THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS: LYING FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Looking at how prosecutors, witnesses and law enforcement use lies in the Bundy et al case
I first learned the phrase, “the end justifies the means” during the cold war with the Soviet Union. I was taught that the “evil empire” regularly used lies and deception as a normal tool in furtherance of their state interests. The Soviets, I understood, had made lying a science, taking it to heretofore unknown levels of effectiveness.
The use of lies, knowingly using false statements and untruths, became an integral part of Soviet society and was the glue that kept the party leaders in control. Even their state run newspaper, Pravda, was a lie, because Pravda meant “Truth”. Of course, the implication was that the USA was not guilty of such practices as the Soviet Union and therefore, it was simple case of the good guys against the bad guys.
Machiavelli is credited with coining the phrase, “the end justifies the means” but there is no proof that he actually said it. But his writings conveyed the same idea, that morality was relative to what was needed, and what was justified to maintain power, depended on the circumstances. If lies and deception were necessary to gain and maintain power for a greater good (greater good was defined by the ones seeking power) then it was justified. Niccolò Machiavelli
ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR
Divorce lawyers make it a standard practice to tell clients that the person that they were married to, now that divorce is a reality, is no longer the person you once knew. Divorce is all out war and the rules of morality, of telling the truth, go out the window. Of course, there are exceptions and some couples manage to divorce amicably and without stomping on their morals, but it is more the exception than the rule. Lying In Family Court By Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
In courts in general, the incidence of lying and intentionally not telling the whole truth is known to be very high. So much so, that it has become a joke that when one raises their arm to testify under oath, the raised arm triggers a mechanism for lying and, once again, the end justifies the means, winning is everything and a strategy of well thought out lies and falsehoods is just good lawyering.
Undoubtedly, no other situation applies the adage that the end justifies the means, like war whether it be world war, or war among two or more individuals. However, war between nations or states, whether hot or cold wars, brings out the use of lies and deception like nothing else. Sun Tsu, the author of “The Art of War” said, “An accomplished deceiver will have greater success in evading predators and resisting human combatants than a person who lacks this skill.”
It is my premise and proposition, that the never-ending wars around the globe, sponsored by the USA, serve as a training ground for learning how to lie for the greater good and that, accomplished deceivers are highly valued persons whose skills can be applied in their jobs domestically, back home in the states. Many veterans of these foreign wars come back and work as law enforcement, private security, government employees and prison staff. While overseas, they learned how to lie and deceive for the greater good of their team, and they enjoyed success. If their lying is effective and admired by others, they may get formal and informal rewards. However, the key component to their lying was to keep it outside the brother and sisterhood, the lying was directed at the enemy, not to each other. The fabric of the team is jeopardized if the habit of lying begins to be used internally. This is similar to the famous saying, “There is honor among thieves”, because the thief syndicate could not be successful if there was not integrity among themselves.
In a well known documentary, “Dirty Wars”, an investigative reporter in Afghanistan, shows how lying and deception are used with the local people to cover up mistakes by the military. Lying, disinformation and distortion of the truth are perfectly acceptable practices if it is for the greater good, protecting the organization and the mission.
Further revelations of cover-ups, dishonesty, lies and deception have been manifested by famous whistleblowers, Snowden and Assange. Although they are recognized for exposing the truth, politicians and power brokers condemn them as violators of the moral imperative, to protect the greater good (as defined by them) at all costs.
THE LAS VEGAS TRIALS OF THE BUNDY ET AL DEFENDANTS: PROTECTING THE FEDERAL TEAM’S MISSION BY LYING
Having sat through a few days of trial and having spoken to observers who were there the whole time, the conscience was shocked as it was observed, first hand, the principles of lying, of prevarication, of half truths, of truth distortion and of cover-up for what they would consider to be for the greater cause, the protection of the organization and its mission.
Take, for example, the testimonies of the local law enforcement and BLM agents who were on the scene during the Bunkerville protest. In a shocking display of manipulative and disingenuous behavior, the law enforcement officials testified under oath and with tears and emotional breakdowns, of their fear that they would not see their families again. The proof that they were lying is found in the hundreds of photographs showing the Las Vegas Metro, the Nevada State Patrol and the Sheriff’s staff, mingling, joking and socializing with the protesters. Furthermore, video is available showing BLM agents in a state of frivolity and disrespectful humor regarding who they would shoot first and general mockery of the protesters.
There was not the slightest hint of fear or sense of threat manifested by law enforcement towards the protesters. Many of the protesters openly carried guns in front of law enforcement in a normal display of open carry, common in Nevada and in the west.
WHY POLICE LIE AND GET AWAY WITH IT
The author of, “Why Police Lie Under Oath”, Michelle Alexander, quotes a San Francisco Police Commissioner, “Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.”
Alexander goes on to say, “Mr. Keane, in his Chronicle article, offered two major reasons the police lie so much. First, because they can. Police officers ‘know that in a swearing match between a drug defendant and a police officer, the judge always rules in favor of the officer.’ At worst, the case will be dismissed, but the officer is free to continue business as usual. Second, criminal defendants are typically poor and uneducated, often belong to a racial minority, and often have a criminal record. ‘Police know that no one cares about these people,’ Mr. Keane explained.
Police, like military, are part of a fraternal order of other officers and have learned that in the end, the greater good of the fraternal order, justifies lying and covering up. They are often trained to set themselves apart from the civilian population, cultivating a “we against them” attitude. They can only trust a fellow officer, the civilian is guilty until proven innocent.
When Ryan Bundy was in the Oregon prison, Ammon, his brother, sent out an urgent call to intervene for Ryan as he had been beaten up by the guards. As reported by Ammon and later confirmed by Ryan, the U.S. Marshals came to get Ryan early one morning, claiming that he had a court hearing. Ryan responded by saying he knew of no court hearing and that in the past, he had always been informed ahead of time by his counsel. The marshals insisted that he come with them. Ryan, smelling a rat, began to complain and that eventually led to the beating. The marshals took custody of the beat up Ryan and while driving him, confessed that there was no court hearing but that they wanted to remove the bullet in his shoulder. Ryan said that he had not given his consent to have the bullet removed and that he would resist and not cooperate. The marshals, knowing that a physician would not operate on a non-compliant patient, drove Ryan around aimlessly until finally depositing him at the court house where he sat for hours, under guard, for no reason. He was finally brought back to the prison.
Once again, we see that lying and deception are standard operating procedures by law enforcement under the notion that the greater good of the organization justifies the dishonesty.
ENTERING A ROOM OF DARKNESS: THE WORLD OF LIES AND FALSEHOODS
The Bundy et al case, is one among thousands that exposes a dark world of lying for the greater good, as defined by the person doing the lying. Lying, like torture, is a journey once embarked upon, leads to a world where there are no limits and the outcome is opposite of growth and progression. If one can lie and torture, the enemy can too, and it becomes a game of one up man ship.
Lying is like socialism. Socialism can only survive as long as there is money and resources that can be taken from others, for the greater good of the collective. Once other people’s money runs out, then socialism collapses. Like a large pyramid scheme, socialism is parasitical in robbing Peter to pay Paul. But when Peter no longer can pay, then Paul must find it someplace else, robbing others beyond there own borders. The writer is currently in Colombia and Colombia is experiencing a surge in crime and robbery as Venezuelans pour over the border looking for new victims, having exhausted the resources in Venezuela. There is nothing that justifies this.
Likewise, lying is parasitical, it depends on a source of gullible or unwary victims to be successful. It depends on teamwork, just like socialism. But when the victims are exhausted or if they have woken up to being used, then the liars must look for new victims, to keep the pyramid scheme going.
When people lie in court or they lie throughout their life, they depend on a never ending supply of people who believe their lies. Somebody once said that the definition of hell is where everybody is a liar and everybody seeks to be a better liar.
Jesus Christ said of lying,
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 (NIV) (KJV) (ESV)
Do we want lying to become our native language? If we continue down the road that we are on as a nation, then none of us will escape the inevitable collapse of our society, one built on a foundation of lies and dishonesty.
For an excellent discussion of lying and how it destroys the fabric of society, see:
- Larry Alexander – University of San Diego
- Emily Sherwin – Cornell Law School
The end justifies the means. – From: The Free Dictionary
Prov. You can use bad or immoral methods as long as you accomplish something good by using them. (Not everyone agrees with this idea.) Lucy got money for the orphanage by embezzling it from the firm where she worked. “The end justifies the means,” she told herself. The politician clearly believed that the end justifies the means, since he used all kinds of nefarious means to get elected.