Here’s a modern take on an old ethical test:
You are driving along in your car on a wild and stormy night; as you pass a bus stop, you see three people waiting there:
- An old lady who looks ill and is about to die
- An old friend who once saved your life
- The partner of your dreams
You have a two-seater car and can offer a ride to only one of them – who do you choose?
This question was used as part of a job application to test the moral and ethical reasoning of the applicant and the answer is, of course: To stop, hand your keys to your old friend so he can drive the old lady to the hospital for treatment while you wait at the bus stop with the partner of your dreams.
However …. given today’s inhumane and unethical society bound by unthinking bureaucratic rules and regulations, the following would happen.
He pulls over; a traffic warden slaps a ticket on his car; he is photographed and sent a penalty for stopping in a bus lane; he is given an on-the-spot fine for kerb crawling; his friend is arrested for driving without insurance; the old lady is left in the corridor of the hospital because she was not delivered by ambulance and is not a PCT trust priority and is over 80 and the memo says to leave them 24 hours to see if they survive and dies without treatment; the family sue him, his friend and the hospital; the woman is an under-cover enforcement officer out to entrap people; he is cuffed to the bus stop and is fined for loitering; he is challenged by a London Transport ticket enforcement officer and fined for not having an Oyster card; his car is impounded and crushed; he is accused of having a luxury lifestyle with his sporty two-seater car and the Proceeds of Crime Act is applied; his business, his house and his savings are seized and taken away from him; it takes three-years to get to court during which time he’s gone bankrupt; he ends up on the streets begging because he cannot get a job with a criminal record and with no fixed address; finally under the new mental health act he is sectioned and put into care for the rest of his life.
Welcome to modern Britain!