Is it bad to point out the good in the world?

Everyone you know is a social critic. Everyone you know has some scathing remark about the temperature of Earth, “late-stage capitalism,” Trump, George Lopez’s misogynic jokes about women, etc. You are constantly surrounded by people who act like social critics for some journal. And you yourself might also be one of those people. You’re living here on Earth, after all, shouldn’t you have some feedback for the higherups?

Pointing out what’s wrong with the world. This is easier to do than baking a cake.

Pointing out what’s good in the world, on the other hand, is just as easy, but soon after you point out that impoverished people are better off today than they were 100 years ago, someone will point out to you some horrible thing happening today, some horrible thing happening today that this person apparently cares so much about that arguing with you on Twitter is, according to this person, apparently the most productive way to solve this terrible problem they’re pointing out to you. Here’s a trick to identifying a hypocrite: look at how often they Tweet about how much they dislike a problem with the world instead of trying to come up with a solution to it.

To point out everything bad with the world is no different than pointing to a pile of horseshit and exclaiming, “Look everyone! This is horseshit! And look over there – more horseshit!” This is useless. What good does it do anyone to know of another stinking pile of horseshit? A useful social critic – like any useful critic – points also to the beautiful, profound, useful, and good. A good critic knows a good work of art when she sees one, and makes it known that it’s good. Likewise a good social critic knows a good deed when he sees one, and makes it known that it’s good. But nowadays it’s unfashionable to point out the good in the world.

And that, I think, is horseshit.

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