I don't know why, but the other side of the argument never seems able to stand up to this bully-pulpit wordplay parlor trick. It's nothing but a rewording of a very old and very stupid adage: The end justifies the means. Everyone already knows that's retarded, but suddenly when its twin brother shows up wearing the disguise of "If it saves just one life...." everybody trips over their limp dicks and can't look like a fucking idiot fast enough. So allow ME to reply.
"Lord Galen, if it saves even one life, it's worth it!"
No, it isn't. I realize I'm being a little vague here. That's because this phrase is used to defend SO much that it's hard to be specific. But ok, I'll give a little example. The U.S.A. Patriot Act is a good one. After pundits and the ACLU and and a thousand other people pointed out all of its flaws, all the ways it would curtail or outright strip liberties in this country and, oh by the way, wouldn't really do all that much to fight terrorism in the first place... After all that, proponents of the Patriot Act came back with that lame ass stupid fucking "If it prevents even one terrorist attack on America, it's worth it." The end justifies the means. As long as we're supposedly safe from terrorists, it doesn't matter if the Constitution gets used as toilet paper.
But it DOES matter and the end does NOT justify the means! If I go to jail, I'm perfectly safe from being hit by a bus or dying in a plane crash, but I've paid for that safety with my fucking freedom! It's retarded and it entirely defeats the purpose! I posit that life without freedom is not life at all, merely existence and survival. We ALL believe this, even if we only believe it for ourselves. Even Hitler believed it for himself. Even he, the best example of outright evil in modern times, would not have surrendered his own freedom for the promise of safety! Hitler was, quite obviously, not as stupid as many Americans. Specifically the ones who not only approved of the Patriot Act, but fucking cheered it on in the idiotic belief that giving up some of their freedom to keep themselves safe was A-OK!
If you're a pro-life sort, then you believe that making abortions illegal would save countless millions of unborn lives. Nevermind that abortions would then take place in back alleys and thousands of women would die every year from botched abortions. If it saves even one fetus, it's worth it, right?
The 1st Amendment forbids the joining of religion and public education (a government operation), but if you're a Christian, you want prayer in school and you think the world went to shit when we took prayer out of school. Nevermind the little Jewish, Muslim, or Atheist children in public schools. It doesn't matter if they're made to feel uncomfortable or inferior or like something's wrong with them because they don't believe in Jesus. It's not important what they believe and what they feel, because they're the fucking enemies of God, right? And really, what's a little low self-esteem or offended religious beliefs (as long as they're not yours)? Nevermind that if tax dollars were being used to teach your kids someone else's religion, you'd shit a gold duck! We're talking about the RIGHT religion here; we're talking about JESUS FUCKIGN CHRIST! If it can save even one soul, it's totally worth it, right?
The Prohibitionists of the 20s felt exactly the same way. Let's ban alchohol and nevermind all the lives lost in the black market that emerges and all the people who go to jail for what shouldn't be a crime! If it can save even one life, let's fucking do it!
The rights of adults are constantly being infringed upon to "protect the children." A news story came out a couple of years ago about a man on a plane who was seated next to some unaccompanied children and asked to move. Why? Because he MIGHT have been a pervert or something (since he had a penis, this was obviously the case). Did anybody give a drop of ball sweat about that man's rights? Of course not, because if such insane paranoid nonsense can save even one child from being touched by a stranger on a plane, then fuck everybody's rights!
I can think of lots of things that would save a whole lot of lives. Why don't we try some? For instance, curfews are said to reduce teen crime, right? They don't, but let's just run with it here. So let's instate a curfew for all black men. After all, statistics clearly show that young black males commit far more violent crimes than any other group of people in this country. So, forcing them to get the fuck off the streets would surely make the crime rate drop. Hell, I could launch a campaign where I get some lily white old bitch to cry on camera and in front of Congress about how her poor innocent son was murdered in cold blood by a young black man. I'm sure I could find hundreds of people willing to testify to that effect.
What's that? You say that would be racist? It would be a violation of the proud African Americans' civil liberties? OH-HO-HO, but my friend, if it will save even one life, IT'S WORTH IT! Why do you question it? ARE YOU SAYING THAT YOU DON'T WANT TO SAVE THE LIVES OF WHITE PEOPLE??? YOU FUCKING MONSTER!
And, believe me, as absolutely insane as that sounds, I can guarantee that it would save at least ONE life. Pretty much any fucking thing we do to restrict people and their movements is guaranteed to save at least ONE life. And it still means diddly-fucking-squat. One life saved, but at what cost? Don't your rights end where my rights begin? Doesn't that include your right to live as well? Should your right to live come at the cost of my right to free speech, or religion, or habeus corpus? What say you, arrogant fuck?
And OH GOD FUCKING FORBID we should question that the ends truly do justify the means! You saw the results of questioning it in my example above. Let me give you a more true-to-life example that happens all the time!
Matt: Hey dude, did you hear that Congress is now making it a felony to even look at an underage girl for more than 5 seconds?
John: What? Dude, no way! That sounds kinda.... stupid. And, like, impossible to follow.
Matt: Stupid? WTF man?! What business does any man have looking at an underage girl for more than 5 seconds? Really?!
John: Well, what about my daughter? She's 6 months old. I have to bathe her and change her diaper. Am I supposed to close my eyes?
Matt: Dude, this'll save kids from getting molested and eye-raped by fucking pedophiles!
John: No it won't--
Matt: I cannot fucking believe you're sitting here defending fucking perverts! Are you a pedophile or something?!
John: No, of course not! I just don't think it'll do any good. It's imposing an impossible standard to follow in an effort to combat a crime that almost always happens at home and is nearly impossible to actually prevent.
Matt: So fucking what?! This will save kids! If it saves even ONE child, then it's done its job and was totally worth it! I don't mind this at all. I'm in favor of it because *I* don't want perverts looking at little girls like apparently YOU do!
John: Dude, what the HELL?! What are you talking ab--
Matt: HEY EVERYBODY, JOHN HERE THINKS OGLING UNDERAGE GIRLS IS JUST FINE AND THE LAWS AGAINST IT ARE STUPID!
Argue with the end justifying the means and YOU become the bad guy. If you think the new over-the-top laws dealing with sex offenders are just a little crazy and probably won't do a damn thing, then you're probably a pervert. Support a woman's right to choose? Then you're not pro-choice, you LIKE abortion and you're totally cool with murdering innocent babies. If you don't think America should be torturing people in Guantanimo Bay and holding them without trials, you fucking hate America and want the terrorists to win, because EVERYBODY KNOWS that if even one terrorist attack is prevented because of what we're doing in Gitmo, IT WAS FUCKING WORTH IT!
The saving of one life or even a lot more than one life actually ISN'T worth most of the things we pretend it's worth.
Now, on the flip side, there are exceptions to this. Things that AREN'T crazy and that DON'T have negative effects, those are TOTALLY worth doing even if they seem otherwise pointless because if they change even one life, then it IS worth it. It's that last "it" on the end that's the problem. See, in something like the Youth Rights movement (of which I'm a part), I *can* say that if anything I've ever done or said has helped even one person to see the light, then that was totally worth it. But, worth what? What "it" have I done to reach that ONE life? Am I running around impeding other people's freedom? No. Am I trying to force other people into acting or thinking the way I do? Not at all. Trying to change their minds and telling them how stupid they are if they don't, but not FORCING them. I'm not trying to punish anybody for doing what they think is right, I'm using legitimate means to help them to see why they're wrong. Hey, if Christians wanna go on Larry King and tell me and my kids why we should be praying more, that's just fine. And if they wanna do that once a week, that's cool too, cuz I can always just not watch Larry King and the Christians can say that if going on Larry King once a week saves even one soul, then it's worth it. And that's great, cuz they're not hurting anybody in any way by doing that. What's not cool is when they try to force me to see the 10 Commandments hanging on a building that my tax dollars paid for, or try to force my children to pray to their god at a government-run educational institution that my tax dollars paid for. No, fuck that, NOT OK. And when they do that and smugly say that if it saves even one soul, it was worth it, I'll be there waiting to moon them and say "No, you fucktards, NO IT WASN'T!"
I've just put an hour of my life into writing this. I also smoked one cigarette when I started and am lighting another one now, which means I've taken 14 minutes off my life. So that's a total of 74 minutes of my life that I have now sacrificed for this rant. But, y'know what? If this rant can save even one single person from their own stupidity, then it was totally motherfucking worth it!