Motherhood and apple pie

I’m full of flu and feeling quite grumpy, so what better time to unload on something that often annoys me?

Today’s target is that aura of “righteousness” that leads some people to act like tossers (could not find a better word – but it seems very apposite here), especially when one expresses contrary opinions. How dare anyone criticise motherhood? or apple pie?

The usual pattern of reasoning in these cases is that, when some X is good, then more X is even better.

What many followers of that pattern forget to realise is, that there’s always a wider picture, and this picture usually does not support their conclusions. To put it another way, they can’t see the wood for the trees. And they seem horrified (or worse) when you do try to take a wider view!

What triggered this is a comment on Quora that mentioned the tendency of some Haskell programmers to “overdo it”. This definitely does happen, and it’s annoying because it gives the rest of us a bad name, and because it’s a pain to counter it. Yes, these people might be correct in a narrow technical sense, but getting them to appreciate the wider picture can be an uphill battle.

I’m sure you can think of similar examples in other areas. Let’s not open those specific cans of worms, and just try always to consider the wider picture?





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