Hi my name is Jo. And I love trolley problems. I also love unintended consequences, opportunity cost and all manner of cheese. Except Casu marzu. Because I am not a (complete) savage. Or Sardinian. Also nothing you say will convince me that you can disguise the taste of Brussel sprout sufficiently well enough to make it palatable. In fact why do you continue to perpetuate these lies? Twitter should add you to some sort of fact checking list.
But before we get away from ourselves and chase badgers through the undergrowth I really do love ethical dilemmas with unsatisfactory outcomes… be they imagined to involve rolling-stock, burning buildings or shallow ponds.
Or even… frozen rivers. *cue dramatic music and wavey lines*
Passau, Germany, in January 1894
A small kid playing on the banks of the frozen river Inn, wanders onto the ice and… crack… falls into the icy water.
A slightly older boy called Johann Kuehberger (who would later become a Catholic priest) sees this and fearlessly rushes onto the river and manages to pull the child from the frozen water, saving his life.
A local newspaper records the incident and praises the hero. It also publishes a picture of the child who was saved.
I’ll give you a clue.
Damn Catholics and their penchant for saving souls. Ha. Of course this frail kid would… weirdly… prove REALLY difficult to kill. He also survived a British Mustard gas attack during the Great War which temporarily blinded and muted him. He was also injured in the battle of the Somme when a shell exploded in his dugout. Not to mention some of the assassination attempts later on in his ‘career’.
The story of Adolf Hitler falling through the ice is largely regarded as apocryphal as it was never confirmed by Adolf in his later years. Although, some argue that this would be consistent with his psychology and would have ruined his carefully crafted persona.
Trolley problems are nice in so far as they don’t have to be true for us to dwell on their supposed consequences.
Also, wouldn’t this cast doubt on God being an interventionist? Although maybe he was trying… and kept getting foiled by his loyal acolytes?
It makes me smile (albeit sardonically) to imagine God (bearded and Abrahamic) throwing his hands up in despair as Johann Kuehberger pulls Adolf Hilter out of the water. ‘Oh what the #@#&, seriously?’