Would I Save My Child or the President?
If my child and the president were both drowning and I could only save one, I would save my child even though it would be better for the world if I saved the president.
This statement is likely a Q1 violation if you believe that when given a choice you must choose the action that will do the most good for the most people.
This statement does not violate Q2 so long as you would allow another parent to make the same type of decision (for example, you wouldn’t blame a parent for saving their own child instead of yours).
People generally consider themselves to be part of a number of groups (family, extended family, friends, neighborhood, city, country, company, sports team, etc.) We generally have an informal ranking of these groups with, for example, family being more important than friends. When you are forced to choose between members of two groups, you can either choose to favor the member of the higher-ranked group or you can ignore groups and choose the individual that is most important in an impartial sense. Most people will make a choice based on their personal set of groups.
Does this pass the 2Q test? That depends — would you blame a stranger for saving her baby instead of saving a room full of strangers? Would you let your child die to save two people you’ve never met?
But what if the choice is much larger? For example, would you let your child die in order to defuse a bomb that would kill millions? And if we look at the question at hand, how would you compare the value of your child with the value of the president? Does "value" even enter into the equation? If you heard about a woman who saved the president and let her child die, would you consider her a heroic patriot, a bad mother, or something else?
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.