I was going to do this as a twitter thread, but about halfway in I realized it would do better as long-form content. Now, I’m not going to share tweets in here, because I’m for the most part against giving people who cry for attention what they crave.
To summarize how I’d define “Trad Twitter” the best summation is “Appeal to tradition”*, this is an informal fallacy that usually takes the form of “This is right because we’ve always done it this way”. We could go into depth about the presumptions of this fallacy, and why they create a problem, however I find it much more interesting to make an analogy.
One of my more pleasurable pastimes when I’m not participating in this community or working, is playing old games from my childhood. Within the community for such games, there is always “that guy“, the guy who got dominated at the game when he was young, so now he’s come back to get his vengeance and the status he deserves, 5 – 15 years later, with perfect information, on how to dominate. The problem with this player is that he assumes that the context around the game has been static and he’s the only dynamic variable. What I mean by this is that if he travelled back in time with his current knowledge, he would most likely dominate, but in the years that have since passed, all variables around the game have been dynamic.
- The way people play it has changed
- The type of people the players are have changed
- New strategies for meta-gaming have been created
- New game-modes have been introduced such as speed running
Upon discovery of this the player type in question engages in complaints of “how the game isn’t played the same way“, “People are ruining the game” and so on, despite the fact that most players are simply doing what he was planning to do, and he’s still coming up short. The fundamental truth being that, what this player was after was an edge so he could dominate at the game. Once he goes back, fails again this usually results in emotional “fuck you guys, fuck the devs, fuck this game, I’m leaving” posts that litter various game forums all over the web.
I went through that rather long anecdote, because I think it illustrates the “trad-mindset” very well, generally they are men who struggle with adapting to many of the “changes to the game” that have been introduced in the past 70 years or so:
- No longer having economic power over women
- Working your whole career for one company not being the modern way
- Being able to get a job at the factory right out of high school, then have a house, 2.5 kids and a wife for life
However, instead of accepting that the world has changed, this person advocates that we should revert to how to game used to be played, back when he understood and knew the game and where he thinks he has an information edge.
I can understand the impulse, with nostalgic glasses on, it’s easy to imagine a “perfect” time in history where you think you were perfectly adapted, a time where they’d appreciate a faithful, loyal, hard-working, dad, who puts God, Country and Family first. I’d personally love if all the unhealthy foods I like had the nutrient profile of eggs or broccoli, but this is the game we are stuck playing.
Even if we could revert back to the values of old, perhaps just to the 1950s, they still wouldn’t be the 50s, because European and Asian manufacturing hasn’t been bombed flat, we have smartphones, the internet, and many other technologies and ideas that we can’t just put back into the tube of toothpaste. Even if we by magic found ourselves with social values and ideas set back 70 years, your future “good wife” would have a smartphone, how long until she started taking ankle pics for her Instagram?
Summary and Final thoughts
I’ve often entertained myself with thought experiments of how I’d react if I was transported back to a given time in history. The appeal of it is that if you could keep all the knowledge you currently have, which is far beyond people who lived a mere 200 years ago in terms of technical fields, you could easily set yourself up in a high status and very wealthy position.
Heck, if you could go back to 2016 you could buy bitcoin at $380, hold that until Dec 19th 2017, short the crap out of bitcoin on the same day, close out your short Dec 18th 2018, then ride it back until now where bitcoin is $18K per coin. The people I know in finance usually laugh at such theoretical moves, because they are just that, theoretical. Can you luck out like that once in your life? Sure, are you more likely to mistime the market in your attempt to catch a falling or flying knife? For sure.
The converse to the trads are the people who appeal to novelty, I like new things, but not all new things are good and the implementation of new ideas should be done in a reasonably controlled manner. However, we cannot fight progress, the world will develop whether or not you accept it, so the best thing to do is adaption, as our world favors those who are most able to adapt to changing contexts.
The funniest thing about the whole situation to me, is that all sides, including the status quo group, are all fighting to bring about a world where they have an innate edge that they didn’t really have to earn. Instead of learning how to play the game, they work very hard to change the game.
- If you suck at playing the mating game, you probably want arranged marriages or a state mandated girlfriend so that someone else solves your problem for you.
- If you suck at playing the money game, you are more likely to support communism or UBI, since that means someone else solves your money problems for you.
- If you suck at playing the lifting game, you can always go on TRT at 18 and use fake weights for your instagram profile.
The jock wants to play football, the nerd wants to play chess, the cheerleader wants to create spirit, and the badboy… well the badboy gets laid regardless so whatever.
The most important point is that these are all strategies to try and outsource the things you are responsible for, but not competent at, so instead of stepping your game up, putting in work and effort, you try to outsource it under a “noble narrative“. The argument boils down to “It would be better for EVERYONE, if ALL OF YOU support my ENTITLEMENT COMPLEX“.