Saul Alinsky on means vs ends. Jimmy Hoffa. The electoral college

Ford Motor Company “Service Department” goons attack UAW officials legally trying to unionize Ford.

Those squealing in indignation about the current attempts to get electoral college voters to flip and vote against Trump should remember Saul Alinsky’s observations about means vs ends. Specifically, concern about whether something is ethical decreases the closer you are to the conflict and the more you care about the outcome. The extreme example of this is war, where you do whatever you have to.
Jimmy Hoffa leading Teamster strikes in the 1930’s is illustrative here.  At one point striking Teamsters were getting maimed and killed by goons brought in by the companies. They were putting their lives on the line, and were losing. So Hoffa made a deal with the mob and won the strike. It’s easy from our comfortable vantage point decades later to say he shouldn’t have done this, but we weren’t there. That’s Rule 4).  Hoffa also didn’t have much choice. Losing the strike meant thousands of Teamsters would face vindictive retaliation by the companies. He did what he had to with what he had. That’s Rules 1),  3), 5), 6), and 7).
Alinsky on means vs ends
1) One’s concern with the ethics of means and ends varies inversely with one’s personal interest in the issue, and one’s distance from the scene of conflict.
2) The judgement of the ethics of means is dependent upon the political position of those sitting in judgment.
3) In war, the end justifies almost any means.
4) The judgement of the ethics of means must be made in the context of the times in which the action occurred and not from any other chronological vantage point.
5) Concern with ethics increases with the number of means available.
6) The less important the end, the more one engage in ethical evaluations about means.
7) Success or failure is a mighty determinant of ethics.
8) The morality of a means depends upon whether the means is being employed at a time of imminent defeat or imminent victory.
9) Any effective means is automatically judged by the opposition as being unethical.
10) You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral garments.

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