A good and honorable friend of mine and I had a little discussion about voting in which I used the allegory that follows. I would be interested in the take of the good folks over here… We were speaking of the morality of not voting, voting for ABTOC (anyone but Trump or Hillary) or voting for Trump to block Hillary. So, here goes my story…
I see it this way- there is a kid riding by me on his bike and is going so fast, I know he can’t stop before he rides into 6 lanes of traffic on Clinton Avenue – it’s like riding into a meat grinder. I have three choices:
- If I just let him go with no intervention, he’s surely toast. So, do I let him go because I don’t want to be responsible for hurting him even a little – though I know he is very likely to be killed if I do nothing?
- If I knock him off the bike, he’s probably going to break something – maybe not, but he is sure to be hurt in some way. Do I knock him over and hurt him a little but stop him from reaching the street? He might turn out to be a serial killer later in life, so I might have saved a life that takes others but I can’t predict that – he is just as likely to invent a cure for cancer…I also might kill or permanently injure him by knocking him off the bike – I truly have no way of knowing but I do know that anyone riding into that street is almost guaranteed to be killed and he will be past me in a fraction of a second if I don’t do something to change his path.
- I can just yell at him, warn him about his bad choices and let him make his own choice to take his chances – then I can stand over his bleeding corpse and tell him what a dumbass he is and that I told him this was going to happen.
What should I do? Given the limited knowledge and the immediate need for a decision (or a decision not to decide) what is the most moral choice?
Some will say letting him go or yelling at him (i.e. not voting or casting an ABOTC “protest” vote) absolves me of moral responsibility – but since there will be an outcome relatively immediatley and I have a very high probability of knowing what the likely outcomes will be, does it really absolve me of making a choice?
I don’t think it does. In my opinion, the most moral choice is to knock the kid on his ass and keep him from getting into that traffic. He may break an arm but he can survive a broken arm…so can America. Playing in traffic on Clinton Avenue is sure death.
What if I save him and he turns out to be a serial killer instead of a brilliant cancer researcher? Should I be burdened with his immorality due to my choice to save him?
I won’t be burdened with his crimes but I will have to take responsibility for my choice to save him. Whether I will be blamed or not is up to others to decide. At that moment, I was saving a child – not a serial killer.
I have reasoned myself into having to vote for the lesser evil because I am uncertain of the extent of that evil – of the greater evil, I am absolutely certain. I can’t accept that just yelling to the four winds how morally pure I am because I didn’t do anything at all is the right choice. That doesn’t change the fact that I will have to own the consequences of my choice should my choice result in an evil equal to the one I sought to avoid but I can’t accept that standing fast in my righteousness changes anything since the event is going to have one of two outcomes.
The kid will either stop before he reaches Clinton Avenue or he won’t but one thing is for certain, he will go into traffic if he isn’t stopped just as we will have an election on November 8th, come rain or shine and either Hillary will be president or she won’t. Same for Trump.