San Francisco, CA – Once upon a time, trolleys were seen as the ideal method of public transportation. They were quaint and had a vintage charm about them that made people say, “Hey, maybe I do like public transportation.”
But alas, the trolley industry has been on the decline, and the blame, oddly enough, has fallen on philosophers’ shoulders.
Ever since Philippa Foot first introduced the infamous Trolley Problem in 1967, trolleys have been increasingly associated with moral quandaries rather than convenient commutes. The number of trolleys sold has been tracking the popularity of Philosophy 101 classes across the world. We’ve found that there is a direct correlation between a student’s decision to take a philosophy course and their eventual aversion to trolleys.
“Why would I take a trolley to work when it’s just going to run over five people?” one concerned citizen said in a recent survey. “I’d rather stick to walking, thank you very much.”
Ralph Trolleyman, CEO of Trolley Corp, the largest trolley manufacturing company in the world, is understandably upset.
“It’s not fair, I tell ya,” said Trolleyman, looking forlornly at a shiny trolley languishing on the factory floor. “We’re in the business of transporting people, not murdering them.”
Trolleyman recently suggested that philosophy should switch its popular thought experiment to something the world would actually like to see less of.
“Let’s replace the Trolley Problem with the Pickup Truck Problem,” he said. “Those behemoths have far worse environmental footprints. Plus, they’ve been involved in more accidents. Not to mention, they are far better equipped to handle the impact of hitting five hypothetical people.”
In a daring move, the Global Trolley Industry Group (GTIG) is now suing the collective entity of ‘Philosophy’ for millions in damages, due to the tarnishing of the trolley image. However, they quickly realized that philosophers generally don’t have any money.
“We expected to find vast vaults of intellectual wealth,” admitted a GTIG representative, “but all we found were books, glasses, and way too many tweed jackets.”
To help you understand the infamous Trolley Problem, consider this humorous variation:
If the Trolley Problem keeps escalating at this rate, we may soon have to ponder the existence of the trolley industry. While we wish them well in their legal pursuits against the cash-strapped philosophers, we hope they are prepared for a counter-suit: Can they prove the philosophers’ thoughts caused their existential crisis?