Subhead: "Why does "doing good well" always make you look like the cleverest boy in school?"
The start of the essay encapsulates the tone and general thrust well:
You can read ungodly reams of essays defining effective altruism - which makes me wonder if the people who wrote them think that they are creating the greatest possible utility by using their time that way - but the simplest definition I tend to see is that effective altruism asks how we can do the best job of doing good. How do we not just help people but help them most efficiently and effectively? I have two visceral responses to this effort.
- This is a good project and worth doing.
- It’s an utterly absurd way to define your purpose.
It’s a good project because, you know, doing good is important and we should want to do good better rather than worse. It’s utterly absurd because everyone who has ever wanted to do good has wanted to do good well, and acting as though you and your friends alone are the first to hit upon the idea of trying to do it is the kind of galactic hubris that only subcultures that have metastasized on the internet can really achieve.
Freddie is a Marxist blogger who regularly critiques a wide array of left-of-center political movements. I'm not sure if he's ever written about EA before, but he has a wide following. Here's his About page, if you're curious to know more.