Hitler and the Lottery
June 12, 2008 § 49 Comments
There has been a lot of resistance and confusion revolving around my use of the terms “never” and “miracle” in recent discussions both here and in Lydia’s thread at What’s Wrong with the World. I don’t think my understanding of “miracle” and “never” are wrong, but lets re-frame the discussion in a way which takes that off the table.
I will assume for the sake of this argument that voting for Hitler is (minimally) remote material cooperation with evil.
Suppose they handed out lottery tickets worth a one in one trillion chance for a huge jackpot when you vote for Hitler. Someone might propose that it is morally licit to vote for Hitler under the prudential judgement that if he (the voter) wins the Hitler-lottery he will give the money to the poor.
Proposition: If reason requires me to stipulate winning the lottery in the causal chain from my act to the intended end which putatively justifies my act, then deliberate premeditated material cooperation with grave evil is not justified.
(Note: I inserted the word “grave” based on combox discussion)