Good article. Tom's right that the idea of "noble suffering" is probably one reason people don't like quick fixes, but I think another is that people often enjoy feeling superior to others. Make e.g. getting thin or quitting meat easier takes one route to that away.
Status seeking is a pretty universal behaviour, but in its pure form is usually seen as negative. The attraction of difficult but virtuous causes to status seekers is thus obvious - they get the kick of feeling superior but with a useful moral justification.
This is less charitable than Tom's "noble suffering" mechanism but it also has different implications - on Tom's account, if you convince people that it is not the thing itself (burgers, flying) that is bad but its effects, their opposition disappears.
But if instead the opposition is motivated by a desire for status, then such arguments aren't likely to work - in fact status seekers will be *more* threatened the easier it is to take away the harmful effects of the behaviours they ostentatiously oppose
Tom says "Let me have my burger". But what if feeling superior to Tom, eating his burger, is someone else's virtueburger? Then letting him have his burger isn't enough. The burger has to be *bad* or they don't feel superior.
See for example this quote in @Sam_Dumitriu 's blog on same topic:

"If we simply stopped eating meat, or ate it far less often, then there would be no need for...meat grown in a lab. The cultured meat industry rests on a view of human beings as greedy and incapable of change.”
@Sam_Dumitriu That was from Jenny Kleeman, an exemplar of the "techn fixes are bad" worldview. An alternative framing would be "Opposition to cultured meat rests on a view of human beings who eat meat as less virtuous than Jenny Kleeman. They could be like Jenny Kleeman but choose not to be."

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More from @robfordmancs

17 Sep
I know I'm late to this but highly recommend "Baron Noir" for anyone into political drama - best I've watched since Borgen - brilliantly drawn characters and gloriously French. Everyone smokes, "militant" is thrown around as a term of praise, wine at lunch, strikes & marches
The main characters draw standing ovations with bombastic speeches about "La France", everyone sleeps with everyone else, gleeful use of petty corruption and organisational hijinks ( the scene with the two competing student activist groups is just marvellous) and...
when the French President proposes point blank refusing to pay EU sanctions for spending too much money, his advisor turns to him and says "who do you think you are, Mrs Thatcher?"
Read 5 tweets
16 Sep
Like my department colleague Martin, it is very frustrating to have this misinformation circulating. I am currently preparing first year lectures, which will be delivered in person, and MA statistics classes, which will be delivered in person.
The Uni is looking to enable such teaching to be delivered simultaneously online (via cameras, synchronous Zoom etc). I'm not sure this is a good idea, but it is very clear & obvious that the bulk of teaching is going to be in person
So it is a bit depressing that alarmist articles about teaching being shifted entirely online, which are wholly incorrect, are still being cited by specialist education journalists who could, with one email or phone call, establish that such stories are incorrect.
Read 4 tweets
15 Sep
This is puzzling - Labour ShadCab agreeing the election came the week after the SNP (&LDs) announced their intention to table an early election bill via a front page splash in the Observer
Did the SNP intend to withdraw their support for an early election so soon after very publicly backing it? In which case what was the purpose of the early election bill & front page announcement?
If this was always meant as w feint, why did they not communicate this to Labour earlier? Did they not think their Early Election bill, which shifted the votes needed from two thirds to a simple majority, would impact on Labour’s thinking?
Read 10 tweets
11 Sep
Inclined to complain to @Ofcom about this headline - this level of statistical ignorance, from a journalist of this profile, represents a risk to public health.
I have deleted my original thread on this as I had misunderstood the error Peston made here. It was a different, more subtle error than the one I had assumed. Therefore, I will just let the experts who have been discussing this speak for themselves:
Given the gravity of the issue - vaccine effectiveness - and the prevalence of misinformation and hesitancy, it would really be helpful if @Peston and his team at @itvnews and @itvpeston would take care to speak to experts first before publishing alarmist speculation.
Read 7 tweets
10 Sep
Yes, I find that odd also. Often from the same kind of people who staunchly and regularly oppose anything even resembling "privatisation of the NHS". Why is it right to socialise the risk/costs of a stroke or a heart attack, but not to socialise the risk/costs of dementia?
This incidentally is why I thought Labour was on the right track with ideas of a national care service - if universal, free at the point of use public services are your preferred model, then it is logical to extend that model to social care.
There are other issues with an NCS of course - cost, operability, disruption, centralisation etc etc - but the core point stands - either you socialise a risk or you privatise it. Objections that public social care provision subsidise wealthy home owners assume the latter.
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
So, I've learned a lot about how the term "progressive" is understood on the left in the last 12 hours or so, which has led me to rethink this. I still think there's a lot of partisan filtering going on here, but its the ambiguities in NI which facilitate it.
I had assumed that "progressive" with regards fiscal policy was generally understood as "redistributive" (i.e. a tax whose net effect is rich pay more, poor pay less). At the household level, that's clearly true of NI as graph below illustrates
However, from my replies it seems there are at least three other definitions of "progressive" taxation: 1. A tax whose rates rise like a staircase across the income distribution 2. A tax where richest pay most 3. A tax whose impacts fall least on the poorest
Read 18 tweets

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