About Affably Evil

Affably Evil is a blog about the way that society functions, and how it might function better. It’s about optimizing the world, which often involves taking a look at how broken things are right now.

But it’s also a blog about rationality and optimism and progress. It’s a blog about being nice to someone while hating everything they love and opposing everything they stand for.

In short, it’s a blog about being affably evil.

Why Affably Evil?

Affably Evil is a trope (a story-element that appears in various works of fiction). It refers to an otherwise evil character who, contrary to mustache-twirling masterminds and psychopathic puppy-kickers, is genuinely nice. An affably evil character isn’t faking being nice (that’s its own trope) - they’re genuinely cordial, respectful, and sociable.

They just, you know, happen to want to take over the world, or whatever.

I chose the title Affably Evil for this blog because we live in a very divided world, and in such a world it’s increasingly easy to believe that the people on the other side - the ones who disagree with you, the intolerant and immoral and self-righteous and selfish - are evil.

And that narrative - good versus evil - pervades every issue that divides us today.

So, dear reader, you will almost invariably finding yourself disagreeing with the opinions of this blog. You will no doubt find some or all of them stupid, damaging, and/or cause for great rage and a threat to all you hold dear. In a word, you may find them evil.

And that’s fine.

I can be evil.

But that doesn’t mean I have to be rude.

Civility, or basic courtesies, or niceness - the ability of multiple humans to have conversations and disagreements without invoking rage or hatred or personal attacks - is highly underrated. Worse, it’s a declining virtue in the world today.

So let’s play out the old tales of good and evil once again, with words and ideas instead of swords and shields.

But this time, let’s be nice about it.

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Mental health. Societal optimization. Villainous monologues. Welcome to Affably Evil, where I puzzle out the mysteries of human interaction and organizational dysfunction in between maniacal cackles and dastardly schemes. Updates Fridays at 10am.


Hi! I'm Daniel, a writer and software engineer interested in human flourishing, world-optimization, and cookies.