Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals said that during a major fight with a big corporation, someone came to him with proof the opposition leader was gay (this in an era when that could end a career.) Alinsky turned him down. But explains, had he no other choice, he would have used it, “ethical hymen” be damned.
Quoting from Rules For Radicals:
“Thanks, but forget it. I don’t fight that way. I don’t want to see it. Goodbye.” He protested, “But they just tried to hang you on that girl.” I replied, “The fact that they fight that way doesn’t mean I have to do it. To me, dragging a person’s private life intoÂ this muck is loathsome and nauseous.” He left.
So far, so noble; but, if I had been convinced that the only way we could win was to use it, then without any reservations I would have used it. What was my alternative? To draw myself up into righteous “moral” indignation saying, “I would rather lose than corrupt my principles,” and then go home with my ethical hymen intact? The fact that 40,000 poor would lose their war against hopelessness and despair was just too tragic. That their condition would even be worsened by the vindictiveness of the corporation was also terrible and unfortunate, but that’s life. After all, one has to remember means and ends. It’s true that I might have trouble getting to sleep because it takes time to tuck those big, angelic, moral wings under the covers. To me that would be utter immorality. “