The brief storyline of the episode “Button, button” from the TV program “The Twilight Zone” :
A downtrodden couple finds a strange box just outside the doorstep and in this box there is a button. The rule is simple. Should they choose to push the button, they will acquire a large sum of money and in addition to that, a person whom they do not know will die. After long hesitations and a sleepless night, the woman decides to finally push the button. A mysterious person arrives, gives them the money and takes the box in order to give it to someone else. To whom? To someone this couple doesn’t know…
Hypothetical questions that rise in the attempt to limit the call for animal liberation, questions like those sterile scenarios in which we have to decide who are we going to save, a dog or a person inside a burning house, for instance, are problematic for three main reasons.
The first – These are sterile questions, devoid of any context, background or some connection to reality.
The second problem is being derived from the first problem. Since the situation in this sort of questions lack of context, they cause the people who are being asked to decide who they will save from death to base their decision solely on their personal preference, something that has no importance or relevance to the life of those they choose to rescue or to leave behind.
The third problem is this – This kind of questions make us judges – those who condemn others to death or release them to freedom by, as previously mentioned, a decision based solely on our random decision. We ask these questions because we believe we can sentence others so easily based on one short and simple decision, and even worse, we think such action is a legitimate one.
When others will do the same thing, and we will be the victims, we will surely know how to complain about it.