new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

the just-world fallacy

'the misconception: people who are losing at the game of life must have done something to deserve it.

the truth: the beneficiaries of good fortune often do nothing to earn it, and bad people often get away with their actions without consequences.'

'it is infuriating when lazy cheats and con artists get ahead in the world while firemen and policemen put in long hours for little pay.

deep down, you want to believe hard work and virtue will lead to success, and laziness, evil and manipulation will lead to ruin, so you go ahead and edit the world to match those expectations.

yet, in reality, evil often prospers and never pays the price.'

'to be sure, you would like to live in a world where people in white hats bring people in black hats to justice, but you don’t.'

i've tried talking about this with others, with great frustration.

this perception of the world is expressed in endless forms, from the secret to concepts of heaven and hell, from followers of islam stoning rape victims to the feeling of entitlement that so many people have.

read the entire essay by david mcraney.

©2010 toomanytribbles


  1. You could conclude that one's response should be to become a hedonist. But I believe the point is merely that our society doesn't function correctly, and we shouldn't try to kid ourselves otherwise. In fact, I think history has shown that any societal change has a positive outcome. What better argument do you need against conservatism?

    Great essay! Especially the block quotation. Indeed, let's discuss.

  2. @juventas

    the frustration is all mine.

    i don't know if you can go from an is to an ought... but this falsehood drives a lot of misbehavior and contaminates too many discussions.

    i'm not sure if all societal changes are for the better. perhaps we'd be better off without the one we like to call dark ages?

  3. Perhaps I'm living in my own liberal fallacy. The Dark Ages seemed to be a result of circumstance, rather than something sought by leaders and citizens. I remember once wondering whether revolutions always have positive outcomes. I never found an answer, but I turned it into truth in my mind. It was a comforting thought..

  4. i'm pretty sure that the spread of religious dogma was not mere circumstance... members of organized religions sought power. they still do. just look at the taliban -- or dominionists in the u.s. both leaders and citizens contribute to these political and cultural trends.

    why would a revolution always have a positive outcome? crises can go either way. there's no law or force nudging path towards some sort of improvement.

  5. The Russian Revolution (the Bolshevik one) destroyed an infant democracy (there was a Provisional Government in place when the Bolsheviks took over).
    History -at the risk of sounding cliche- is cyclical and the path of progress is not linear.

  6. I think I might have to work on getting a law passed that requires the phrase "evil often prospers and never pays the price" to be accompanied by a picture of Dick Cheney whenever it appears.

    I've always found the just world stuff interesting. Good post.