Thursday, June 28, 2012

You had it coming: Not the same as "You deserve it"

This is a very lame publicity campaign.

Most people are philosophically illiterate and often can't make basic distinctions.

For instance, if you choose to smoke, and you get lung cancer, you had it coming.

And it's the same thing with a number of other unhealthy choices.

If you eat sugar all day and get had it coming.

If you're fat and you get heart had it coming.

This is what is meant when Dr. Phil says: you choose the actions, you choose the consequences.

This is Reality 101. You reap what you sow. Learn it, live by it. It applies to believers and non-believers. Ignore at your own peril.

Unfortunately, there comes a misunderstanding from the you had it coming part.

People confuse you had it coming with you deserve a horrible fate or you deserve to die.

Does anyone deserve to die? No. Even aggressors, who are evil don't deserve to die, but may be killed in self-defense.

So people mix up the two concepts. So what happens?

When people hear you had it coming-- which is perfectly defensible thing to say (and often objectively true), they hear you deserve... a horrible consequence.

So if you smoked all your life, you had it coming when the doctor announced that you had lung cancer. But you do not deserve to suffer a horrible disease. You do not deserve to die.

But since you had it coming and you deserve to die are conflated by the philosophically illiterate, it makes it easy to deny personal responsibility. If it is wrong to say that people deserve to die, then, it is argued, it's wrong to say that people had it coming, because the two are thought to mean the same thing.

So, nobody is really responsible for the bad things that happen to them.

 Of course that's not true. But it's a really convenient thing to believe.
 The good news about acknowledging one's personal responsibility in the consequences one suffers is that you can empower yourself to get out of bad predicaments. So, for instance, if you're socially ostracized at school, you can ask yourself: how am I contributing to being picked on by the other kids? What about my behaviour and appearance that attracts disparaging remarks, and what can I do to improve it?

Unfortunately, personal empowerment really ruins the leftist philosophy. It undermines the victimhood status that justifies top-down solutions.