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September 2, 2016 / Congau

The Consequences of an Act

Does anyone still remember Ralph Nader, the third party candidate who ran for the 2000 election? He was a mere trifle who had a catastrophic significance on the world. The number of votes that he got was not enormous, but it was enough to change the election… and the world. Bush won by a margin of a few hundred votes and there’s no doubt that he would have lost if this Nader had not attended.

What a responsibility is resting on Nader’s shoulders! A meaningless invasion of Iraq and the Middle East plunged into chaos and war, that is the result of the Bush presidency and none of that would have occurred without Nader.

Formally Nader didn’t do anything wrong. Presumably anyone has the right to run for election and fight for what he believes in. But morality is not a formality, and the same action may sometimes be good and sometimes bad. We are not machines that can be programmed to right conduct and thereby believe that we will avoid all guilt. Sometimes the most innocent action may have fatal consequences. We cannot predict everything and our ignorance will often acquit us, but it happens, as in the case of Nader, that the predictable risk is great.

Nader is an extreme example. He risked the well-being of the world to make a comparatively unimportant point. Poor man!

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