Of Course You Should Go Back in Time and Kill Hitler

Bobylev Sergei/TASS via ZUMA Press


For some reason, the New York Times Magazine decided to poll its readers to see if they’d be willing to go back in time and kill Adolf Hitler as a baby. Only 42 percent said yes.

WTF? I assume there are no time travel paradoxes involved here, nor any baroque inventions about how the world actually ends up worse without World War II. Science fiction nerds like me (and lots of you, I assume) love to natter on about stuff like this, but it really doesn’t seem like the NYTM’s thing. Basically, you get transported back to Hitler’s crib in 1889, you shoot him, and a few seconds later you return home. End of story. Would you do it?

I’m not an especially bloodthirsty guy, but hell yes, I’d do it. Sure, maybe World War II would happen anyway, though that’s hardly inevitable. Maybe the Holocaust too. But even a reasonable chance of stopping either one of them would be well worth the life of a baby who would otherwise grow up to be a monster. What am I missing here? I wouldn’t even hesitate.