If there was a way to save ten percent of the world population from dying from a disease such as the current coronavirus would it be fair to suggest a method that would only kill one percent? Or not even one percent but one percent of one percent and that would equal one person in ten thousand dying instead.
That is a hugely ramped up trolley problem, which at Wikipedia is stated as:
“There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the sidetrack. You have two options:
- Do nothing and allow the trolley to kill the five people on the main track.
- Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person.
Which is the more ethical option? Or, more simply: What is the right thing to do?”
Or if you would rather watch a YouTube for other crazier trolley problems, go to Insane Trolley Problems.
The world is in a lockdown mode for the moment, and that state of affairs can’t last long without creating its own form of disaster. If the coronavirus runs a natural course, we may have a pandemic that kills millions of people. So what is the best way to fight it?
Since most young people, that is, people under seventy, and in good health, seem to cope with the disease without serious effects, wouldn’t it make sense to let them endure the disease? The upside is that having the disease would probably provide a degree of immunity to ever catching it again. And probably, when a mutation to the existing disease occurs, those having had this one would probably fare better when encountering a daughter disease. Isn’t a short term suffering traded for long-term health a much larger kindness?
I am not suggesting this; I am only speculating on its similarity to the classic trolley problem.