Well! I hadn't realized the "lifeboat exercise" had made a comeback. I never had to do it in my mediocre public school and so had made the mistake of assuming that it had gone the way of the dodo. Imagine my surprise then when my high school sophomore Eldest Kidlet is telling me about her day and mentions that in speech they did an exercise where each student had to decide the fate of 22 people in an 18-person "fall-out shelter" (and it was very much "who gets tossed outside" not "how do you make this work").
Given my background (a belief in the value of every human being as loved by G-d who sent his Son to die in atonement) and the fact that *my* immediate value in many situations is not readily apparent, it's hardly surprising that I am not a fan of utilitarianism. Besides being simply immoral, I believe it is very short-sighted and often prevents long-term good from ever developing because whoever could have produced that good was abandoned before their benefit could be realized or became applicable. I got a chance to discuss this with both older kids (two younger weren't home at the time), which is good, but it left Eldest Kidlet feeling very uneasy about how readily she accepted the premise of an assignment that was by it's very nature evil.
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