Would You Kill For a Billion Dollars?


EDIT (7/20/2020): Rereading this article, it occurred to me that my arguments only make sense when predicated on the assumption that you have the power to make a choice. If a person was restricted in their ability to influence the world, for example if they were completely unable to talk with the owner of the billion dollars, then violence would become the best moral choice they could make.


What would your answer be? This is a question of where you draw the line.

I thought it relevant because of recent events regarding businesses kneeling to Chinese censorship and control for access to their market. 

Activision comes to mind first: in response to professional Hearthstone player blitzchung calling for the liberation of Hong Kong during a post-game interview, the company decided to not only pull down the video from the match and interview, but also ban him from competitive Hearthstone for a year, and immediately fired the casters who were interviewing Chung.

Activision Blizzard first defended the harsh punishment by citing the competition rules that states players cannot be "engaging in any act, in Blizzard's sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player's prize total to $0 USD..."

This might have been just a case of Blizzard meting out too harsh a punishment, but this isn't simple coincidence.

Blizzard Entertainment's Chinese social media later posted about how they would always defend their country, making it clear that the incident was a repression of free speech for the sake of maintaining a market in China, much like Chinese conglomerate holding company Tencent's involvement with the NBA.

Nearly all of the NBA's chinese partners have cut ties with them after a scandal incited by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey's pro-democracy tweets related to Hong Kong.

The NBA loses hundreds of millions from this, but perhaps it is for the better.

Unlike Activision/Blizzard Entertainment, who doubled down on their partnership with China, the NBA has already had its ties cut with China. This gives them a unique opportunity to reemerge with a much greater integrity than before. The NBA can more easily choose to support democracy in Hong Kong, as they've already incurred the consequences of doing so.

Maybe the title of this article makes more sense now.

"Would You Kill For a Billion Dollars?"

It would seem Activision's answer to the question is yes.

They chose to make an example out of blitzchung in order to maintain their hold on the Chinese market. In other words, they sold the very values of freedom and choice on the floor of their office for mere profit.

Now you see why my answer to the title of this article is unquestionably:

Absolutely not.

How does being given the easy way to affect the world in the short term change anything in the long term? Having to kill someone for the sake of a better world would only prove that violence is necessary, and that goes against the entire purpose of working for the future of the world.

You wouldn’t be able to claim that violence solves nothing or that you had any integrity if you chose to kill someone to try to make a better world.

You would fail to make a better world if you tried to sacrifice your values for it, because those values are exactly what you wanted the world to be based on.

11 thoughts on “Would You Kill For a Billion Dollars?”

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