12.09.2014 2

Does the end justify the means?

MachiavelliBy Rick Manning

Machiavellians and other consequentialists throughout history have argued for an anything goes approach for governing, asserting in effect that “the end justifies the means.”

Today’s news is full of the natural outgrowth of that justification for attaining power at all costs, and it is not a one way partisan street.

Attorney General Eric Holder is in the process of ripping the blindfold off of Lady Justice by claiming some inherent racism based upon the discredited disparate impact theory which holds that if there are unequal outcomes between races, then there must be racism.  The outcome of Holder’s claimed effort to create equal justice outcomes has the effect of putting every arrest, prosecution and court decision through the prism of race, rather than the color blind burden of proof that has been the foundation of our legal system.

But, if the end is to fundamentally transform our system of justice, the means of judging outcomes based upon race certainly accomplishes it.

On the Republican side of the game, allegations of shenanigans emerged late Sunday when the House passed legislation by Rep. Ted Yoho that set up a two tiered process for funding the government.  The funding for the Department of Homeland Security would be separated from the rest of the bill and would only be for a short term.  The funding for the rest of the government would be until the end of the fiscal year.

As in all things, the devil was in the details, and through what is called a “Managers Amendment” the legislation was altered in Rules Committee in ways that gutted the intent to condemn President Obama’s executive amnesty actions.  According to Rep. Louie Gohmert, no copy of the amended bill was available to House members as they entered the Chamber, and Majority Whip Scalise was urging Members to vote for the bill based upon the earlier unambiguous language.

Lo and behold, the Yoho bill passed.  The ends were accomplished in the House and the sun came up the next morning.

On Tuesday, Jonathan Gruber, the poster child for rationalization, testified before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.  Gruber, who has been referred to as the “architect” of Obamacare, has been on the hot seat due to a series of speeches he gave where he bragged about lying to the American public to get the law passed with his most famous claim being that the American public is too stupid to support the law so they needed to be told a series of lies.

From Gruber’s perspective, the end of increasing the number of people who have health care coverage justified the lying means to achieve it.  Consequentalists everywhere would be proud of this MIT Professor.

While the House was hearing from the master of prevarication, the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats were releasing a report that condemned the CIA for waterboarding mass murderers in an attempt to stop people with similar intent.

This is a double-edged sword because those opposed to the CIA actions would contend that they were using an end justifies the means test to rationalize using the interrogation technique.  While those on the CIA’s side might contend that Senate Democrats, through the release of the report were putting their political interests ahead of the safety of every American abroad, while also sacrificing our national interests around the world in the process.

Quite the two-fer, where the Democrats politically motivated complaint about the decision to waterboard Al Qaeda leaders six years later serves as the ultimate example of viewing one’s political ends trumping the damage done in getting there as a response to the Bush Administration’s decision to use a questionable interrogation technique to protect the nation’s interests.

The ultimate ends justifies the means Washington, D.C. scenario.

And so the various battles turn in our nation’s Capitol.  A power game played by mini-Machiavellis determined to exercise and keep power with little regard for the rules.

Rick Manning is the vice president of public policy of communications of Americans for Limited Government.

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