Famous Late 16th Century Proverb Quote

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

Such an applicable statement for our friends that would institute socialism, fascism, or a theology - complete with the concept of a governmentally sponsored robin hood or any other compelled compliance, forced charity, license, larceny with impunity, victimless crimes, torture for information, etc.

Guess Who?
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    Guess Who?    6/23/08

    If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, does that mean that the road to heaven is paved with bad intentions ?

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    An obvious attempt by religious straight jacket types to keep others from originality, innovation etcetera. People should be allowed to make mistakes.

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    RobertSRQ    6/23/08

    An apt statement considering the last eight years of the Bush Administration and the road to heaven is paved with evil.

    E Archer, NYC

    One can only conclude from the rhetoric spouted by our country's political candidates that they wish to lead us even further down that fateful road,

    warren, olathe

    Waffler, what you think is originality is nothing but old worn out tried and failed ideas that should have died long ago. Our education system is the only thing keeping them alive.

    Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

    Would you rather live in a world of "good intentions", "bad intentions" or "no intentions" (I guess that would be a couch potatoe)? When the actions inspired by good intentions are successful nothing is ever heard about what the intent was. It is just failed good intentions that people bitch about. HELL we would not have the beautiful and inspiring Leaning Tower of Pisa, if it were not for good intentions. And I cannot believe that the poor failed architect/engineer has gone to hell for the failure of his good intentions.

    Logan, Memphis, TN

    What is "good" and what is "evil"? It is hard to say, because terms are relative (based on language). This is why religion, ethnicities, and cultures will always argue over what is a "good" or "bad" intention. In political science we commonly discuss how the greatest despots of history operated on the "best of intentions" in securing their kingdoms/empires/principalities.

    Machiavellian theory, based on one of his works "The Prince", touches on this subject. In science (any science, whether biology, chemistry, political, geology, etc.) seeks to find what "works" and what can be predicted to happen more often than not. Nothing, in science, is absolute; however, science seeks to find what works more often than it doesn't-- this is justified through the scientific method. Our founders justified, analyzed, and argued on a foundation of government as based on the Enlightenment's new philosophy of life in accordance to the natural course of nature (laws of nature or "state of nature").

    This type of foundation of government work "works" better than any other foundation, because it was based on more infinite and eternal absolutes... but nothing was set it stone. They operated on the best logic and principles that they could find. Was it "good" or "bad"? Depending on what philosophy or background you come from, it could be both.

    Christians could quote Christ as saying that by the "fruits" of the structure you can know whether things be "good" or "bad", but this still doesn't actually define the terms. How you apply this quote decides how applicable it is, but as far as politics/government goes, I give it 5 stars; I believe it was Dante who said that the hottest place in hell is reserved for the person who in the necessary time and juncture of performing a specific act said that it didn't matter.

    I have no problem in arguing that men who violate natural law and liberty have a special place in "hell" for their actions in restricting "God's creations" in their inalienable rights... Even in the best or worst of intentions (to protect-- or to control?), there is no substitute for liberty and freedom!

    E Archer, NYC

    I prefer the road less travelled (usually unpaved). Waffler, you can have all the great ideas you wish, and if you get a bunch of people to support them, then fine -- just respect the rights of others to refuse to comply. The error usually starts with trying to prevent or control the laws of Nature. Necessity is the mother of invention -- so let it happen instead of trying to keep everyone fat and sitting on their asses -- that is what welfare does. Building a pyramid with the aid of thousands of slaves may be a stupendous feat that lasts 10,000 years, but does that make it right? Millions of people have been killed and imprisoned due to the good intentions of others -- the Inquisition's intent was to root out evil -- we all know how that turned out. For my part, let me take care of myself and those for whom I am responsible. I am capable of deciding for myself who I would like to lend my aid -- and as much as I may want to 'make a difference' I must consider that my actions may in fact be contrary to the original intent. My skepticism includes myself.

    Ken, Allyn, WA

    It used to be common for people to say, "I think" something is right or wrong. Now it is more common to hear people say that they "feel" something is right or wrong., and it irritates me to no end. They use emotion rather than reason to determine what they believe to be true. These are the same people who believe that intentions are more important than outcome. They repeat failed attempt after failed attempt, hoping for change that will never come; hoping to make things better for humanity. Their failed policies only lead to misery in the end because they deny reality and rational thought.

    Ronw13, Idaho

    The road to perfection is paved many times over with mistakes.
    Experience is our guide. Commonsense, reason and logic know well where to place their faith. 


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