Charles Gutjahr

Melbourne, Australia

February 2019

Charles Gutjahr

A short opinion

The Ends Justify The Means

Recently I argued with a friend over the concept of 'the ends justify the means'. I think its bad reputation is unfair. A common argument against the concept is that Hitler justified the horrors of the Holocaust by the ends of achieving the Third Reich. I think that argument fails because those ends would be appalling. When the ends are unjustified it does not follow that any means are justified.

The material question that 'the ends justify the means' poses is what should we do when the ends are justified? Does that justify less-than-ideal means? I think it does.

I think we should strive for a peaceful world of equal rights and opportunity. I think those are justified ends. If we can get to those ends through means that are always good and ethical, then great! But the world is not that simple and sometimes it throws up a choice between ideal means or ideal ends. The right choice there is to pick the ideal ends. Are means actually ideal if they lead to a worse outcome for the world? I think not, and so the ends are more important than the means.

Every argument I have heard against the concept of 'the ends justify the means' mistakenly blames means when the problem is unjustified ends.

Charles Gutjahr

The Australian Shakespeare Company- Royal Botanic Gardens
Picnic dinner in the gardens for Macbeth. Perfect social media fodder. Also a great date night with Amy.

Charles Gutjahr

A short opinion

The Coalition government is now more responsible for deaths at sea

For some years the Liberal and National parties have held Labor responsible for the deaths at sea of asylum seekers, and I think that's fair: around 1000 died during the Labor government and I reckon different policies could have prevented those deaths.

Now it's the opposite: from now on the Coalition is responsible if anyone dies at sea.

Their reaction to our parliament doing the right thing and legislating for medical evacuations has been to claim it will encourage more boats. That's bullshit. The law clearly does not apply to future asylum seekers, so the only thing that would encourage boats is someone telling them spuriously that border protection has been weakened. The only people making that false claim are the Coalition. That makes the Coalition responsible for any new boat arrivals — and any tragic deaths at sea.

Charles Gutjahr

Avenel Roadhouse
Herald Sun letter writers are remarkably preoccupied with virtue signaling. Four letters brought it up today.

Charles Gutjahr

A short opinion

It is fair to take away dividend imputation refunds

Labor are right to stop people who don't pay tax from getting cash refunds on dividends.

There is a small but loud constituency claiming that it's unfair to take that away, however I think that it's self-evident it would actually be more fair. The money mostly goes to people with self-managed super funds, who are people with plenty of money. People who have struggled to get by all their life do not have a self-managed super fund.

That's not to say taking away this benefit wouldn't hurt some retirees. It would. It's just that others are surely hurting more. Instead of giving money to the (relatively) rich via dividend imputation refunds, we could give it to poorer Australians who need it more. That what I think is fair.

Charles Gutjahr

A short opinion

Carrying cash

It's getting easier to live life without cash in your wallet — or without a wallet at all. We can go shopping just about anywhere with just a credit card or smartphone. I buy most things on card... but I also make sure I keep a small amount of cash on me just in case.

I know a handful of people who refuse to carry cash now. They buy on card, or don't buy at all. That puts them at the mercy of failures and mistakes. Electronic payment systems sometimes fail. I was once mistakenly locked out of my bank account for days. Why not carry a little cash to mitigate these rare but predictable situations? I think you're foolish if you refuse to carry cash.