Sunday, August 27, 2006

Do the Ends Justify the Means?

There has been a lot of debate on various topics that falls into the category of the question, “Do the ends justify the means?”

And after watching yet another NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Bristol this weekend, I note along with this report from Tom Jensen that:

“As Bristol races go, this one was unusually tepid, with no major fights or rancor, an uncommon state of affairs for this event. There were no fistfights, no shoving on pit road, no upraised middle fingers or threatened retaliation, only clean racing.”

Yet, I once again wonder if people are really think about the topic fully. There was nothing wrong with Saturday night’s race; in fact it was great just how “tepid” it was. But I still wonder about the overall ideology of the motor sport as it stands. Even a close friend of mine on the fence about Nextel Cup drivers willfully hitting each other says that it’s great (at LEAST in terms of publicity) for the sport.

However, do the ends justify the means? Shouldn’t safety be paramount? Although, objectively speaking, one could note that the tantrums that are acted out on the track are done because the safety of the cars and the equipment for the drivers is quite substantial. Nevertheless, on the other side, the FIA has historically shown that it provides hefty draconian penalties on drivers. (A good example, the two-second time penalties given to Alonso and Schumacher prior to the race at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix.)

In any case, other than putting someone’s life in potential danger, maybe there is nothing wrong with the drivers who make the choice to hit another person willfully. The only chink in the armor of that argument of choice is that the drivers don’t own the cars most of the time. By not owning the car, it could be said that it’s not theirs to wreck.

In the end, I really think it’s a worthy question to ask here, and in many other facets of life. Do the ends justify the means?

(Picture taken from
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