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If An Unethical Or Illegal Act Yields Positive Societal Results, Is The Act Necessarily Bad?

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As a college basketball player (many years ago), I organized a Make-A-Wish Foundation fundraiser for a local fan with a serious medical issue. (Good news 20+ years later the individual is doing relatively well).

Recently, Frank Shankwitz (the inspiration behind the Make-A-Wish Foundation) passed away at 77. According to this article, after granting the first “wish,” Shankwitz ran into hurdles when trying to grant the second “wish.” The article states:

“The second wish he and his colleagues granted involved a visit to Disneyland. Calling from Arizona, Mr. Shankwitz (a motorcycle officer with the Arizona Highway Patrol,) had trouble finding anyone at Disneyland to listen to his request for help. Finally, he called back and pretended he had a warrant for a Disney employee’s arrest. That caught the attention of a senior person, who took the call. Mr. Shankwitz admitted he had lied about the warrant. Then he made his plea. Disneyland came through with full cooperation. “Sometimes you have to cheat a little bit,” Mr. Shankwitz said after telling that story in a speech several years ago.”

Today, Make-A-Wish Foundation has 64 chapters in the United States and 36 internationally and has delivered more than 500,000 “wishes” to critically ill children.

The above story raises the question: if an unethical or illegal act yields positive societal results, is the act necessarily bad?

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