When people say this quote?

the ends don't always justify the means, does that mean doing bad things for a good reason isn't always right? or is not right what does it really mean?

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Most Helpful Girl

  • What it means is that the process by which a person takes to get the desired end result can't always be justified *by* the result itself.

    So what the quote basically means, is:

    The end result of a person's actions (while often times is good), can't always be justified by the actions themselves that that person took to achieve that result/goal in the first place. It's usually said about situations where in order to do something good, a person goes about achieving it in a "less than great"/bad way, which then begs the question of: is the end result worth more than the damage/wrongness the person is exacting in order to achieve the good result?

    I'm trying to think of how to explain this in a more simple manner... Okay. So lets say that a person wants a murderer to be brought to justice. That's a good goal right? But, to catch this murderer the person ends up killing numerous people along the way after they interrogate them about the murderer's whereabouts. So in this case we have a person, who in the process of trying to do a good thing (find a murderer and bring him to justice), ends up killing several people themselves in order to find that murderer. In this case, the "end" (finding the murderer so that he can be put into prison, aka justice), is arguably not justified by the means (because in order to find the murderer, the person killed numerous people along the way).

    Anyhow, hope that helped! :)

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  • It's like stealing from the rich to give to the poor. It's not because you'll give the money to the poor that it justifies the stealing.

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  • it means just because you want to do something good, it doesn't mean the way that you are doing it justifies doing that for the sake of doing the right thing. Knaaaam saiiin?

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  • It means that just because you managed to safely steal third base with two outs doesn't mean you should've attempted to steal it since the runner is already in scoring position on second.

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  • Lots of words for a simple answer.

    'The results don't always justify the actions.

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  • The real idiom you're referring to is "The ends justifies the means," and is a reference to Machiavelli. You wrote the opposite of this idiom when you wrote, "The ends don't always justify the means". Usually people would use the first quote.

    If someone were to say, "The ends justifies the means", they would basically be saying "It doesn't matter how you got there, the only thing that matters is that you got there." For example, if you travel to Canada and you had to take two trains, a bus, a helicopter and a police escort and had a really hard time getting there, the only part that matters is that you eventually got to Canada.

    In your question you say, "The ends DON'T ALWAYS justify the means," which means the opposite of the previous paragraph. If someone said this, they would be saying "the journey matters just as much as the destination".

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  • doing bad things for a good reason isn't always right

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