August 10, 2015 by Liberty
I have an opinion on this subject but apparently I’m not allowed to discuss it because I grew up in a lower middle class (or upper lower class) family. Shucks…
This is one of the most annoying things I hear from people when they discuss politics. It feels as though I’m criticizing Nazi’s just to hear people respond, “Well… have you ever been a Nazi? No? Well… then what right do you have to judge them!”
Wow… wasn’t that a fun start to an article. Can you believe some people don’t think I’m a very clear writer? Anyway…
Luck is one of the most annoying things to hear people discuss in a political context. It’s this idea that is usually used as more of a distraction than a productive pursuit.
I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family. When I was young my parents were pretty much completely broke. My father had a good job that barely paid the bills. My mother worked too but at nothing too consistent. That being said, I didn’t suffer a bit. You could probably argue I was a bit spoiled some Christmas’.
My father worked his way through college while working 9-5. After that, I imagine he made more. I personally don’t remember seeing the difference. After that, my mother went to school. She ended up getting a degree. Eventually, by the time I was in college, my parents had reached upper middle class. (Well… Damn you FAFSA…) They were still “poor” from their bad spending habits but their lifestyle definitely improved.
What does all this mean? I sure as hell don’t know but I’ve repeatedly been called “lucky” by liberals. I was just a rich white kid, I don’t know what it’s like to be poor. The fact that most of the people calling me this were in similar situations to me, I really have trouble understanding this idea. I’ve never filthy rich either. Does that mean I’m not allowed to have opinions about them either?
Lucky For What
Luck is one of those things that most people use in whatever way they want it to be used. Luck can be an excuse for not doing something. It can also be an excuse for getting up and doing it. You can interpret it in whatever way you want to interpret it.
Am I unlucky for my parents being broke during my formative years? Or am I lucky that my parents had money when I grew older? Then again, perhaps I’m lucky my parents were broke during my formative years because it helped me understand the difference between wants and needs. Or maybe I’m unlucky that when I wanted to go to college my parents made too much money for me to get any financial aid? Maybe I’m lucky I got to pay for it with a 9-5 and learn more about the world?
Notice how stupid and interpretive all this stuff is.
Some of the richest people in the world grew up poor. They often say that growing up poor motivated them to never be poor. That led them to great fortunes. Other people that grew up poor say, well… I didn’t have a chance. I’m not one of those rich people.
Statistically, we can see some correlations. Family background has a big impact on a person’s statistical likelihood of “moving up in the world.” This has to do with so many issues that I find it hard to even discuss. Sure, of course it’s a factor. ~40% of people in the upper and lower incomes stay in the same income range.
That means almost nothing when you consider an individual though. If a child of an alcoholic that became an alcoholic told me, “It was inevitable. Did you know I was 4 times more likely to become an alcoholic!” I would think they’re joking.
In my opinion, the knowledge that you’re at risk increases your responsibility to change that. (I was at high risk of becoming a republican but I fought that off! It gives me chills just thinking about it.) Sure, it matters but we can’t completely excuse responsibility for unlucky people.
How Much Luck Is There Really?
Yes. I think luck is an unbelievably huge factor. That being said, 99.999% of that luck is probably completely incalculable. The difference between a good life and a bad life likely comes down, to some extent, to stupid factors that no one even considers.
One teacher can completely turn a child into a success for their whole life. The teacher could say one thing that permanently changes the way the child thinks. The teacher, might not have even been trying.
One bad sentence from a parent can do the same. If a child eats one led chip it could make a difference. If a child sees violence that no one could have prevented then it could change the child. If I get hit by a bus, I might not walk very well in the future. These are factors of luck that just can’t be calculated.
Now what about the luck liberals tend to refer to…
Keep in mind, I don’t know. There are so many factors that relate to luck that it’s kind of silly to try and quantify but these are my thoughts.
Most luck is negligible. Sure, it’s there but considering we’re probably somewhere around as likely to get hit by a bus, who cares? We live with those consequences. We ideally have insurance policies. I could have been born a starving child in Africa. I could have been born a millionaire in LA. Ultimately, we have to consider that somewhat negligible. We, ideally, have insurance policies for those situations too.
Of course, as with anything, you can’t price those insurance policies without the free market.
The Sad Truth
Again, this is all my gut instinct. It’s not greatly researched.
Luck is whatever you want to interpret it as.
If you choose to believe that you were unlucky then it is completely true. You have to live with the consequences of your bad luck because you are accepting that statistics can control your final outcome. You are accepting that you don’t have the control to change or improve your own life. That means, unless you get lucky, nothing is going to change.
If you choose to believe you’re lucky then it is completely true. You, again, have to live with the consequences of your good luck because you are still accepting that statistics can control your final outcome. You can’t change that which you don’t control so you better hope you’re happy with it.
The more you allow luck to be a factor, the less room you allow yourself in your decision making process. Even determinists buy insurance policies. Maybe absolutely everything is luck but ultimately, you have to live your life like it isn’t luck in order to make the most effective decisions for yourself (or you have to think you think you think you think… that luck isn’t a factor. To the determinists out there.)
Everywhere you let luck define you you’re not allowing yourself to define yourself.
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