The real trolley problem

If you read intellectualoid blogs enough, eventually you come across the trolley problem. This purports to be some kind of psychophilosophical conundrum about "double effects". You know the one: hurtling trolley about to kill five people. Pull the switch and save them: yay! Uh oh, instead, you have to push an avoirdupois-challenged man in front of the trolley to save the other five: boo! Or, actually, I guess, “yay/boo” (it’s meant to be engage contradictory decision circuits simultaneously).

Aside from the dubious notion that you would actually be able to push an individual big enough to stop a trolley with his sheer bulk if he didn’t want to be pushed, no matter what claims this problem makes for itself, it is actually nothing but a gigantic piece of crypto anti-trolley propaganda.

Because what does it say? Trolleys kill people! They hurtle out of control and smash people into strawberry jam. In some versions of the problem they kill small children. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your moral reasoning, somebody dies horribly. Was this example funded by GM, Standard Oil, and Firestone?

Trolleys may or may not be a carbon-correct solution to regional transportation problems. But we need to decide this issue on the merits, not based on the sly well poisoning of so-called “philosophers”.