Links of luck and chance

Vox says “acknowledging luck is profoundly threatening to the lucky.” Lots of people, as Texas Governor Ann Richards once said of George W. Bush, are born on third base and think they hit a triple. Being reminded they’re not all-star material upsets them no end

Trump, of course, was profoundly lucky. Born to a millionaire. Won the presidency partly on luck — if not for factors such as the FBI’s Comey announcing a last minute investigation into Clinton (who already had decades of right-wing propaganda painting her as the devil incarnate), he’d have missed his shot. Of course he also has the advantage that when you’re rich and well-connected you don’t need luck. “One of many undeniable truths about the American elite is that once you’re in it, you can get away with nearly anything providing you have the right friends.”  Trump, of course, ignores all of that and believes that he’s some kind of superman.

Another advantage is that Trump’s a sociopath who doesn’t give a crap about the law. As Above the Law says, the system only works, to the extent it does, because “most people, most of the time, follow the law, for no reason other than it happens to be the law. We don’t run red lights even when nobody is around, we don’t piss in the elevator, we don’t maliciously defame our enemies, we don’t solicit prostitution, we don’t leave the restaurant without paying our bill, we don’t cosh random black people in London.” The system isn’t good at dealing with people who do whatever they damn well please and will sue you if refuse to cooperate

Not everyone is that lucky or secure. And even if we are, “when considering whether we should endorse a proposed law or policy, we can ask: if I did not know if this would affect me or not, would I still support it?”

What does the Bible teach about wealth and poverty? That fortune and misfortune are often just a matter of dumb luck. Merit, blessing, cursing, reward and punishment don’t enter into it, “but time and chance happen to them all.””

Some things aren’t luck though: the failure of complex systems is inevitable. Some things aren’t inevitable: contrary to libertarian dictum, the “tragedy of the commons” is a myth. More here.

But what about Jew-hating preacher Rick Wiles, who declared the vaccines were Satanic and now has the Trump Virus? Obviously if you catch a pandemic you’re not protecting yourself from, that’s not luck. Or more precisely, there’s still an element of chance but the odds are going to shift against you. Or I suppose we could take a leaf out of the “God sent that hurricane to punish us for abortion!” school of Christian thought and assume this is God warning anti-vaxxers to stop that shit.

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Filed under economics, Miscellanea, Politics

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