Jan 9, 2023·edited Jan 9, 2023

So let’s say I have a friend who starts posting non-stop about a business opportunity to be your own boss hocking fake fingernails or diarrhea tea.

I have never had personal experience with an MLM but I trust enough people that are well versed on the topic to form an opinion. I comment “Vivanutrition is a pyramid scheme”, my friend says I’m one of the small minded doubters that hates female owned small businesses and we block each other.

We are mutually disgusted by each other, but it’s not symmetrical. I’m not trying to subtly influence the enforced mores of the herd. I see a person knowingly or not being used to sell something toxic and exploitative.

Likewise, nearly 10 years after “ethics in gaming journalism” it isn’t some quest for moral purity that causes people to call out an account claiming to be leftist repackaging incel talking points for consumption in progressive spaces. It’s recognition that there’s an organized, scripted effort by bad faith actors trying to recruit people to easy, simple, highly appealing, toxic worldviews.

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> “Believe this, not because it’s true, but because this is what the tribe believes now. And you can’t live without the tribe.”

It's not always just about fear of rejection from the tribe.

Sometimes it's also about the tribe making the individual believe their moral worth is derived from tribal affiliation itself.

Blue Tribe are the capital N Nice ones in the room. They have Nice ideas about being maximally Nice to people, particularly those they believe are the victims of our society.

If being Nice is important to you, then you have to be Blue, even if Red Tribe has some ideas that are mean but Practical. You can't be Nice and Practical at the same time. You gotta pick the one you're gonna be - Blue or Red, Nice or Practical.

So if you are Blue, and you agree with any not-Nice Red Tribe ideas, including ones like, "a person should be able to shoot anyone, even a victim of our society, if they represent a deadly threat," then *you* aren't really Blue anymore, and thus you also aren't really Nice.

When my ex-boyfriend suddenly broke up with me last year, despite us never having had a fight and agreeing we were compatible on every major level, he said it was because he was "super Left," far more than he'd ever indicated to me (politically non-binary and out and proud about it) and that, "I can see a lot of your points and I don't like the way being okay with them makes me feel."

He went on to explain his worldview: that there is an inherent good in all people, and that everyone just needs enough love and kindness to thrive, and we should do what we can to help them, no matter what it takes.

(In contrast, I have had concealed carry permits literally since the day I turned 21, and once prevented a robbery at my workplace by calmly indicating to my would-be attackers that I was 100% committed to killing all three of them were they to draw their weapons on me. I meant it, and they left quietly, even though they never even saw my gun.)

While I don't think it's a coincidence my ex dumped me immediately upon returning from his first out of state family vacation since before the pandemic, I don't think it was just that they didn't approve of what he told them about me and my politically non-binary self.

I think it was also that the tribe made him believe that all judgments had to be made in their court of opinion, not his own.

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It's been pitched to me, likely correctly, that industrialized revulsion isn't new. The tragedy is that people get better at it over time. There's a sector applying the same creativity, research, and simple talent into permanently pissing people off that goes into breaking Olympic records. Somewhere, the Stephen Curry of rage is patting himself on the back.

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While this is a familar theme of your writing Jason and I know where it's coming from and I find the general thrust of it useful in forming my own worldview, I think there's something important to point out.

The wastrel, the priss, and the hypothetical sane reader (big If there though) are not *logically* different but they are *empirically* different and that does in fact matter because reality exists as brute fact. An argument can be logically valid or have the same basic syllogistic form but still not be correct. This is why we got endless arguments from bearded Greek dudes about how the nature of all things was Fire or Water or whatever, and then Francis Bacon and his method ended cutting through a lot of that noise.

Broke: pure rationalism

Woke: Empiricism

Bespoke: post-positivist critical rationalism

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Were we imagining Adrian Monk?

I often think of the FLDS lost boys. Clearer what's going on there, not a tidy analogy to wider society or too many other groups, but illustrative of something.

I wonder how my brother's old eighties dialup bbses compare with yt algorithms (never mind darkweb) now. I am also wondering how those polarization graphs would align with the Overton window.

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Broad, but relevant:


Biased, but with excellent research data and citation:


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