The Opinion Pageant


Key takeaways


  • The transition from a world in which people interact in person to one in which people interact through text led to a shift in the way we define and judge people. With little visibility of a person’s deeds, we had to focus on their words. And so we began to define people primarily by their opinions.
  • The result is that people feel compelled to take a stance on everything.
  • Digital society has become a beauty contest for beliefs, an opinion pageant.
  • there’s no need to understand a complex world if you can just blame everything on bigotry.
  • constantly calling out bigotry makes one look unbigoted, compassionate, and socially aware—all values with high social capital.
  • But the worst thing about the culture war is that it perpetuates the opinion pageant. When people become divided into factions, there becomes even more pressure to pick a side and have an opinion,
  • The result is that even more people take a stance on issues they know little about.
  • If you want to know someone’s true nature, look beyond their words, and scrutinise the one aspect of their character that’s costly to fake—their actions.