When does one justify the other?
Published on January 24, 2006 By stutefish In Ethics
There are a lot of things I would do for a million dollars. But pulling the wings off a butterfly isn't one of them... Or is it?

There are at least two kinds of people in the world:

One kind of person has a million dollars and takes a sick pleasure in manipulating others into pulling the wings off of butterflies.

Another kind of person could think of a million dollars' worth of Better Tomorrow they could buy, if only they had the cash.


Which kind of person are you? How much would you degrade yourself, to get a million dollars away from the first kind of person, and give it to the second kind of person?


Is it a question of bringing harm to the butterfly? Okay, then, but how much is a butterfly actually worth?

Soldiers, who must kill other human beings, degrade themselves a lot more than butterfly-killers do.

Of course, soldiers degrade themselves for much bigger stakes: the fates of entire nations.


So what is a butterfly's life worth, to you?

A million dollars worth of soup kitchen charity?

A million dollars worth of redevelopment of a run-down neighborhood?

A million dollars worth of investment in small businesses for people looking to work their way out of poverty?


Seriously, a guy comes up to you on the street with an offer like that, you gotta ask yourself some fundamental questions:

Could I think of better things to do with a million dollars than pay people to torture butterflies? Hell yes.

Would I trust this guy to spend a million dollars more wisely than I would? Hell no. He's paying people to tear the wings off butterflies, for crying out loud!

If I turned him down, what are the chances of the next "victim" being as righteous and caring as I am? Hell no. For all I know, the next guy could be a drunken fratboy who enjoys torturing insects. He'd probably spend the million on the coke he's snorting off the hooker's ass while he tells the story of how he got it.


So, yeah. A guy offered me a million dollars to tear the wings off a butterfly, I'd man up, Nancy.

A butterfly would suffer.

A little bit of me would die, inside.

And some poor kid would get a million dollars worth of leukemia treatment.


No butterflies were harmed in the writing of this article.

Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 24, 2006

A man walks up to a drop dead gorgeous woman.  He says "I will give you a million dollars to sleep with me, are you game?".  She says "Sure!".

So he says "ok, how about 10 dollars?".  She says "What?  You think I am some slut?".  His response "We have already established that, now we are negotiating on the price.".

on Jan 24, 2006
Exactly, Guy.

The question is, how much of you would you willingly sacrifice, for a million dollars worth of Better Tomorrow?

Would you give up the part of you that insists that torturing butterflies is always unaccpetable, no matter what good may come of it?

Would you give up the part of you that insists that rich jerks shouldn't be allowed to buy "quality time" with your body?

It's not a question of prostitution, though. It's a question of what end did you have in mind, and what means are you willing to employ to get there.

I wonder if good girls ever think, "you know, I could totally help the poor if I sold my body to the porn industry for vast sums of cash".
on Jan 24, 2006

It is not a matter of torturing anything.  It is a matter of price.  And like Sushik said, it is selling yourself.

I would tear the wings off a butterfly in a heartbeat if it was bothering me.  And not think a thing.  But selling myself?

No, that was what got me, and Sushik said it very well.

on Jan 24, 2006
wonder if good girls ever think, "you know, I could totally help the poor if I sold my body to the porn industry for vast sums of cash".


I have no way to prove it but I am willing to bet NO girls have ever done porn to help the poor. They usually do it because they are into drugs or get whored out by abusive boyfriends or family members. I do know if one ever does it for charitable purposes she should call herself Sweet Charity

I could harm an insect for $1 million but I wouldn't harm higher order animals or people. I would never sell my body. I would never go on one of those crazy reality shows!
on Jan 24, 2006
Million in gold, I would put a bullet into someone. period, ands yes head shot, big bore.
on Jan 24, 2006
But selling myself?


Heh, I sell myself every day when I go to work. Doesn't everybody?
on Jan 24, 2006
Nice article....hehe.

There are so many ways to think about the butterfly issue....but at the end of the day I have to look myself in the mirror.

Say I did it and took the money, walked out the door and was shot dead.

Wow, I just did it for NOTHING. And since I wouldn't do it normally...for nothing...why do it for money? Tomorrow is not a guarantee.

on Jan 25, 2006
Sorry, but that butterfly would die on my hands.

I wouldn't do something like really hurting people, break any but very minor laws, or kill anything bigger than rat for a million bucks.


Of course, I would do the butterfly thing ONLY when that person has cash...
on Jan 25, 2006

Heh, I sell myself every day when I go to work. Doesn't everybody?

No, I sell my services, not myself.

on Jan 25, 2006
So what's the difference between selling your muscular services on a construction site and selling your sexual services on a porn shoot?
on Jan 25, 2006

So what's the difference between selling your muscular services on a construction site and selling your sexual services on a porn shoot?

The muscles you use.

on Jan 26, 2006
i wouldn't kill a butterfly for $100,000, $1,000,000, $10,000,000, any amount. it's really a pretty brutal way of doing business.

but for the next three days, i'm running a sale on my body for two bits. please call early to schedule an appointment.

taboo
on Jan 26, 2006
No, I sell my services, not myself.


Pulling the wings off a butterfly is a service. Hehe.
on Aug 26, 2006
I just happened to stumble upon this and i was shocked at the responces. It isn't a matter of selling ourselves because we can obviously justify it. It is that exact concept that frightens me. we are taking an issue that involves the destruction of another being and viewing it as an issue with us. We are not putting a price on ourselves but the life of a butterfly- on life in general. Capitolism has taken such a hold on us htat we can sell anything. What egocentrical humans are we to think that money put towards saving a human life is more important than the life of an insect? Have we forgotten that we live only because all other life thrives? That insect does not pose as a threat, its distruction is simply for our own gain, even if "own" implies the human race. Human life continues whether that million dollars is distributed by your or my will, but by willing that butterfly death- even tourture- we are destroying life. we are destroying beauty. we live in a time that is desensatized to life. Everything must die, it is not up to me decide the fate of the innocent or for that matter not even the guilty.
on Aug 26, 2006
There's a lot I'd do for a million dollars...and there are relatively few things that I absolutely wouldn't do.

There are lots of butterflies in the world...

~Zoo
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