The Fallacy of Choice

It is likely that anyone reading this has often encountered others who will act out upon any event with the justification of having no other choice.  I am willing to bet, also, that many who may read this are the very type of person to say and even think this about any number of events.  As a society, the notion of choice is an important one.  Women use choice as the loudest cry for killing their children.  Men use choice as the a compelling factor in deciding the fate of those around them.  Children use choice in a futile attempt to justify ridiculous behavior.  Though, when someone makes a choice which they regret, often that same person will claim "I had no other choice." 

                The fallacy here is obvious to an outside observer.  For any event there are typically a great many choices to made.  The real issue is in what consequences the participant is willing to accept.  More often than not, a woman getting an abortion is doing so because she does not wish to accept the consequences of her decision to commit to unprotected sexual activity, promiscuity, and other natural sexual endeavors.  Instead, she chooses the path which has what she perceives to be lesser consequences, often based on a lacking in understanding of all the possible outcomes.  So too will a man  who is, let's say, a soldier might commit a war crime such as killing civilians while claiming he is "just following orders."  It is easier to be reminded that he can be court marshaled for disobeying orders rather than see the consequences for denying his superior the option to murder civilians.  With regard to children, it is a common view to see them as primarily "insane" because they so often act without understanding or concern for consequences or with any real idea of an attainable goal.

                What is sad about these situations is that children are often the most innocent of their actions because they are not always aware of conscious of the consequences.  Everything they do is a test; a means to act out a hypothesis in order to find results.  Adult however, are not usually given such license.  As adults, we are expected to act a certain way and live by certain ideals regardless of whether or not we were given adequate time or allowance to test for the best outcomes to our actions. 

                In the end the fact that law, social expectations, personal goals or professional needs, exist should never be taken into account when an individual is weighing the options.  The reason for this is that people make the choices they feel will benefit something in their lives and thus, deny themselves the ability to even look at other options; this successfully creating the belief that "I have no other choice!" 
                Regardless of what anyone wants to believe, there are always a plethora of choices.  The best option may not necessarily come with a desired result, but that does not take away from anyone personal responsibility to act in a manner which is, in the very least, consistent with their own known moral or ethical outlook.  Though many religious leaders would choose to argue this ideal, it is far worse to be a hypocrite then it is to be a failure.  Failure is something which can most often be mended or molded into a different success; hypocrisy  will instill in everyone a complete lack of trust in you, making any choice you make a choice with consequences which you will always be alone in facing.  Perhaps the only sin in the human condition that outranks betrayal is the total lack of impeccability most of us hold.


  1. Not a lot of people spend much time on the possibility of choice and hypocrisy vs. failure. Not many that I've read, anyway. I like how you equated people's 'lack' of choice with a way of absolving their selves of responsibility, and how that ties in with hypocrisy.

  2. I am glad you enjoyed the post. It is a sad thing in many ways that the average person isn't willing to accept that they possess the power to control their own actions. In the end, I would think that any moment in which one chooses not to be self sovereign in their thoughts and actions would be committing hypocrisy.