WATCH: Colbert Settles 'Would You Kill Baby Hitler' Question Once and For All

You got to hand it to the New York Times Magazine: its "Would you kill baby Hitler?" thought experiment from two weeks ago has legs. After going viral on Twitter and spawning a half-dozen think pieces in everything from The Atlantic to Vox, it has now entered the 2016 GOP presidential race.


Asked the question recently by a reporter, Jeb Bush didn't hesitate, telling the Huffington Post, "Hell yeah, I'd kill baby Hitler." But what's the right answer? Noted ethicist Stephen Colbert waded into this moral dilemma.

First Ben Carson, whose solution to this problem — on an unrelated counterfactual of his — was to give the Jews guns because this, evidently, would be enough to defeat one of the most powerful armies in history. 

“Ben Carson has said, if he could go back in time, he would prevent the Holocaust by giving Jews guns," Colbert said. "Of course, Ben Carson wouldn’t kill Hitler himself. As a doctor, he swore, First, do no harm. Second, give everyone guns."

And what of Jeb? This is where it gets a bit complicated. It turns out Colbert and Jeb's timelines would diverge in their attempts to prevent the Holocaust. In doing so, things get terribly convoluted.

Watch the clip below and try to parse it yourself:

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