Human beings concern themselves with good and evil as life and survival encounters both. And both are rather indefinable forces.
A physicist might regard these to be two opposing forces, one negative and one positive. Each is required and both must exist like two magnetic forces in order to maintain the energy field that results from that existence, like two celestial revolviing bodies pulling away but attached to each other by a magnetic force.
Very few people who are considered to be rational will side with the forces of evil. Most religions declare their main intention as the support of what is good. And most of them preach that “man” is made up of both these forces, good and evil.
Honesty is considered to be a basic and good quality, dishonesty, bad. It seems easier to be dishonest than honest. Therefore, we have to work at being honest and we tend to honor honesty as a social accomplishment, but in practicality honesty is often considered it to be fool hearty politically and in the market place, not a forceful characteristic.
Dishonesty is usually practiced in the individual or collective interest, therefore, the expression, “the end justifies the means." Concealment of the truth or deception is considered to be dishonest yet it is practiced in many acceptable forms in societies.
The means may be dishonest or evil, but if the result is gain and therefore survival, we can justify that as being good. Survival at whatever level or quality seems to override what is good or evil, therefore, we can justify war which is considered to be evil but it is for “the greater good” which is survival.
Although societies are rather intolerant of human beings killing other human beings within their own society, war which is evil is acceptable so we honor those involved in the killing of those on the other side.
At one or several levels within our society we justify the means but at other levels, similar acts may become criminal regardless of intent, survival or not.
We have observed on our recent political scene the function of good and evil in the interest of democracy and the destruction of character for the good, not necessarily for party principles but in the interest of gaining power. And here, in politics especially, the end always justifies the means.
In fact, we delight in observing the means as in viewing a boxing match. The means no matter how destructive in the end are justified in a knockout.