I always thought the active-passive distinction in philosphy and law was a cop out. We are just as responsible for the millions who die from our inaction as we are for murder. If you are consciously not donating to a hunger fund with the understanding that the inevitable consequence is that an additional person will die of hunger, it is tantamount to first degree murder.
There is an active choice to be part of coal deaths. Every time we turn on a light switch, we actively increase the coal output that kills tens of thousands per year or more. So each flick is increasing the likelihood of death. It is therefore self-deception to suggest that moving in the direction of safety is a sinless course. It is just murder too common to prosecute.
So if we can all agree that we are a civilization of murderers, then we can get on to real questions like is it better to kill people with atmospheric nuclear explosions to colonize the solar system or kill each other through inaction.
Sticking with spending $15 billion/year on chemical rockets instead of half on nuclear rockets and half on defibrillators is killing hundreds of thousands.
I would give my life to colonize the planets. Our focus on saving every life is penny wise and pound foolish.
Do people avoid having children so that all their cells can die a natural death? Envision all humanity as cells of a greater organism, the global species. Envision that it is time to have a child species on another planet. Isn’t that worth the death of millions or hundreds of millions if new billions will spring into existence? I am asking for dozens possibly killed offset by savings thousands of others that would otherwise be killed.
I don’t expect to fundamentally change dinosaur thinking. “I will not kill anyone to save the species from the asteroid that has our species’ name on it.” But be aware of the systematic cost of the capricous risk aversion we impose in the name of morality.