The ethical dilemmas in Superhighway

Discuss the June 2017 Book of the Month, Superhighway by Alex Fayman. Superhighway is the first book in the Superhighway Trilogy, so feel free to use this forum to discuss not only the first book but also the other books in the series.

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Spirit Wandering
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The ethical dilemmas in Superhighway

Post by Spirit Wandering »

Alex’s action raised a number of ethical questions in my mind. Is his Robin Hood behavior justifiable? He has stole from men who got their wealth by committing heinous crimes. By giving this stolen money to the poor, Alex is, in effect, initiating an action that economists would call a redistribution of wealth. Governments do this all the time when they levy taxes and then use the money to provide services and social benefits. For an individual to do so would be deemed a crime, regardless of the fact that he redistributed the wealth from major criminals to those in need. One the one hand, one wants to applaud Alex’s attempts to create a bit of justice in the world. On the other hand, if everyone started committing illegal acts they considered justified, society would soon be in chaos.­

All of this raises a number of ethical questions. If you are given an ability, does that mean that you are automatically being encouraged to randomly use that ability? Said another way, just because you can do something, does that mean you should do so? Where do you draw the line? When does the desire to sincerely address obvious inequities in the human condition cross the line into “playing God”? What about unintended consequences that may happen from trying to do something good? For example, in one case, Alex’s actions lead to a series of events that end in a deadly result.

There are no easy answers to these questions and I certainly don’t claim to know the right ones. However, one can easily pose some scenarios where these unintended consequences might rapidly get out of control. Is Alex always able to clearly assess who is a bad guy whose money can be justifiably taken? Conversely, is he always able to know who is truly needy? More broadly, what happens you start changing circumstances for a large number of people? Presumably these changes impact not only those individuals directly involved but also people connected to them? As the impact radiates outward, does it create a “disturbance in the force” on a larger scale? (This assumes, which I do, that we are all interconnected on a very real level even though it is not one easily seen or described).

The novel does not attempt to address these ethical dilemmas, either through Alex’s internal dialogue or through his interactions with others. However, this is the first book of a trilogy so it is possible these points will be dealt with in a later book. I hope the author does as I would like to hear his answers to these questions.

What are your thoughts about the ethical dilemmas posed by the actions Alex takes in Superhighway?
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Post by kandscreeley »

That's definitely a good question. I was kind of wondering the same thing. Your right there are no easy answers. My first instinct is that he should be held accountable for his actions even if he was doing them for the right reasons.
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Post by Gravy »

It's definitely a muddy topic. After all, if it weren't for people who did those types of things, history would read much differently.

I think it depends on the circumstances, and the person. If it isn't being done for the right reasons...
But then again, who gets to say what the right reasons are?
See, muddy. :lol:
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Post by kandscreeley »

Gravy wrote:It's definitely a muddy topic. After all, if it weren't for people who did those types of things, history would read much differently.

I think it depends on the circumstances, and the person. If it isn't being done for the right reasons...
But then again, who gets to say what the right reasons are?
See, muddy. :lol:
I think that's one of those circular logic things? If he's going to take those actions, though, shouldn't he be responsible to live up to the consequences?
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Post by Spirit Wandering »

Gravy wrote:It's definitely a muddy topic. After all, if it weren't for people who did those types of things, history would read much differently.

I think it depends on the circumstances, and the person. If it isn't being done for the right reasons...
But then again, who gets to say what the right reasons are?
See, muddy. :lol:
Thanks for replying. As I posted in reply to kandscreeley, I think intent and motivation is a factor. This plays into what you were saying about the circumstances of the situation. However, we don't have a means of understanding what is truly going on in the heart of someone else. I'm thinking back to the classic sci-fi stories of E.E. "Doc" Smith. Where is a "Lensman" when you need one? :D

-- 02 Jun 2017, 12:50 --
kandscreeley wrote:That's definitely a good question. I was kind of wondering the same thing. Your right there are no easy answers. My first instinct is that he should be held accountable for his actions even if he was doing them for the right reasons.
Thanks for replying. I made the post because I was conflicted when I read the book and was curious about the view of other readers. I think if Alex had stolen from an individual or corporation we knew nothing about, there would have been no question of holding him accountable for his actions. However, the men he stole from are themselves not likely to be held accountable for their actions, up to and including murder. The mobster in Amsterdam probably bought off local officials. The author states that the Russian oligarch had officials at the highest level in his pocket.

I think intent and motivation should play a role in evaluating one's actions. If Alex continues down this path, his targets will get further away from the mobster that killed Anna. How will that influence his motivation and intent in future actions? Which is why I posed the question of when does Alex start playing God, both in his targets but also in those he chooses to benefit with funds.
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Post by Donnavila Marie01 »

I reserve the right of the author to play wuth his inaginative mind. I leave the question of ethis to the readers. I would just like to comment that when we say ethical dilemma, there is no better choice and there is no worse choice. Hence, it us considered dilemma.
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Post by Spirit Wandering »

Donnavila Marie01 wrote:I reserve the right of the author to play wuth his inaginative mind. I leave the question of ethis to the readers. I would just like to comment that when we say ethical dilemma, there is no better choice and there is no worse choice. Hence, it us considered dilemma.
Thanks for reading my post and replying with your perspective.
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Post by Amagine »

I also think that he should be held accountable for his actions as well. Even though he uses the money for the better good, it's still stealing. He is still committing a crime. His crime even affects others around him. I think he should own up to his criminal actions.
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Post by Spirit Wandering »

Amagine wrote:I also think that he should be held accountable for his actions as well. Even though he uses the money for the better good, it's still stealing. He is still committing a crime. His crime even affects others around him. I think he should own up to his criminal actions.
Thanks for replying to my post and adding your perspective.
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Post by Donnavila Marie01 »

Humans create their own values, beliefs, and perceptions because of their experience in life. In the case of Alex, he created his own sets of values according to his experience. Being a person who was not raised by parents and who used to live at the mercy of donations or budget from the State, he believed that he must help his people regardless of the source.
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Post by Spirit Wandering »

Donnavila Marie01 wrote:Humans create their own values, beliefs, and perceptions because of their experience in life. In the case of Alex, he created his own sets of values according to his experience. Being a person who was not raised by parents and who used to live at the mercy of donations or budget from the State, he believed that he must help his people regardless of the source.
Good point about how experience impacts one's values. Thanks for adding your perspective.
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Post by hsimone »

kandscreeley wrote:That's definitely a good question. I was kind of wondering the same thing. Your right there are no easy answers. My first instinct is that he should be held accountable for his actions even if he was doing them for the right reasons.
I agree with kandscreeley. He should be held accountable for his actions. At eighteen, he should know the risks involved in stealing from people who will murder/torture without much thought. Also, I find that even though he gives some money to the poor, he carelessly spends millions on himself. It's one thing if you need to buy food for yourself because you are running out, it's another when you buy an entire island just because you can.

I feel if he does want to help others poorer than him, then perhaps he should focus his time in either getting an education in a field where he could raise enough money to help or in field that will help people in general (kind of like Eva and the route she will take when she becomes a lawyer).

If he doesn't want to take that route, then Alex should probably slow down on his stealing and not be so obvious in the poor choices he makes.
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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Post by Spirit Wandering »

hsimone wrote:
kandscreeley wrote:That's definitely a good question. I was kind of wondering the same thing. Your right there are no easy answers. My first instinct is that he should be held accountable for his actions even if he was doing them for the right reasons.
I agree with kandscreeley. He should be held accountable for his actions. At eighteen, he should know the risks involved in stealing from people who will murder/torture without much thought. Also, I find that even though he gives some money to the poor, he carelessly spends millions on himself. It's one thing if you need to buy food for yourself because you are running out, it's another when you buy an entire island just because you can.

I feel if he does want to help others poorer than him, then perhaps he should focus his time in either getting an education in a field where he could raise enough money to help or in field that will help people in general (kind of like Eva and the route she will take when she becomes a lawyer).

If he doesn't want to take that route, then Alex should probably slow down on his stealing and not be so obvious in the poor choices he makes.
Thanks for reading the post and adding your perspective.
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Post by MrsCatInTheHat »

I don't think the Robin Hood behavior is justified but it is still kind of nice to see the bad guys "go down". If it had been nonfiction, I'd rather see it done through legal means.
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Post by Spirit Wandering »

CatInTheHat wrote:I don't think the Robin Hood behavior is justified but it is still kind of nice to see the bad guys "go down". If it had been nonfiction, I'd rather see it done through legal means.
Thanks for reading the post and adding your perspective.
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