The Skittles Problem

So, Trump’s campaign got in to a bit of hot water (though, to be honest, when is it not?) over a tweet that Donald Trump Jr. posted. In this tweet, he compares the Syrian Refugee problem to a bowl full of skittles in which three are poisoned. This upset many people, though this isn’t the first instance of a comparison like this being made. In 2014 a similar image was shared by feminists, a group that commonly identifies with the left. Apparently its only wrong to compare people to candy if you’re on the right.

Regardless of whether or not it’s okay to simplify the Refugee Crisis, I’m going to go ahead and do so, though not through the Skittle Analogy. I think the problem can be better examined through the Trolley Problem. s-9beea24ae2fa6ae58bb82213bde3734e57c44c60

Do you leave 5 people to die due to your inaction, or do you save them, but at the same time kill someone who was never in danger in the first place? In this analogy, the refugees can be compared to the 5 people laying on the tracks in the way of the trolley (though 5 would be far too low of a number. A more appropriate number would be in the thousands.). We can choose to do nothing and doom them to death. If we do choose to save them, however, we endanger our own people, dooming at least a few of our own to die. As much as we want to be polite and say that refugees don’t cause problems, there is repeated evidence of them doing so. As a person, I say the lives of thousands outweigh the lives a few (after all the chance of dying in a terrorist attack are 1 in 25 million, but what about as a leader? What about as a person whose only job is to protect the few? There the solution becomes a lot more muddied, and it would become easier to justify not pulling the lever.

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