“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” what is a real life example of this?

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions” what is a real life example of this?

33 thoughts on ““The road to hell is paved with good intentions” what is a real life example of this?

  1. There is a series on YouTube “Great Moments in Unintended Consequences” which has many examples.

  2. Story:

    My uncle took me and my brother in because he wanted us to get a good education. My mom and dad agreed as they knew that my uncle would be able to give us a better shot at making something of ourselves. My uncle’s intentions were good.

    However, my uncle’s wife made our lives hell. She basically mistreated us and my uncle was unable to do anything about it. So his inaction made him complicite.

    Even through the hardships, my brother and I still managed to get an education but my uncle’s reputation was affected negatively. Family members don’t see him the same way and his wife is really disliked (to put it mildly).

    It started with good intentions but it didn’t end well for my uncle.

  3. Keeping on trying to help someone so desperately that you lose sight of your own actions and end up hurting everyone around you by neglecting your own health and becoming overly defensive of that person, even insulting and attacking others for them.

    This can happen too fast when you fall in love with a bad person

  4. I feel like dynamite is a pretty great example, he literally just made it for mining and was so horrified by people using it on other people he made the Nobel peace prize.

  5. A lot of old programs centered around weight and eating disorders just led to kids being more conscious about being judged about their weight despite the intentions of wanting to prevent bullying or healthy weight. It did not even matter if it was anti-anorexia or wanting to decrease obesity. Also in my school they showed us pro-ana sites with like a ”beware!” message and I also could not help thinking that this talk was the only reason I knew they existed.

    Currently the focus is more on eating healthy instead of weight. Still has some pitfalls, such as orthorexia.

  6. The opioid crisis. Initially it was highly restricted and doctors hated prescribing it because they KNEW how addictive it could be. Well here we are.

  7. Haiti did not have cholera. A disastrous earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, after the earthquake humanitarian forces from the UN arrived to help, and the Nepalese contingent reintroduced Cholera to Haiti. This epidemic has since infected approximately 850,000 people and killed over 10,000.

  8. My mom called my Christian university (that 17 year old me attended by my parents behest) to inform the school that I was smoking weed, drinking, and having sex. She thought because it was a Christian university, they would put me into a counseling program to get me “back on track.” The school told me to pack my bags, leave immediately and they rescinded the 80% scholarship I obtained, causing me to owe the full 100% for that semester which I’m still paying off a decade later.
    Edit: this comment is getting a lot of traction so I figured I’d add another nugget. After getting kicked out of college, my 18th birthday was the next month. My parents somehow (my dad is a tech nerd so he could hack any account I had) found out that I was going to have a party at a friend’s house to celebrate. There was alcohol and weed at the party. Low and behold my parents called the state police and alerted them of the party. I and 3 other friends got arrested that night. Most charges were dropped or expunged eventually.

  9. My parents thought that if they brought us kids to church every week (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and **all** day Sunday), had us go to private religious schools, and made us volunteer for religious organizations, we’d stay out of trouble and be as zealous as they are. As soon as each of us could, we ran away and never looked back. One of my sisters won’t attend a funeral if its in a church!

  10. George W Bush admin created subsidies on corn to promote the production of ethanol to be used in fuel, etc. Better for the environment and so forth. Couple of downstream effects:

    1) Ethanol in fuel lowers the fuel efficiency, so you have to buy gas more frequently (more of an inconvenience, but that’s why fuel with no ethanol is usually slightly more expensive).

    2) Corn sold for other purposes than ethanol didn’t qualify for the subsidies, so there was a strong financial incentive to sell to ethanol produces instead of for food. This drove the price of food corn (and food that uses corn-derived ingredients) up, affecting poor people the most.

    3) The financial incentives were so strong that farmers were buying up cheap land in areas that were very unsuitable for corn production or switching away from crops that would grow more easily if they couldn’t afford more land. In western Kansas, corn needs to be heavily irrigated in order to grow. There is an enormous aquifer that stretches from South Dakota to the Texas panhandle. Increased irrigation combine with a years-long drought drained the aquifer to the point that the city of Hays has to truck their water in.

    Edited to add line breaks.

  11. The introduction of Kudzu for erosion control. It has become invasive and girdles and kills plant life above ground without establishing proper roots, therefore causing soil erosion.

  12. A company in a town I used to live in “employed” a lot of people from the local disability support center, these people had mental disabilities such as Down syndrome and this company “employed them” to come in a few hours a week and “work” – and by work I mean little tasks that gave these employees lives a sense of meaning, purpose and structure. Things like folding pamphlets and stamping papers and they would be paid a small amount for their time, not minimum wage but enough for them to be absolutely thrilled with their “pay” from working.

    The government made some changes so that these people HAD to be paid minimum wage (I assume to avoid people being taking advantage of), I am sure they had the best intentions but this company, and many others could not afford to pay all of these people minimum wage and so they had to cut back to only letting 1-2 people work instead of all of the people who were benefiting from “working” for them initially.

    It was really sad especially because these people did not understand why they were not allowed to work anymore.

  13. The invention of social media.

    When Tom was working at Friendster, I genuinely believe he wanted to build something that allowed people to socialise and communicate in a new and modern way.

    On paper, early MySpace is a brilliant concept that made a lot of people realise the potential of the internet.

    This concept was that mutilated and turned into what social media is today. Quite possibly the single most socially damaging invention that ever happened. Far away from bringing people closer together, it has turned into a tool that is tearing people further apart, making them feel more disconnected with society than ever- and instead of democratising discussion, it has put even more power into the hands of the elite.

  14. Most moral panics?

    Stranger Danger: convincing people in the 1970-90s that hundreds of thousands of American children were being yoinked into random cars by evil strangers each year, while downplaying and underfunding the resources that could actually help decrease child abduction.

    Child abductions not only never came anywhere near those huge numbers, but it was and still is nearly always a custodial issue or a very close family member. Teaching people to be wary of kidnapping is great; directing all their fears toward vague spooky strangers and not helping people learn how to *actually* prevent kidnapping is kinda shit.

  15. ‘Helping’ someone by enabling them in their self destructive behaviours. Sometimes you help someone by denying them what they say they want.

  16. Lobotomy

    Surgery to fix the mentally unwell

    It sounds so good: no more reliance on medication, you’re good from now on.

    But it didn’t work.

    The outcomes were awful and it was frequently done without any sort of consent

    It all could have been shut down fairly quickly if people were honest about what was happening, but careers and money was at stake….so many unnecessarily suffered

  17. During one of china’s extreme dry seasons (think of their dust bowl period) Mao ordered the killing of birds to prevent bird eating seeds and so increase agricultural productivity

    instead what happened is that birds that feeded on plants pests were killed making the situation even worse and resulting on the death of millions

    a bad dry season, deforestation, missuse of pesticides and a war against nature under his belief that conquring nature was the way to inprove agricultural yield and so the welbeing of their citizens

    stupid uninformed decisions even if semingly rational to a layman resulting in one of the biggest human and ecological cost disasters

    we still making such decisions from time to time, sometimes for profit on the belief that such will benefit all and sometimes for genuine good reasons

  18. On a personal scale trying to help a really drunk person. I’m a woman and talkative and I started talking to another woman at a bar who was really really drunk. She told me her friends deserted her so I said she could hang out with me and my friends as it was my birthday (to keep an eye on her and because she seemed fun). Then she started falling off of chairs and spilling drinks so I encouraged her to get a cab. She started crying how everyone hates her as I was helping her outside but agreed to go home. I got a cab, paid for it because she was a mess, and all of the sudden she got really violent and ended up kicking me in the face trying to get out of the cab because she ‘wasn’t done’. She pushed me and told me to fuck off but ultimately sat back down in the cab crying.

    We had already exchanged numbers so the next day she texted me apologizing profusely and asking if we could stay friends. I told her I appreciated her apology but no thanks.

    I will always try to help people where I can but that turned me off from going above and beyond. Plus, you can rarely rationalize with really drunk and upset people.

  19. I’ll poke a little at my fellow leftists here.

    Plastic bags.

    Back in the late 90s there was a huge push for people to stop using paper grocery bags because of the amount of trees being cut down for paper.

    Unfortunately, it turns out the logging industry can be pretty sustainable (though not entirely faultless!) and plastic bags are unrecyclable and so thin that reuse is uncommon. Instead contributing to massive amounts of plastic pollution in the environment.

    Another example is the protest against hunting white tailed deer. Unfortunately we killed their natural predators, and hunting is an effective way of keeping their population at sustainable levels.

  20. I recall hearing that the person behind the ‘like’ function of Facebook legitimately just saw it as a nice way for people to show others what they like, or a way to positively react on things – it turned out that it had/has a huge negative impact on social congnition, such as teenagers, especially girls unfortunately, developing depression.

  21. Since the abysmal performance of American schools has been in the news recently, “No Child Left Behind” and it’s replacement “Every Student Succeeds Act”

    America has never had really good public education, but it used to be serviceable. NCLB came in to try and create some milestones and accountability. Instead it made the problem worse. ECSS came in and tried to address it’s problems, but changed the stuff that wasn’t the problem and left the bad parts unscathed.

    Taken all together 57% of highschool GRADUATES can’t read at a 7th grade reading level and over a quarter are functionally illiterate.

  22. Those parents who solve all their kids issues and don’t make them “stress” about consequences of their own actions. Their kids just turn into inept and entitled adults who still act 15 for decades and not only have a harder life for themselves but make life miserable for everyone around them too.

  23. Bounties for killing invasive animals. You have a bunch of animals you don’t want, so you pay people for each animal they kill, usually by getting them to produce the carcass or a unigue body part. People then start breeding said animal as it’s easier and more lucrative than catching them in the wild. The authorities find out, and stop the bounty programme. So the breeder let all their newly-bred invasive animals into the wild. Situation is now worse than before.

    There’s a famous example involving cobras in India (IIRC). They also tried this with rabbits in the area I used to live as a kid. In this case, no breeding was required as the bounty drop off point was the local police station. You’d go in with a bag of cute bunny tails. The officer on duty would count the tails, and pay you for each tail. He’d then take the bag of tails round the back of the station and pop them in the dumpster. At which point, a friend of the the bounty hunter would dive into the dumpster, retrieve the tails, go into the police station by the front door, and repeat the cycle with the just-retrieved set of tails.

  24. Electronic cigarettes (“vapes”) were intended as a tool to help people quit smoking. However, because of the perception that they are “harmless”, young children (many of whom would never have tried smoking) are increasingly using them despite their addictive nicotine and unknown long-term health effects.

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