Can I Ruin Something that Has No Value?
When I’m asked to respond to a poll, I make up answers because poll results are filled with fake answers anyway.
This is a Q1 violation if you are against casual lying or if you ever rely on polls.
This is a Q2 violation if you would not want someone to interfere with your work because they thought it had no value.
This statement can be seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy — you know that polls have false data in them because you insert false data in to polls. The justification is based on the assumption that the poll either already is tainted by false data or will be tainted at a later time, so it doesn’t matter if you add more false data.
But how much of that false data comes from people like you who assume that the poll already has false data? If it is true that some people lie to pollsters for one reason or another, does this imply that there are no questions which most people will answer honestly? Are you sure that false answers are statistically significant, rendering the poll useless? Might professional statisticians know that some questions will not be answered honestly and consider that in their results? Most importantly, why do you choose to answer the pollster’s questions falsely instead of declining to participate?
It is tempting to think that if something is worthless, has no value, or is somehow already "ruined," then you have a lessened moral obligation toward that thing. In which of the below situations do you think your behavior would be morally justified?
- You spray paint graffiti on a wall that already has graffiti on it.
- Your chemical plant saves millions of dollars by dumping waste into a nearby river. The river was already polluted by a textile plant up stream.
- Hundreds of people are looting a Walmart. You join them.
- You make fun of Barbara’s fat backside because everyone makes fun of Barbara’s fat backside.
- Despite the host’s efforts, your book group always ends up going off topic, so you just treat it like any other social gathering and talk about what you want to talk about.
- When voting for president, you pick a candidate at random because it isn’t going to make a difference who is elected.
- In your school gymnasium, a group of students has been working all week arranging dominoes to set a world record for domino toppling. You think this is a worthless waste of time and resources and throw a dodgeball into their nearly completed arrangement.
- In your local mall, a group of Buddhist monks has been working all week on a sand painting which they will destroy when it is finished. You think this is a worthless display of religious zealotry, and besides their philosophy says that they aren’t supposed to get mad about the loss of transitory things. You throw a dodgeball into their nearly completed arrangement.
- You hear that a large group of Michael Jackson fans is going to dress up in zombie outfits and gather on Main Street for a precision performance of the "Thriller" dance. You think they’re a bunch of idiots just making themselves look stupid, so you show up in a lame zombie costume, pretend to be part of the group, and purposefully dance badly for the news cameras.
- You hear that a large group of American Nazi Party members have received a parade permit to march through town in uniform. You put on a caricatured Hitler costume and goose-step down the street behind them.
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.