A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

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Carinthium
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A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-11-15 05:08am

Most of the people on this board aren't libertarians, I think I can safely say. But where do you draw the line? How much can the state justify from a person for the common good? A hypothetical scenario:

There exists a single individual in the world, of libertarian beliefs, who, by Act of Plot, can create the means to a drug which gives one person immortality (in the sense they literally can't die unless they want to die, on both a conscious and subconscious level). The same dose works for any human. A dose good enough for one person takes him an hour, and it's excruciatingly hard work from his perspective comparable to an hour of 19th century industrial work, though it is completely safe. This individual is very, very lazy (as in bottom 10% of population in terms of work ethic) and a consistent libertarian, so naturally he wants to work minimum-wage jobs for the minimum time possible and completely ignores his power despite being fully aware of it.

In the situation, you are the ruler of a country where this individual exists, and you have rational proof of the power's existence (as 'prophecies' have appeared foretelling various superpowers powers that have had a 100% accuracy rate recently beforehand with hundreds of sucesses that have been very interesting but irellevant to the dilemna). How do you solve the situation, either by making a decision or thinking your way out of the dilemna? How much is it justified to force the man to contribute.
Last edited by Carinthium on 2012-11-15 05:11am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-11-15 05:11am

EDIT: Double post. Sorry about that.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-11-15 06:08am

Do you believe there are people so lazy that they want to work at "minimum wage for minimum hours" to keep themselves alive?

I am very suspicious of that. Most people have some kind of mental standard for living conditions, and happily accept a raise if you're willing to pay them enough.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-11-15 06:13am

Maybe that was a little unrealistic- the idea was meant to be that this person, compared to your average Joe, goes to utter extremes of laziness (hence why he wouldn't accept the massive rewards an entire country could give in exchange for his services).

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Grandmaster Jogurt » 2012-11-15 09:49am

Even if the man is forced to work 24/7 somehow, he makes one dose an hour and thousands of people die every hour. There's no way to apply this immortality serum to more than a tiny fraction of the world (and probably it would only go to the elite) without a way to expand production past him, and if you could do that, the whole dilemma of forcing him to work goes away anyway.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Irbis » 2012-11-15 12:44pm

A) Apply serum to him;
B) Coerce him to work, by carrot or by stick; Simply declare it matter of the state and ensure he can find no other work if you want "soft" solution.
C) Start giving the serum on genuinely most valuable people; Apply one child policy to these.

He can make ~120 portions a week. Making a million people immortal will take roughly speaking 22 3/4 years, optimistically we can do 4.5 million in a century. 1556 years to make current population immortal, never mind population grow. Meh, wouldn't change much, though I'd be afraid of the system being warped by rich, not worthwhile people getting in. You'd need completely different set of laws for this new class of humans, of course, and there is big problem of possible revolution of people stating "everyone or no one".

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Bedlam » 2012-11-15 02:19pm

Has the Imortality making guy made himself immortal?

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby bilateralrope » 2012-11-15 05:24pm

How widespread is my knowledge ?

Because my first worry is someone else kidnapping him and forcing him to make the immortality serum for them.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-11-15 06:36pm

You have roughly the resources of an entire nation-state at your disposal- so not perfect, but within your own country should be pretty good. The immortality-producer probably intends to make himself immortal much later in life when he actually needs it.

Also Irbis, I'd be curious to see your moral argument on the matter.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Korto » 2012-11-15 09:48pm

Irbis wrote:A) Apply serum to him;
B) Coerce him to work, by carrot or by stick; Simply declare it matter of the state and ensure he can find no other work if you want "soft" solution.
C) Start giving the serum on genuinely most valuable people; Apply one child policy to these.

He can make ~120 portions a week.

Carinthium wrote: A dose good enough for one person takes him an hour, and it's excruciatingly hard work from his perspective comparable to an hour of 19th century industrial work, though it is completely safe.

Irbis wrote:Making a million people immortal will take roughly speaking 22 3/4 years, optimistically we can do 4.5 million in a century....

Irbis, what's the difference between what you're proposing and slavery?

BTW, at 120 doses a week (that's a 120 hour work week, 17 hours a day, every day), it will take 160 years to make 1,000,000 doses.


Personally, I'd thank the heavens he's too lazy to try making it, and seriously consider shooting him should he start. At best, you create a world with virtually no children, at worst a dystopia with evil rich bastards like Murdoch living forever over the commoners like some kind of Anne Rice vampires.

oops, edit, just noticed this
C) Start giving the serum on genuinely most valuable people; Apply one child policy to these.

Who fucking judges?
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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Ahriman238 » 2012-11-15 10:59pm

Isn't this the premise of 'In Time' sans goofy digital timers in people's forearms?

Immortality is a sort of Ring of Gyges, the only smart, moral decision that doesn't lead to personal corruption or the destruction of society is to destroy it, and erase all record it ever existed.

Of course, If I could secure a couple doses for myself and close acquaintances, I'd likely go for near-certain personal corruption just to not lose anyone ever again. It's selfish, petty and short-sighted, but I can be all of these things where family and close friends are concerned.
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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-11-16 01:03am

That's a very different scenario- particularly as it involves stealing people's assets in the form of potential time to live. I also don't see much basis in empirical evidence for the claim that humans will get 'tired of life'- which at worst would still put their living standards above the Third World and thus would still involve them wanting to live.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Raw Shark » 2012-11-16 01:36am

Carinthium wrote:The immortality-producer probably intends to make himself immortal much later in life when he actually needs it.


"Sure, sure, I could spend an hour on myself and never have to worry about getting run down by a drunk driver, choked by a chicken bone, or crushed by airplane ice again, but fuck it, Jersey Shore is on... I'll do it tomorrow..."

The idea of somebody that lazy strains my suspension of disbelief a little...

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-11-16 01:47am

As I said, I admit that was a bit of a screwup. Maybe I should specify for the purposes of this that his laziness put him in the bottom 1% but not the bottom 0.1% and we can infer things from there?

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby LaCroix » 2012-11-16 09:40am

I'd think it is very much possible that he did make it for himself. He might have made a second dose for money, buying his home and all he needs, And then thought fuck it, it's not worth it doing it again, for I can't starve, so I only need enough money to keep the xbox running, and so he's not interesting in making another dose for the next couple of decades...
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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby ryacko » 2012-11-16 05:25pm

Irbis, what's the difference between what you're proposing and slavery?

BTW, at 120 doses a week (that's a 120 hour work week, 17 hours a day, every day), it will take 160 years to make 1,000,000 doses.

I think the OP is a libertarian trying to get the socialists to propose slavery. Since the guy being enslaved is a libertarian, he be passive aggressive and refuse to work.


Besides, the idea that the person wants to work the minimum possible goes against economic theory, people assign economic value to activity and inactivity. On the otherhand, he has a monopoly (which begins to distort economics) so he could simply make one potion per decade, and make a billion off of one potion per decade.
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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-11-16 08:08pm

Slight nitpick- my original motive for the thread was to curiousity- see how far people here would be willing to go in that direction. I was actually surprised anybody would go as far as Irbis- I thought it more likely somebody would figure out a clever way around the problem.

Speaking as a person who has had a lot of laziness to (try and) overcome in his time, sometimes a person clearly knows putting in hard work is the rational thing to do but just can't do it. It might the case here.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Korto » 2012-11-17 04:09am

ryacko wrote:Besides, the idea that the person wants to work the minimum possible goes against economic theory, people assign economic value to activity and inactivity. On the otherhand, he has a monopoly (which begins to distort economics) so he could simply make one potion per decade, and make a billion off of one potion per decade.

<Shrug> People aren't economic theories. He probably has made one for himself, maybe he made another for someone on the quiet and sold it for a fortune, and now he doesn't want to to rich, he doesn't want to be famous, he doesn't want to be powerful (as strange as someone not wanting to be those might seem to some people), he just wants to be left alone. To lay back and bludge and not have people bugging him all the time. I can understand that.
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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby khursed » 2012-11-26 01:06am

By his very existence, he becomes immune to a normal life.

It will either be forced by mafia/triad/yakuza style people, or the government provides total security to him in exchange for a delivery of 40 vial of immortality a week.

Then the richest people in the country bid in an effort to become immortal, the proceed going to debt reduction.

Best case scenario, it can get much much uglier.

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby LaCroix » 2012-11-26 08:46am

@khursed You really think government is interested in having people around that are fucking rich, and now "CAN'T BE KILLED AGAINST THEIR WILL?"

That is far too powerful for any person. My bet is that the guy ends up in an unobtainium cylinder on a trajectory to the sun, just so he doesn't make stuff worse.
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby Carinthium » 2012-12-01 06:39am

Realistically speaking, there would be a very good chance of that (unless the person gets a lot of publicity, in which case the government is in a bind). However, in the hypothetical scenario where you, Lacroix, were at the head of the government in control of the situation what would you do and what would you consider the morally best course of action? (If, despite pressures, you have decided to do what's right)

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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby ryacko » 2012-12-01 12:56pm

Given the suggestion to toss the guy into the sun (which sounds a bit like torture), how about this:

Selected individuals are made immortal to operate space craft.
Without a need for food or air, this would shrink sizes of space craft massively, and allow for the construction of unmanned research posts throughout the the local universe.
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Re: A Moral Dilemna (RAR)

Postby LaCroix » 2012-12-03 07:03am

Carinthium wrote:Realistically speaking, there would be a very good chance of that (unless the person gets a lot of publicity, in which case the government is in a bind). However, in the hypothetical scenario where you, Lacroix, were at the head of the government in control of the situation what would you do and what would you consider the morally best course of action? (If, despite pressures, you have decided to do what's right)


I would prefer to just house him somewhere secure, with access to all amenities he likes - since he's a gamer shut-in, that would be no real discomfort for him. But this is only feasible if you could rule out the possibility that he creates the stuff, ever.

If not, needs of many vs the needs of few. Sucks to be him. Call me cruel if you want, but I value society above individuals.

@ ryacko. Cue a few (ten-/hundred-?) thousand years, and we have intergalactic war between the favored races of various god-emperors.
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

I do archery skeet. With a Trebuchet.


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