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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Would you take the option to survive but live in bondage, or would you remain free with a one fifth chance of survival?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26834points) September 9th, 2014

Imagine a humongous asteroid is detected on collision course with Earth. At the rate which it is closing even if the people of Earth could mount a defense it would be ad hoc with only a 12–15% chance of success in saving the planet. When the planet is struck three fifths of the population will be wiped out. Of the two fifths left, half of them are not expected to survive the severe climate changes and food shortages. When mankind looks all but doomed, extraterrestrials show up with a plan; for those who wish (they would never be forced to take it) they will be evacuated to the planet of the extraterrestrials but will have to live as slaves or servants, 5th class citizens at best, but they will survive. The extraterrestrials have observed mankind for centuries and do not want the cancer or mankind, hatred, greed, war, planetary exploitation, etc. to infect their society so any humans taking evacuation will be kelp on the shortest of leashes. Those not taking the offer will be left to take their chances and fend for themselves, once gone the extraterrestrials are never coming back; there is one evacuation, one time. Which option would you take, knowing you would survive but not be free, or know you are free with a one fifth chance of survival?

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9 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I don’t have kids or an SO. I would take freedom an a one-fifth chance of survival over a life of slavery in a nooyorkminit. If I had a family and a significant other, I probably live a life of quiet desperation, but with an alert eye looking for signs of rebellion among the slaves. But I would consult my SO on that as well, before the evac. Maybe she would be crazy enough to head for the hills as a team, who knows?

zenvelo's avatar

Your odds are not quite as you explain it. If you made it thorough the first post collision die-off, you have a fifty-fifty chance of surviving, not a 20% chance.

But really, the longest term odds of dying are 100% no matter what you choose. So you can go off to the other planet and be a slave and work yourself to death, or stay here, enjoy a less crowded earth.

I’ll stay. You go have fun washing alien latrines!

jca's avatar

I would stay and take my chances. Life as a slave does not sound very appealing. If you said life with reduced freedom but being treated well, then maybe yes (like life on an estate or convent type existence). However, to be treated crappy, no thanks.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Mere survival isn’t all that valuable in my opinion. That, I think, is why people are willing to die fighting for freedom: they agree with Patrick Henry’s demand “give me liberty, or give me death!” So while it would be tempting to go with the aliens just to see what sort of culture and technology they have, the fact that my servitude would probably stop me from learning much or from being able to make any use of that learning again tips the scales in favor of staying behind.

kritiper's avatar

I’ll take freedom, hands down.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Freedom, but it actually depends on what life would be like as an alien slave or how easy it would be to escape.

downtide's avatar

Living as a slave isn’t living, it’s just existing. I’d take my chance on freedom.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@zenvelo So you can go off to the other planet and be a slave and work yourself to death, or stay here, enjoy a less crowded earth.
How would you know that you will be worked to death? Enjoying a less crowded Earth would only be if you survived, but if everything was blasted back into the Stone Age, would it really be something to smile about?

@ARE_you_kidding_me Freedom, but it actually depends on what life would be like as an alien slave or how easy it would be to escape.
If you went and then escaped, what freedom is that? You are on the run for the rest of your life in unfamiliar surroundings, which could cause your demise just as easy. If you escaped there would be nowhere to run to.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

An entire series of scifi novels could be written to address this situation.

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