“By any means necessary.” New acronym, BAMN. This statement of intent has been associated with fringe groups like Antifa and white supremacy groups. We are now seeing it with everything from Supreme Court nominations to climate change claims to everyday politics. Here’s how current process works:
- I’m right, so you are clearly all wrong.
- You have no clue how important my beliefs, ends, are to everyone–everyone.
- The ends justify the means, so our means will be
- By any means necessary.
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
Let’s start with the observation that the ends do not–do not–justify the means. Each end is a mean–a tool to get to another end, and so on forever. The means are ends in and of themselves. Ends and means are one in the same; it follows that the ends simply cannot justify the means.
Let’s hear from one of my favorites, John Wooden. “You never heard me mention winning. My idea is that you can lose when you outscore somebody in a game, and you can win when you’re outscored.” Wooden was a star basketball player in college and in the pros, and clearly the best college basketball coach of all time. He strongly believed that if you played your absolute best, there was no shame in losing. And if you did not play your best, there was no glory in winning. What matters is how you played the game. The end was not winning, the end was how you played the game. I doubt that
Coach Wooden could have gotten the words, “By any means necessary.” out of his mouth.
Let’s back up and take on the first of two points we brought up earlier. “I’m right, so you are clearly all wrong.” Said more completely, “I’m right because I am me, and you are wrong because you are not me.” People, including politicians, perhaps especially politicians, who continue to insist that they are right, are not resting their arguments–if indeed they even have any–on facts and logic. They are making the case that they are right because, well, they get it. And those who dare to disagree, or even fail to agree completely, simply don’t get it. That’s it; their positions, their policies, are as crude as that. For more on this subject, please go to, “You Can Be Right, Or You Can Change the World. (EP. 92)”
Here’s more about point two from earlier in this podcast, “You have no clue how important my beliefs, my desired ends, are for everyone–everyone.” This is an extension of, “You just don’t get it.” And a dramatic extension, at that. This takes “I am right and you are wrong.” to “I care about the world, and you don’t.” People who question the claims of a climate crisis are climate change deniers. Deniers. Calling someone a denier of anything makes the underlying assumption that what is being denied is real and true. Calling someone a denier is a cheap sway of making your point without actually making a sustainable (pun intended) argument. People who believe that the earth is flat–and I have actually met some of them–are denying that the earth is round. These folks are actual deniers.
In exactly the same way, there are pro-life people who call the pro-choicers “baby killers.” Hurling that accusation does not further the discussion, and certainly does not win anyone over. Can you imagine anyone changing their position after being called a “denier” or a “baby killer?” What I can imagine people is becoming more dug in than ever.
We have been looking at examples of verbal BAMN–By Any Means Necessary. Toss aside any need for facts and logic–accuse and condemn until we get our way. Because, you know, our way is the right way. Following the ends justify the means trail, it is a small step from accusing and condemning to manipulating the facts and even outright lying. After all, the ends…
And how hard could it be, once caught up in not only the correctness of our cause, the overwhelming need for our cause, our reasoning, our way of thinking to be universal, to go from accusing and lying to physicality and even violence. Maybe just stealing a yard sign. Hey, what I was doing before was not working, and my cause is so right, so vitally important to the world, that I had to do more.
We have all heard the claim made in certain quarters that words, words that in and of themselves do not advocate violence, can properly be met with violence. Some opinions are so wrong, we are told, that they simply cannot be allowed to be uttered in public. And violence is a proper tool to suppress this type of speech. This position demonstrates the dangers of political correctness, substituting the phrase “correct speech” for free speech. And violence is the ultimate BAMN.
At Revolution 2.0™, our ends are the identification and achievement of common goals, and the means are study and research, Verbal Judo, listening and patience–all while maintaining our focus on achieving the Common Goals.
And be open to learning from the people with whom you initially disagree. For my part, I know that I have more to learn than I know now. And I always will.
“It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.” -Chinese proverb. Let us light our candles in the cursed darkness of today’s politics and political correctness.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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