Monthly Archives: April 2012

Romans 3:8 – There is no “necessary evil.”

Some libertarians say–when speaking of their own or others’ journey–“It usually starts with Ayn Rand.” No doubt  the scales have fallen from many eyes upon reading her novel, Atlas Shrugged. But no matter how a person comes to libertarianism–at bottom–it comes down to Romans 3:8. Evil means are not justified by good ends.

No one agrees with everything everything the government does, but one might imagine the existence of a government whose activities were limited to promoting the common good and nothing else.

No matter how well a government might behave in most matters, no modern state (except one: the Vatican) avoids aggression as as a means of accomplishing the “good.” Even the “good” government—which never initiates violence except to finance its good-deed-doing—finds itself making the moral choice condemned by St. Paul in Romans 3:8: that of doing evil that good may come of it.

In 1994, Pope John Paul II examined this topic of making right moral decisions. He wrote that while it is important to consider good intentions and good results, neither of those justify an evil action:

Let us say that someone robs in order to feed the poor: in this case, even though the intention is good, the uprightness of the will is lacking. Consequently, no evil done with a good intention can be excused.
John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor (1993) 78.

Christians do not have the option of robbing or caging their neighbors for a good cause (except in self -defense). There can be no “necessary evil.”