I have met few parents who would not sacrifice their lives for those of their children. This basic act of altruism or selflessness is at the heart of our family unit and the survival of our species. It is a transforming moment for the adult when they feel that the welfare of their children is more important than their own welfare.
When a police officer is killed in the line of duty, we honor him for his sacrifice for us all. This too is a selfless act, although it is less likely to be born of love for the city.
|Life for country|
Soldiers at war serve the nation when they give their lives, but would more likely to tell you they did it for their band of brothers rather than good of country.
This generous act of giving one's life to others has a paradox in it that challenges our sense of morality.
|Others city for our country|
Would we sacrifice our family to save the city?
Would we sacrifice our city to save the nation?
Would we sacrifice our nation to save the planet?
We instinctively answer “no” to such questions, wishing to believe “there must be some other way”. We betray our own morality and live then in a cognitive dissonance assuming only our local sacrifice has value worth giving.
Morality does not scale.
How can we then say the needs of the many over weigh the needs of the few or one? We must not then believe its implications.