Good intentions, road to hell

In my opinion, the message “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is the most toxic message in the history of the world. The fact that this proverb is in the lexicon is part of the problem. People really, really need to speak out and stand against it, because it’s a Trojan horse for cynicism and surrender.

It would be faster AND more accurate to simply say “Good intentions are not enough.” This leaves open the fact that many other elements are needed.

Blaming good intentions is the height of folly. It promotes cynicism and other negative parts of human nature. Why bother doing more than the absolute bare minimum to get by? Why go the extra mile? Why bother when you can just sit back, slack off, and still get the same mediocre results with MUCH less effort? Blaming good intentions undermines every pep talk about giving 110%, following through, being proactive, etc.

Good intentions are NEVER the problem. Instead, it’s poor planning, poor execution, lack of know-how, or lack of consideration of the ramifications. While doing nothing will be the correct action 1% of the time, it will be the wrong action the other 99% of the time. Given that doing nothing is the default option and the path of least resistance, it does NOT need to be actively encouraged.

Poking holes in something is easy enough. Actually coming up with solutions is the hard part. If an endeavor were that easy, somebody else would have already completed it by now. Getting things done properly requires things like know-how, skill, and attention to detail. It can feel like it requires all the planets to be properly aligned.

To get on-topic, I think that this toxic old proverb is holding back humanity and productivity. It’s time to junk it.


Only negative externalities are holding back humanity.

Meaning if we did not let corporations profit off of shedding huge costs the world world would be responding to the true costs of pollution and climate change.

When anyone on this board discusses their investment in oil or any fossil fuel the really costs are barely added in to the cost of doing business. We are subsidizing investors on this board destructively to our world.

If you think oil is a good investment then pay the real costs involved.


<It’s time to junk it. >

Great idea!

Poof! It’s gone!

Wendy (brushing hands together, going back to watch PBS)


“The road to hell is paved with good intentions”

Is the poetic way of saying: “Unintended Consequences.”

Frédéric Bastiat on Unintended Consequences:

That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen

In the department of economy, an act, a habit, an institution, a law, gives birth not only to an effect, but to a series of effects. Of these effects, the first only is immediate; it manifests itself simultaneously with its cause — it is seen. The others unfold in succession — they are not seen: it is well for us if they are foreseen. Between a good and a bad economist this constitutes the whole difference — the one takes account of the visible effect; the other takes account both of the effects which are seen and also of those which it is necessary to foresee. Now this difference is enormous, for it almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the ultimate consequences are fatal, and the converse. Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, at the risk of a small present evil. [Emphasis added]

Karl Marx might be one of the best or most horrendous examples of “economic unintended consequences” in history.

Frédéric Bastiat on Central Planning

Frédéric Bastiat

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain. I do not dispute their right to invent social combinations, to advertise them, to advocate them, and to try them upon themselves, at their own expense and risk. But I do dispute their right to impose these plans upon us by law – by force – and to compel us to pay for them with our taxes.édéric_Bastiat#The…

1850 was a good year for Monsieur Bastiat

The Captain


It would be faster AND more accurate to simply say “Good intentions are not enough.”

That is the commonly understood meaning of the whole phrase.…

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To take the other side of your argument.

I think the saying is not prophylactic but actually an observation that only wisdom and experience will reveal. When i see a fool rush in, heedless and deaf to the greater circumstances and wisdom around them, I get out of the way and let nature take its course. Only then, may they become willing to see the world as it is rather than the way they want it to be. And, thus, a more useful citizen.

Experience has been my teacher. A corollary: No good deed goes unpunished!


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