Essay on Rand's Ideas

621 Words3 Pages
Activity 3.4 - Essay on Rand's Ideas Using "The Ethics of Emergencies" by Ayn Rand (pp. 215-218), develop an essay between 2 to 3 pages discussing her ideas in today's moral environment. Provide one other reference in addition to our text. The Ethics of Emergencies describes how some people base their ethical principles on emergency situations. The classic example is the lifeboat scenario. The scenario is that what if you are stuck on a lifeboat with some other people, and there's not enough water for everyone to survive the trip to shore. In order to live, you have to sacrifice someone else. The lesson of the scenario is that you have to choose between your life and the life of another person. There is a fundamental disharmony of…show more content…
Rand's article acts as a warning against taking emergency situations too seriously. They are all dangerous and necessarily short-lived. The goal is not to figure out how best to survive emergencies, but rather to figure out how to avoid them, or if you get into them, end them quickly. Your behavior in emergency situations is going to be different from your day to day events, precisely because the context is so different. For example, you might not give money to someone who is unemployed and poor because it is not an emergency situation but they have the choice to change their situation, and the results are a predictable outcome of their actions. You cannot really take responsibility for someone else's life. But in the case of an emergency situation, like tsunami disaster, the context is very different. The disaster affected everyone, and wasn't a foreseeable event to avoid. It's natural that people would evaluate the two kinds of situations in entirely different ways. Sending help to the tsunami victims is completely different from sacrificing for someone who won't bother living his own life. You'll notice that modern ethical theories often rely on emergency situations. There could be a situation where altruists try to defend their theories by saying "What if there's a baby drowning in a lake, and you're late for a business meeting!". This is central to the altruistic view. They come from the perspective that life is a constant
Open Document