Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:59 AM
Subject: Re: The Trolley Problem Challenge to Libertarian Theory
Dear Dr. Block, I read this blog post when it was published, and I thought, “Well, that’s an interesting thought experiment.” Then, this morning, I ran across the blog post again while perusing other blog posts at LRC. And the thought occurred to me that this is not just a problem for Libertarians, this is a problem for everybody. I don’t know why the person who posed the question assumed that this was a problem unique to Libertarianism. I don’t see any other ethical systems as being any more equipped to handle this kind of conundrum. It seems to me that this kind of a dilemma points out one problem of being human – we don’t have exhaustive knowledge and can’t know for certain the ramifications of our actions until we take them. I think that is one basic problem with posing the questions as it was posed. Rarely, if ever, are all of the options apparent to any of us. We only see what’s in front of us, what information we have. None of us has perfect information. I would appreciate your comments on how this dilemma affects all ethical systems. Thanks for your time. Regards, AG
Dear AG: Thanks for your thought provoking comment on the Trolley Problem (Go here for part I of this thread: https://www.lewrockwell.com/lrc-blog/trolley-problem-challenge-libertarian-theory/). I agree with you in part, only. Yes, virtually all people, virtually all shades of opinion in political economy, oppose the murder of innocents. So, yes, in that sense, the Trolley Problem affects virtually all of us. But, libertarians are positively rabid about this non aggression principle, even going so far as to apply it to the government, which few others do. So, in that sense, this challenge is a shot across only our bows, not an attack on any other political philosophy.