When does one justify the other?
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.