2011 – National 7th Grade 3rd Place Award Winner:

Ben Schneider, Missouri.

Do the Ends Justify the Means ?

To justified means “to prove right or reasonable.” I think this means that in order to justify something, it must be proven right to the point of it not being anything wrong or significant. I believe the ends do not justify the means because as long as nothing can be undone, nothing can be justified. To do something of a good cause does not actually prove something right, but persuade people to believe it does not exist. I will illustrate this point through several examples involving personal, political and legal situations.

My first example of how the ends do not justify the means is the Little Boy and Fat man nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, to end World War II. While many people believe that this was a very necessary strike that saved tens of thousands of U.S. soliders, does that really prove it right to kill thousands of innocent Japanese citizens? I believe no killing can ever be proven right or reasonable even if it is for the purpose of saving others. The Japanese in Hiroshima still hold a memorial to the lives that were lost in the bombing. Also, the radiation from the bombs has caused countless disabilities and disorders that persisted for decades. I do not believe that potentially saving U.S. soldiers was worth all this death, pain and suffering for the Japanese people, mostly civilians.

The next example I give is the death penalty. The death penalty is the killing of a convicted person for committing a major crime. I do not believe that killing a person is ever justifiable. What would people think of you if someone who was wrongfully convicted for breaking the law? What if the person’s family started a rebellion that led to chaos and/or anarchy? Also, the killing does not erase the crime that has already occurred. It just prolongs the violence and encourages revenge and hatred towards government and those that enforced the penalty.

Even negative reinforcement on a smaller scale is not justified. An example would be screaming at someone because they did not do as they were told. This behavior only encourages the victim to strike back or stubbornly hold their position. When I won’t get up for school, my mom shouts at me without realizing that I did not hear her the first six times she called for me to get out of bed. This makes me angry and decide to shout at her and prolong my rising. Eventually I do get up, but we are mad at each other and are unable to justify our previous actions.

These examples, involving personal, political, and legal situations, demonstrate and prove that the ends do not justify the means. However one tries, a harmful action can never be justified even for the purpose of preventing further harm. The best solutions are peaceful solutions that do not cause any harm to anyone in any way.


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