Today's post, Whining-Based Communities was originally published on 07 April 2009. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):
Many communities feed emotional needs by offering their members someone or something to blame for failure - say, those looters who don't approve of your excellence. You can easily imagine some group of "rationalists" congratulating themselves on how reasonable they were, while blaming the surrounding unreasonable society for keeping them down. But this is not how real rationality works - there's no assumption that other agents are rational. We all face unfair tests (and yes, they are unfair to different degrees for different people); and how well you do with your unfair tests, is the test of your existence. Rationality is there to help you win anyway, not to provide a self-handicapping excuse for losing. There are no first-person extenuating circumstances. There is absolutely no point in going down the road of mutual bitterness and consolation, about anything, ever.
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It strikes me that the main potential actual value of this kind of whining is a kind of in-group bias. As in the fact that having a common "enemy" can produce a strong bond.
But on the flipside, externalizing all blame makes it hard to solve any kind of problem.
I think the solution is to see the in-group as a team that is working to overcome the out-group. So the locus of control is internal, but there's still a common foe.