Trolley dilemmas Part 2

A number of variations to the trolley problem exist, but they are all trivially easy.

“What happens if, on one of the trolley tracks, the President of the United States has been tied by terrorists, and on the other trolley tracks, five average citizens are also tied up. As in the original trolley problem, who should you save?”

Depends on if she’s Democrat or Republican.

“What if the trolley is headed towards five average people you’ve never met but on the other tracks is your mother?” “Do you flip the switch and save five or save your mother?”

Same as above.

“What happens if, on the tracks of one trolley, five men guilty of murder are tied, and on the other, one man is innocent. Should you choose to save the one man, simply because he has committed no crime?”

Depends on if the criminals are registered to vote Democrat or Republican.

These aren’t challenging at all, are they? Let’s mix it up a bit.

Michael Moore & the trolley

You are late for the trolley that takes you to work every day when you spot Michael Moore sitting on the edge of the bridge eating a triple-decker sandwich. If you were to push him off the bridge he would delay the trolley, allowing you to make it to work on time, but the sandwich would probably be lost. What should you do?

Dick Cheney & the trolley

You are Dick Cheney and you are out hunting when you catch sight of a runaway trolley hurtling down a track towards five al-Qaeda suspects. The path of the trolley is about to be diverted, however, by a mainstream news journalist who sympathizes with terrorists. When the journalist flips a switch, the lives of the five al-Qaeda suspects will be saved and the trolley will instead run over a poodle. You have a clear shot at the journalist. There is only your hunting companion, a 78-year-old attorney, standing in the line of fire. In order to shoot the journalist you must fire a shot through the attorney as well. What should you do?

Dick Cheney, his lesbian daughter & the trolley

You are Dick Cheney and your daughter is a lesbian. Other than this extra complication, the scenario is the same as the above. What should you do?

Brother Joseph, Brother Brigham & the trolley

Brother Joseph and Brother Brigham are riding in a stagecoach when they spot a runaway trolley hurtling down a track towards five Sisters not married to Brother Joseph or Brother Brigham. Brother Joseph has 30 wives. Brother Brigham has 31. Who marries the five Sisters?

George W & the trolley

You are George W and you are reading The Pet Goat to some schoolchildren when a runaway trolley crashes into three thousand people. How long do you keep reading??

Chuck Norris & the trolley

You are Chuck Norris and you sight a runaway trolley hurtling down a track where it will kill five innocent people. Beside you is a switch which will divert the trolley to another track where it will kill five different innocent people. It is impossible to save everyone. Do you save everyone, or do you beat up all the bad guys first?

Jimmy Carter & the trolley

You are former President Jimmy Carter and a runaway trolley is hurtling down a track where it will kill five people. You could flip a switch to divert the trolley to a track where it will kill only one person. Who is best qualified to open up negotiations with the trolley, you, former President Jimmy Carter, or someone else who doesn’t understand the peace process as well as you, former President Jimmy Carter?


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