Remember: Just because an idea is old doesn't mean it's good.

Knowing whether old ideas are more likely to be good requires understanding whether conditions have changed in important ways.
Horse archery was an amazing method of warfare for over a thousand years...then people invented guns, and suddenly this great idea that had stood the test of time became obsolete.
Then again, when underlying conditions don't change much, tried-and-true approaches are probably better.
"Learning the lessons of history" usually just means assuming ergodicity and stationarity in an informal time-series model...


More from Noah Smith

"Competitive wokeness", like "virtue signaling" and "preference falsification", seems to be something people on the right say in order to pretend that people on the left don't really believe what they claim to believe.

Basically we have a whole bunch of ways of saying "You can't possibly believe that!!". Which helps us avoid the terrifying fact that yes, people generally do believe it.

Of course, "believe" doesn't mean what it means in econ class. It means that people get a warm feeling from asserting something, even if they don't know what it means. "God is omnipotent", etc.

A lot of times we believe extreme things, simply because asserting those things all together in a group gives us a warm feeling of having an army on our side.

It's not competitive wokeness. It's COOPERATIVE wokeness.

"Virtue signaling" isn't fake or pretend. It's real.

"Virtue", when it comes right down to it, means membership on a team.

Sometimes, to prove you're on a team, it helps to say something people on the other team could never bring themselves to say.
To be honest, I think this is just the effect of Twitter.

If you're on Twitter all the time - as every political commentator now is - it's easy to think that whiny, big-talking Twitter slacktivists are "the Dems".

But what's happening out there on the ground?

This is another reason I think Twitter is so bad for society.

It convinces intellectuals and commentators that practically everyone who's on their side is an extremist.

Which makes them tolerate extremism out of a (false) feeling of necessity.

If you stay on Twitter too much (which we all do now), you start to think that the typical left-of-center person is some British wanker who quote-tweets "Imagine thinking this" to anyone who doesn't like the idea of "ending capitalism".

But he is not typical.

A majority of Americans are not on Twitter.

But *every* journalist, commentator, and intellectual *has* to be on Twitter.

So every journalist, commentator, and intellectual comes face to face with big-talking slacktivist faux-extremists day in and day out.

It's a problem!!

Online bubbles full of shouty faux-extremists are, in general, fine.

The difference is that every journalist, commentator, and intellectual is essentially forced to exist in THIS bubble, because their jobs require it.

Twitter is a dystopian technology.


More from Society

Hi @officestudents @EHRC @EHRCChair @KishwerFalkner @RJHilsenrath @trussliz @GEOgovuk

The Equality and Diversity section of your job application has 'gender' in what appears to be a list of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.



However, 'gender' is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and is not defined in the Act.

Sex is the protected characteristic under the Act, but that is not on your list.


You then ask for the 'gender' of the applicant with options:



Again, 'gender' is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 and is not defined in the Act.


Sex is the protected characteristic and the only two possible options for sex are 'Female' and 'Male' as defined in the Act and consistent with biology, but you don't ask for that.

'Gender' is not a synonym for sex.


You May Also Like