Why You Scorn People! Transcript


What do you think about having feelings of superiority and disdain for most strangers? When I'm walking around at Walmart for example I will often find myself making commentary in my head about how much of a disaster most of these peoples' lives must be, given their appearance (and the controllability of it). Just going by their obscene weight, lack of hygiene, generally sickly appearance, or the fact they have tattoos, piercings, a tacky outfit showing way too much skin, etc., I feel like I can assume most people's personal lives are a mess and that I would get bored after 5 minutes in conversation with any one of them if I stopped and said hi. I don't know why but I feel drawn to a sense of comfort about being deeper and less impulsive than all these other people. It's something I wish didn't occupy my mind so much and I fear it could also make me anti-social


Judging Strangers: Feeling of Superiority and Disdain

[0:00] All right. Good morning, everybody. Sorry, it's taken me a little while to get to these questions.
But here is some from a non-listener. This is from freedomandlocals.com.
What do you think about having feelings of superiority and disdain for most strangers?
When I'm walking around at Walmart, for example, I will often find myself making commentary in my head about how much of a disaster most of these people's lives must be, given their appearance and the controllability of it.
Just going by their obscene weight, lack of hygiene, generally sickly the appearance or the fact that they have tattoos, piercings, a tacky outfit showing way too much skin, etc.
I feel like I can assume most people's personal lives are a mess and that I would get bored after five minutes in conversation with any one of them if I stopped and said hi.
I don't know why, but I feel drawn to a sense of comfort about being deeper and less impulsive than all these people.
It's something I wish I didn't occupy my mind so much and I fear it could also make me antisocial.
That is very interesting. Very interesting.
And look, I mean, there's something funny my daughter once said about owls, that they just stand there staring at you, judging.

[1:10] And...

The Constant State of Evaluation among Strangers

[1:12] Judging others, particularly strangers, is how we operate. It's what we do as human beings.
I mean, we have to, right? Of course, the greatest source of danger for people is people.
People are the greatest predators, the greatest threats, the greatest concerns.

[1:29] And now, of course, with social media, people's power to harm and disrupt has gone beyond the personal to the social to the reputational and so on, right?
It used to be that you might get into a duel. now somebody just anonymously calls HR or something like that, right?
So we do have, like when we're around strangers, we are in a constant state, particularly if you're male, I think, we are in a constant state of evaluation.

[1:58] Now, I don't mean paranoia, but if you sort of think about, if you're sort of home alone, or if you're with a really great circle of close friends and family, then there's a level of trust and relaxation there that is not exactly the same as what occurs over the course of your time outside among strangers.
I think this is particularly true given that we know fewer and fewer people in our community and our environment, right?
So in the past, you had your family and then you have your neighbors and your neighbors might come and go a little bit, but now we spend a lot of time moving around.
We spend a lot of time around people we don't really know, and sometimes around cultures we don't really know much about.
And so the sort of act of judging is the act of scanning for potential problems.
I mean, especially also now we've seen a lot of videos on social media of people freaking out, you know, people throwing things, people yelling, people fighting, and so on.
And I think that's really enhanced our sense of potential concern when it comes to the world.
I mean, it's funny, you know, and I mentioned this before, but over the course of my life, outside of my home.

[3:17] Can't, just shortly before I left England at the age of 11, my friends and I were mugged by a bunch of new immigrants.
But before that, I had no sense of danger in the world. Like no sense of danger in the world.
I roamed around, I took buses, I went everywhere.
And I honestly cannot remember feeling any sense of danger or concern in the world.

[3:42] And And that's not the case in the world anymore, for most people.
And in some places, of course, absolutely.
You live in a country and it's sort of a different matter, but that is the world.
So having a sort of low-grade evaluation routine playing behind your eyeballs is not at all unusual.
I wouldn't feel like it's crazy or paranoid or anything like that.
Obviously, you don't want to go too far.
But that general sense of unease is really essential. essential in in the world it's a really sorry it's a really it's not essential in the world it's an essential characteristic of the the modern world the modern west that that sense of vague unease right bowling alone by putnam it's a good book for this for this kind of stuff to just understand that general sense of unease that general sense of unease is one of the things that is kind of vaguely engineered by a lot of the powers that be because that vague sense of unease makes you less robust in many ways.
I think in more extreme examples, it's potential that it could lead to some health issues, just from what I've read about stress levels, cortisol, and so on.
So probably is a good idea to try and get to as low stress environment as possible.
I say this as a public philosopher, knowing that it's kind of ironic that I say this, but nonetheless, I think it's kind of important.

Dysfunction in People's Lives and its Impact on Society

[5:02] So as far as judging people, so what are you judging them for?

[5:08] Well, you're judging them for the chaos and disorganization of their lives.
Now, why do you judge that?

[5:17] Well, because you live in a society where you'll be forced to pay for or subsidize vast portions of this ill health and dysfunction.

[5:28] I mean, this is when the people who are unhealthy, who are like, well, why do you care what I do to my body?
It's like, well, because what you do to your body does things to my wallet.
I mean, literally like being in a rowboat in the middle of the ocean with a bunch of people, one guy drills under his seat into the hole, into the bottom of the boat.
And he's like, well, what do you care what I do with my seat?
It's like, no, no, no, we're, we're all in this together. Like you drill a hole and we all sink. Right. Right.
So the dysfunction of people's lives is not something that is isolated to them.
Now, I get that we're all in society together, that we all have a stake in each other.
And even in the absence of coercive income redistribution, that you would have a care and concern for people.
Obviously, we have it at a moral level, but we also have it at a practical level, which is the more chaos and dysfunction in people's lives.
The more likely they are to turn to crime, the more likely they are to raise children who will have significant dysfunctions and may bully our kids or may get involved in crime themselves.

[6:39] And of course, even if it were a purely a voluntary free market healthcare system, people who did not take care of their own health or pursued active lifestyles, or I guess inactive life, pursued lifestyles that would cause them them to be ill, well, they are driving up the cost of health care and they are reducing the accessibility of health care for other people, right?
So if you are one of these sort of Andy Kaufman unlucky people who gets lung cancer without smoking, well, all the smokers are taking up all of the treatment for lung cancer facilities and driving up the cost of lung cancer.
Now, I get that they're also increasing the demand, which is going to increase the supply of lung cancer.
But it's a problem. If you are a healthy guy, keep your weight reasonable, exercise.

[7:30] And then you have some congenital heart defect that gives you some massive heart attack or something, and you go into the emergency room, but there are three people ahead of you with even worse heart attacks because they are obese and don't exercise.
Well, that's lifestyle, right, for the most part. And so you're going to die.
Even in a pure free market situation, you're going to die, probably, because those people overate and didn't exercise.
And it's funny, you know, the environmental movement should be highly critical of people who are obese because they are consuming, you know, two plus times the amount of food that they need to live.
And all of that, all of those extra 2,500 or 3,000 or 1,500 calories a day is extremely environmentally consumptive.
You consume a lot of environmental resources to produce all of that extra food and all the growing irrigation, pesticides, gasoline to to process the food and drive it and package it.
And right. So and the heat to cook it like it's just a massive amount of environmental waste.

[8:33] But it's not something that it's not something that happens.
So there's even that, too, right, which is if you think of people who are obese, then there's a lot of consumption of resources that is unnecessary. It's wasteful.
I mean, not only are they having problems with their joints and heart problems and so on, mobility problems and fertility problems, but they're also consuming a lot of resources that otherwise would be freed up for other things, would be available for other things.
I mean, in a sort of very real way, everyone who's overweight is someone else who's hungry because they can't afford the food or or and may not be someone in need.

[9:16] Town or the country but somewhere in the world because somebody is overweight somebody else, is very hungry because there's only so much food right i know it's not a zero-sum game and there's supply and demand but even if the people who are hungry drive up the price of food to the point sorry even if the people who are overweight have consumed so much food that they've driven up the price of food so that the people who are poor can't afford that food or can't afford as much I mean, I certainly as a kid would go to bed hungry sometimes because we couldn't afford our food.
So is there a judgment aspect and a threat aspect involved in it?
I think so, because if you sort of think of a community where somebody was acting in a dysfunctional manner, like some sort of tribe or something.
So somebody's acting in a dysfunctional manner.

The Importance of Community and Social Pressure

[10:02] Well, you would talk to that person, right? I mean, there's a scene that still sticks in my head many decades later from Goodfellas, where even the criminals are saying to the guy who's married with kids, but who's having an affair, like you can't leave your wife, like your kids need you, you can't leave your wife, you got to sort this out.
So they are acting in a community manner.
Now, when people act in a dysfunctional manner, normally the community would move in to sort it out, right?
So, I mean, there's a, I don't know how true it is, because I'm not any kind of expert on East Asian culture, but I was reading, I've read a couple of references over the years of women saying, well, the reason why Asians aren't fat often is because if, you know, particularly the women, like if we gain weight, our mothers-in-law, our grandmothers will like relentlessly shame us and get us to lose the weight or not gain any more weight and that kind of stuff that is just rentless. So they move in.

[10:59] And that, of course, would have come out of a culture where certainly in places like Japan, food is pretty, pretty hard to get, right?
I mean, We did a lot of fishing, of course, but rice is notoriously hard and complicated.
A lot of irrigation and water obviously required.
So they would move in and say, you're overeating and it's not good.
And so normally in a community, you would be on the lookout for dysfunctional members of the society and you would move to do something about it.
It could be comfort. It could be a tough love.
It could be self-knowledge. It could be strictness. It could be any number of things that you would do, but you would do something because Because the societies that didn't evolve that, well, they would slowly drift away from reason and restraint and ethics in a way, and wouldn't function. They just wouldn't function.

The Role of Social Pressure in Shaping Behavior

[11:49] So, and of course, also, it's sort of known, I talk about this in my Peaceful Parenting book, it's kind of known that obese mothers, it will give birth to children who are obese and more susceptible to obesity, right? To overeating as well, right?
So that way, the obese mother is producing a child that's going to have a higher caloric requirement than the child of a mother who's not obese, right? And so that's going to have an effect on the tribe, particularly the men who produce the food in general.
We're going to have to produce an extra 10% food for all of the kids of obese mothers, and that's a disadvantage and annoying, and that means you're going to have fewer kids overall because food is limited.
So you get all of this stuff, right? So, yeah, of course we're going to have judgments.
And one of the reasons the judgments become a bit obsessive or compulsive or repetitive, let's say, is because we sort of program to do something about it, but we can't really do anything about it, right?
We can't go up and confront them. We can't, you know, at least not a very productive thing to do.
So there's really not much that we can do in these kinds of situations.
And so, but that doesn't change the programming, right? That doesn't change the programming.

[13:00] Now, of course, there is negatives. There are negatives to this, which I, of course, understand. We all understand.
But there's some bonuses to it as well. There's some benefits to it as well.
So one of the strange side alleys in the development of philosophy has been the fact that we no longer have the ability to apply, you know, ugly levels of social pressure in order to get people to do something different.
We can't just shame people, there aren't duels and so on, right?
Because of the redistributive, the redistributive state, date. I can get that word out.
Now, what that means, of course, is that we do have to try and make a rational case from first principles.
One of the reasons that UPB evolved in my mind was a sense of helplessness over my capacity to alter people's behavior.
And because I had no personal authority with regards to anyone, because like, I mean, obviously the big example I mentioned before as my own mother, who I desperately wanted to pursue some course or path of mental health when I was younger and encouraged her at, you know, great personal blowback to do so.

[14:15] And I couldn't get her to change, right?
I mean, whenever I would give her money, she'd turn around and give it to, I don't know, to me, skeevy lawyers and stuff.
In her vengeance cases. And I just wasn't, I mean, I couldn't, I felt really bad participating in anything like that or enabling or facilitating anything like that.
And so I couldn't really give her money. And because she was getting money from the state, which is to say she was getting money from me against my will, I didn't have any authority.
I couldn't say, well, look, you, you have to do this stuff, right?
And no community had, so when you give people forced money, then you you take them beyond social feedback you isolate them they're no longer a part of a community they're no longer responsible to anyone in that community and they can pursue their dysfunction with no practical economic repercussions right i mean obviously they're long-term it's bad but you know in terms of survival right my mom's in a rent control department with money and free health care free dental care and income and and all of that so she She doesn't have to listen to anyone.
And so she just goes more and more crazy, right? It's really, I mean, it's desperately sad.
So one of the things that UPB was, I'd say, provoked or was rose in my mind was out of a certain helplessness.
So it's funny how something which is so anti-UPB, like the welfare state, can produce UPB.

[15:41] Philosophy is a kind of funny dance, right? I mean, it's an invention of desperation for the most part.
Like, necessity is the mother of invention. and so I had to make a stronger case for virtue because we don't have social or economic authority with regards to virtue.
Like in the past, a woman would have to be very choosy about who she married because divorce really wasn't an option.
I mean, up until the 1960s, divorce in Canada required an act of parliament. Crazy, right?
And women would stick it out, right? They would resist temptation, they would resist gaining weight, and so on.
And the men would be more responsible and attempt to please their partners, because you can't just divorce and go get someone new.

[16:29] And so alimony, child support, and the welfare state, and free healthcare, free dental care, like all of the stuff that is handed out like candy now, well, now women don't have to be as careful about who they marry, so they can pursue, you know, sexy, cool, dangerous guys, or whatever whatever it is, and indulge that lower rent aspect of feminine sexual desire, as men can also just chase after pretty dangerous girls and all of that.
And so by trying to protect people from danger, this is a constant theme in human history, trying to protect people from danger puts them in more danger.
So right now we still have all of the old impulses to survey those around us for dysfunction because that was essential to our survival.
They could be personally dangerous, they're consuming extra resources within the tribe, they are creating, maybe having kids and raising kids in a way, or not raising them or abandoning them or neglecting them in a way that's going to cause us a lot of problems down the road.
So we are on patrol, right? right? We are. Our minds are always on patrol for dysfunction.
And this is particularly true for men because we tended to be the enforcers, I should say, certainly among men.
Women were a little bit more the enforcers among women, but we tend to be the enforcers of social standards.

[17:52] So you still have all of these instincts to look around you and to evaluate people for dysfunction.
And the goal of that is that in the past, you and the other men or women of the village or both or the tribe would sit people down and say no you can't like you're eating too much or or this is not working out or you've got to pay better attention to your kids or you can't be yelling at your wife this loudly or you can't be fighting with your husband this much or whatever it is like you just because we all we are all in the same lifeboat now of course we've all been separated from each other because we don't have the combined web of financial requirement to to bind us together, right?
So we're all isolated, we can all go, and you know, people go crazy in isolation.
So that which was designed to prevent people from experiencing negative consequences, right now has them experience intensely and multi-decade negative consequences.
Of course, the welfare state was introduced into some degree, like the disability system was introduced to some degree to protect people from the negative consequences of getting injured without without insurance, right? Get injured, you don't have insurance, it's a bad thing.

[19:02] And really, it's not even so much to protect those people directly, it's to protect their families, right?
Because if you got injured without insurance, then your families would have to take care of you.
Like if a woman had a kid out of wedlock, it's usually the woman's parents, the girl's parents, who would end up having to pay for all of that.

The negative consequences of dependency on the state

[19:18] So we want to protect people from negative consequences. They wanted to protect my mother from negative consequences.
The negative consequence of which has been that my mother has been going mad for decades and lives in really a state of irredeemable hell.
She can't be rescued because there's no need for her to submit to any external standards or strictures because she can just get whatever she wants from the state.
So she doesn't have to respond to anyone. She doesn't have to control her will according to other people's requirements.

[19:53] And so you have this desire to scan people for dysfunction because you're a man or you're an adult or you're a human being or you evolved as part of a society and part of a tribe where we would scan for these dysfunctions in order to do something about them, but now we can't do anything about them and everyone who gets addicted to this stuff, the fiat redistributionist stuff well, when the money runs out, we all know how much suffering has been avoided it will be terrible terrible.

Leadership: Frustration with dysfunction while embracing potential

[20:23] And so, but the last thing that I would say is that, you know, one of the, one of the challenges of leadership, and when you are focusing on other people's dysfunctions, yes, you may be avoiding your own.
Yes, you may be having a false sense of superiority.
I saw that thread and that could be the case, but I don't know enough about you to know whether that is the case.
But I will say this, that being a leader is a complicated business because you have to be, be in a sense hostile to people's smallness while fully embracing their potential.

[20:56] Maybe hostile i don't know if hostile is the right word you have to be negative towards people's pettiness but you have to at the same time you can't just condemn them outright, because you also have like if you have you know this is a typical thing in sports movies right there's some really talented kid who's just kind of lazy right this is also the plot of of Good Will Hunting, of course.
So you have a really talented kid who's just lazy and dysfunctional or this or that or the other or whatever it is, right? And...

[21:25] The coach, the therapist, the leader is really frustrated and angry at the kid for his laziness or his dysfunction, or frustrated at least, but also is fully aware and embraces the potential that the kid has.
So if you've got some, you're some tennis coach and the kid has got an incredible tennis serve and a great backhand and so on, but just doesn't practice, kind of lazy, then the coach, you know, kind of goes crazy because it's like so much potential and how do I unlock that potential?
So you have to be frustrated at people's bad decisions while also embracing their potential for good decisions and with regards it's just my own sort of personal experience that's going through life is that i'm if i find myself frustrated by people's bad decisions i i ask myself am i interested in coaching them to something better in other words do they can i i can i embrace the potential in the person right so i mean i did a pretty loud call-in show last night the one i switched from the pleasant blue to the angry red and it was pretty vociferous and emphatic show because i fully embrace the potential of the audience right and just as i fully embrace my own potential and i do get mildly annoyed at my own pettiness sometimes and and smallness So, as a leader, and when you judge people negatively, you are, to some degree.

[22:45] Stepping into, even within your own mind, kind of a leadership role, but you have to be frustrated or have a negative experience of people's bad decisions while also at the same time embracing their potential to make great decisions.

[23:00] When people, callers or people who are attending the live streams, when they talk about their dysfunctions, I have a negative experience of their dysfunctions, but only because I also have a positive embrace of their potential.

Embracing potential vs letting go of negative experiences

[23:13] Just as I have a negative experience of my own dysfunctions, like I don't have a negative experience of my own mediocre singing voice because I'm not a singer, right?
And so I'm not like, oh my God, I can't hit that note. It's so frustrating.
Now, if I was a singer and I could hit that note, if I practiced and worked at it, then I would experience some sort of frustration.
So if there's no positive that you're embracing you got to let the negative go right if there's no positive potential that you're willing to embrace and inculcate in someone your negative, experiences of their dysfunctions you just got to let it go so you look at the people at walmart say well am i going to train them coach them teach them to be better or or even if it's not them directly i'm gonna i'm gonna harness this negative experience to promote something positive in the world and if that's not the case i mean it's just a certain amount of just perspective If you get the right perspective, often you don't really need willpower.
So all you have to do is say, will I coach them or anyone or this type of person to anything positive?
And if the answer is no, that's not my gig, that's not my thing, that's not my preference, that's not my skill set, that's not my desire.

[24:13] Then you're just going to have to let them have their dysfunctions and look at it as just this is the result of a very bad system.
Like in the same way in the Soviet Union, if you saw a bunch of lazy workers, you'd say, well, I'm not going to coach them into better. And this is just the result of a very bad system.
And maybe you can do some things to oppose the system sort of verbally and talk to people about the ethics of the system rather than blaming the individuals per se.
I hope this helps. It's a great question. Thank you so much.
Freedomain.com slash donate if you find these rambles and arguments helpful.
Freedomain.com slash donate. And yeah, join the community. Freedomain.locals.com. Bye.

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