Sex lottery perverts

October 10, 2016 § 6 Comments

The point of playing the lottery is winning the jackpot.  The action is buying a ticket and waiting around for the results.

Winning the jackpot is a wonderful thing, but it comes with responsibility.  To be a property owner is to be a steward of that property.  Being a good steward of property involves risk, work, and expense; all of which increase with the value of the property.  (These don’t exhaust the requirements of being a good steward: they are just some of the requirements).

Someone who buys a lottery ticket and immediately throws it away is a lottery pervert: he acts contrary to the nature and purpose of lotteries, and contrary to accepting the responsibilities associated with the possibility of winning, a possibility intrinsic to buying a ticket.  A lottery pervert who buys a lottery ticket and throws it away would do better to just not play in the first place — even though playing may give him a thrill. In general someone who seeks the experience of playing the lottery while ruling out the possibility of winning attacks, by doing so, the nature of playing the lottery as an act of a rational being.  This approach to lotteries sets itself in opposition to the nature of lotteries and/or the rationality of the person playing.

If he already bought a ticket but feels unequipped to be a good steward of the jackpot, he ought to at least wait until the payout and donate it to someone who will be a good steward. Throwing either the ticket or the winnings into the trash is perverse, with respect to the nature of lotteries.

Lottery perverts act perversely no matter what the odds of winning happen to be; whereas someone who buys a ticket and waits for the result is not a lottery pervert, no matter the odds of winning.

And the same is true of sexual perverts.  Sexual perversion isn’t a matter of playing  with odds: it is a matter of perverting the nature of a sexual act

§ 6 Responses to Sex lottery perverts

  • johnmcg says:

    I would argue that the nature and purpose of lotteries ought to be opposed.

  • Zippy says:

    I agree with the substantive point: lotteries basically tax innumeracy, which seems exploitative and unfair.

    But the analogy makes a point about rational coherence given the nature and purpose of an action which by its nature produces a probabilistic result. You can’t win if you don’t play, and if you behave in a manner which rules out winning you are perverting the game.

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  • ignacy says:

    lotteries basically tax innumeracy, which seems exploitative and unfair.

    Not necessarily so. It is of course true that majority of lotteries have so low expected value of the payoff compared to the lottery ticket price that it is completely unreasonable from the financial point of view to participate in them.

    However, assuming a person has several assets in a portfolio with uncertain payoff, it may be beneficial to add an asset with a negative expected value (i.e. expected payoff lower than asset price), when this asset’s payoff is uncorrelated to other assets in a portfolio, as this diminishes the overall portfolio variance in exchange for slight decrease of its expected value.

    Naturally, this all depends on particular circumstances and values of the payoffs and variances, but as pedantism is frequently featured on your blog, Zippy, I thought I may be of some help 🙂

  • Zippy says:


    In the spirit of inclusion and tolerance, we welcome pedants here. Also assonance, and occasionally we are even hospitable toward the niggardly.

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