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Is it Morally Wrong to Hope Trump Dies?

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Trump tweeted that he tested positive for COVID-19. This does not guarantee he is infected: the tests could have returned false positives, or he could be lying (always a possibility with Trump). Out of decency or social conformity most people are wishing Trump and his wife well, though some are hoping that he will get sick or even die. Long before this, Matt Gross argued that people should not wish for Trump to die—he wants Trump to suffer a fate worse than death. But some are publicly or privately expressing hope that Trump will die. This raises the moral question of whether it is morally wrong to hope Trump dies. As always, the answer depends on which moral theory (if any) is correct. As a practical matter it is possible to discuss the issue while keeping in mind that all moral discussions must rest on assumptions about ethics. Let us start with something easy. On the face of it, hoping that Trump (or anyone) will die of COVID would not be as wrong as killing him, getting someone else to kill him (as Trump has ordered the deaths of people), or letting him die when you could help him (as Trump has allowed Americans to die preventable deaths). Interestingly, one could make a case that merely hoping someone will die could be morally worse than killing them—if it allows a person to do evil that could be prevented. For example, merely hoping that a serial killer who is engaged in murdering your family will suddenly die of a heart-attack when you could kill them would seem morally wrong. But the focus here is on whether hoping Trump will die is immoral. One approach is to accept a rule-deontological view like Kant’s and argue that hoping someone will die is always wrong. This would settle the matter—but would also morally require that the person who accepts this principle apply it consistently. That is, if they hoped that someone would die (such as Antifa members, rioters, murderers, or terrorists) then they would be acting wrongly. This would also seem to entail that. . .

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News source: A Philosopher's Blog

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