Should I Buy an SUV?

Statement

I should buy an SUV because it gives my family a better chance to survive an accident.

Q1 Analysis

This statement does not seem to be a Q1 violation.

Q2 Analysis

Taken at face value, this statement does not seem to be a Q2 violation. However, what if buying an SUV gives your family a better chance of surviving an accident, but increases the odds that you will kill someone outside your family? Then you have to consider if you want increased risk to yourself from people who (using your same reasoning) buy even larger cars, and to yourself when you or members of your family are pedestrians.

Discussion

Clearly it is not immoral to protect yourself and your family. But in this case, reducing risk to your family may increase risk to strangers (and, to make matters worse, some studies imply that the decrease in risk to your family may not be significant). When considering this issue, you must decide how comfortable you are with this possibility of increased risk to others, and whether you feel that taking on the increased risk brings with it additional responsibility to be a good driver and therefore minimize the risk to others as much as possible.

There are other practices that might benefit you but bring risk to others. Which of these would you consider moral?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on June 4, 2010 at 10:14 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

3 Responses

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  1. Written by NFQ
    on June 4, 2010 at 11:28 am
    Reply · Permalink

    It seems fair in general to me to take actions that benefit me at the cost of possible harm to others when those others were doing something I would consider immoral in the first place. With proportionality considered, of course. I have no major qualms about the bear trap beneath the window trap robbers (though it’s probably a bit overkill, you could have some less gruesome trap and it would be preferable), and I have no problem at all with the water balloon cannon. Hoarding food during a shortage seems reprehensible based on my assumption that the other people are not responsible for the shortage — that it’s beyond the control of everyone who would be impacted by my hoarding. And so on. I’m not sure how, if at all, this kind of reasoning could be incorporated into your 2Q system.

  2. Written by Zach
    on June 5, 2010 at 7:45 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    It doesn’t seem to be a Q2 violation if you place people who are trying to rob you or trespass on your property in potential harms way, as long as you are okay with other people doing that to you if you decide to rob them or trespass, which I would assume you wouldn’t want to do. On the other hand, if your little kid innocently ran into the neighbor’s yard and got hit with water balloons or, worse, got caught in a bear trap, you would probably be understandably mad at the owner of that house!

    • Written by ideclare
      on June 5, 2010 at 9:04 pm
      Reply · Permalink

      “On the other hand, if your little kid innocently ran into the neighbor’s yard and got hit with water balloons or, worse, got caught in a bear trap, you would probably be understandably mad at the owner of that house!”

      In which case it is indeed a Q2 violation for you to place these kinds of traps. If you would blame someone else for setting a trap that was accidentally triggered by an innocent, then you must accept responsibility if a trap you set is triggered by an innocent. If you don’t want to accept that responsibility, then, by Q2, you can’t set a trap.

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