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HWFO Housekeeping for November 2023 and a Discussion about Blogger Morality
We don’t do morality around here.
Well, we sorta do, but not in the way that every other blog in the universe does nowadays when they say “my morals are right and those other guys are wrong and therefore you should continue reading my blog because your own morals align with mine. Like and Subscribe to advance your morals!”
That’s basically the entire rest of Substack, and Fox, and The New Yorker, and CNN, and whatever Ben Shapiro is doing nowadays. We don’t do that around here. We just don’t. If you’re looking for that, there’s an entire sea of it on the internet.
I’m not an amoral person. I’m deeply moral, have many committed values which may align or not with yours. I know what I think is right and wrong and I live by that and the place for me to discuss that is at my dinner table with my kids. The problem with being a culture war analyst and a fan of history is that the more you learn the more you realize that morals are relative.
No less than 500 years ago we had an empire just across our southern border with incredible civil works, cities, temples, culture, religion, and mathematics, that revolved entirely around sacrificing virgins and babies to make the sun come up. 500 years isn’t a long time. The Azteca haven’t gone away, they’re still here, but now they watch soccer and drink Modelo and reroof my house. They’re very moral people, so they certainly weren’t objectively evil back then. Their society just had absurdly different rules than ours that look foreign to us.
When you write in the “woke analysis” space, you accumulate anti-woke readers, and HWFO has plenty. I need my anti-woke readers to understand that ethical relativism is something the Woke got right. Societies pick different morals, and those morals are the glue that holds those societies together, and different societies are held together by different glue. The woke folks might have an idea to change the glue more to their liking, and fine. Should you choose to engage in an argument about which glue is better, the proper way to do so is not to say “my glue is objectively the best glue because God or Ben Franklin said so,” but rather “my glue is relatively better than your glue because my glue is proven to work for centuries and your glue is a blend of random crap you found in your kitchen.”
Which brings us to Israel and Hamas. I’ve tried to steer clear of providing my own opinions on the matter, but I’ll do so for the record here, briefly, and never again.
If I lived in Israel or Palestine I’d get the fuck out. If I couldn’t get out I’d refuse to choose a side, and do my best to keep my children safe while each side blew each other up. And if one side or the other blew my kids up, I would dedicate my life to killing as many people on the other side as I could before I died. My side would be chosen by the actions of others, as they pertain specifically to my own family. That is not good. It is not the right thing to do, the ethical thing to do, or the thing that would reduce bloodshed. I would become part of the problem, and one half of the world would call me evil while the other half called me a hero, and I wouldn’t care. And in the end I would die a sinner and welcome my punishment for my evil in hell. Knowing that about myself allows me to be more honest than anyone else is being in the safe confines of the United States. I at least understand how fucked up that situation is over there and how it will never be resolved, because other people like me are over there on both sides of that wall.
But enough about me.
We don’t do morality around here for a reason, because math beats morality. Morality is just a set of social instructions laid over a map of the real, and what we try to do around here is help people understand the real, with mathematics, visualization tricks, systems analysis, and occasional drunken humor. If you like that, stick around, and if you don’t, take a hike.
Each one of the last three articles I’ve published on the current Israel/Gaza conflict has lost me readers and I don’t care. Each one has had comments at the bottom accusing me of being an awful person for equating the relative morality positions of one side to the other, and (1) I’m not doing that, but also (2) fuck off. For all any of you know I agree with your chosen morality position, and either you’re just bad at reading comprehension or I’m bad at writing clearly enough for you to get it, and in either case go find another blog to read. We do math around here, not morality.
These are the three articles in case you missed one.
On to the housekeeping
This publication is and will always remain free to read, and any money earned through Substack subscriptions or Patreon will be dutifully spent on the author’s alcohol fund. Anyone who contributes to said alcohol fund will gain access to our private Slack server to discuss HWFO topics with other HWFO readers (and me) outside the public eye. Around 200 people are yammering away in there right now, and some of the article topics are born from these discussions. I’ll post an updated access link in a few days, as subscriber only content. If you’re a Patreon supporter you can gain access too, just email me.
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