Onward Christian Voter
October 18, 2008 § 74 Comments
Suppose there is a war involving millions of soldiers fighting on two sides. Both sides are fighting unjustly and deliberately murdering the innocent, although it is clear that one side (the Donkeys) is substantially worse than the other (the Elephants).
You have the opportunity to transport one clip of sidearm ammunition to the front lines, and give it to the leader of whichever side you choose. You may also choose to abstain from the conflict. Remember that both sides have deliberate policies of murdering the innocent, though the Donkeys are murdering a broader category of innocents than the Elephants.
Now, clearly if you could make the Elephants win by fiat there might be a double-effect justification for doing so. But you do not have the power to do that. You just have one clip of ammunition, which you can give to either side or to neither side.
So the question on the table is not whether it would be a better outcome for the Elephants to win than for the Donkeys to win. In our scenario we take it as a given that it would be better, all other things equal (ahem). Rather, the question on the table is, is there a proportionate reason to give your one clip of ammunition to the Elephants?