Artificially-limited alternatives

To truly make a choice, you have to also be free to not choose. (It's like that old trick that parents use on their children: do you want to read before brushing your teeth and going to bed, or brush your teeth before reading and going to bed?)

Rinehart and Dennis were later to argue that since the laborers chose to work in the tunnel, presumably knowing those they replaced had fallen ill or died, no one but the workers themselves were culpable for the deaths. The judge in the first lawsuit against the companies made this claim as well. But were the workers in any meaningful sense making a choice? There is an important difference between making a choice and selecting an option from among artificially limited alternatives. In order for someone to make a choice, that person must also be free to not choose. In the 1982 film, Sophie’s Choice, for example, on entry to a Nazi death camp the title character is forced to select one child to live, and one to go immediately to the gas chamber. If she fails to select, they will both die. Using this definition, Sophie was not making a choice but selecting among bad alternatives. [...] The systematic and ubiquitous replacement of choice with selection among inferior alternatives is a hallmark of our economics, and is one of the many ways people are forced to subsidize the business interests of those who govern.

culture-make-believech. Production

(emphasis added)

True freedom of choice includes the option of breaking out of the constructed system of alternatives.

The Trolley Problem

Would you pull the lever that would re-route an oncoming train onto the track
with just one person on it, or let it roll on and kill all three people on its
current track?

Know Your Meme: The Trolley Problem

Wikipedia: The Trolley Problem


culture-make-believe Jensen, Derrick. The Culture of Make Believe. ↩︎ 1