English Composition 1
11 February 2013
Finding a Middle Ground:
How the Ends Justify the Means
Everyone has goals. Some people believe in order to attain a certain goal that it is acceptable to do things that are immoral. This may cause one to wonder if the actions taken to reach such a goal will be worth it. I am going to discuss some different situations that may or may not have a worthy ending, including any means it might take to reach goals such as gaining power, maintaining authority and gaining a title. I’ll also go over what some of the difficulties are in using tactics that may be categorized as unfair or even bad. Are immoral actions ever an acceptable way to achieve a goal? Machiavelli insists that it is not only acceptable, but a necessary means of gaining and maintaining power if that were the goal one wished to achieve. I do believe, however, that doing so may prove to be more difficult than imagined. I say this because anyone who is trying to create or keep an image would want to appear moral even through actions that when looked at separately may not seem so. One cannot, in my opinion, be greedy while simultaneously appearing generous. There must be a middle ground; a place that is at either one absolute or the other, but rather a balance of the two extremes. For example, Machiavelli states “With time he will come to be considered more generous once it is evident that, as a result of his parsimony, his income is sufficient” (43). Therefore, one may seem generous without actually giving up anything, as long as nothing is being taken. There is no need to give up all to be generous. Nor is there a need to take all from others to maintain wealth. Is the perception of being cruel to be preferred over that of being merciful? Yes, with cruelty comes fear of consequences. Those who are afraid of repercussions are less likely to rebel. Just like Scipio, who was overthrown in Spain just because he showed too much...
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