TOTW: Means and Ends

  • Posted on: 3 June 2019
  • By: thecollective

Most anarchists accept some level of the principle that the ends can never justify the means, some go the next step of rejecting that means and ends can be separated.
What questions does this raise for you? When have you operated in that way, and when have you done something you regretted in order to get something you wanted? Then what happened? How and when does the principle help us? How does it paralyze us? (Or does it?) Who in your life has tended to express this principle, and what were they trying to get at when they said it? (That is, in my life I have heard it most when someone is trying to control other people's behavior, more than as something people say to prod their own imaginations, or whatever.)

For those of you who didn't take the opportunity to call in to the anarchybang episode that talked about this, here is another chance to get at it.


WTF. Colonel Saunders is a red?

this dilemma doesn't seem to come up for me in my daily life.
it seems to mostly come up in the context of discussion of politics/war, and those are fucked up things.
there's something called the "dark triad", just some quiz online that tests people for 3 traits: narcissism, psychopathy, machiavellianism. interesting to see that people can be very different in their levels of empathy and approach to life.
we know some people are unscrupulous, uncaring and selfish to a fault.
beware of them.

"we know some people are unscrupulous, uncaring and selfish to a fault. beware of them."

Yea... that's the reason why I grew suspicious of the post-FRR Bellamy in the first place.

Huh? That's funny, cuz I was just thinking the same thing sorta... about the post-Bellamy FRR lol

who dat and wat did dey do?

None of your damn business, fool

pshh, wadda you know what my business is....

Enough to know that if it was any of your business you wouldn't even have to be asking the question in the first place. GTFO!

my business is asking the question in the first place!
and business is booming! ha! checkmate!

not only am i nosy, i am insistent and unrepentant!

jk, ignore

Bellamy Fitzpatrick co-hosted Free Radical Radio, moved onto a land project in the Northeast and has a newer publication called Backwoods.

Basically produce and publish some for-profit bombastic academic-friendly material to get the chicks in his private den (which apparently has worked), then badmouth international anarchist solidarity struggles in the process, in favor of that very ordinary "only me and my gang matters" morality.

with no references to anything specific.
news at 11.

It's the specifics that matter!

(genie appears out of a lamp)

- Of course they do! But you gotta get into the specifics of why you say stuff about some people.

- But WHAT specifics tho?

- ...

*levitates away*

sounds like a living

in neoliberal capitalist North American society, indeed. Everything gangs, nothing individual. Individuals are nothing, gangs are everything, amirite?

are more powerful than gangs if they are fakes which is fairly common these days. Join the dark triad for real ultimate power!

Glad to know I'm more of a "machiavelian psychopath" (yeah baby!) than a narcissist windbag!

*looking at some trolls of this site*

Pretty sure any kind of revolution, social war, class war, insurrection type thing is an "ends justify the means" sum game.

Surely everyone knows that on some level, right?

Even if "the Masses" are on board with the whole anarchist revolution thing (personally skeptical, the whole planet isn't 1930s Spain), there would still be a lot of people (namely, the wealthy & privileged) who wouldn't be thrilled about living in an anarchist world.

And of course I understand that not all tendencies are revolutionary ones.

This is anarchy 101 type stuff...

how's your revolution, social war, class war, insurrection type thing going?

"(personally skeptical"

How's bootlicking servility to your overlords going? Any more stupid questions?

honestly, i wish i got more hours of servitude, can barely live on what i'm currently getting.

but besides that, willful disobedience and refusal, evasion, sabotage, etc etc, i.e. "things not bootlicking servility", don't have to be or build up to (more often than nit, they don't) "revolution, social war, class war, insurrection type things".

maybe tippytoeing around the edges of the bootlicking fest isn't as interesting or dignified as you think it is?

that wasn't my outlaw experience anyway...

it’s not dignified!! take me with you already!!

oops! i forgot to add the stupid questions!

what are your means and ends? are they justified? does one justify the other?

love you senileoldtroll!!!! <3

tells me that a small gang monopolizing power with the aim of "fulfilling their revolution" is total despotism and definitely not anarchy. Neither is to be torturing people around to get some compliance out of them.

These are the means justified by your end. That's what stalinists, fascists, religious fanatics and other authoritarians have been into for ages, but that's totally what Anarchy 101 is against.

Your ecofascist brutes are the same authoritarian assholes as the rest. As the rest in capitalist society, they want power for themselves, and destroy anyone that appears to stand on their way to it.

that is my understanding as well

"Most anarchists accept some level of the principle that the means can never justify the ends, ..."

Is this a typo?

stupid fingers. thanks.

thecollective member .4

I couldn't help but want the gossip. You were chastised? "in my life I have heard it most when someone is trying to control other people's behavior..." You use a large frame to contain this sentiment. What happened? Was victory tainted? Are you seeking to be soothed? Condemned? Are you as dramatic as I am? Come into the darkness of sucesssssssss. Winners need losers. It takes something special to avoid dichotomies. Keep it simple, winner. ;)

i view these means/ends debates as intimately linked to an ethics. schematically, there are two classic versions of ethics in philosophy: 1. deontology, like Kant's categorical imperative, where one act's out of a sense of duty. means > ends. 2. consequentialism, like Bentham's utilitarianism, where the means are not particularly imported, but ethics is evaluated through the effects they creates. ends > means. in anarchism there's a third, prefiguration. prefiguration attempts to argue that the means will contain some element of the ends. compared to the old systems, huge improvement. but....

moral nihilism doesn't care about this debate on its own terms. it sees various elements, (are the means good/bad, are the ends good/band, which is more important?) as flawed and closed down, especially when one is backed into the corner of a burning world. ethics is a flimsy foundation on which to act. desire usually wins out, so desire deserves our attention. desire cares about both means and ends, but not about whether or not any stretch of those activities or effects are ethical.

correction: particularly important* oops.

u smort, hi fiv

who sits and moralises about ends and means, and who regrets anything...

If the ends don't justify the means, what does?

Assuming of course that the ends-in-view really are the ends likely to be achieved by these means--and that there are not other results (ends) of these means which are so bad that they overwhelm the (good) ends produced.

Good question Wayne, and I personally believe in no premeditation! I JUST DO IT!! Random spontaneous fatal attraction and action is MY SCHTICK!! NOCOUNCIL LEFTIST MEDIATION IN MY CREATIVE WORLD!!!

NO ENDS, NO MEANS, NO ETHICS, !! Neo-Machiavellian nihil-esque existence!!

i sometimes premeditate and always do nothing.
i am a socially programmed automaton.

"If the ends don't justify the means, what does? "

no justifications should be necessary. who would they be justified to? yourself? that is mental masturbation, have at it if you must (i prefer the physical kind). if they need to be justified to anyone else, then you are probably impacting people that should be making their own choices about ends and means, and fuck your justifications. as folks have said above, that is just more authoritarian bullshit from the "revolutionary" moralists.

means, as in meanings. ends, as in ending.
it’s all meaningless and it’ll never end.

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endless means, and meaningless ends

>Most anarchists accept some level of the principle that the ends can never justify the means
Speak for yourself!
Why though?

We all do things we regret for the things we want every day. I used to steal for junk on occasion. Most of you yanks work, don't you? I'm sure there is regret in that, if we are all honest with ourselves.
C’est la vie ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

means are mediation. ends are instrumentalization.
critique of separation. critique of instrumental reason.

mean are averages. ends are extremes.
critique of the golden average and hoseshoe theory.

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