Now if it is in our power to do noble or base acts, and likewise in our power not to do them, and this was what being good or bad meant, then it is in our power to be virtuous or vicious.Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, 1113b11
Imagine you had a time machine that could save lives.
Imagine you could go back to 2005 to reinforce the levies and floodwalls in New Orleans. Imagine being able to evacuate people from the beaches of Thailand in 2004 before the tsunami hit. Imagine you could prevent the 9/11 terrorists from boarding those planes.
Now consider this: We are in exactly such a position today. We are facing a once-in-a-century calamity with COVID-19 that could claim more lives than all of the aforementioned natural disasters combined. But unlike most disasters, we can actually prevent this one from happening. Our actions over the next few weeks can prevent death, disease, and economic disaster. In fact, given the potential impact of our actions, I’d argue that we will soon be making the most important moral decisions of our lives.