Saturday, February 28, 2015

The end does not justify the means

My family is watching the final season of Foyle's War as it is currently available on ABC iview.
Foyle was a police detective in WWII, but after the war he works for the security agency, MI5. The cold war has begun and the UK government is trying to position itself in the Middle East. Besides the entertainment I like the show for several reasons.
It usually teaches some history and highlights diverse issues one may not hear much about: housing shortages after WWII, the difficulty of the Labour party of delivering on its promises of post-war construction, retrenchment of women who worked during the war, UK businessmen who supplied the Nazis, Nuremberg trial for German industrialists, anti-Semitism in the UK, ...
The show raises moral conundrums and ethical dilemmas.
It shows how Western governments get involved in or overlook dubious activities in order to promote their national interests, where business, oil,  or "security", ...

But, in the end, in the midst of all the complexities, I think Foyle does have a valuable and important message: "the end does not justify the means".


  1. Surely the use of atomic weapons in WWII, evil as it seemed, was justified by the end achieved.

    1. Dear Tinos,

      Thanks for your comment. Your example iis certainly a difficult and complex issue.
      I think there are moral dangers with ever asserting the ends do justify the means.

      It is not clear to me that the second bomb, dropped on Nagasaki, was justified either morally, or even from a military point of view.