Hell and Good Intentions

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L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs.  (Hell is full of good wishes and desires.)

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Klaven reminds us of something that is very true in the above video.  In human affairs someone who, from the outset, intends to do evil can cause quite a bit of calamity and tragedy.  However, for true catastrophes you generally need someone who is seeking to do good, but is blind to the negative consequences of his actions.  History is replete with examples.  Martin Luther, I think, really did start out honestly intending to merely give impetus to reform within the Church.  Gandhi did not want to see India divided once the British withdrew because he honestly believed that Muslims and Hindus could live in peace together throughout the subcontinent.  Neville Chamberlain resisted taking any stand against Hitler until September 1939 because he honestly wished to spare Britain another World War only a generation after the first one.  Good intentions are almost always laudable.  However, being right intended does not excuse one from intelligently weighing the consequences of seeking to implement those good intentions.

5 Responses to Hell and Good Intentions

  • Hi Donald,
    Just a small edit in the following sentence (I imagine you were writing it late at night and tired!): “he honestly truly that Muslims and Hindus could leave in peace together” should read “he honestly, truly thought that Muslims and Hindus could live in peace together”. ;-)

  • Thank you for pointing that out to me Kevin! I have made the necessary edit.

  • A dude named Edmund Burke, I think, said the only thing needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.

    I think our (at many levels) leaders have embraced misplaced mercy and political correctness to rationalize their retreat from the clash with evil.

    N.B. had Neville C. stepped on Hitler in before he had armed and grown strong, he likely WOULD have avoided WORLD WAR II.

    Cowardice and treason are not “good intentions.”

    Finally, Gandhi waged war – nonviolent war, but war nonetheless.

  • Although that is commonly attributed to Burke T. Shaw he never said it.

  • MK Gandhi through the cunning of history obtained for modern India relief from the fate of being burdened with a very large, irredentist Muslim population. When I see what is going in Pakistan and to a lesser extent in BanglaDesh, I say in all sincerity, good riddance to the Muslims. So called Hindu nationalists who can neither put a up fight with the Muslims, nor yet live in peace with them should go on bended knees to thank God for Gandhi who in his own quixotic way. managed to cast off India the pointless burden of looking after legions of Muslim barbarians.

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