When do ends justify means?

Topic says it. Please discuss, giving examples from personal experience or your people’s history as appropriate.

(This came up it the off-topic thread, but figure it deserves its own.)


Always, and pretty much any Amarrian who says otherwise is a heretic.


As a proud heretic myself, I could not agree more.

Depends on the ends, and depends on the means.

Operation Highlander is the best example I’ve seen in my experience of the right means employed towards the right end. Heth had already proved he was a maddman who had to be stopped, and no matter what the cost to stop him could be… the cost of letting his reign of terror over Caldari Prime continue would be higher. He proved that beyond any doubt when his response losing the battle was to order the annihilation of his own people rather than letting them live in peace with the Federation.

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Always… If you don’t feel that the joy of reaching the goal would be killed by all the crap you had to endure for it :stuck_out_tongue:


Truthfully, more often than makes me comfortable.

I find it important though, when considering means to a given end, to ensure I also keep consequences close to mind.

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I would say the means are all that matters in the world. Attempting to justify our behavior by citing the eventual outcome means mortgaging our souls for money. Such a thing might be acceptable if the worldly price is enough, but for those of us for whom the price of our being is incalculable, no worldly result is worthy.

Let’s take our recent history as instructive. We of Amarr are commanded to reclaim the souls of the universe to God. For millennia, such was accomplished by means of enslavement and conquest. For those times, the means were through cultural assimilation (to a great degree, at any rate). This was unquestioned, for the ends were thus attained.

Come to more recent history. Attempts at reclamation via conquest and slavery have had some notable, and spectacular, failures in recent cases. If the means were unimportant, God would have intervened. Instead, we were punished, harshly, as a means of instruction. Our more recent history has been an attempt thereafter to decipher what we should learn from that failure. From the Pax Amarr to our upholding in Thebeka, we interpret the results of the age. We may fail, we may not, but God always succeeds.

In His infinite patience, the ends are assured. Thus we focus on the means, for only through purity of living shall we come to fulfill God’s great command. In the end, we must be proud of how we live (and die) and trust in the Most High to guide us collectively to the desired results. We are instruments, and must perfect our function while existing as part of a great whole which serves from the instance of man to the whole of the Empire.


Only on the largest-scale decisions, that effect massive amounts of people, I’d say.

Lots of people abuse ‘ends justify the means’ logic to excuse bad behavior in their own personal lives.

Basically, if a lot of people aren’t going to die or lose their autonomy or freedom, the ends don’t justify the means.

Or mortgaging our souls for a lot of other peoples’ lives/souls.


My own perspective is that the essence of virtue lies in the recognition that I am beholden to society as a human being. My society, being a Caldari, is that of the Caldari State which represents that to which I am responsible to: my family and kin, my friends and comrades, my community, my corporation. To be virtuous and fulfill my moral obligations, I must accept that my actions should benefit my society first and foremost. My actions must always take into account not what benefits me the most, but what benefits my society the most.

Having said that, yes, the ends will always justify the means used to attain them. A lesser evil can be made to achieve a Greater Good in the name of society as embodied in the powers of a nation and a State. When Admiral Tovil-Toba killed millions of civilians as the Kariola plunged upon Heuromont, it safeguarded the survival of the State and Caldari society. If he had simply killed millions, I would consider it abhorrent and immoral, but since that act served a Greater Good in the defense of the State I can do naught but see it as a righteous act.

The morality of an action should only be considered by the consequences of that action, and the most important moral consideration is the benefit to a society and State of that action.


Never. Failing nobly is better than succeeding underhandedly.

I should want to represent God to the world though my actions. So while I am ultimately a flawed human, and therefore make mistakes, I should always do my best to act in a righteous manner. I’d rather face Him knowing that I stuck to His Word as best I could and failed in life than to face Him knowing I had sinned in order to achieve a goal.


As said before: it depends.

Nuking a town to kill a cockroach? No.

Blowing up a CONCORD station to drop a fleet on the amarr? Totally worth it.


I would like to say that the ends do not justify means. That violating your personal principles will inherently corrupt what ever end you are trying to achieve. That by sullying your honor, your achievement is made vile.

I would like to say this. But I cannot, for I am now in a position where I have sold my principles for something that has even greater value. So then, I will say that the ends justify the means when the end in question has greater worth than what ever it is that you have sacrificed. If my spirit must walk aimlessly without ever reaching the halls of my ancestors, then so be it.


Trying to attribute a final resolution to this question will cause so much, unnecessary hardships and tragedy. Every situation needs to be thoroughly vetted, before this decision can be made. Trying to arbitrarily apply one stance to all decisions is foolishness.

A long view of consequences, say yes, the ends always justify the means. But in that stipulation, that means you have to take in to account everything affected by the means. To properly know what end you will receive. Far-reaching consequences are just as relevant to the end, as the up-front goal.

Chances are, if you are having to convince yourself the ends are justifiable, you know they aren’t. It’s too borderline and you’re likely not taking in to account all the negatives because you have yet to foresee them all. With that in mind, while the end always justify the means, if you have doubts, then likely the ends are not substantial enough to warrant your plans.


When the ends are required and the alternative is failure.


Never. The ends do not justify the means. Sometimes, in extremis, the necessity demands the means, simply because there is no other option. But that does not make it justified. Only necessary. This is a fundamentally unjust, apathetic universe, with absolutely no care toward human morality, justice, or outrage.

Is any course of action justified? Almost never. That doesn’t make it less necessary, sometimes. And in those cases, we just have to live with what we’ve done.


Perhaps ironically, I don’t really have an answer for this.

We spend far too much time analyzing the past, debating whether individuals and decisions made long before us were ultimately justified. What about in the moment? Who benefits from the ends? Or from the means, in that case?

Yet sometimes the answer is clearer. If an empire enslaves entire populations, and the enslavement results in better economics and improved quality of life for the majority of that empire, were the means of that enslavement justified? And whose point of view are we taking–the majority who benefited, or the populations who were enslaved and decimated?

Ultimately, I don’t think I’m high enough to give an absolute response.



But then, fear of certain means should not cause one to write off an end, either. There are times where you must act, knowing that an act will cause harm, because to not act would be the sin.

Figuring out the right path, rather than the easiest path, is at times a very difficult test. That choice should be guided by God’s teachings, though we can never be entirely sure whether we have truly acted in His name, or in the name of sin.

Perhaps they should have been, because perhaps the ends attained were not the right ones.

Would He? It is our place to act to carry out His will, not God’s to act for us. The ends are not assured. We succeed or fail on our own merit, as He instructed to Amash-Akura in Epitoth.


We do fail or succeed, for that is our task, but God does not fail. We walk a path, as we were told, or we do not, but the destination is certain. To insist that the ends which were reached were not correct places us in a position to insist that we know better than God what ends are suitable for us at any given time. We trust in God to decide such things through the outcomes, we determine those outcomes through the purity of our means if we are wise.

Such is the rationale for the system by which we selected our Empress. Capsuleers succeeded and failed, but the outcome was to be known. Our Empress was selected by God, for were she not, another would have been selected in her place. Such is also why Kuria spake of being guided by God, not succeeding in his stead. It is also why Junip’s second letter to Aurei is so important. It speaks of this very concept, that though there will be obstacles, by following the Emperor and the will of God our destiny is assured.

It is not our place to demand those means and outcomes we thought owed to us. Those Holders who were disgraced after the Rebellion certainly did not receive the outcome that they wanted, but does that mean that they did not receive the “right” outcome? And, had they, were the outcomes before which placed them in power not “right?” Or is it simply that what was right, what constituted the path, was correct one moment, and incorrect the next? Or are they simply more complicated than that, our ends may have been the same but the purity of our means had become corrupted? God will punish us for placing our will before his own, which was the lesson imparted in Epitoth. Were the ends all-important, God could have commanded the Sefrim to have dominated Molok, but the Sefrim were forbidden. They could only guide, for the means by which victory was achieved far outweighed victory itself.

The ends are not for us to judge. We are guided by our means, our goal to keep them as pure as possible. When we do, the way through all obstacles shall become clear. Demanding those outcomes we feel right and wrong ignores that it is not our idea of right and wrong which most matters. God does not act for us, but God does guide those actions and, through them, we feel His will.


To insist the ends which were reached were correct does the same.

God does not decide the outcomes. We do. We succeed in carrying out his Will, and push His plan forwards, or we fail, and set His plan back. And we must always be asking ourselves which of the two we are doing, at all times, because we cannot be sure. We turned the sefrims’ guidance away and so cannot truly know if what we have done is right or wrong by God until we meet Him in the hereafter for our Final Judgment.

Our faith is an active one, not a passive one. To place the onus for victory on God is a dereliction of our responsibility and an effort to absolve ourselves of our failures by blaming God for things not going our way. Such is cowardice. The outcome of the trials is not determined by God, the winner is not selected by God. The winner is selected by us, and it is our duty to select right or wrong, and to face the consequences of our actions. The people of Amarr lived righteously and in fear of God, and thus they were saved. We must constantly prove ourselves worthy of God’s love.

God guides us to His plan by His teachings. But those teachings can be misinterpreted, they can be twisted by the corrupt, they can be used to manipulate the true faithful towards evil ends. We must always ask ourselves if we are truly following His will, or falling to the schemes of the Deceiver and into sin. We must ask, always, are these ends truly the will of God? And if they are, are our means keeping with God’s will?

Beware the person who thinks his faith already proven.


Ends justify the means always when those who benefit from the ends say so.

While it is tempting to say that ends never justify the means, that’d be false. Sometimes ends do justify, or rather, dictate the means, but I’d rather think it from the perspective that those who act out the means should not be exempt from justice being served, if the means were particularly heinous.

There, I hope that was sufficiently vague.