Life’s Not Fair, But We Can Still Strive for Fairness: The Idea of Good-Luck Insurance

The fact that life isn’t fair is usually offered to victims as an alternative to despair (or maybe revenge), but I think this is short-sighted. A much better way to use it, in my opinion, is to let it inspire us toward behaving fairly. The fundamental unfairness of Life is — or could be — a principle axiom of personal ethics.

“Why should we strive for ethical excellence?”, some unscrupulous cynic may ask. Because Life is unfair, I say! To the extent that Life is not fair, we should do what we can to make it as fair as we can make it.

Now, when we think of examples of Life’s unfairness, we often think of unhappy examples — being born with a crack addiction, or with your intestine’s on the outside of your body, or with cancer (can you tell that the mother of my children is a NICU nurse?). But that is just half of the story, really. Life is every bit as full of happy examples: being born to wealthy parents, or surviving a cancerous tumor, or guessing the winning numbers in a large-payout lottery (arguably an unhappy example, since many such winners lack the financial expertise for managing the prize, wind up blowing the whole jackpot within a year or two, and many even accumulate an overwhelming mountain of debt in the process).

And in the same way that we have invented insurance to mitigate the risks of unhappy examples, I’m thinking it might be good to invent a different kind of insurance to mitigate the risks of the happy examples too. We might call it something like Good-Luck Insurance.

The basic idea here is that a subscriber or customer would receive a regular stream of payments — we might call them anti-premiums, because they flow toward the customer instead of toward the insurer — and in exchange, whenever he or she got especially lucky in some way (as defined by the policy), then he or she would have to give back to the insurer some portion of the “prize”.

So, for example, let’s say I “bought” a surgery policy. Once “purchased”, I would immediately begin receiving monthly anti-premiums, which I could then spend on anything I wanted (food, clothing, shelter, leisure, etc.) But if I ever survived any kind of surgery, I would have to pay back to the insurer some portion of the premiums I had received over the years. On the other hand, if I never even had surgery, I would just keep all those premiums!

Now, you might think this is basically what Communism is all about (or is it Socialism, I know there’s supposed to be a difference, but I’m not at all clear on what it is — feel free to explain it to me in a comment below!), but there’s really a huge and critical difference, which is that Communism (Socialism?) is imposed on all citizens, whereas good-luck insurance is strictly voluntary. Nobody would be obliged to purchase a policy, and you would only purchase the particular coverage you wanted.

I think one great benefit of such an insurance product is that it would be yet another means by which we could all choose to strive for fairness in the context of an unfair Life. Given that Life is as unfair as it is, I’m thinking we need all the help we can get.

That’s the basic idea of Good-Luck insurance. Please let me know what you think in the comments!

Vengeance? — An Open Letter to a Concerned Friend

Dear Concerned Friend,

When we spoke the other day you asked me a question that I would like to try to answer here on my blog because others in my life have been asking me similar questions, and I would like to document my answer out here in public where anyone who wishes to know what it is can come and read it. If memory serves, your question was this one:

“You may want to think about what you’re really hoping to accomplish with all this. Are you trying to raise awareness? Are you hoping to educate people? Do you want vengeance?”

For the sake of others who may read this letter, I will just explain that your question was regarding my current preoccupation with the events relating to the loss of my job last May 19, 2017. To summarize it all briefly and far too simply[1], I believe that the individuals who fired me did so illegally, and ever since I have been more or less obsessed with the question of what to do about that. One thing I have tried to do about it is file charges against my former employer[2] with the so-called “Equal” Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but that turned out to be a total waste of time because as it turns out, and in flagrant contradiction to their own self-congratulatory propaganda, the EEOC is perfectly useless to anyone with a psychiatric disability such as autism (FYI, I have Autistic Spectrum Disorder). For the sake of completion, however, I have decided to give the EEOC a third opportunity to help me, to begin with by writing a very long open letter (posted here on this blog) to one of the EEOC’s own Deputy District Directors; in particular, the boss of those who botched up their handling of my two charges against my former employer. In any case, back to the main topic…

I have to guess that you might have felt a little awkward about asking me that question, especially that particular part about whether I wanted “vengeance”. I couldn’t help noticing and subsequently over-thinking about the way your voice dropped toward a mumble when it got to that part, and how your rate of speech jumped up a notch as you raced to get the words out, like a driver might race to get through an amber traffic light.

I apologize if I’ve ever done anything to make you feel uncomfortable about asking me that or any other question. I was talking with you about this issue because I value your opinions on the matter, and I understand that if I’m to have any hope of being helped by those opinions, then you need to understand clearly just what this matter is all about. That means I need to welcome all of your questions about it, and to do my best to answer them.

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You can’t help me if you don’t understand me, so I welcome all of your questions. Image Credit: Pixabay

So, please, if you truly wish to understand what I hope to accomplish with all of this, either in general or in particular as to whether I’m after vengeance, I invite you to ask these kinds of questions, whatever they are, and to feel comfortable about doing so.

To get right to that particular point:

If you are seriously worried about whether I might want vengeance, then I hope it will reassure you that my answer is “absolutely not”.  Vengeance is definitely not what I want. I think vengeance in general is a bad idea for all kinds of reasons, but in this particular case committing some trivial, self-indulgent act of vengeance would only make it much more difficult for me to accomplish my true overall objective, which is this:

Ultimately, what I really hope to accomplish with all of this — what I really want is just what I have always wanted, always sought, and never found: to belong somewhere. I want to find my niche in this world.

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Wow, that’s a lot of human beings! Where do I fit in with all of those people? Image Credit: Pixabay

I have spent my entire waking life feeling more or less lost and inconveniently out-of-place, like a walrus lurching and lumbering down the middle of a highway during rush-hour; trying in myriad ways to answer the question “where do I fit in?” — and although I seem to have no problem finding good candidate answers to this question, so far every single one of them has turned out in one form or another to be “not for me”, after all. So, if you are puzzled by my behavior with respect to the events in question, I believe that if you try to see it all as an eager and hopeful attempt by me to figure out just where I fit into the human picture at large — a vigorous and enthusiastic attempt to solve my niche-problem — I expect my otherwise puzzling decisions and actions will make a lot more sense to you.

I hope you found that answer satisfying. If not, please let me know and I will try again. I want to be understood, my friend. I need to be understood. So, if you don’t understand, then please let me know, and I will try to find better ways to explain it.

In any event, thank you for asking.


[1] For the full account, I haven’t yet, but will create a special page with a list of links to the many blog posts I’ve written on the subject. For now, you may wish to begin with my recently completed 9 part open letter to one of the “E”EOC’s Deputy District Directors. Here is a link to part 1 of that series: An Open Letter to A Certain EEOC Deputy District Director, Part 1.

[2] My former employer is a billion-dollar, global, multinational insurance company. For the time being I think it best not to reveal its identity, so I’ve been referring to it on this blog as the XYZ Insurance Company or “XYZ” for short.

Donald Trump pointing at Melania Trump's chest

“Grab’em By The Pussy”: Why Pootus Trump’s Sexism Is Worse Than His Racism

President Trump's "Grab'em by the pussy" speech

Image Credit: TBD

Is it just my imagination, or does it seem like folks-in-general care more about Pootus Trump’s racism than they do about his sexism? Apologies if I’ve misread the evidence here, but in case I haven’t, then I’d like to try to explain why I think we need to re-prioritize these issues. To be clear, I’m not suggesting we ignore his racism entirely, but that we tend to invest more resources into solving the problem of his sexism than that of his racism.

To begin with, I’ll point out that sexism is actually a form of racism, in which girls and women are fallaciously considered a separate and inferior “race”1, and as such the most populous2 one comprising a full fifty-percent of the Earth’s population — roughly 3.5 billion human beings. So, even if I’m wrong and the problem of Trump’s racism really should trump that of his sexism, really the largest “racial” minority and consequently the one most in need of help is that of girls and women. And in case you’re worried that rich, white, crazy women like Betsy DeVos (or Hilary Clinton, if you’re on that side of things) will somehow be the primary beneficiaries of that help, remember that I’m not suggesting we ignore the racism problem entirely, only that we treat the sexism problem as our first priority.

Furthermore, no matter who you are or where you live, whatever obstacles you struggle against due to your apparent “race”, these tend to be minimized if you are a male and maximized if you are a female. Really, both racism and sexism are specific examples of what we might call physical-powerism — the fallacy that “might makes right”. And since men tend even within a given “race” to be bigger and stronger than women — more physically powerful — they are prone to committing the fallacy of physical-powerism, even against the female members of their own “race”.

So, yes, by all means, “black-lives matter”, but what I’m asserting here really is that the lives of “black” girls and women ought to matter even more. Again, please forgive me if you think I’ve misread the evidence that has lead me to this opinion. I’m open to changing my mind, of course, but I would need to encounter the right sort of evidence, which appears to be lacking at the moment.

But all of that applies to sexism and racism in general, and thus to Trump’s sexism and racism specifically. But there’s at least one more reason we should focus in particular on Trump’s own sexism: we have that Access Hollywood, “Grab’em by the pussy”, hot-mike recording of Donald Trump boasting about his own total disregard for the idea that women are actually human beings.

Honestly I think this single document may be the most overlooked and underutilized resource in the resistance against Trumplethinskin. To my view it should probably be the opening salvo in any and every conversation about T-Rump. Alongside the Lord’s Prayer, the Serenity Prayer, and Desiderata, I think Trump’s hateful, anti-Presidential words should be memorized and recited as often as possible — especially by Senators and Congresspersons. I think it should head every email or letter sent to a public official. I think teachers should teach it to school children. I think it should be printed on T-shirts, hats and bumper stickers. Most importantly, these disgusting, vile words must never be forgotten.

And in case you have accidentally forgotten about them, here’s the original recording:

 

 

 

 

 


1 I put the word race in scare-quotes to express my current opinion that the idea of race is scientifically dubious. I’ll use the same technique when referring to any specific “race” (e.g. “black”). For explanation, see “Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue“, Scientific American, Feb. 5, 2016. Last accessed Jan. 18, 2018, 7:02 AM.

2 I should admit that his is more of an assumption I’m making, but I believe it’s a reasonable one. More explicitly, I’m assuming that fifty-percent of the total Human population are female, and that the total population of any other “race” is less than fifty percent of the total Human population. In any case, even if this assumption were false, I’m not sure my opinion would change much concerning the relative priorities of Trump’s racism versus his sexism.

Steven Pinker on Jokes versus Swords

“…Many moral advances have taken the form of a shift in sensibilities that made an action seem more ridiculous than sinful, such as dueling, bullfighting, and jingoistic war. And many effective social critics, such as Swift, Johnson, Voltaire, Twain, Oscar Wilde, Bertrand Russel, Tom Lehrer, and George Carlin have been smart-ass comedians rather than thundering prophets. What in our psychology allows the joke to be mightier than the sword?”

— Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature, p 633