Then, however, philosophers created variations on this scenario to show that the average person doesn’t understand simple arithmetic, since most people say it would be wrong, for example, to push another person in front of the trolley to save the five. Unfortunately for the philosophers who giggled at this logical inconsistency, psychologists used the trolley problems to demonstrate how people’s moral instincts work, and why they are the basis of human rights, democracy, and rule of law. This made the philosophers feel so silly that they stopped discussing ontological epiphenomena and started talking about how hot the weather was these days.
I lack the ability to be a philosopher, since I am easily distracted by loose women in tight jeans. However, I have created some Trolley Problems which are designed to reveal how morality officially functions in Trinidad and Tobago.
TP#1: You are a Police Tribunal on an out-of-control trolley. On the track ahead of you is a police constable who has been rude to the Prime Minister. He is so stupid that he raises his hand to stop the trolley for exceeding the speed limit. The Tribunal can turn the trolley on to a side-track to the left, but there are a bunch of police officers standing there who are responsible for the court giving damages for false arrest, who have entered homes without showing warrants, and who have told citizens who ask for their badge numbers if they want to know how much teeth in dey mouth, too. Is it morally permissible for the Tribunal to get rid of corrupt officers or morally respectable to lick the Prime Minister’s boots?
TP#2: You are a Political Leader on a runaway trolley which you are pretending you can control. On the track in front of you are Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, Jack Warner, and Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who’s pretending she isn’t really there. Is it morally permissible to shout “Woo-hoo!” or should you pretend you have the best interests of the country at heart?
TP#3: You are a pastor on an out-of-control trolley. On the track in front of you are five cold-blooded murderers. You can pull a lever to divert the trolley to a side-track, but standing there is a homosexual, a lesbian, a prostitute, a pro-choice advocate, and an atheist. Is it morally permissible to kill only one group of sinners? Why couldn’t there be a third track with secular humanists? Does remaining a member of the Police Service Commission after the Government rejected your choice for Commissioner prove you’re a zero not a hero?
TP#4: You have been invited on a trolley to help write a Draft Constitution. Once on board, you realise the trolley is out-of-control, the Draft has been written already, and the hors d’oeuvres are just scrumptious. On the track in front of the trolley are the citizens of TT. If the Prime Minister promises to say that no one was able to pull a lever to divert the trolley to an empty side-track, is it morally permissible to disclaim any responsibility or should you pull the lever, knowing you will never again taste crumpets at official consultations?
TP#5: You are an environmental activist on a runaway train trolley. On the track in front of you are five capitalists. You can stop the trolley by firing up the coal-powered engine. But you have recently written an article in which you assert that the free market causes child kidnapping, sale of children’s body parts, and child pornography. Since your doctorate is in Spanish Literature, however, you don’t actually know anything about economics, criminology or, for that matter, the environment. Is it morally permissible to run over the capitalists or just moronically permissible?
TP#6: You are a Christian with a big C on a runaway trolley. On the track in front of you are five Christians, but with small c’s, and on a side-track to which you can divert the trolley is the Prime Minister. How many of your moral inferiors are equivalent to your born-again PM?