Lawful Good

MrFodder asked me a couple of interesting questions, “Which alignment do you think I am?” followed by, “Which alignment do you think you are?” I said that I thought he was chaotic good, and that I’m lawful good.

(As a side-note, I was thinking about all the people I’ve been attracted to in the past, and I think I’d consider them all chaotic good. So I think if someone were to ask me what’s my “type”, I think that’d be my answer.)

Near the hotel we were staying at in Japan, there was a convenience store across a road. The road was lined with fences, so there were only a few places at which you could cross, and they all had traffic lights at them, but they were pedestrian crossings, i.e. it wasn’t an intersection of two roads or anything like that. It was a small road, only one lane of cars each way, and no room for streetside parking, so it could easily be crossed in a short amount of time,

At each of these pedestrian crossings, there was a button to press, similar to the ones in Australia, to indicate that there’s a pedestrian waiting and that the lights need to change. These didn’t seem as common in Japan, and so we got out of the habit of pressing them (I’m guessing the lights just rotate on some set timer?). Also, crossing at places other than the designated crossing locations was something the locals seemed not to do. I didn’t watch that carefully, but I noticed usually the only ones crossing the road in weird places was us.

It was late at night, and we needed to go to the convenience store, so I pressed the button to cross. MrFodder asked why, as this was the middle crossing, there were no cars coming, and both the crossing behind us and the crossing ahead of us were both red lights for cars, so they weren’t going to enter.

I responded that it was the lawful good thing to do, and he replied that by following the law trying to be good, I was actually being bad because soon the other lights would turn green, and the cars would start coming through, only to be held up at another set of lights. We could have easily just crossed the road in the time we spent waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green, by which time the other cars would be here and have to stop and wait.

Sure enough, we ended up waiting a couple of minutes for the light to turn green, and a car had just made it to the crossing, so it had to stop. I felt bad about that, as if we had crossed at a red light, that car and the ones following it would have been able to cruise through the crossing, and it would have been more efficient for everyone overall.

So here’s my reasoning: I hate it when other cars don’t use their indicators while turning / changing lanes. But sometimes, when I’m driving late at night and I don’t see any other cars, I think to myself, is it even worth it to turn my indicator on since there’s nobody around to see? And in the end, I always side with yes, as there might be someone around who I can’t see, and they would benefit from seeing the indicator – like a pedestrian deciding whether to cross the road or wait for me to go by. So I kinda feel like the same thing applies with traffic lights. Maybe there’s a car that’s just about to zoom through, and they don’t notice us about to cross. And at the same time, we don’t notice them either. Then BAM! CRASH! KABLANG! EVERYBODY IS DEAD.

Still, I like to think that we’re generally observant, and it’s super unlikely that something like that would happen. So the better thing to do would have been not to press the button and just cross.

MrFodder said he thinks I’m neutral good, and if I’m willing to reconsider something like that so easily, maybe he’s right.

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2 Responses to Lawful Good

  1. 436petabytes says:

    Efficiency is sometimes at odds with the law. Often it will be 100% safe to go above the speed limit. Sure there are times when you think it’s safe but it’s not, but there are times when it is safe. But then is it still okay to speed because it’s more efficient? What if you’re rushing a pregnant woman to the hospital? What if you have to get to an important meeting, and if you’re not there the company will lose millions of dollars? Are laws just a guideline or should you obey them always? What if everybody started using their own discretion about when to apply the law? Is it fair to be punished for breaking the law even if the net outcome was better?

    • Fodder says:

      I think the law does have some conditions. Like murder is wrong, but killing someone in self-defense reduces your sentence, I think? It would be impossible to come up with a comprehensive list of every single possibility, which is probably why some decisions go to a jury.

      If it’s not completely black or white, it makes sense to get a group of people to try and see what the average feeling towards the situation is. You could get super unlucky, and have 12 people who just happen to completely disagree with your point of view, but it might also be possible that your opinion on what is “right” is actually wrong according to the rest of society.

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