Hypocrisy and Intended Consequences

October 17, 2019
Posted by Jay Livingston

It’s one thing to be puzzled, surprised, or dismayed by unintended consequences. But when the consequences are intended, those reactions are either self-delusion or flat-out hypocrisy.

Yesterday, a boxer died of brain injuries a few days after his opponent scored a tenth-round knockout. (I’m not going to go into the details. You can read some of them here.)

An AR-15 rifle is designed to kill a lot of people in a few seconds. Most people who own an AR-15 do not use it for that purpose, so we pretend to be surprised when a civilian does use the weapon to do what it was designed to do. We ask, how could such a thing happen?

Most boxing matches do not end in death or serious brain damage. But the goal of boxing, unlike that of other sports, is to pound the other person into unconsciousness, usually by hitting them in the head with as much force as possible. Sometimes boxers suffer brain injury. Sometimes they die. And as with guns, we pretend to be surprised and dismayed when the outcome of the boxing match is precisely what the sport was designed to do. 

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