via @cmastication Al Gore won the popular vote in the United States’ 2000 presidential election. However due to their voting system, “points” are apportioned in such a way that Gore lost the election to the Great American Cowboy. You might think “It was the electoral college (apportioning system) that made Gore lose” — after all, he won by pure percentage. But, if things had been different — if the United States elected its presidents on the basis of national totals — then everything would have been different. All the campaign strategists would have spent their budgets differently, perhaps recruited donors differently, perhaps even written different speeches. Saying “Gore would have won without the electoral college” would be like looking at a video of a gunfight and saying, “If only Billy the Kidd would have been 100 yards on the other side of Wyatt Earp! Then he would have shot him in the back.” Well, duh—Wyatt Earp was facing Billy the Kidd and would have been turned around, had Billy the Kidd been 100 yards on the other side. You can’t edit the tape that way. Everything is connected. You can’t change one thing (about the past), without changing everything (about the future).

A Lesson in Counterfactuals


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: