Mutually Exclusive Propositions

Or, How Much Do Ukrainian Lives Matter?

Greg Proffit
3 min readMar 4, 2022


Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

Some things are mutually exclusive. They cancel each other out.

Here are two such propositions.

1- It is better to live in fear of nuclear destruction than to be destroyed.

2- It is better to be killed than to live in fear.

These two propositions cannot co-exist and be simultaneously true.

Hopefully, Western leaders are grappling with those questions — no others matter.

Vladimir Putin is annihilating the people and country of Ukraine without Western (NATO) interference because he has bet on proposition number 1.

Following the heroic example of the courageous Ukrainians, true freedom lovers would spend their money (and their lives) on proposition number 2.

Putin believes that the West won’t risk nuclear war or nuclear holocaust to stop him. So far, he is winning this psychological battle. He counts on the West’s fear of nuclear Armageddon to control the West — no matter what horrors he unleashes on Ukraine.

Doing so, he has become the Emperor of the World in less than a fortnight.

Lest you think that is hyperbolic, please demonstrate to which higher authority Putin yields? It’s not to international law. It isn’t to the Geneva Convention. Nor does he yield to the United Nations. He couldn’t care less about world opinion. To whom does he give abeyance?

After he takes Ukraine, how long will it be before he threatens a nuclear strike to lift sanctions? Or takes Georgia, Romania, or Poland?

If the NATO nations are too afraid of Putin’s nuclear threats to step in and stop the destruction of Ukraine, when would they? And what if restraint isn’t enough to stop a tactical first strike anyway? Some experts believe that is a possibility.

The mutually exclusive propositions above are in play.

NATO and US leaders say that Article 5 of NATO is sacrosanct. That’s their supposed “red line.” They parrot the party line that attacking one NATO member attacks all. They claim they would then step in militarily and stop Putin.



Greg Proffit

2xTop Writer - I write eclectically about Love, Reading, Ideas, Politics, God, Psych., & Random Absurdities—325+ stories. Twitter @gproffit