Niccolo Machiavelli is a well-known political theorist. His famous quote "the aim justifies the means" continues to be debated today (Adams and Dyson). Using Machiavelli's principles, we must now decide if the methods justify the objectives. A comparison between Niccolo Machiavelli's "Princely Qualities" and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" will be made to determine the meaning of "the aim justifies the means." There are consequences and challenges when bad tactics are utilized to attain noble aims. A worthwhile end justifies any means to reach it, as long as both purposes are noble and good.
Whether the outcome justifies the means relies on the purpose and the means used. The aims explain the methods if both are noble and decent. This is the position I have picked. Although opinions disagree on what Machiavelli meant, I believe that both objectives and means should be good. Some people use Machiavelli's terms or words to justify their actions, no matter how immoral, unlawful, or incorrect they are. Many people don't care how they acquire what they want as long as they have it. Justifying their objectives sometimes requires doing wrong things to reach a good result. They rationalize lousy behaviour by citing positive outcomes. The erroneous excuse may be observed in the Holocaust, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, the World Wars, and even the World Trade Centre explosion. Many individuals have justified the purposes these events serve, but one thing is true: the ends are noble, but the means are not.
An example of what is regarded as unethical and morally correct is someone lying about their qualifications on their résumé to acquire a good job. This person would subsequently excuse the deception by claiming it would increase their income and their family's well-being. Another example is a mother's life is saved through an abortion. These two instances show a conflict between doing and should. "Because how one lives is so far removed from how one ought to live, that he who neglects doing for doing causes his destruction rather than preservation," says Machiavelli (Machiavelli, The Prince Ch. 15).
Considering these two situations, lying and killing an innocent person are wrong. However, providing for one's own family and preserving a woman's life is ethically correct. However, one must learn to discriminate between what should be done and its repercussions. What if the person who lied about their CV didn't get the job? What if the aborted baby has the treatment for cancer in mind? The improper means might cause more harm than benefit.
We have all been involved in the end justifies the means discussion at some point. The means must also be ethical, social, and moral. So, even though it appears excellent on the surface, a means that is ethically evil cannot serve a good goal. An aim or objective fulfilled in a moral, legal, and ethical manner is justified. Martin Luther King Jr.'s nonviolent protest against segregation is a remarkable example of an acceptable means to an aim. There were several avenues for African Americans to obtain equality and freedom in the US. That is a possibility. They can force the government by illegal tactics and other unethical behaviours. But Martin Luther King Jr. and his supporters chose a nonviolent path to liberation. Both the means and the objectives are noble and decent—his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail" layout their nonviolent campaign's objective. In his letter, Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated that he could overcome racial injustice and segregation peacefully. While a nonviolent movement might create tension, it is up to the demonstrators to manage it. In his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," King states: Nonviolent direct action tries to create a crisis and tension that forces a community unwilling to dialogue to address the issue. That can no longer ignore the matter. It may come as a surprise to some that peaceful resisters create friction. But I must admit that I am not terrified of "tension." I have always opposed violent tension, yet there is a form of nonviolent pressure required for progress (Jr. 216).
Martin Luther King Jr. died due to his actions but achieved the goal. The Whites at the time rejected his beliefs. The Whites also believe that ends justify methods, and they argue what they do to the blacks is for their survival. During that period, the government worked to protect the state, and therefore they gave the African Americans what they wanted. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death revealed that both objectives and tactics might be honourable and acceptable. Martin Luther King Jr. is a good illustration of "the purpose justifies the means." The first and final commandment for countries and kings is to be powerful, and Machiavelli teaches them how to utilize their might, according to Thayer (Thayer 476). Martin Luther King Jr. understands how to use the tools to achieve his goal.
People who follow their desires and goals are more likely to encounter hurdles. Dreams are known to be reached via hard work, and this is because the ways to achieve them are different. Remember that both means and aims must be honourable and good. I have proved that may always justify the techniques employed to attain individual dreams if they are worthwhile. According to Machiavelli, the prince should read history and study famous men's acts to learn from their wins and defeats and avoid the latter (The Prince Ch. 14).
However, Machiavelli encourages us to learn from previous mistakes to attain noble and virtuous goals.
Finally, we are all merely people who make mistakes. Humans are defined by their values. However noble the aim or goals may appear, any tactics used to achieve them will never justify the means. It is up to you whether you utilize the noble or the incorrect standards to attain your goal, as demonstrated by Martin Luther King Jr.
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