“The price of greatness is responsibility.” -Winston Churchill

This quote reminds me of this analogy.  There are two people.  One is a mass murderer that kills a million people.  The other has done nothing, but if he presses a button one million people’s lives are saved, yet he doesn’t press it.  Are these two people equally immoral?

If we look at Spider-man, Peter Parker gains great power after he gets bitten by the irradiated spider.  Is Peter more obligated to good things than any average teenager? Not really.  Just because he could do so much more good than an average teenager doesn’t mean he is being immoral by not doing more good actions than a normal teen.  Should he be doing more good deeds?  Absolutely, but technically he is not doing anything wrong by taking the route of inaction.

If we look back at the analogy, the man with the button technically isn’t doing anything immoral by not doing anything.  He just got into a situation with great power.  Should he have pressed the button?  Yes, but to do so he would have to inflict harm onto himself.  Of course in this analogy the harm is extremely little, it’s just having to burn a couple calories to press a button, but int he case of Peter Parker, he would have to spend his own time, put his own life in danger, and put the people near him’s life in danger.

You could also look at it in terms of a transaction.  Is saving a million lives worth burning a few calories and a couple seconds?  You may say yes, but it isn’t your call.  If the person with the button says no, he isn’t obligated to save those lives.  If Peter Parker doesn’t think his time and safety is worth defeating a villain, that’s his call.

Still, if society does not agree with their decision, society will judge them for their decision.  If people don’t like how Spider-man won’t risk his life for others, people will hate Spider-man, so in a way, responsibility is the price of greatness.

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