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No Simple Answers

"I don't know," is my only honest response to a host of questions involving tough trade-offs, where multiple good things come into conflict. A few examples:

Rush Kidder mused about these conflicts and various ways to resolve them—Utilitarianism vs. Golden Rule vs. Categorical Imperative vs. etc.—but I don't remember a satisfactory conclusion to that discussion. Maybe there isn't a simple answer ... which takes me back to something posted here in May 1999, a Tom Toles "Curious Avenue" comic strip from a few years before that:

One character says, "Maybe you're just looking for simple answers. Maybe there are no simple answers. Problems require thought and dedication."

The other character replies, "But there are simple answers. There are just no good answers. --- Although that one was pretty good."

^z - 2009-12-01