I run across this particular meme a lot, typically more than once a week. People usually hold it up as a example of young vs old, education vs “conventional wisdom” or schooling, etc. People love to share it, it’s pithy and on the surface it seems to compare those that are “wise” vs those that are educated, as if the two are somehow exclusive. The honest answer is that the latter often leads to the former. But I digress – I was talking specifically about this meme.

It’s wrong.

Yes, it is true that people can go to school and still come out inexperienced, naive, lacking in worldly matters. It’s true that some people just come out not knowing roughly as much as they didn’t know going in. Of course, it’s also true that your odds of winning the Powerball lottery are roughly 1 in 300 million. For the remaining people, you’re far better off knowing more rather than less, far better off having received an education than not. No, not everyone benefits from an education at the same level, and not all education is received at school, but you don’t benefit from personal ignorance. Stop pretending ignorance is a virtue, stop pretending those who pursue knowledge in any form are somehow less from where they acquired it. That’s the case for students at school, university, apprenticeships or hard knocks. What matters is that knowledge serves you better than ignorance, every time.

The usual narrative is that CEO’s and alphabet employees are seeing the fruits of their success. A job well done is a job well rewarded. The truth is that a job well rewarded is usually funded by your tax dollars, among other things, while those that do the bulk of the work continue to see shrinking pay and benefits. All the bailouts during Bush and Obama, the tax cut during Trump- guess which ones see the benefits? But hey, financing CEO pay with taxpayer money is Capitalism*, so that’s good!

*(or rather, it’s a common result of unregulated Capitalism)

So yesterday I asked two questions about risk tolerance, but also about perspective. Today I have two more.

The place you live requires you to donate to their communal defense fund, which is used to protect you against foreign aggression. However, you also know that despite it being marked for defense, a lot of the funds are actually used for offense in other countries instead of threats against your actual country. The cost of this to you is about $2500 a year. What’s more, you know that in addition to lives lost in military combat, your money is also funding the deaths of some 16,000 civilians a year. Would that change how you view the money you spend on defense? Would that affect how much, or how, you would want to your money to be spent?

Would you, if the opportunity presented itself, spend $100 to make $1000? You have to spend the money first, but it would make you a thousand back, guaranteed. Seems like a pretty easy choice, doesn’t it? Some people don’t have that opportunity, but it makes sense if you can. Or does it? Some people just don’t see it that way. How about you?

What if you had the opportunity to help 100 families get back on their feet? Maybe with food, or clothing, or a bit of assistance with their rent? And it cost you, say, $60 a year. Not a lot of money by itself, but there are a lot of people working together to help. But 1 out of those hundred families was lying. They don’t need your assistance. Would you still do it, knowing that somebody out there is defrauding you? What do you say now? What if that number were 2, or 3 or even 10?