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The right action still has a cost - and you're still on the hook


Remember Sophie's Choice?  William Styron's 1979 novel, and the movie that followed three years later horrified readers with the story of a woman forced to choose which of her children would die in an Auschwitz gas chamber.

The good news is that we are rarely called to make decisions that horrific in our everyday lives.

The bad news is that we are confronted regularly with moral dilemmas: situations where two courses of action conflict and both entail a significant cost.

Create a lockdown to keep people safe from COVID-19?  Yes, but what about the people out of work and the small businesses that can't survive?

Protest systemic racism?  Yes, but what about the buildings and businesses that are damaged or destroyed?

Once again: the good news is that there is a way to come to grips with these kinds of dilemmas.

The bad news is: we're still on the hook to try to make things better.

Laura recommended a book called When Doing the Right Thing Is Impossible (Philosophy in Action) by Lisa Tessman.

You can also find out more about the Philosophy in Action series here.


Lisa Johnson started her broadcast career anchoring the television news at her high school and spinning country music at KWWK/KOLM Radio in Rochester, Minnesota. She was a reporter and news anchor at KTHI in Fargo, ND (not to mention the host of a children's program called "Lisa's Lane") and a radio reporter and anchor in Moorhead, Bismarck, Wahpeton and Fergus Falls.Since 1991, she has hosted Northland Morning on KUMD. One of the best parts of her job includes "paying it forward" by mentoring upcoming journalists and broadcasters on the student news team that helps produce Northland Morning. She also loves introducing the different people she meets in her job to one another, helping to forge new "community connections" and partnerships.Lisa has amassed a book collection weighing over two tons, and she enjoys reading, photography, volunteering with Animal Allies Humane Society and fantasizing about farmland. She goes to bed at 8pm, long before her daughter, two cats, or three dogs.
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