Joynewyeary

Lotteries and proper functions of governments

52 posts in this topic

To be entertained is to experience pleasure or delight in some activity, be it doing the activity one's self or watching other people do it. To say that an activity one engages in is entertaining means that the activity itself, and not any fantasizing about possible results, is entertaining.
So one cannot be "entertained" - cannot "experience pleasure or delight" - at the prospect of acquiring values? This is another in a now very long list of premises I must dispute.

I would reference Bingo in this regard. It is the thrill of winning at Bingo (certainly a part of the nature of the activity) which makes it so enjoyable to so many - not merely the 'process of purchasing a Bingo card and stamping the squares against the called numbers'. Put simply, you falsely limit 'enjoyment' to just some actions of an activity. You exclude the action of winning from that activity.

That is a fundamental error.

Means AND ends are all part of the activity. The activity is NOT limited to just ends NOR to just means.

So, to say that playing a lottery is entertaining is to say that one finds the process of purchasing a ticket and checking its numbers against the winning numbers, is entertaining.
This statement is false because it is based on a false premise (see above).
The fact that one may enjoy fantasizing about being the winner is irrelevant to the play.
Actually, as Ms Speicher pointed out, it is fantasizing about the values one would receive and what one could do with them - not simply "fantasizing about being the winner". And I must now ask - what premise leads you to divorce the values sought from the activity by which it can be achieved? Whatever it might be, I must strongly question that premises (along with all the others you have thus far presented).

It appears you proceed from the premise that because the acquisition of values in such cases is not certain (as it is in a trade or purchase) - ie because there is a risk the value will not be achieved - one therefore cannot enjoy the prospect of acquiring said values. One can only enjoy the actual actions - not the potential results - only enjoy the actual, not the potential.

Such a premise is completely false.

The entertainment of the game would not be caused by fantasizing about hitting a home-run. That would be a separate entertainment not necessary to the playing and enjoyment of the game.
This statement is also false. As an occasional player of baseball I most certainly fantasize about hitting home-runs - right up to the moment I actually hit the ball. Whether I am actually able to make the home-run or not doesn't change this fact. It is part of the nature of the game itself.

The same can be said about lotteries.

At this point, I must question why it is so important here to try to divorce the enjoyment an individual can get in actually being a contestant in a lottery from lotteries themselves. This all still seems to be part of your campaign to claim that 'psychologically healthy' and 'rational' men would not enjoy nor participate in lotteries or the like. However, that conclusion has already been refuted through explicit example - unless of course your ultimate claim here is that those who have provided these personal examples are NOT rational or not psychologically healthy, for if they were, they would NOT enjoy such forms of entertainment (and therefore it is - at best - a mistake for them to be enjoying them).

That seems to be the conclusion you continue to push. And it is a conclusion I must dispute quite vociferously.

Put simply, whether you do or do not personally find anything to enjoy in lotteries has no bearing on ANY of the substantive issues which have been raised in this thread. It has already been demonstrated that rational and psychologically healthy individuals do enjoy such activities and do participate in them to valid ends - thus proving that they can serve as enticements to such individuals where requests for donations alone would not necessarily suffice.

Unless you somehow dispute these facts, I don't see what more of any substance there is to say on the topic.

Of course one can experience pleasure at the prospect of acquiring values. One may feel delight in anticipation of the ice-cream cone one is about to buy; one may feel great pride in anticipation of a new house which one has worked ten years for, etc. it is another question, though, to say that a one-in-a-million chance of winning a lottery is "a prospect". A prospect is an expected thing or condition which one has reason to believe will in fact occur.

You say that the thrill of winning at bingo is a part of the nature of the activity? You mean, if I played bingo, but felt no thrill, I would not really be playing it?

I do not exclude winning, or the enjoyment of, from the activity of any game. I do recognize that enjoyment, or any other emotion, is not necessary in order to play or to win.

I am well aware that Betsy said that she was fantasizing about the values she might receive. My "fantasizing about being the winner" certainly includes the rewards of winning.

One can enjoy the prospect of acquiring values, if it is indeed a prospect. In a lottery there is not simply "a risk that the value will not be achieved"; there is almost a dead certainty (at least, for the 100 million dollar prize) that the value will not be won.

You can fantasize all you want about hitting home runs, but the player who does not fantasize is just as much a player. Fantasizing is not a "part of the nature of the game itself."

Now you say that I am engaged in a "campaign". This is sheer nonsense. I am not attacking anyone. In fact, to go back to the beginning, mistakenly or not, here is where I stood: I have known men who have worked for years to build up a successful business, and I have read true stories of people coming to America with nothing, and through hard, persevering effort, make something beautiful of their lives, and I have worked with competent men and women, myself one of them, and I know what it is to earn one's way. It is true that I also know of unsweating, unlaborious, lighthearted, even fun, ways of earning a living. It is also true that I do not scorn or envy the million dollar lottery winner. I may even hold him in high respect----for the things which he has worked for and earned in his life and in his character. But the fact of his having won a lottery neither lowers, nor raises my level of respect, just as it neither raises nor lowers the quality of his character. My initial response against lotteries as a method of financing a government came from all this. For it seems to me that an action a man takes in support of a rational government should be one that raises him, not necessarily in the eyes of others, but in his own eyes. Now, I grant you this is personal: playing a lottery may do it for you; it would not do it for me. (Though I will not state that what I seek you should seek.)

You may say that my concept of "earning" is mistaken, or my reasoning faulty, but to say I am waging a campaign is ridiculous. I expect better of you than that.

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Of course one can experience pleasure at the prospect of acquiring values. One may feel delight in anticipation of the ice-cream cone one is about to buy; one may feel great pride in anticipation of a new house which one has worked ten years for, etc. it is another question, though, to say that a one-in-a-million chance of winning a lottery is "a prospect". A prospect is an expected thing or condition which one has reason to believe will in fact occur.
I have no further interest in these pointless equivocations. As I said, if you dispute the salient facts I explicitly identified at the end of the last post, please state so clearly and unequivocally.
You say that the thrill of winning at bingo is a part of the nature of the activity? You mean, if I played I bingo, but felt no thrill, I would not really be playing it?
This is getting "ridiculous". Do I really need to explain the fact that one does not have to engage in every act possible in an activity (ie every act which is part of the nature of the activity) to be identified as engaging in that activity? For instance, one does not have to slide home in baseball to be identified as having played baseball - even though that action IS a part of the nature of the game.

I must again question the need here to divorce enjoyment from the activity of playing the lottery. What purpose is this divorce supposed to serve?

Put simply, what is the purpose of this entire seemingly pointless set of assertions related to thrills and enjoyment, etc? How do they serve to address the actual issues in question?

You can fantasize all you want about hitting home runs, but the player who does not fantasize is just as much a player. Fantasizing is not a "part of the nature of the game itself."
As identified above, this statement is false.
Now you say that I am engaged in a "campaign". This is sheer nonsense. I am not attacking anyone.
You may say that my concept of "earning" is mistaken, or my reasoning faulty, but to say I am waging a campaign is ridiculous. I expect better of you than that.

What is "ridiculous" and "sheer nonsense" is the claim that "campaign" must mean an 'attack' against someone. This is ANOTHER of your definitions I must dispute. Your characterization of the term in this context is completely false. Consider, for example, an ad campaign. It is a persistent promotion of an idea or product. It is not necessarily an attack on anyone.

In the future, before publicly expressing your disappointment in someone, make sure you actually know what they are saying first. Doing so will save both parties from having to deal with needless falsehoods.

it seems to me that an action a man takes in support of a rational government should be one that raises him, not necessarily in the eyes of others, but in his own eyes.
"Raises him"? Raises him how? Morally? This AGAIN seems to be your assertion that lotteries - or anything else which apparently might 'dilute' the 'purity' of supporting a rational government directly and with no other enticements - are at best somehow morally questionable. In other words, they somehow 'lower' a man.

I must continue to dispute this position - for all the numerous (and still unaddressed) reasons already provided.

Now, I grant you this is personal: playing a lottery may do it for you; it would not do it for me.
At this point, it appears you are now agreeing with that which you previously disagreed - that a lottery is moral - that government may properly use it as a means of finance - and that rational and 'psychologically healthy' men can and do respond to such appeals where they might not respond the same to direct appeals alone.

Unless you still dispute any of these premises, all the rest is simply pointless (if not actually contradictory of those premises).

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