The Ends Don’t Justify the Means

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Freedom
Tags: , , , , ,

Most of you have probably heard of the IdleNoMore movement now, and probably have an opinion on the validity of the movement’s claims. My question is, what about the innocent people that are suffering from the movements actions when they are not doing anything wrong.

I recently read an article explaining what the movement was, and why we should support it – it being about protecting the earth and protecting woman. I couldn’t help but feel that the message being received by this movement is full of hypocrisy; it is asking people to go out and join the protesters who are blocking roads, bridges and railroads if you believed in the same goals. To be fair, I want to point out that the article didn’t really say to do these activities, it was just raising awareness of the issue. This is one of the ways these issues should be brought to people’s attention, through non aggression. This article did not point out the hypocrisy in the movement’s message though, and didn’t condemn its actions as it should have; that is where my problem lies.

The article said the movement is about the need to help people who are being affected by pollution and the destruction of the land, the need to help women who are being beaten or treated unfairly and the need to put a stop to it. I can agree with that. But what I can’t agree with is performing acts of aggression against innocent people in order to get your message out. On one hand you’re being asked to stand up and help people because they have been wronged, but you’re asked to wrong other innocent people in the process.

Two wrongs might make a right when your bowling (I can vouch for this!), but that is not the case when your dealing with people. People should be treated with dignity and respect. They should not be forced to suffer just because there have been other people who have suffered in the past, or to end another groups current suffering. It’s almost like robbing someone with the explanation ‘My brother was robbed, so I’m robbing you to give the money to him and help him out.’

Here someone might say ‘but Lee, the harm being done to the travelers is nothing compared to what was done to the Indians’. To me that’s like saying it’s OK to rob someone of $50 to help out the guy who was robbed of $10000. Does that make sense? Someone is still being robbed – and that is never right in my books.

I just don’t see how the ends justify the means.

It’s important to understand that even if there is no physical harm, it does not mean it’s not an act of violence. As I stated in ‘Striking Students of Quebec’,

What is important to discuss is what many are doing that is not seen as violent by most people. The protesters non-destructive actions are still a form of violence, even if there is no physical harm involved. Some of the stories I read are about protesters blocking traffic in the streets, blocking access to buildings and businesses, and most important of all, blocking access to education through the strike itself.

It’s easy to understand why they are performing these acts, as they want to draw attention to themselves to get support from the general public. They want to put pressure on the government. However, this is unfair to those who just want to go about their daily lives. In the cases where they are blocking entry to buildings and businesses, they are stopping others from going to work and making a living. Even if they are right in deserving to pay less for school, how is it right to stop an innocent individual from working at his job? It is not. Maybe some of these people are barely making ends meet, and now will not be able to afford to feed their family. Even if they are only doing this to businesses for one day each, to infringe on another’s freedom to work for one day only is wrong, even if the effects are not as damaging as a prolonged infringement.

How will we ever get along in the world if we promote aggression to solve problems of aggression? You can’t solve problems with the same level of thinking that was used to create them. I understand that violence might be necessary to protect yourself, and I agree with self-defense. But to initiate a form of violence goes against everything it means to be free, as you are trampling on the rights of the individuals being harmed.

I understand the right to protest, and often the need for it. As I state in ‘Unions – From the Point of View of Freedom’

Let’s view the issue from a rights perspective. If a group of employees want to gather to improve their situation on their own time and property, there is no reason why they should be denied this freedom. This, of course, is different from unions meeting on an employer’s property or having meetings during working hours without the employer’s approval.

If presently unions are too powerful and are causing too many problems, it’s because government regulations give them this power. In a free market, people would not be able to use unions to demand a larger wage than what the market would bear. On the other hand, they would be able to use unions to demand a wage equivalent to the market value. If employers are putting them in dangerous positions that are not worth the pay, they can band together to get what is fair. Unions can help workers get what is deserved, and take away any unfairness and dangers caused by unscrupulous employers. Unions have a useful purpose in helping workers get wages at the market price

Think of the IdleNoMore movement like a union. They are free to associate and protest, but they should not be infringing on other people’s freedom to do so. Let them show their anger by standing outside parliament, or on the side of streets showing people their signs. This makes them visible and doesn’t infringe innocent people from moving around.

When you take away freedom from individuals who have done nothing to warrant it while protesting against a group or government for doing the same thing, you are no better then them.

  1. jakedp says:

    Well said and I have said the same thing on one point. The point of attacking the livelihood of innocent people, people that could have been sympathetic might have been alienated. I think Harper would have been greatly tarnished by Spence and the movement but now the movement is shooting itself in the foot and is committing political suicide. I agree completely that blockades are an act of aggression although not violent a distinction many people seem to not understand.

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