The end justifies the means

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The end justifies the means is a phrase of Niccolò Machiavelli.[1] It means that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of getting it is acceptable.

The idea is ancient, but it was not meant to justify unnecessary cruelty. It was part of a political philosophy called consequentialism. The basic idea is that a policy can be judged by its outcome. All modern versions of consequentialism have to deal with the limitations necessary to prevent tyrants abusing this idea.


  1. "Machiavelli Said, "the Ends Justify the Means" - Fact or Myth?". Fact / Myth. Retrieved 2022-09-21.