“One of the most powerful feelings I came back {from his first trip to Europe} with was a feeling of anger at the fact that if I had been born into almost any other time or place in history, I would’ve been screwed over for life. Sometimes I don’t know how to deal with that.” –Samson’s Jawbone

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5 Responses to Thought of the Day: Screwed

  1. PeterW says:

    Good thought, and really shows the limitations (or incompleteness) of egalitarianism. There’s a strain of thought, on both left and right, that says that we’re pretty much done with making everyone equal to start out with. We might need a bit more redistribution or re-education here and there. But now that the good fight of the ’60s is over, we can feel free to judge people in the knowledge that they more or less deserve to be judged based on their outcomes.

    Which is nonsense, of course. There are tons of injustices that don’t fall on convenient political lines (ie attractiveness, height, health, personality traits, intelligence), and there’s even more drastic inequalities when you think of unusual metrics like time of birth.

    This is not to say that trying to give people an even playing field isn’t worth doing. But it’s a much bigger project than many folks think – and most of it requires more introspection and is less fun than the evpsych-friendly “let’s band together and take resources from other tribes” that has characterized political egalitarianism so far.

  2. Brandon Berg says:

    I don’t get it. Europe isn’t quite as rich as the US, but how is it an example of how you can be screwed over for life by having been born in the wrong place?

    Unless he’s talking about the formerly communist parts, I guess?

  3. trumwill says:

    Brandon, I assumed that he visited eastern Europe. Possibly, his definition of “screwed” is wildly different from my own. Either way, the thought resonated with me.

  4. trumwill says:

    PeterW, sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been pondering what to say.

    It’s a thin line between acknowledging disparities and resigning yourself and perpetuating them where, sometimes, they don’t belong.

    I commented on HS a while back that it’s worthwhile to give at least the gifted among the underclass a chance to go to college. The general response was “if they’re underclass, they don’t come from gifted stock.”

    Except that my father came from a rather lower-class family and retired a deputy financial director at a major government installation. My friend Kyle would fail Sheila’s “prole test” but got his degree and now works as a software developer (which, contrary to Sigman wisdom and at least outside of the northeast) pays a pretty nice wage.

    On the other hand, how much money have we spent on the notion that college is for everyone and how long are we going to blame schools for dropout rates before acknowledging that this is perhaps not the case?

    And this, of course, doesn’t even touch on the attractiveness index and whatever extent that sociability and extroversion is genetic.

  5. Mike Hunt says:

    I have a funny feeling that Samson’s Jawbone is one of those people who isn’t as clever as he thinks he is…

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