just tell people if you don't like them

being a dickhead isn't securities fraud

just tell people if you don't like them

The finance writer Matt Levine likes to say that everything is securities fraud: that is, if someone has done something to make a company's stock price go down, there will be an enterprising lawyer somewhere who will be able to spin it as a securities fraud case on that basis that the company should've disclosed it quicker, or should've disclosed the conditions that led to it quicker, or whatever. Whatever happens, they will find a ways to turn securities law into a bludgeon to wield against it.

I think something similar happens with attempts to shun people on the basis of their political objectionability. In the past, I had on a couple of occasions excluded from spaces under my control or influence people I had adjudged to be sufficiently politically objectionable. However, on reflection afterward I realised that the real reason I was doing this is that I had adjudged these people to be dickheads.

People who are sufficiently politically objectionable that you feel the need to exclude them from something will almost certainly be dickheads too, but in these cases I think I was avoiding taking on the personal responsibility of saying "I don't like you; go away". That feels like quite a big thing, a harsh judgement and an exercise of power. Instead, if you have an impersonal system to refer your judgement back to, you don't have to worry; it's not me, it's just the rules.

Sasha Chapin has observed that one the key tenets of Marie Kondo Thought is that you should trust your own internal authority more. "Sparking joy" is about feeling your feelings, trusting your feelings and acting on your feelings. The first bit is fine, the second is a struggle, the third can sometimes be a real challenge. It can feel temporarily relieving to outsource some of the responsibility to something else, but ultimately that's just going to lead to your trust in your own judgement being eroded. The appeal of appeal to outside frameworks is profound, but you know what: you can just tell someone to screw off, if you want.

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