Good Intentions are not Good Enough

I had a person comment on my post regarding a terrible decision that was made to try to encourage children not to drink and drive at El Camino High School in Southern California.  In this program, students were led to believe that their friends had been killed in car accidents, and were show pictures of the actual (fake) accidents.  Her point in essence was that this program should be praised because the purpose of it is to keep kids from drinking and driving, and it might save a life.

Her argument is a symptom of a new idea that has been foisted upon America by bleeding heart types in the past few years.  It is the notion that ‘intention creates legitimacy.’ 

Intent is way overrated in the first place.  A lawyer will use intent to get his client off.  Regardless of  the fact that guy was convicted of drinking and driving five times before, he did not intend to kill the family of four when he took the wheel this time.

Society has followed this faulty logic by legitimizing actions based on the intensions of those who took the actions.  Probably the best example of this is Global Warming (in general) and the attitude by its supporters of throwing any idea against the wall and seeing if it sticks before considering its ramifications or the possibility that it might actually be worse for the environment (see corn-based bio fuels).

Good intensions are not enough, and can, by themselves lead to disastrous results.  

Once a year we have this unfortunate story.  A charity picnic is organized with food and games.  During the ‘games’ portion of the event, someone decides to have a tug-o-war.  A couple of the guys on one team think it would be funny to just let go of the rope, and let the girl at the front hit the mud.  Everything is all fun and games until they let go, and the little girl behind them has her hands pulled off by the rope that is wrapped around them.  The two guys were just trying to put on a show for the audience, and they had good intentions, but unfortunately their actions left surgeons trying to put the little girl’s hands back on her body. 

Often people use children and charities to as a justification for their foolish ideas, as if something done ‘for the children’ or ‘for charity’ cannot be argued with.  These become a shield that they hide behind as in the case of El Camino High School.

I suggest that we stop allowing these excuses.  People need to think about the possible consequences of their actions, and if there is any reason that it might be a bad idea, we should come up with a better way of doing it.

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One Response

  1. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

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