Super hot take: the reason you could historically tell a lot about a person by how they treat the powerless is that society historically gave permission to mistreat the powerless, so treating them nicely was revealing. Society currently gives permission to mistreat the powerful.
You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat the people they’re given permission to treat poorly.
When you see someone displaying truly nasty behavior toward the people they’ve been given permission to treat poorly, I think it tells you exactly the same thing it would have told you about them were they doing it to the powerless 100 years ago. It’s all about permission.
Note: I am NOT saying that the powerful and the powerless are the same or that mistreating them is exactly the same. I’m saying that how someone treats the people they’ve been given permission to mistreat (whoever that is) tells you something useful about that person.

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More from @_wayneburkett

19 Jan
The way the anti-landlord discourse works is you just define all the productive work landlords do to be a job called “property manager” & reserve the term “landlord” for the profit-seeking portion. This is silly. There is no “property manager” position without the profit part.
Either you own and maintain the property for your own personal use and profit or you rent the property to someone else...because you expect to extract a profit.
This is pretty obvious when you try to do it in any other domain. “Owning a restaurant is illegitimate. Everybody has a right to food and restauranteurs don’t do anything useful. Sure, cooks and servers do useful work. But restauranteurs do nothing but extract a profit on top.”
Read 5 tweets
22 Dec 20
It never stops annoying people when smart people have opinions outside their expertise. You can learn a lot about who to listen to based on how they react to it.
And not that I’m saying I’m as smart as Matt (or even smart at all), but this is something I’ve dealt with (and something every person interested in ideas has dealt with) my entire life. If you want to talk about ideas, then you’re going to be told to shut up a lot.
There are those of us who like to talk, to weigh in, to float ideas. And there are on the other hand people who think you shouldn’t do that, that it’s tiring, or arrogant, can you please shut up, and who do you think you are, anyway?
Read 6 tweets
22 Dec 20
Boston decided to remove the concrete barriers protecting a bike lane because too many drivers were hitting the concrete barriers 🤷🏼‍♂️
Totally tangential: I committed my own pet peeve here because I too seem to have been infected by this dumb “decided to” virus in English writing. Just say, “Boston removed,” not “Boston decided to remove.” They mean the same thing. The latter is stupid! I’m stupid!
The reader can do the math on the “decided to” portion of you doing something. I’ll just assume that if you did something you first had to decide to do it. You can skip explicitly telling us that cognition was involved. Just use the ordinary verb!
Read 4 tweets
20 Dec 20
If you’re having a conversation with someone and they’re being a real dickhead, then it’s not “tone trolling“ to suggest that they modify their tone. It’s a fair and legitimate request. When someone responds by calling you a tone troll they’re just doubling down on being a dick.
Obviously, if you find yourself in a conversation with someone like this, then you should just stop talking to them. People who are on this website to dunk on you aren’t actually interested in talking.
It’s crazy how often this website exhibits bizarro world properties. If someone is being a total asshole, then it’s not the person who asks them to stop being a total asshole who is the actual asshole. The asshole is the person being a total asshole
Read 4 tweets

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