Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Three Needles: A parable

A man is led into a room. Inside the room, is a table with three needles on it. He must choose one of the needles and inject himself with it:

Needle 1 contains Testosterone. It will make him feel strong, happy, and probably horny as well. Only positive things will happen with this needle.

Needle 2 contains a nasty form of the Stomach Virus. It'll be two days of agony, muscle pain, and general yuckiness. But afterwards, it'll be okay.

Needle 3 contains a nasty form of TB, or Ebola, or whatever illness you want to put here. The illness is hard to cure, and is usually fatal.

Now, the rules are thus. If he picks needles 2 or 3, he'll have to inject those into himself, and live (or not) with the consequences. If he picks needle 1, someone will bring in a wheel. The wheel contains 100 spaces (sortof like Wheel of Fortune), with 3 spaces being Needle 1, 47 being needle 2, and 50 being needle 3.) You spin the wheel, and it chooses for you.

Which Needle do you choose?


One of my friends on Facebook posted that he refused to vote for either party because he believed that a vote for either Mccain or Obama would be endorsing the wrong or evil things that they stood for (as he believed). And the sentiment is a sound one. There are times when standing up for what you believe in, even in these situations, would be the right thing to do. McCain, in my opinion, should have voted "no" on the bailout, as the other Republicans did. Socrates, instead of taking the easy way out, accepted the sentence of the corrupt trial, and drunk his hemlock.

But there also are times when choosing the lesser of two evils is the best thing to do (notice I did not say "right," for at this point, we're not talking about ideals, but about reality. If I was to vote according to my beliefs, I would have voted for Barr (or some other third party candidate that had similar views, for not even Barr shares all of my views) If I had done that, I would have achieved nothing, for the chances of Barr winning would have been about the same as hitting one of those three spaces.) (too many parantheses here). This is the paradox the Libertarians face every election time, because no candidate is going to fully embrace the ideal views of Libertarianism. And if they do, the media and the public will gravitate immediately to legalizing drugs, prostitution...etc..., stances which are not always the most popular, and shows the Lib. candidate to be slightly off their rocker . So we have to decide whether to vote for someone that is closer to what we believe in, but has no chance of winning, or someone that believes part of it, but has a greater chance. The lesser of available evils.

It comes down, then, to choosing the needle that would do the least amount of harm to the body. Sure, it's not ideal. It might not even be right, but in the world of reality, it's necessary. I think that sometimes, Libertarians (and other strong-minded people) are so willing to stand up for their beliefs, no matter what, that a solution that would bring about a portion of what they want goes unfounded, and the opposite becomes reality. In other words, by voting Republican, I at least increased the chance that a government that is not as invasive and regulatory might come into power. That would achieve some of what I believe in. It would have done the least harm. That this didn't happen, is another story all together.

However, because those who are reading this might having differing views, I will leave it up to you to decide who Needles 2 and 3 represent. I have my opinions, and you have yours.

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