Stephen Michael Kellat shared this.
I guess I feel specifically strongly about the misleading nature of a lottery because it is explicitly state-sponsored false hope. Yes, hope is better than no hope; but I think that this is the wrong way to provide hope through parting someone from their cash. I feel the same way about the lottery as I do about faith healing or homeopathy.
I think you hit on my point. I'm not talking about people that do it for fun despite the ridiculous odds, or even people stuck in poverty or underserved communities who occasionally engage in buying a lottery ticket a a form of casual entertainment. I'm talking about the specific mis-use of people's understanding of math and statistics (and the prevalence of "The Gambler's Fallacy" in our society - the notion of a "hot streak" or a "run of good/bad luck" that, in fact, cannot occur in random sequences of events). State agencies luring people to spend money on an incredible long-shot, knowing that they are primarily receiving money from people desperate for hope, is, to me, unsavory at best. Better to alter taxes (I would gladly pay a higher property tax rate to support my schools, because I know I can afford it) than prey on ignorance and desperation.
It frustrates me more that public schools are forced by their budget squeezes to cut music, math, and science programs, thus creating even more fertile lands of ignorance, and perpetuating the cycle. That, deep down, really kills me.