2011 – Most Philosophical 3rd Grader in America:

William N. Willoughby, Ohio .

This is a difficult question because there are a lot of different answers and there is no one right answer. It depends on the circumstance because sometimes the ends justify the means sometimes they do not. When are the means not justified? I do not think the means are justified when the goal is not noble or good or honest.

I have been taught to think of the Ten commandments and laws before I do something and that I should always be honest, fair and generous. I should ask myself questions like, “Am I going to do something selfish or dishonest or hurt another person in order to get what I want?” and most of the time, the answer is no. But this question is really complex because sometimes it is good to do the wrong thing so there is a good outcome.

For example, it might be ok to lie if you could prevent someone from getting hurt. Why? Because you don’t want anybody hurt, do you? If I was on the playground and the school bully asked me where my best friend was because he wanted to hurt him, well I might lie to prevent my friend from being harmed. Here I might be breaking one of the Ten Commandments, but I am protecting my friend so in this circumstance the end justifies the means! Another example is when the Dutch family hid Anne Frank’s family so she and her family would not get killed by the Nazis. The Dutch family was breaking the law but was trying to save an innocent family’s life.

I keep on learning about conflict in history, so I have questioned if war is justified. I think the answer is yes when you are the defender, and your goals are freedom and saving innocent lives. For example, when the Americans fought in World War II, these actions were justified because we were defending America and saving innocent people. In the Civil War, fighting was justified because the goal was to free slaves and unite our country.

So this question has made me think about how actions that can sometimes be wrong can sometimes be right when there are good ends. It has also made me think that I will have tough choices to make in life! I have so much to learn but I am lucky to have community, teachers, and family that will lead me down the right path.


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