Backtracking, Authenticity, and Validity

From Freddie deBoer again Nobody Walks Around Feeling Valid:

Of all the toxic and disheartening elements of the internet era, the worst is the way that our concept of human value is so often seen as purely crowdsourced, I think. It’s resulted in an internet where a huge portion of the activity ultimately amounts to people begging strangers to approve of them…[]..But social justice ideology has created this expectation that one of the things enjoyed by the overclass is feeling good about yourself all the time, and this is a terrible expectation to create in people from other groups. Nobody gets to feel permanently valid.

I somewhat disagree. There is nothing wrong per say with seeking the approval of strangers, seeking external validation, or wanting to be liked. Mr. Deboer himself earns so much from Substack, because of the approval of those very strangers who read his work. There is this notion that you have to be your ‘true self’ or not care what others think. I don’t think it’s ever possible to fully off that part of the brain that seeks validation…even Freddie found himself backtracking after he got significant, unexpected pushback by his subscribers for not toeing the party line on Ukraine. Joe Rogan apologized after some controversial remarks he made a decade ago came to light. Richard Hanania had to clarify after some followers failed to get a joke:

People are always apologizing and backtracking, even wealthy people who are under no obligation to do so. From the sidelines, it’s easy to blame it on being weak-willed, but it’s rational to act in one’s own self-interest, as much as we’re supposed to pretend that we’re supposed to martyr ourself for higher principles and be stoic in adversity and criticism. Mr. Rogan is spineless for apologizing, because he’s supposed to sacrifice his income on the alter of principles. At best it’s a pyrrhic victory because defending one’s principles still means you lose in another way, as in suffering some consequence such as job loss or income loss, so your enemy still wins.

By not backing down, all you’ve done is just replace one loss with a different one. Some people got mad at me when I suggested that Babylon Bee should delete a tweet that was marked as ‘offensive’ in order to unfreeze its account, which would remain frozen until the offending tweet was deleted, because deleting the tweet would be reneging on its principles and be a ‘win’ for the left. But by Babylon Bee being frozen, the left also wins. Look at this from the perspective of the left: they, the left, would prefer that the Babylon Bee not exist. Having it not be allowed to tweet anymore, effectively, is no different from it being dead. Babylon Bee making a concession to have its tweeting ability restored is a worse outcome, from the perspective of the left, than having the offending tweet stay up but the account not being allowed to tweet anymore.

The laurels our culture covets most are fame and money, right? Well, have you noticed how many rich and famous people overdose on drugs or commit suicide or otherwise wreck their lives? Even being a rock star can’t turn off the part of your mind that hates you and wants you to feel bad.

This is the so-called conjunction fallacy, as well as the availability bias. This would suggest that famous, rich people are at an increased risk of mental illness, drug overdose, or suicide when it’s not possible to establish causality between the two. Likely it would be the opposite. There plenty of poor people also have mental illness, abuse drugs, or commit suicide, but it’s just that it’s not as newsworthy compared to famous people who have those problems. The whole opioid epidemic in America primarily affects poor and middle class communities. There is no such cosmic equilibrium that necessitates that someone who is advantaged in one respect must be disadvantaged in another. These are mutually exclusive things.

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