannot be justification. They can be selling points. Justification comes from results.

      • the ‘ends’ is the results.

        • Not the way people who say “The ends justify the means” unironically use it. Nor people who carefully don’t SAY it, but think it.

          The Left has always held that the ‘end’ of True Communism justified the ‘means’ of revolution….and yet the results of revolution somehow never are ‘True Communism’ as delineated by the Left.

          • Not the way people who say “The ends justify the means” unironically use it.

            But when they’re doing so they’re doing so because they presume that will be the result. That they’re wrong doesn’t change that. What makes it a failure is 1) the end itself is evil 2) the means is unecessary (indeed, totally wonky since that “means” can never produce the society they claim; now if they were looking at genetic engineering to turn our descendants into the ants that would be required for it to actually work…), and we never even get to the third one on this one.

            If justification only comes from results, then every surgeon who loses a patient is a murderer. Or, to make a closer parallel, every doctor who believed false medical theories that ended up killing their patients because of it was a murderer.

            Note, this is different from those who claim that communism will be this great thing and are claiming otherwise to further their own ends. Evil ends cannot be used to justify evil means.

      • because the ends are just intentions

        That is an interesting definition. In what dictionary will I find it?

        Consider that when I hear someone talking about “the end of that road” in respect somebody’s proposed policy, invariably they are talking about what they think the actual result will be in direct contrast to the stated intentions. Exactly the opposite meaning from the one you just gave.

        Results can justify means

        So, if a patient dies during surgery, cutting him open with a knife is thus aggravated assault, or some form of manslaughter? A war for liberation is only justified if it succeeds?

        The truth is, I almost never hear someone say “the ends justify the means” straight. It’s almost always used ironically to claim that it doesn’t. It’s used that way so often that people assume that the reverse is actually true: the ends do not justify the means. And so we get this attempt to redefine terms to force it to fit.

        When people give examples as to why ends don’t justify the means are things these examples fail one of the “tests” I gave: the ends were bad themselves, the means were not reasonably necessary to achieving the ends, or the means were themselves so bad as to completely overwhelm any “good” end.

      • But in the classic case of using violence in self-defense, it’s explicitly the intentions that justify the means. “I shot him because I didn’t like his face” isn’t a valid defense, even if the guy you shot was (unbeknownst to you) drawing a gun and about to shoot you one second later. But “I shot him because I saw him pulling his gun and I knew he was going to shoot me” is perfectly valid self-defense. The only thing that changed is your intention: “I didn’t like him” makes it murder, “I was defending myself” means you walk free (if you live in a state with sensible laws. Don’t try this in California.)

    • This analysis certainly applies to the third scenario, but it might apply to other scenarios as well.

      We don’t normally think about one person killing six in self defense in terms of “the end justifies the means” because we justify it by a different way: namely, we have a largely unwritten (but reinforced by law) social contract that basically says “you don’t get to use force to get someone to do your bidding”. When someone uses force against you — either by threatening your life, or downright putting it in danger — they forfeit the right to an assumption that no one gets to hurt you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a single person against an innocent family, or six against an innocent individual; by abandoning the social contract, they lose all protections of said contract.

      They can regain the protection, but only by removing the threat of violence they created.

      Perhaps there are situations where it makes sense to do horrible things to get good outcomes; however, I get the impression that most people intuitively believe that if you have to do something horrible to get something good, that “good” thing probably isn’t all that great to begin with. Combine this with all the horrible means that have been done to get ends that end up being just as horrible — I suspect it leaves a horrible taste in a lot of people’s mouths.

      Then there are people like Che Guevera: they choose the ends they want, because it justifies the miserable, horrible, downright *evil* things they want to do!

      Thus, if someone does something horrible to justify the alleged good they are trying to achieve, I think it’s fair to consider that person to be horrible too.

      • Then there are people like Che Guevera: they choose the ends they want, because it justifies the miserable, horrible, downright *evil* things they want to do!

        And when they do, they tend to pick ends that are “miserable, horrible, downright *evil*” things as well because that’s just the way their minds work. And, thus, they fail my first test.

        Thus, if someone does something horrible to justify the alleged good they are trying to achieve, I think it’s fair to consider that person to be horrible too.

        There was a movie. Don’t remember the title; never saw it. One of the “bad guys” as his final act of evil was to shut the door on a giant “lifeboat” leaving a lot of people outside to die. This was the horrible thing that was supposed to tell us he was a horrible person. But here’s the thing: if he hadn’t done that then all of them would have died; the people in the lifeboat and the people outside because the giant wave would have crashed through the open door sinking the boat.

        Sometimes the world just sucks and there are no non-horrible options and you do the best you can in a horrible situation.

        • I recently watched a video where (among other things) Bill Whittle described the difference between suicide missions and missions where you know you’ll die.

          He doesn’t consider an engineer going into the nuclear reactor to stop the reaction to be suicide, because he’s going to die anyway — but if he goes in and fixes the reactor, he may get a fatal dose of radiation, but he saves the lives of others.

          He also described a scenario where someone in a lifeboat filled beyond capacity is pushing people away from the boat — with the problem being that if they take on more people, the boat is going to sink, and no one is going to be saved.

          These scenarios are interesting, but they aren’t typically associated with “the ends justify the means”. Other principles are usually invoked to justify the actions involved. And you’re right: it’s silly to try to establish someone as a bad person, because they let people outside a lifeboat die, when *everyone* would die if everyone were put on that lifeboat.

          That phrase most commonly seems to be used to justify acting like thuggish towards people they disagree with because they vaguely think their opponents are trying to establish a dictatorship. It’s people like this that I generally suspect of being horrible. (That, and the person working for a non-profit who’s a jerk, or worse, and justifies it because he’s working for a “good cause”.)

          • Your first example is also applicable to the “hard case” of medically necessary abortion. The key difference between that and any other abortion is the intent: to save what life can be saved.

            In the most common case (ectopic pregnancy), allowing the embryo to grow will kill the mother and the growing child. Removing the embryo will save the mother’s life, and the child still dies. It’s not a case of intentionally killing one to save the other, but simply saving the other.
            Other abortions don’t really have that aspect.


    • The thing that got me thinking about this was the number of times when I was talking about some policy in Realpolitik terms–what might be achievable in the short run even though it falls far short of ideal–somebody will come and look at the “deal making” necessary to get the gain, sneer at the “compromise” and smuggly spout off about “The Ends (not) Justifying the Means”. It’s usually some big-L (Libertarian) type decrying that the policy in question includes a lot of stuff we don’t want–but have to agree to in order to get something we do want and which is actually a net movement in the direction we want to go.

      So the way I have generally encountered it is being used in smug sanctimony to dismiss legitimate “you do what you have to, to make the gains you can” and is why we can’t have nice things.

      And it’s generally Big-L types (largely because the policies I favor universally push in the “L” direction–I don’t know of anything on a public policy position which is too libertarian).

      • Dan Hamilton

        The way to say that is “The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good”. So many demand the Perfect which they will NEVER get and despise the Good which they could have today.

    • Most folks haven’t been taught how to think about stuff– even when they have the categories.

      They don’t HAVE the categories of “good,” “neutral,” “bad but can be justified” and “flat out unjust.” They probably have roughly “good” and “bad.”

      If you don’t have the idea of an inherently unjust action, you can’t explain why a “bad” action is sometimes OK and sometimes not, depending on why you do it, even if you can understand that obviously it sometimes is OK.

      For an example, gutting pregnant ladies is bad.
      I’ve had it done to me, multiple time, with premeditation…because it beats the kid or I dying. (C-section.)

      • And a lot of this is because our society caved to the progressives in the past, and now we refuse to teach morals. Yet, a specific set of morals are a large part of what Western Civilization is based on.

        Relativism would have been fine if we had insisted “OK, you don’t agree with our morals; great. Then go make your own country right over there.”

  11. Noble lies.

  12. there is so much derp out there that is real, there is no reason to make stuff up

    • Making stuff up requires constancy and a better memory than I have. Keeping plot lines straight is enough of a challenge.

  13. Strange parallel just occurred to me.
    The Spanish civil war was a precursor and testbed for World War II, aerial bombing and mobile rather than entrenched battles for example. Tested in Spain and applied across all of Europe and in the Pacific as well.
    Now examine the tactics used against us in the Sad Puppies kerfuffle. That constant litany of ad hominem attacks of racist, sexist, homophobic, neo-nazi ad nauseam.
    Have to hand it to the left, once they fixate on a methodology they don’t turn loose. Every day we are inundated with that same story line writ large and applied to at least half of the population of the country.

    • And yet, an immunity.. one might even call it.. ‘resistance’ (of the real kind) is developing. I’m even seeing cases here and there, now and then, of the SJW that gets mugged by Virtue Signallers and discovers that Weight of Evidence is a Good Idea, but his/her fellows don’t care about that, only the “Seriousness” (Apparent Magnitude, really) of the Charge. Enlightenment, does not, alas, automatically follow. But long journeys, single steps, and all that.

      • We would so hope that some of the more philosophically-inclined lefties would be getting worried about the mob that they have whistled up and abetted …

        • “It’s just a few nuts on the internet. We don’t have any control over them. No one takes them seriously. And you guys have nuts, too.”

          ~Many liberals I know in person.

      • I’ve known a couple of former progressives who switched sides because they could no longer ignore just how much they were being lied to by their own people. Funny thing is, they mostly became (somewhat confused) Libertarians.

        • I don’t really expect progressives or liberals who get fed up to become Republicans. In the end, what I really wish is that they’d become LIBERAL. Libertarian is maybe as close to that as they can see their way to go.

    • The universities are the big testing ground for the nonsense the left wants to impose on society, including the restrictions on speech, the kangaroo courts, the self-denunciations, etc., This is exactly how Mao’s Cultural Revolution was pushed into broader Chinese society by the Chinese Communists, and the left is using the same exact model to pursue the same kind of result here. Indeed, it can accurately be called Mao’s Cultural Revolution Redux.

      • Did you see where a teacher suggested that alleged rapists on campus be killed?

        • Yes. A good source to follow the status of Mao’s Cultural Revolution Redux is The College Fix, which has had some excellent reports on the sheer insanity going on.

      • One of the biggest irritants to me, as someone who works for the campus police, is that every time a conservative group tries to get a speaker on campus they get turned down because they can’t afford the extra security. It’s not Milo or Ben causing the problems, it’s the ***holes who try to disrupt them. But the cost falls on the poor group with limited resources. Talk about a heckler’s veto.

  14. /me goes back to looking for the way IN to that labyrinth…

  15. I just hope those four women have a good attorney. Who will pound these Leftist twats into the ground for slander.

    Lies. They are what happens when you get rid of dueling.

  16. Dan Hamilton

    “(the means of shooting someone dead is justified by the end of protecting ones family) ”
    I am sorry but you have this wrong.
    The Problem exists “protecting ones family”
    The Means is “shooting someone for threating your family”
    The Problem Exists BEFORE the Means is selected. The Problem is REAL!

    In “The Ends Justifies the Means” The Ends ARE NOT REAL, They are in the FUTURE. Example The Ends – Stop the Holocaust. The Means – Kill Hitler as a child. But no one knows it this will actually work. That is the Ends Justify the Means.

    All your rules and such are bunk. The Ends Never justify the Means.
    If the Ends (Problems) exist – Defeat the NAZIs, the Holocaust, or the Holodomor, then any means may be justified in stopping them.

    But if the Ends (Problem) is in the FUTURE – example “Trump putting people in concentration camps”, The Means – “destroying Trump” is NOT JUSTIFIED.

    IF the Ends (Problems) do NOT exist yet, The Ends Never justify the Means!!! If the Ends (Problems) DO Exist then the statement doesn’t matter, the Means are Justified by the Problem.

    Selecting the MEANS and acting on them before the ENDS exist is ALWAYS WRONG!

    That is the difference you are looking for.

    • Except your use of definitions doesn’t work either. Both the Holodomor and the Holocaust were used to deal with “problems” their government saw at the time. Yes, I’m sure you disagree with them about those being real problems (as do I), but do you not think there are people who disagree with whether half a dozen thugs breaking into your house is really a threat to your life? (Trick question: folk have made that exact argument when someone defends themselves from said thugs.)

      But note that both of them fail my tests. Both of them were actually for evil ends, even if we could define a good end, neither was necessary for it, and would have been way out of proportion to any “good” (presuming one found something) accomplished.

      Now let’s flip it around. Take the “taxation is theft” idea popular among many of the big-L types. Even small-L types look askance at any tax not absolutely necessary. Taking the product of someone’s commerce (whether that commerce is of their own labor or of other goods and services) is inherently wrong. Yet there are certain problems that justify it–having our nation invaded by someone who would rather take what we have than build a successful economy for themselves is one of them. So that “problem” is for the future. Unless someone is actually invading us the problem hasn’t happened yet. By the argument you just made, taxing people so as to have a force trained, equipped and ready so this future problem (which hasn’t happened yet) is a means (theft) that is not justified by the ends (war that hasn’t happened yet). Yet this one passes my tests: actual good end (not being invaded), necessary means (some level of taxation even if current levels are far too high), and proportional–being invaded is so much worse than the theft/taxation.

      • To be fair, one can make the case that we can remove the element of “in the future” by positing that by having armed forces ready for fighting off invasion at a moment’s notice, we deter invasions from happening immediately.

        But then, I would propose that the best way to avoid invasions is to have a well-armed and well-trained citizen’s militia, which brings us back to the issue of “is there a better way to address the issue at hand”?

        I can’t help but come to the conclusion that the idea of “means justifying the ends” is squirrely, to say the least! It gives me the idea to propose that if you can’t justify the issue by other means, then “ends justifying the means” is probably a bad way to justify a particular action.

        • Gah, I meant “ends justify the means”.

          “Means justify the ends” is an idea of another philosopher — I can’t remember who, at the moment — who suggested (as I understand it) that the ends doesn’t matter if you’re doing good things.

          Which is frankly just as bad, if not worse. How can you be doing good things if, in the end, things are worse off? The road to Hell is paved in good intentions, and all that!

          I would propose that, in general, if your ends are horrible, then no matter of means can justify it; and similarly, if your means are horrible, then your end goal probably isn’t as great as you think it is.

          At some point, we should be asking ourselves *both* “what are our ends, and are we achieving them?” and “how can we get to our ends without causing harm — or at least, do everything we can do to minimize the harm — along the way?”.

          (I add the minimize part because, as someone pointed out before, surgery is a justified harm; however, if we’re going to have to cut someone open, the *least* we can do is make the incision as small as possible, to minimize recovery time.)

          • While I agree with your discomfort with that flip-flopped concept, I would propose that within narrow constraints it is not a bad idea.

            If you know that your actions will produce no lasting impact (it won’t end poverty or clear the homeless off the streets of San Fran), but they are good actions (building a homeless shelter, giving $5 to a beggar), then the fact they won’t achieve some great end doesn’t make them any less worthy. Or, say, protesting something you consider a great evil (and not done like an a*hole or idiot), even though it may never change a single mind.
            Also, see “don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.”

            • Dan Hamilton

              “If you know that your actions will produce no lasting impact (it won’t end poverty or clear the homeless off the streets of San Fran), but they are good actions (building a homeless shelter, giving $5 to a beggar)”

              The problem is that YOUR solutions make the Problem worse. They are not neutral. You are correct, IF they are neutral. In most cases they aren’t.

        • To be fair, one can make the case that we can remove the element of “in the future” by positing that by having armed forces ready for fighting off invasion at a moment’s notice, we deter invasions from happening immediately.

          In which case you’ve watered down the distinction to the point of meaninglessness.

          But then, I would propose that the best way to avoid invasions is to have a well-armed and well-trained citizen’s militia,

          That’s a theory that folk have proposed, but it would also be a pretty big gamble. While I have argued reasons why the US Military and all its vast hardware, even if it would obey such orders, would be at a severe disadvantage in facing an aroused armed citizenry, most of those reasons revolve around the twin sensitivities to collateral damage and public opinion. The concept of “are they going to nuke Des Moines because there are some insurgents hiding among the population?” Someone not bothered by collateral damage and public opinion might be perfectly fine with doing just that. They’ll only “conquer” a scorched Earth? They may be fine with that too. Taking the US off the playing field as an economic power may be a perfectly acceptable “victory condition” for them.

          Not a gamble I’m willing to take.

          It gives me the idea to propose that if you can’t justify the issue by other means

          Do you honestly think that everything can be justified without appealing to what it is intended to accomplish? I use the example again of cutting someone’s stomach open. Without the “to remove an inflamed appendix” that’s felony assault. The goal, matters. What is intended to accomplish, and what one can reasonably expect to accomplish (and where that line falls is something about which reasonable people can disagree), does influence the validity of a course of action.

          The thing is, people want a blanket statement like “the end justifies the means” to always be true or always be false. This leads to twisting words around to try to make it fit that desired truth/falseness when the simple truth is that blanket statements are rarely (SWIDT?) always one or the other. The real world is more complicated than that.

          If you claim it’s always false, then when you have to do something unpleasant toward a longer term goal (like, say, rise in resistance to a government turned tyrannical), then somebody points out that unpleasantness and ask if you think the ends justify the means, well, then you’re left trying to explain how by using this and so definition of words that you don’t really think the ends justify the means and lose sight of the simpler question: In this case, does it? Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t. I think the three tests I gave provide a good start to determining whether a particular case does or does not. I might add a fourth “can the ends reasonably be expected to be achieved by these means?” although I consider that an application of the 2nd “is it necessary”?

          • “The thing is, people want a blanket statement like “the end justifies the means” to always be true or always be false. ”

            I’m more inclined to think that, more often than not, people use this term when (1) they want to do something awful, (2) they think their cause is moral and noble, and (3) they don’t want to take the time to find a better way to get what they want — often, it’s because they are impatient and want what they want NOW.

            The Colonials didn’t rebel against the Crown until after a long train of abuses, and after a bit of effort to fix them. A lot of Leftists want to have their revolution now, though, so they simultaneously gin up “abuses” and are determined to steamroll over their opponents — citing “the ends justify the means”.

            A lot of the examples we’ve been using, whether it be taxing to support the military, or cutting someone open to remove an appendix, among other things — they *aren’t* justified by using the phrase “the ends justifies the means”, because there are so many ways to justify what needs to be done, that “the ends justifies the means” gets lost in the noise.

            If anything, this conversation has convinced me that, if the *only* reason to take action is “the ends justifies the means”, it means that not only the action itself, but probably the means people are attempting to obtain as well, are likely problematic, if not outright evil.

            • I’m more inclined to think that, more often than not, people use this term when (1) they want to do something awful, (2) they think their cause is moral and noble, and (3) they don’t want to take the time to find a better way to get what they want — often, it’s because they are impatient and want what they want NOW.

              Whereas I’ve seen it most used as a sarcastic sneer at anyone suggesting a practical approach to a problem that, not being perfect, has downsides. Since the downsides are bad, the whole thing must be discarded.

              they *aren’t* justified by using the phrase “the ends justifies the means”

              This makes no sense. “The ends justifies the means” is not a justification. That would be circular. It’s a description of a certain pairing of circumstances: doing something you otherwise would rather not (“bad” for sufficient values of “bad”) in order to achieve a desired result. The results one reasonably expects to obtain (ends) from taking certain actions (means) makes those actions acceptable.

              You have to look at the specific ends and the specific means to determine whether describing them that way would be accurate or not. However, people have an emotional attachment to the statement “the ends justify the means” being always false, largely because certain circumstances that it is supposedly used to “justify” invoked truly horrific acts producing little to no “good” result (the Holodomor, the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward, and, yes, the Holocaust). But that it’s been misapplied (usually by later generations of apologists) does not make the concept innately false.

              People make exactly that kind of assessment all the time. Discipline a child. Inflicting discomfort or pain on a child in your care (means) is justified by the end goal of raising a well-behaved functioning adult (ends). It’s not usually couched in terms of “the ends justifying the means” but the phrase still applies.

              And, as I’ve said, people use “the ends justify the means” to disparage voting for a less than perfect candidate who is at least better than the major opponent and has a chance of winning. Or when talking about political “horse trading” which involves giving ground in one area to make gains in another. You can either try to get involved in semantic games trying to finely parse words (inventing new definitions more often than not) to try to say that this isn’t really ends justifying means or you can go for “sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t” and focus on the details of the specific issue to determine whether this time it does or doesn’t.

              “So you think the ends justifies the means” is right up there with “racist” as something people throw out as though it’s some ultimate trump card.

              • I have personally never seen (or perhaps never noticed) the use of “the ends justify the means” to disparage a less-than-perfect candidate; that you bring it up as such, though, a counter-argument immediately comes to mind: “the perfect is the enemy of the good”. Which has its own problems, to be sure (in particular, an observation that the good can be the enemy of the great — when both good and great options are available, but for some reason, someone is fixated on the good over the great)….

                In any case, when I see “the ends justify the means”, it’s usually to justify something like Antifa or the Communist notion of “the Great Lie” (ie, no lie is too big if it forwards the cause of Communism).

                It doesn’t help me in this case that most of the cases we’ve been discussing here are either weird corner cases, or things that can be fairly justified by means other than the phrase “the ends justify the means”. The context you provide, though, presents a new debate: is it better to stick to your principles, even if it means you lose, or do you compromise some of your principles so you could win a part of what you desire? There are no easy answers to that, either — except that *sometimes* you stand up for your principles and lose, and *sometimes* you compromise and win what you can — but you can only decide on what’s right on a case-by-case basis.

      • Dan Hamilton

        “Both the Holodomor and the Holocaust were used to deal with “problems” their government saw at the time.”
        They had a PROBLEM and devised a Means to solve it. Problem before Means.
        The rest of us who had a Problem with their Means and had to decide the Means we were going to use to stop them. Again Problem before Means.

        “But note that both of them fail my tests. Both of them were actually for evil ends,”
        The German Government did NOT see the Holocaust as Evil. Evil is in the EYE of the person looking at it.
        There is no universal definition of Evil. What is evil for Christians (Murder), the Quran demands that Muslims do.

        • The German Government did NOT see the Holocaust as Evil

          And, therefore, did not need to use the excuse “the end justifies the means.” It’s only folk coming later, trying to show how “the ends justify the means” is a false concept, where it gets applied–glossing over the fact that evil ends cannot be used to justify bad means so it’s actually a bad example of what they’re trying to say.

          There is no universal definition of Evil.

          This statement could be applied to the means themselves, not just the ends, in which case the whole argument of saying that “the ends justify the means” is false falls apart. It becomes then an emotional argument, not a rational one.

        • Correction; there is no universally accepted definition of evil.

          There is a significant difference between the two.

    • If the Ends (Problems) exist – Defeat the NAZIs, the Holocaust, or the Holodomor, then any means may be justified in stopping them.
      Ah, but NO. That’s the whole point – even really good ends don’t justify ANY means to produce them. Your means must be as good as possible. Period.

      Since we’re talking WW2 in general – the atom bomb was not justified because the end was so important that ANY means was appropriate. The atom bomb was justified because other means of achieving the end of WW2 in the Pacific were even worse options, getting a LOT more people killed (on both sides).
      One of the reasons we don’t use nukes now is that our lesser solutions are so much more capable (and less vulnerable). We can achieve our ends without resorting to that means.

      • I would also add that, in general, during WWII, Geneva Conventions were observed. The only reason why they were violated by Americans, wasn’t “we must use ANY means to win this war”, it was “our opponents (it’s my understanding that this applied to Japanese soldiers and German SS units) don’t observe Geneva Convention codes, so we won’t observe them when dealing with them either.”

        Basically, it’s an instance of “if you’re going to play by civilized rules, we are, too — but if you don’t, then all bets are off” that matches the self defense scenarios I already commented on previously….

        • I doubt the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki violated the Geneva Conventions at all. They were not banned chemical weapons. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki had military facilities and factories intermingled with civilian population in both cities (which in itself is a Geneva violation) and bombing such targets is not considered a Geneva convention violation. Indeed, both were legitimate targets. Since the bombs were not barred by the conventions, nor the targets, the bombings were not in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

          • I wasn’t even thinking about the nuclear bombings. I was thinking more of the tactics that the Japanese soldiers would use — things like waving a flag of surrender to get American soldiers to come out, and then shooting at them. After having that happen to American soldiers a few times is enough for them to ignore white flags, and take on a savage “take no prisoners” mentality.

            Heck, I would go so far as to say it’s *necessary* to take on such a mentality under such conditions!

            • Just fyi –

              My understanding is that under the Geneva Conventions, you are never compelled to accept someone’s surrender. And there might be very good reasons for not doing so. But once you do accept a surrender, then the Conventions kick in with rules on the treatment of prisoners (and your inability to follow those rules in your present circumstances might be why you didn’t accept a surrender).

              The Japanese, of course, were notorious for not living up to that part of the Conventions.

        • But according to the Geneva Conventions (as I understand them, at least), the attitude of “our opponents don’t observe Geneva Convention codes, so we won’t observe them when dealing with them either” is not a violation of the code! Rather, that’s the built-in enforcement mechanism (in fact, the only enforcement mechanism that it could have): if you don’t play by the rules, then the gloves are lifted from your opponent as well. Want your opponent to treat your prisoners well? Then you treat theirs well. In game theory terms, it’s a classic prisoner’s dilemma setup, with the classic solution (best strategy in the long run is to play tit-for-tat and let everyone else know that you’ll do so).

          • scott2harrison

            Which means that our military has been violating the conventions for decades by treating our savage opponents too well. All the things that we did not do that the progs claimed we did, we should have been doing to enforce the conventions.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              IIRC Yes And No.

              Part of the problem is that we (the US) haven’t signed some of the newest conventions which have put more restrictions on the signers that have to deal with “irregular forces”. Oh, IIRC some of the new conventions were pushed by the Late Soviet Union. [Sarc] Can’t imagine why they wanted them. [/Sarc]

              Of course, the Conventions that the US signed allow retaliations against violators of the Conventions, they don’t mandate retaliations against violators.

              Too many American Politicians (and the American News Media) wouldn’t support Legal Retaliations. 😦

      • Dan Hamilton

        “may be justified”
        There is a reason I used those words.

  17. Off-Topic:
    I think I mentioned a while back on here about using a book for homeschooling and for Bible study that had a great timeline that would help link history together. Someone responded that I should post the info when I found it. So here it is:
    The Timetables of History, The New Third Revised Edition, by Bernard Grun, based upon Werner Stein’s Kulturfahrplan, sub-titled “A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events”

    The timetable runs from 4500 BC to the 90s, with 7 columns on each double-page: History, Politics; Literature, Theater: Religion, Philosophy, Learning; Visual Arts; Music; Science, Technology, Growth; Daily Life.
    There’s a ~90-page index at the back, too.

    The Fourth Edition is here:

  18. That’s not even a very good Photoshop. Anyone who falls for that needs to have their eyes or their biases examined. Possible both.

    • My biases are fine, thank you. 🙂 However, I’ll admit to eye problems, but they are better than they were a while ago.

      I’ve seen really obvious ‘shops, but what is so obviously ‘shopped about the picture?

      • The explanation above (about the words not curving as they should) is good, but on my screen the pic is small enough that’s not obvious at all.
        (I’ve got a new setup, with nice graphics, and… all the print and such in webpages appears to have gotten smaller. I haven’t aged that much since I started the new build.)

  19. You see this constantly from “professional” media all the time. Take for just one example all the “hate” crime (can we please get rid of this insipid qualifier?) hoaxes that happened right after Trump’s election. The WaPo was a prolific offender in that they never even bothered to run corrections or updates on these hoaxes. They wrote the headlines, pasted together the fake news and tossed it off into the ether with never a second thought. Democracy dies in darkness indeed.

    • I have yet to hear a good reason why a person who is dead from murder in the first degree is deader because they were murdered due to skin color/faith/sexual preference/having or not having a Y chromosome than from some other cause.

      • I would propose that someone who murders in hate at least has an understandable motive. Someone who murders at random exhibits an even higher level of evil than pure hatred.

        I recall a story a few years ago of a couple of neo-Nazis who murdered a black man. Pure hate, certainly! They then found some random white guy and murdered him, so they could have a joy-ride in that guy’s car.

        Which crime is worse? The one motivated by hate, or the one where someone’s life was merely a speed-bump in their pursuit for random pleasure? Either way, the guys proved that they had no regard for human life, and *that* was why they were evil. Not because they hated!

        • I’ve advocated this for a few decades, at least. And the last bit is key to get out before they start trying to get in a snit.

  20. How has this reached ninety-some comments without anybody yet mentioning “Fake But Accurate”?

    We know from their climate modeling that these people believe they know the “Truth” and have no qualms about adjusting evidence to support it.

    • Added comment re “fake but accurate” further up, then saw this after finishing scrolling down.

  21. Captain Comic

    To: Most Mischievous Mistress of Mayhem (IntSecRef Decode – Sarah Hoyt)

    From: Evil League of Evil Faceless Minion #6969 (IntSecRef Decode – The Evil League of Evil has no record of any associate with the designation “Faceless Minion #6969”. Furthermore, our organization completely disavows any knowledge of, approval for, or participation in any activities past, present or future undertaken by this individual.)

    Re: Subterfuge

    I have completed arrangements for infiltration of the Annual Conclave of Liberalism (classic form: WorldCon) and am preparing efforts to undermine their agenda by means of social sabotage (ref: exposing them to themselves).

    Lacking sufficient wit/ideas to steal, I have decided to forego the traditional route of ribbons and instead am returning to the out-of-system method of a flyer. I am confident that this will achieve our aims, because it worked so well the last time, right? (Ref: No reference found. Seriously, we have no idea who this person is.)

    Attached please find the proposed copy to be shared.

    Looking forward to victory!

    Your most humble and obedient servant,

    Faceless Minion #6969

    (Note: The text accompanying the above communique is presented here out of sheer morbid fascination.)

    An open letter to The World Science Fiction Society

    In recent years, there has been much attention, even outside the normal industry/fannish venues, concerning the Hugo Awards. Alas, this attention has come due to contentious activities surrounding the awards, most notably the nominations process. Sadly, the focus of much of the non-traditional coverage has brought about an image of dysfunction and/or dissension within fandom and the WSFS/WorldCon communities.

    And indeed, this view is shared by many within the competing camps surrounding the issues. The host of the Hugo Awards Ceremony once wrote “Congratulations, you f***ed up the Hugos.” while many of the groups charged with interfering in the awards themselves claim that the award had become lessened in recent years.

    To rectify this, I suggest a page be taken from mainstream promotional efforts: re-branding. While the idea of recognizing quality works in the field as voted by a group of international fans meeting once a year certainly has merit, the title of “Hugo” may have come to reflect the divide and arguments in defining “quality” that have driven the near (and sometimes outright) abuse too many people have experienced. To this end, choosing a different designation for the award may be the simplest/cleanest method of bringing a new sense of purpose to those handing it out.

    And I would like to take the further opportunity to offer a suggestion for that new title: The Teresa.

    This would, of course, be named after long-time editor Teresa Nielson Hayden.

    It is certainly a fitting name change, as the former Tor editor once famously wrote “…the Hugo is ours.” She did note that copyrights and trademarks hold the award as property of WSFS/WorldCon, but she almost immediately reiterated that it was an “us” vs “them” situation, decrying “their” nomination efforts as opposed to “real” nominations.

    The benefits of this alternative designation should be obvious:

    “Hugo”, of course, refers to Hugo Gernsback, an editor from the early days of science fiction publishing, when patriarchal exclusionary thought was the norm. “Teresa” refers to the more modern, nuanced and inclusive era we now enjoy.

    It would show a clear distinction between the close-minded efforts of the various slate campaigns and the steadfast openness that fandom is growing and maturing into.

    Given the toxic and sexist vitriol put forth by the aforementioned slate groups (whatever their protestations to the contrary) it seems it would be very unlikely that they would make further attempts at the WSFS’s top prize if it were to have this new name.

    And might I add a further suggestion? Allow for a retroactive renaming of previous winners, back until either 2000 or 2001. The exact date of change would be left to a committee for the pedantic definition of “millennium”. Participation in this would be voluntary, of course, being up to the individual winners or their literary estates.

    This change would offer a clear, sharp division between the current environment of understanding and inclusiveness and a darker, more ignorant time when the award was only given to straight white males such as Anne McCaffrey, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin, David Gerrold and Octavia Butler.

    In the hopes that these ideas will lead to a new time of understanding, as well as some honest self-reflection, I am,

    David Langley

  22. I have concluded that some people may not easily notice the photo-shop as the biggest tell I observed is the lack of curving to the W and E which should occur because of way a t-shirt lies over the chest of a woman.  There are people do really do not pay that much attention to such things.

    On the other hand it might of been a deliberate photo shop meant to ‘reveal’ what so many on the left view as the true inner meaning of the slogan.  If that latter is so they probably even considered themselves as being ever so clever.

    • Thank you. As one who got the “if it were a snake, it’d bite you” award many times in my life, I simply don’t notice details such as that at first. Poor eyesight might have something to do with it, though I suspect it’s quirky pattern recognition in the wetware. I figured they could have been plants, actually.

      I hope the ladies get Piranha, Remora and White, (or equivalent legal counsel) to sue the creeps.

    • Dan Hamilton

      Fake but Accurate.

  23. It is rather jarring/upsetting to realize that is what is on the medical record!

  24. carlton mckenney

    Since I am in a pedantic mood this afternoon. Was your remark “Racists are scum and I would sooner vote for my coffee table than an avowed racist.” actually aimed at racists? Per the definitions :
    1. racism – the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
    2. prejudice – preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
    3. Bigot – a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (such as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

    From your later comments it appears to me that you may be speaking more about bigotry than racism.