Boycotting is virtue signalling for losers
Make sure you tweet your are boycotting for max social points and min policy gain
Recently in the wake of Dobbs, some academic oncologists proudly declared they will boycott all conferences in red states. Previously, a handful of bills over the last decade, on a range of social issues, resulted in doctors saying they would boycott the state in question. Someone told me recently they were boycotting New Orleans because of a Louisiana state law. Wow, New Orleans, I thought! In many cases, I am sympathetic to the policy issue. I also disagree with the law in question in these states. But would I boycott a state? Little old me?
My home state of California is guilty of the single greatest discriminatory act: prolonged school closure. Homelessness is out of control. Should I leave it too bc I disagree how these issues are managed?
Boycotting a state-- or more importantly announcing your Boycott on twitter-- doesn't actually make the world better, it is empty virtue signalling. Losers boycott, while winners change the law.
First, consider that boycotts have unintended consequences. This was a smart tweet I read about Boycotts (the replies were less smart)
Second, boycotts are unlikely to work. They will change a tiny fraction of state GDP. Mostly to the tourism sector, and the beliefs in question that underlie these bills are not going to shift for a tiny bit of money. Does anyone think these beliefs are financially swayable?
Third, there is not even going to be a boycott. At best some conferences will cancel, but most will go on; so the effect will be even smaller and negligible.
Fourth, the goal is to actually change policy. The simplest way to do that is persuasively articulate a middle ground, or push for your position. Win elections. Change the law. Boycott is for losers. Winners rewrite the rules
Finally, the truth is…
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