Sh-Boom, maybe life isn’t a game

We can’t understand what might be special about the regulation of, and ethics within, adversarial institutions unless we can get a clear idea of what analogous non-adversarial versions of those institutions might be like. It helps to be able to contrast a sport like gymnastics with an art form like modern dance; or to compare inquisitorial legal systems with those that structure a competition between the prosecution and the defense; to think about the relative merits of benevolent dictators and democratically elected leaders (and to think hard about which category we would want to stick Mike Bloomberg in).

In the previous post, we see the economist Milton Friedman almost instinctively assuming that life in general is but a game or sport. But lest we forget, this is not the way most poets have thought about life. The 1954 doo-wop classic, “Sh-boom,” comes to mind. You can find all you need to know about the song here.

There doesn’t appear to be anything especially adversarial about the Crew Cuts’ vision of life as a dream.

Oh, life could be a dream (sh-boom)

If I could take you up in paradise up above (sh-boom)

If you would tell me I’m the only one that you love

Life could be a dream, sweetheart

I mean, the singer doesn’t even seem to be concerned about the possibility of a rival with whom the sweetheart might possibly find an even dreamier life. Of course, it is all rather hypothetical. Life could be a dream. Maybe that’s because he currently experiences it as game (like the similarly crew-cut Milton Friedman) or… a battlefield.

 

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