2011 – National 6th Grade 5th Place Award Winner:
Lisa Raymond-Schmidt, Missouri.
Do the Ends Justify the Means ?
When you think of a historic person, you mainly think of the end result of their accomplishments, not the actions they made to get to the end result. When you hear the name “Abraham Lincoln”, for most people the first thing that pops into their mind is that he helped stop slavery, not that he let hundreds of battles take place. The end result is what really counts, what helps you determine your mistakes, and what helps you to move forward.
Imagine your father is having a heart attack and you must get him to the hospital or he might die. To get to the hospital as fast as possible, you go over the speed limit and go through a red light. At the hospital, the doctor said that if they had arrived at the hospital just a few minutes later, your father would have died. Does saving your fathers life justify breaking the law? I concluded that the ends do justify the means because having your father die would be a worse outcome than breaking driving laws.
Recently, the USA airports have added body scanning to their airport security system. The scanning allows security to see through clothes and find hidden objects, such as plastic explosives, that metal detectors can’t find. President Obama stated, “I understand people’s frustrations with it, but I also know that if there was an explosion in the air that killed a couple of hundred people…and it turned out we could have prevented it possibly… that would be pretty upsetting to most of us – including me.” Obama feels that preventing explosions in airplanes justifies invading people privacy, that the ends do justify the means.
Concerns over environmental issues have taken over the world. New technology, electric cars, solar panels, tidal power, and windmills, have helped to reverse the course, but individual actions are what will change the future. Does helping the environment justify spending more money on environmentally friendly energy and technology/machinery? Yes, it does, because money you can always get back, and there is plenty of it, but there is only one environment, so we have to take care of it.
When deciding if the ends justify the means, you must broaden your perspective. Just as in a science experiment, you determine the validity of your actions by the end result, not your actions. You must think about the whole world and everything in it, not just you, your life, and anything that relates to you. You also must decide which will be harder to face, the end result or the actions you must do to achieve the end result?
The ends always justifies the means because the end outcome is what counts. The end out come is what prevents problems, what tells you your mistakes, and, most importantly, changes the future.
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