What do you call when someone is doing something bad in the name of something he believes to be truly good and even greater than his individual actions?

  • war in the name of freedom
  • murder in the name of god
  • lie to congress to fulfil the destiny of your country


  • That would be the road to hell, but of course that's not a single word. – 1006a Apr 4 '17 at 4:56
  • "Evil". Because, well, sometimes, terrible things done in the name of good are not good at all, but merely terrible things - and evil things done in the name of good, are still just evil. – Megha Apr 4 '17 at 5:07
  • Another phrase, "the greater good". – fixer1234 Apr 4 '17 at 5:19
  • @fixer1234 the greater good – BruceWayne Apr 4 '17 at 5:34

Not a single word, but "The end justifies the means." The end (result) justifies the means (of getting there).

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  • 3
    Also consider: consequentialism. – jxh Apr 4 '17 at 22:21

He might be doing it - for the greater good. That is, he considers it to be a small price to pay for achieving something he believes will be beneficial in a larger scale to a greater amount of people.

  • The benefit of the public, of more people than oneself; that which is better and more correct.

The price to be payed and the outcome to be achieved are subjective and depends how he (the actor) perceives them to be.

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  1. misguided - poorly conceived or thought out; "an ill-conceived plan to take over the company"


    foolish - devoid of good sense or judgment; "foolish remarks"; "a foolish decision"

  2. misguided - wrong in e.g. opinion or judgment; "well-meaning but misguided teachers"; "a mistaken belief"; "mistaken identity"


    wrong - contrary to conscience or morality or law; "it is wrong for the rich to take advantage of the poor"; "cheating is wrong"; "it is wrong to lie"


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