An age-old ethics question is whether doing the right thing for the wrong reason still makes your actions wrong. It is clearly a debatable question and one upon which ethicists will never agree. However, under the law there is no such debate. Regardless of your motive, doing the right thing is judged solely on the action and not on the actor’s motives. And the reason for that is simple – ascertaining one’s motive is completely subjective while the law requires objective findings.
For the last two decades at least Democrats have turned their attention to subjective standards because they are filled with emotion while lacking in fact. “Fairness” is the principle standard upon which they base their arguments even though fairness is in the eyes of the beholder. However, “fairness” can be manipulated by energizing a sufficiently large and noisy mass of people to complain that something is not fair. And therein lies the reason that Democrats have seized upon the subjective to the detriment of the objective.
The whole of life is not “fair” and you can find element after element of life to abuse and criticize. The Democrats have gone so far down this road that their leaders – or would-be leaders – find it necessary to apologize for not suffering the indignities heaped upon others in the process of life. A case in point is former presidential candidate Robert O’Rourke (D-TX) who felt compelled to apologize for being born white and male. (He should have apologized for wasting people’s time with his absurd and expensive campaign.) The same concept was also present during the confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh when Senate Democrats seized on “personalized” truth rather than objective truth to try to deny Justice Kavanaugh a deserved confirmation. (You will remember Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) saying of Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Justice Kavanaugh of an alleged sexual assault undisclosed for over thirty years, that:
“She came forward. She sat here. She told her truth.”
And Democrats found that “her truth,” unsubstantiated by any material fact or corroborated by any other witness, timeline or location, was sufficient to deny Justice Cavanaugh confirmation. It was a frightening day in a process gone terribly wrong.
But back to the point of the matter. Is doing the right thing for the wrong reason actionable?
Former Vice-president Joe Biden spoke to a Council on Foreign Relations gathering back in January of 2018 regarding withholding congressionally authorized foreign aid to the Ukraine:
So they said they had [taken action against the prosecutor who was investigating the energy company that Mr. Biden’s son had joined as a director]—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him.I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time. [Bracketed words and emphasis supplied.]
Mr. Biden has justified his actions by claiming that the prosecutor wasn’t moving fast enough to uncover corruption at Burisma – the company in which Mr. Biden’s son served as a director. His opponents claim that Mr. Biden forced the prosecutor’s firing because he was getting too close to corruption at Burisma that involved his son. Democrats have resisted any further investigation into the matter, choosing instead to believe that even though Mr. Biden acted illegally in threatening to withhold foreign aid previously authorized by Congress that he might have been doing the wrong thing for the right reason. The right reason being uncovering corruption in the Ukraine.
Fast forward to the current imbroglio relating to whether President Trump committed an “impeachable offense” by threatening to withhold foreign aid unless Ukrainian authorities investigated whether there was corruption involving Mr. Biden’s son. Mr. Trump claims that there were no such threats and that even if there were it was justified in trying to root out corruption in the Ukraine. Go it? According to Democrats Mr. Biden was justified while Mr. Trump is not. And for Democrats the difference is that Mr. Biden is a political opponent and that somehow that immunizes him against investigation by the United States as to whether he and/or his son committed a crime.
That was a point that Democrats tried to hammer home during the questioning of Ambassador Gordon Sondland who finally agreed that it was wrong to threaten to withhold foreign aid to force a foreign government to investigate a political opponent. And to which I say “Baloney!” Mr. Biden has a long history of relatives profiting from his administration of foreign affairs. His speech to the Council on Foreign Relations confirmed that history. Seeking the aid of a foreign government to ferret out corruption by a public official – foreign or domestic – is a responsibility of the Executive Branch of the government. In the Swamp we have turned a blind eye to this type of corruption for over thirty years. Mr. Trump was justified in exposing it in this instance whether or not it benefited him politically.
If Mr. Trump threatened to withhold foreign aid solely in order to cast about for dirt on his opponent (like Hillary Clinton did with the phony Steele dossier) that would be wrong. If Mr. Trump threatened to withhold foreign aid in order to determine whether there was corruption involving an admission by a United States politician in the manipulation of foreign aid, he was fully justified whether or not he benefited politically as an ancillary matter.
If you are going to Drain The Swamp you have to deal with the snakes and the alligators – not just the rats and roaches.