Should I get a Twitter account?

If important conversations related to my interests (and especially my work) really are taking place on — and from what I can see, at least some are — it would count as a reason why I should consider getting an account of my own so I can take part.

But there are still a few reasons why I shouldn’t. Here are all the ones I can name off the top of my head right now:

  • I already have an outlet for my thoughts about things I’m interested in: this blog. Granted, that doesn’t get me into the conversations, it’s just a pressure valve for my own thoughts. Nevertheless, a pressure valve for my thoughts is probably 80% of what I need.
  • Even though it seems like serious people use it and have serious discussions there, at the end of the day I can’t shake the sense that Twitter is just another silly social media site where time is ultimately wasted.
  • Many of the people I might like to interact with on Twitter (the not super-famous ones at least) probably would respond if I sent them an email instead; email is much better suited to meaningful text-based dialog anyway.
  • I like being able to think of myself as someone who isn’t on any social media. It’s kind of dumb, I know, but it’s something I feel a little proud of. Other people who learn that I’m not on social media often congratulate me or say admiring things about it too, so I must be doing something right.
  • Knowing myself, there’s a good chance I would just get sucked in and addicted. Even though I don’t have a smartphone, I spend enough time in front of computers throughout the day that I could easily see Twitter becoming a time sink and infesting my brain.

Is the fact that I’m doing this cost-benefit analysis unusual? I wonder how many other people did some kind of mental calculation like this before they signed up for Twitter or decided not to.


Is “Diversity” an effective proxy for real diversity?

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about this 500-word Twitter thread from Jeffrey Sachs and I think it gets something important wrong. Not only is Diversity™ not a useful or effective proxy for real diversity, Diversity™ poisons real diversity and prevents it from growing.

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On arming teachers

I’m quite pro-gun, but I think asking teachers to carry guns in their classrooms is a bad idea: it isn’t obvious that a teacher would know what to do with a gun or do it effectively; a school with armed teachers might be an even more appealing target for a school shooter; arming teachers carries its own cloud of practical and ethical problems.

Allowing teachers who already have CCW licenses to carry at school is a less extreme version of this idea that should be tried in a limited way, though I personally don’t have high hopes for it either.

There is a strong urge to “do something” after every school shooting. This is a good thing, provided 1) we have good reasons for what we’re doing, 2) we know all the reasonable options we could be pursuing but aren’t, and 3) we know why we aren’t pursuing them. However, I don’t think these provisions have been met by nearly any proposal that followed a mass shooting crisis.

Seeing the alt-right more clearly

The alt-right gets talked about from time to time by people who haven’t really spent much time there and don’t really know what they’re talking about. As a result, it gets painted both imprecisely and inaccurately. In this post I will try to clarify things a bit, purely for clarity’s sake.

Including a break here so you don’t have to scroll too far to get to my next blog post. This is a long one.

PUAs are betas by default

In a monogamous society, a man with a wife is much more the alpha archetype than a guy who picks up women in bars.

The reason why is obvious when you write it out loud: in the raw animal sense, manliness is about asserting your territory, and you do that much better by marrying a wife and creating children who carry your last name than by leaving a long string of bar tabs and angry exes.