I've had the privilege to be called upon for jury duty and have been thus predisposed. I'll try to write about it when I've finished.
In the meantime, I have managed to have a small email conversation with one of my friendly opponents on the right on the nature of evil. That conversation led to the question of whether immorality need be intentional. To that end, I offer the following story.
Imagine, please, that we lived in a culture where there were no personal automobiles. Then, one day, someone suddenly announces that they have a new invention called the “automobile.” It will allow us to travel around the city or around the state with astounding speed. We won't have to wait for buses or trains. We won't have to bicycle or walk.
However, in return for that speed and convenience, one million (give or take) people will die world-wide due to the inevitable car wrecks. An additional three million will die each year due to the effects of air pollution, an existing problem which will be exasperated by this new invention.
In addition to those four-or-so million deaths each year, there will be countless millions maimed, injured and restricted due to automobile crashes and air pollution.
Furthermore, this new automobile will require billions – maybe trillions – of dollars in roadway construction and healthcare costs. Damage to the environment would be hard to put a price on, as our environment is priceless. Suffice to say, it would be significant.
Finally, this automobile will require horrendous amounts of fossil fuels. Perhaps more than we can sustainably obtain. It will require that the U.S. spends billions - eventually trillions - of dollars in military spending in order to protect “our” oil.
Now, once the benefits and the costs of this new invention, the car, have been explained, it is put to a vote: Is the convenience of the personal automobile worth the millions of lives that will be lost each year and the trillions of dollars spent in roadway construction, military protection and environmental degradation?
Just because we've inherited this car-centric society, does not mean that we must maintain it. Compassion, morality and logic dictate that we should seek other answers.
How would you vote?