Sunday, October 22, 2006

Return to Deep Thought

Chaos & stress at work has cut down on my blogging time (looks like it may be looking up, we’ll see), but I finally have the time to finish up some house keeping rebuttals of Deep Thoughts rebuttal of my rebuttal on his series on Distributionism, which I think will clear the air of our butting heads over economic policies.

I think the outstanding issues between us are on concern about Gov’t programs, the niceties of upgrading your job skills vs “living Wages” and Corporations and policies regulating them.

Concern about Gov’t programs
I had questioned the wisdom of advocating and taking part in Gov’t tax incentives & training programs, which Deep Thought replied in part with:

Therefore, I think that supporters of Distributionism (as well as our allies in the realms of Libertarians, Objectivists, and fiscal Conservatives) should push for serious tax breaks for small business owners, even to make small businesses tax-free. I feel the same way about job training; federal job training has been around for a long time and will not vanish overnight.”

Well there is of course a difference between advocating something as an ideal policy and advocating something as a change in existing policy –with that in mind, having the goal of turning existing bad policies towards ‘less bad’ policies with the eventual goal of discontinuing them altogether, then I have no other objection to his position on such programs.

The niceties of upgrading your job skills vs “living Wages”
One Part I do have an objection to, I’ll get right out of the way:
But I must say, Van is a bit, uh, blithe about the whole idea of ‘if your job only earns you ¾ of what you need to live, get another job for the additional ¼ and look for the skills to get you out of it’. Ya’ think? Of course, where they are to find the time for further education while working at least 1 ½ jobs can be a bit of a puzzler, I suspect.”

No, I’m not blithe about it at all, only experienced. When my wife and I married and moved to the Midwest, we knew no one, and had no money, she was pregnant [we found out the day before our wedding - somewhere in between our engagement and marriage, God, ever the wry comedian, turned our plans to hold off on having kids for two years into a punchline ;-) ] which made our only source of income – her job as a flight attendant – very tentative, and I, having played in a band for the duration of the 80’s, had no marketable skills other than looking and sounding good on stage.

I had selling Real Estate in mind, and so while working as a minimum wage leasing agent I studied and passed my license exam and sold Real Estate in my ‘spare’ time. While I did pretty good, we soon both realized that my wife was completely unsuited to living on a commission only pay scale lifestyle. So I spent the next 4 years, the worst of my life, working in retail.

I tried several side jobs (which didn’t work out) while working my job and being Mr. Mom 3 days a week. I finally found a better paying sales job, but then discovered computers, and realized that THAT was what I should be doing. That meant taking a very difficult step down the pay scale ladder before being able to step up it again in a field I felt I could excel in.

Over the next two years I spent every waking moment available, studying, learning, taking exams, practicing and studying some more. I carried 500 page “Database Theory and Development” and programming, and then “Object Oriented Programming” language books around with me everywhere I went, on the off chance I’d have a moment to read or quiz myself. I carried them - to the movies (reading while waiting in line. Seriously. Hey if you’re going to become a geek, you might as well behave like one), at dinner, in between scrubbing the kids in the bath, at picnics and visiting friends, I carried one of “My Mistresses” as my wife called them, around with me, and when home if not studying, I was practicing on our new IBM PC (my taking us into debt to buy that PC is still a sore point between us!) until I finally was able to gain the skills and certifications I needed to get into, and rise up into a better paying line of work.

It was extremely difficult and stressful for all of us, but it was necessary because our income and condo were only ¾’s (at best) of what was needed for us to make ends meet.

I don’t say the comment “blithely” at all. My wife is currently working as an Lpn nurse at 1/3 of the pay she made as a flight attendant for TWA when that unholy mix of Corporate action and Political Intervention resulted in TWA vanishing, and all of it’s employees being double dealt into being laid off. She finished an 18 month crash course at the community college last year to earn a degree and become an Lpn, and while working she’s also back at college at nights working towards an RN certification, so she can get closer to the income she had enjoyed, and we relied heavily on, for 17 years at TWA.

I don’t say it blithely at all, and I have no stomach for anybody who whines about it being too difficult, that Gov’t should help them, hand them up, etc. My vision goes red, and my fingers threaten to smash the keys through the body of my laptop and into the tables finish when I hear people suggesting it can’t be done, or that Gov’t should step in and help. It is precisely BECAUSE of the programs that Gov’t has enacted to “step in and help”, that our taxes (directly and indirectly) cut into our income so much that it has become so difficult to have a single income household to begin with.

Deep breath. Deep breath. Deep breath…. Ok, I’m fine now.

And one other comment where I asked about what “capitalism failures are they? When?”, Deep Thought responded with “Uh…. The ones you just mentioned. Van just wrote that laissez-faire Capitalism “…ignores the fact that it will inevitably bring disappointment and ruin to many people, as well” and that this empowers demagogues to take advantage of that to undermine the rights and freedoms of people. That is what Belloc was discussing in the Servile State, Chesterton in What’s Wrong with the World, etc.

Well, there is not, cannot be, and never will be an economic system that preserves the rights of individuals and eliminates the downside of risk, that is a part of life, and as Deep Thought says he rejects the idea of Utopianism – well, attempting to establish a policy that eliminates the downside of risk in economic ventures - that strikes me as an attempt at Utopianism. Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but in terms of the principles involved, only a slight one.

At best, informed close associates or neighborhood investment clubs could be formed for the purpose of aiding each other – but even that would be Very risky to the relationships.

Clarifying My Premises
Since most, if not all of the rest of Deep Thought’s and my disagreements seem to revolve around our definition of Capitalism, this may be a good time to pause and define our terms. The short Oxford Dictionary defines Capitalism as “economic system with ownership and control of capital in private hands”. I would add my understanding of it to be a system which results from the Political recognition of, and defense of Individual Rights and the Property Rights which are essential and central to all Rights.

From that point of view, I balk at the idea of economics being seen as a tool to be used towards attaining Happiness. Economics is useful as a forecasting tool, and tool to help ward off policy errors that might intrude into the economy. I don’t consider economic policy to properly be a set of active policies at all, but only a warning system against the intrusion of bad law.

With that said, the focus of my comments on Distributionism may stand out more clearly; you’ll find me objecting to anything that either is, or can be used as a tool for putting intrusive governmental policies and laws in place that will violate Individual rights in the name of ‘economic policy’.

Also, to restate it again, I think Distributionism as Deep Thought sees it, is more a set of advisable economic practices for private individuals to voluntarily adhere to, than any kind of proposal for establishing a new Gov’t Economic ‘Policy’.

On Corporations and policies regulating them
Deep Thought and I also come to friction on the subject of Corporations. A corporation, a large one, almost by definition contains rank upon rank of middle managers, partially involved workers pushing papers, docs and policies here and there, and somehow around the fringes, they manage to contribute to the production of the corporate product and profit.

Undoubtedly it contains waste, but cumbersome as it is, it is an organization that has yet to be improved upon for most practical purposes. When an organization plan is achieved that is demonstrably more efficient than that of the gigantic Corporations, rest assured, the Corp’s will die, and quickly.

IMHO, one cue towards what may come to be their eventual replacement I think may be seen in, of all places, Hollywood!

Look at the credits at the end of a movie, either produced through a studio or an independent production, and you’ll see hundreds of names and companies that are involved in the production of the product, the movie; few or none of whom work for the Production company itself. They are brought into the project of ‘building’ the movie, as needed in real time, they work together as needed to contribute to the product, receive their pay (or percentage agreements), and separate again from the Production company – which itself may consist of two or three Producers and their secretaries, at the end of the project. Of these numerous people & ‘Companies’ (most of whom which are almost the pure definition of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurialism) they may work together this one time, and never again, or repeatedly over the course of the next several movies. The individual companies in these credits may even be working together on several different movies at the same time!

No predictions, but it’s something to keep an eye on. Our I.T. Dept’s partially approach this method, but only on the level of moving individuals in and out of positions, the departmental bureaucracy lives on. Because the Corporate body as it exists today breeds waste and inefficiency, I have little doubt in saying that they will one day cease to exist, as soon as it is figured out how to accomplish what they accomplish now, but better and more efficiently.

However I reject any notions of penalizing Corporations for their legitimate practices, or anything resembling Trust Busting, totally and completely. When you hear of such actions being proposed, you might want to consider, though not essential to the principle behind them it is instructive, are they designed to protect the consumer, or the competitors? Who benefits by passing laws that prevents a corporation such as Standard Oil, or Microsoft, from charging less for their product? Of course their success makes it more and more possible for them to push their economic weight around and cut better deals for themselves. What of it? To what purpose do you wish to make it possible for some companies to be successful at charging more for a product than the bigger ones are capable of charging less for?

As a side note, when Microsoft became a target in the 90’s of Anti-Trust laws over Internet Explorer (which those of us who were involved in the business at the time of the judgment against them, suspect as being the true initial pop in the dotcom bubble), the suit was instigated by AOL, Netscape, Oracle and SUN – the most closed systems, anti-software integrating, over controlling of ‘partners’ Corp’s in the business, who thought nothing of getting big brother involved in helping them to control the market where their own abilities were woefully insufficient. These are companies that actually practice every strong arm tactic, policy, and quest for world domination that Microsoft is only accused of. They hate MS because it achieves all that they desire and aren’t competent to do themselves. That scenario is, and always has been, the soul of Anti-Trust actions.

Deep Thought opines “And if a corporation is large enough, it can enter new markets and use its economic resources to do the same to more and more fields of transaction. Think this is loopy? Look at Standard Oil; in the 1880’s began a decades-long practice of coercing shippers to give them discounts and to increase shipping prices for competitors. Soon their control of transportation allowed them to literally dictate oil prices to oil producers in America, demand further discounts on their own shipping costs and ‘rebates’ (i.e., kickbacks) from the artificially-high shipping costs they demanded for their competitors, and other such actions. Using this clout, they also gained very effective control of steel production and, eventually, railroads. This was an especially good idea – by controlling the steel industry, Standard controlled the cost of railroad tracks and cars. By controlling oil, they controlled the cost of fuel and lubricants of the railroads. When they moved into the railroad business it was a foregone conclusion that they would dominate it shortly.”

To which I say - Good!

As long as the Corp gains NO legislative/regulatory political power, and uses no PHYSICAL force; and threatening to no longer do business with a company, or convince other members of their supply chain to not do business with their company DOES NOT qualify as Physical Force – it is negotiation, though hardball, true, it is still a legitamate part of the process of making agreements.

What is the principled difference between such hardball tactics on the part of Corporations, and your trying to wheel and deal at the local service station by saying “Look I’ll let you put a set of your top tires on both my and my wife’s car, but if I do, I want you to throw in a alignment check and road hazard on all the tires of both cars, for free, other I’m taking my business across the street to Big Bob’s place and you and your mechanics will not see any more of our regular business”?

In any essential principle, there is no difference, and any interference or intervention in that negotiation, is a violation of the Individual Rights of both parties, and of the principle of the Individual Rights of all.

Again, who is it that such laws are intended to protect, consumers or competitors?!

Analysis by economists then and now agree; Standard Oil began as more efficient than its competitors, which allowed it its initial rapid gains. Once it reached its height, however, its efficiency began to drop. In the end it was less efficient than its (few remaining) competitors (or, in some ways, no more efficient than the others).” Well some economists then and now may agree, but it might be helpful to mention the many who do not, Henry Hazlitt, George Reismann, Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, Walter E. Williams, Richard Salsman, Andrew Bernstein…. The list can go on and on.

So, I have no problems with a monopoly of efficiency – after all, a more efficient competitor will eventually come along. But I have issues with coercive monopolies. I have yet to meet a Conservative who likes coercive monopolies, but I also rarely find a Conservative who will admit that large firms can establish a coercive monopoly almost as easily as a government can. The result? I prefer small firms to large ones.”

I’ve consulted at massive corporations, large companies, and smaller firms, and I too far prefer smaller firms to larger ones. But I DON’T want to have having anything to do with politicians or judges in attempting to reduce (or increase) the size or scope of any private business venture.

For those who do advocate having their congressmen restrain capitalism’s excesses, may want to consider that it was a republican, a business ‘friendly’ conservative, who created the first Anti-Trust law, the Sherman Anti-Trust act in an attempt to get competitors to ‘make nice’, completely blind to the fact that he wasn’t just forcing business’s to make nice, he was driving a serious fracture into the pediment of Property Rights, and Individual Rights. It paved the way for all the destructive policies and programs of Teddy Roosevelt, Wilson, Hoover and FDR. It has laid the foundations for making it conversationally respectable for politicians and judges to consider whether or not private individuals have a right to retain ownership of their property, when others want to use it “for the common good” to make more money for themselves and the cities tax receipts.

And for the record, if Mom & Pop shops can out maneuver, and deliver more valuable services for less than Wal-Mart and the other big corporations can – then I am thrilled for them, and root for the fall of the wasteful Goliaths.

The subject of Wage Slavery sent Deep Thought into an explanation which included “Face it – public schools suck. They are more and more divorced from providing a practical education while they continue to tighten their focus on indoctrination. The result is a populace less and less able to actually become entrepreneurs, forcing them into a spiral of jobs that pay too little for them to live one, resulting in debt resulting in…. Well, you get the idea. The end result is an entire class of people who cannot do that most basic of things – be self-sufficient.”, to which he will get absolutely no argument from me. The latest part of my series on the slide of modern philosophy into the dumper, What never was and never will be (I’m still recovering from re-reading Descartes, Rousseau, Hume, Kant & Hegel, I need a bit more of a breather before getting slimed again by diving into Marx & the deconstructionists’) traces the slide of Education from a process of making one fit for Liberty, into the muck of drowning children in a drudgery of training for skills in ‘basic minimum competency’.

Regarding Guilds and Unions, I personally don’t think that anything other than a professional organization for specific artisans is going to be successful, but with Deep Thought’s clarification: “When you can join any union, no union, or drop out of a union when you wish it means that the unions are forced to do what they are designed to do – help workers. If they do a lousy job, people leave them. If they try to wring concessions from management that makes the business less competitive, they are going to go away pretty quickly when the other unions and the independents oppose them.”, and also his statement that “The goal of Distributionism is to use the voluntary actions of individuals to ameliorate these negative effects in a manner that not only remains Capitalist, but has competitive advantages.”, then I’ve got no further argument against his presentation of Distributionism, and I look forward to again reading Deep Thought to help me get deeper into my thoughts.

As my current thrill ride through the world of Capitalism smoothes out, I’ll be back to my regular (?!) postings ASAP.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Redistributing my thoughts on Deep Thought (The inevitable post 'midnight post' revisions have been made)

Deep Thought took me to task recently for my comments on his series on Distributionism, suspecting that I had skimmed his posts and commented on what caught my eye. I did not skim them, but I promised him that I would reread his series and either take myself to task if I had been in error, or better explain my comments on his posts.

Before I get going again, for the record, Deep Thought is on my Blogroll because I look forward to reading his posts, and even on the rare occasions that I disagree with him, such as this, there is still much to be gained from a good disagreement – a focusing and clarifying of your own understanding, that you're hard pressed to get from anywhere else (certainly not from arguing with moonbats!).

I have reviewed Deep Thoughts postings again, and although my evaluation stands, I also reread my posting, and I must confess that I am guilty of not making clear where my criticism of Deep Thought ended, and where that of worse views picked up, leaving the impression that some of my sharper comments were directed at his posts – which they were not intended to be.

My only defense is that my three part posting was originally one posting, and as I turned it on, it took several minutes to post, and seemed hopelessly long for anyone to bother reading. So I did a little quick slicing and dicing, to rearrange the post into three separate posts, and it lost some in the doing.

If brevity is the soul of wit... I must painfully admit that I haven't yet learned the art of being brief.

I did manage to leave in one reference to “As advice, some may see some value in this, but as Economic Policy? However holy the intent, I can’t see any ultimate destination for these good intentions, other than a new Utopian hell on earth” – but even with that in consideration (you know I'm in trouble if that was an example of calmness and courtesy), I didn’t adequately point out that Deep Thought explicitly denounced using Governmental force to bring about any portion of Distributionism. It was a case of my rushing on to the rest of the post, and not comparing what I had in my head, and what I had on the ‘paper’.
For that, I apologize to Deep Thought.

However, my objections to the implications of Distributionism are real, to what I see would soon be sneaking in through the sidelines and back door, if it were made an official economic policy.

Again, the fact that Deep Thought explicitly states his opposition to state redistribution, interference, etc and for objecting to such for the right reasons, to my mind, absolves him of any and all of the darker implications which I think would have to result from Distributionism being implemented. And again, it is mostly towards the implications I see as being inherent in Distributionism, rather than any direct intent of Deep Thought's posting, that most of my comments are directed towards.

Part of the reason I see trouble coming in through the back door, are the tools that Deep Thought see’s as being used as incentives for Distributionism.

- Tax credits & Gov sponsored job training. For a State to have enough largess in their tax base to spare on social engineering (tax breaks) implies Income Tax, which to my mind is one of the big three (Income Tax, Federal Reserve System, Welfare & regulatory systems) physical realities behind all that has fallen in our nation today.

- “Microloans to such organizations could be subsidized by government agencies” is just a cloaked method of socialist redistributionism.

- “I was surprised when Fr. Neuhaus, whom I normally find to have a very informed opinion, dismisses Distributionism as not having anything to which to attach policies or platforms in the political arena. America has; a Small Business Administration that promotes small business; farm co-ops, credit unions, consumer co-ops, and business co-ops like ACE hardware on almost every corner; a history where the Grange movement held strong, if brief, political influence over national politics; a growing concern over the impact of large enterprises like Wal-Mart and Microsoft of the well-being of the average person; and a rather large (and growing) government job training program.” Which I take to mean that having a Small Business Administration, government sponsored jobs training and a growing concern over a growing Wal-Mart, are signs of optimism and hopeful solutions in the making; but I emphatically believe that these are not part of a solution, they are instead part of the problem! Anytime that Government steps out of its role of ensuring that rights are not infringed, upholding law and order, and defending the interests of the Nation, moral and physical disaster is in the making.

I also have my doubts about a wider scope being attributed to an economic policy, than is proper to its function. The Goal of Economics is not happiness, but production; it is philosophy and ethics that point towards happiness. Economics should of course be compatible with, even complimentary to the goals of philosophy - which as Aristotle says, is happiness – but Happiness is not the goal of Economics, producing, distributing and managing wealth, is the goal of Economics. “Their goal is to create a community where the members avoid the excesses of materialism”, but I think that the only defense against materialism is an education which better teaches what is truly valuable in life, and that again is the job of philosophy, not of economics.

Some other points of concern are:
- “Deal as directly as possible with the producer/end user” … is of course a wise policy when it saves time and effort to do so, but there are many middlemen that do give significant savings in time and effort, and so are worthwhile. Super markets are an excellent example of middlemen being valuable services provided to consumers. Most Mom & Pop stores are not. Wal-Mart is a time saver, visiting all the mom & Pop stores you would need to in order to quickly pickup the products that can be found at a single Wal-Mart, would be a massive time waster, and the expense would more than likely be higher.

In fairness, Deep Thought does say that if middlemen are adding value, then use them – my reaction may be more to an overall tone I perceive (especially concerning expanding corporations and Wal-Mart) which makes me rise to imaginary bait, than a direct quote by Deep Thought on this. I see Corporate consolidation as usually being a good thing; the reason it is done is to increase productive efficiency and profits; and if it is done poorly, it too will collapse or be broken up, so that eventually the frozen productivity that had been locked up in inefficiency and waste, can be thawed & released from its parts once again, back into the wider economy.

- “All men have a right to private property, just compensation for their goods and labor, and to enter into business agreements of their own free will” Unfortunately I do not see that this will protect property rights and ensure fairness, but instead only serve as a mandate for those people in power, to demand that their constituency have property, then some property, then some minimum amount of property, then an increased amount of property - and agitate to get government programs established to distribute it. Property Rights are not to be violated, but they aren’t to be awarded either, they flow from the nature of being human, they are not bestowed or granted.

- “, a man who produces goods or commodities must be paid a just amount for those items.” No, he must be paid what someone is willing to spend and which he is willing to accept – nothing more. More means waste, regulations, and agencies and bureaucratic regulatory law.

-Deep Thought makes a reference to “Wage Slavery”, and that is a term that just gets my hackles up. It has its most common origins as a Marxist concept, intended to obscure the fact that the employer/employee relationship is freely kept and for mutual benefit. A so called “living Wage” cannot be the goal of a business. A desirable product at the most appropriate cost is all that can be expected. If the people working at such jobs need more, they must find other sources of income, or put another way, if they are only able to produce ¾ of what they need as income from their job, then they need to seek the remaining ¼ elsewhere and probably should be looking for ways – new skills, education, to make possible a change of their main productive skill.

Deep Thought supports the creation of Guilds, he raises most of the objections I would raise at such organizations, but I don’t see that they are as easily solved and dismissed as he thinks possible. One key concern of mine, is that If the workers of Guilds are allowed to set prices, that means that prices will be artificially high, such as Detroit's automakers were in the 70’s, and then soon some one, such as Japan, will come along and see that costs are indeed too high, and they will take that opportunity to do better work for less cost, and once that happens those workers and Guilds are going to be seen as Fat fast, and then cut off ASAP.

Another concern is that if the Guilds are allowed to set prices for their members, they derive defacto governmental power, making them more equivalent to Unions, and that type of group power being used to make decisions ‘for the good’ of its members – no matter what they might feel is fair and proper, I think must lead to eventual corruption.

And while I’m at it regarding Union’s - whatever their motive, the worker who endorses old style Union thugery & blackmail to boost his wages and benefits for skills that any experienced teen could perform with minimal instruction, gets no sympathy from me at all when he inevitably finds himself laid off. If he spends his dishonestly acquired ‘generous’ time off doing something such as hunting instead of improving his productive range of skills, he gets what he deserves when the auto plant collapses due in large part to his Union thugs demands.

Regarding Usary, Deep Thought allows that
- “A lender may charge reasonable fees for a loan or for exchanging money. A lender may charge a reasonable penalty for a late payment”, but my obvious question is, as determined by who? Of course you should shop around for the lowest rate, assuming you have the time and credit score to make such a possible lower rate seem attainable. But such rates should not be determined by anyone other than the parties involved, otherwise it is wasteful and unfair and unjust to all parties involved.

With Distributionism, Deep Thought notes that some,
- “…argue that interest rates should be extremely low (on the order of 1-2% at most) and, especially for home loans, others argue that no interest is acceptable at all, only fees.” , to which I again have to ask how is anyone, other than the lender, to determine that?! Is some regulator seriously in a position to tell someone who is putting their capital at risk in a loan, that they have determined what its worth for the lender to make the risk? I can just picture it 'We have thoroughly examined all situations you lenders may find yourself in, and feel you are safe and secure at this rate. Lend everything you've got. Now. Doan worry aboud dit'.

Again though, for the most part Deep Thought promotes Distributionism as more of an ethical practice, which if emulated (aside from the concerns above) would be for the most part a positive step, certainly an improvement over the state of our current mixed economy. As an ethical practice willingly subscribed to, its adherents are free to practice it and with my blessing, may it help ease the sharp edges of life lived in freedom.

I would just note that it is difficult to ease those sharp edges without changing their shape and damaging the overall integrity of the structure. Sharp edges may be just as necessary, as are disappointments and occasional punishments, are important parts in learning to improve yourself through the school of hard knocks. A last note along those lines:

- “Laissez-faire Capitalism is an argument that “Selfish, unjust actions lead to altruistic, just results… eventually.” This is typical of conservative views, which I think undermines us in so many ways. Being able to do what you see fit because it is right to be able to – that will produce the most wealth and value in the end, but that is a non-essential side effect, and ignores the fact that it will inevitably bring disappointment and ruin to many people as well. It is that ignored last part, which those demagogues lurking out there, looking for an in, will inevitably use in an attempt to cast the first part as 'an unmet promise', a tool, to put governmental power into their hands to “do good’.

- “…It goes on to point to the continued failings of unfettered Capitalism and the need to always remember the inherent worth of the individual and the need for solidarity.” What failures are they? When? Deep Thoughts own postings illustrate the immense success of capitalism and the unprecedented benefits to all the world resulting from it – the so called failures of capitalism, come from non-capitalist measures mixing in improper features, economic regulation chief among them.

There is, admittedly, a harshness associated with capitalism, a harshness which I am in the process of experiencing a taste of it myself at the moment – our CIO has been sacked, our projects restructured, and I’ve got to learn and become proficient in a new programming language lickety-split, or I’ll be out the door as well.

It is harsh, life is harsh – Black & White is harsh and it is only through the painfully slow process of earning and saving your wealth that we are able to soften the edges a bit and provide some cushion and comfort for ourselves. As I see it, any attempt at artificially creating that cushioning through the power of governments ability to rob Peter to pay for collective Paul, or even worse, to force Peter or Paul to act against what their own judgment tells them they should do - will be doing no one any favors in the end. If we want our Ends to be Just, our means must be Just, anything else is necessarily using the Ends to justify the Means, and that will most certainly be a bitter end for all.