Asking someone whether they’d sacrifice a small continent’s worth of people or strangle a five-year-old to protect their own children doesn’t actually tell you much about the person’s values, since these situations are extreme and highly unlikely. How about some slightly more realistic scenarios? Sticking with the theme of “what would you do for your children?”, how about these:
Would you arrange for a person to be falsely convicted of a felony if it would make your children rich for the rest of their lives? Remember that wealth can bring security and peace of mind, not just luxury.
If your only son had such a powerful fetish that he could not experience happiness without raping people, would you help him procure victims?
Note the word slightly. Now think of the smallest value for the word, and that’s how much more realistic these scenarios are. It’s Silly Scenario Week at the Dope! Break out the trolleys, the wolves and the Nazis!
Here’s an attempt at a more realistic moral hypothetical:
While sitting in your car, you see a guy stagger out of a bar, get into his car, and weavingly drive away. Would you attempt to block and/or crash his car with yours to stop him?
Personally, I’d run him off a cliff, walk down, torch his car, and as he crawled away screaming with his clothes and skin on fire, I’d shot him through the knees and then roast marshmallows over him as he died.
Or I’d just dial 911 on my cellphone and report his location, license plate and a description of his car, if I felt like being boring about it.
I’d kill every person in Australia to stop one drunk driver in my home town.
Just kidding! I’d spare Martini Enfield and his new bride
Why, one may ask, would I be willing to kill a stranger to save my child’s life but not willing to incarcerate one for his monetary gain or encourage his repeated depravity? Several reasons. Money is all well and good, but my children are fairly intelligent and are getting a decent education so there’s no reason to suspect they won’t have a shot at making a good living when they’re older. If they somehow are unable I’ll do my best to help them, but if I turn to professional assassinations I’ll sink that money into investments to provide them a better education rather than just give them money to wallow around.
Second scenario sounds like a person with some severe mental problems, and one that is probably much older than my kids.
Their’s a difference in my mind between a 9 year old and a 19 year old. I don’t think my willingness to do anything to protect them can endure through their adulthood.