However, for the vast majority who lack these resources, controversy is the only way to avoid having your message get lost in the noise. What I think is outrageous is not that PETA is doing this promotion, but that people are offended by it. If you have a limited amount of money to give out in charity, why not give it to the most virtuous and deserving people, instead of those most likely to use it for bad ends?
People are offended by this sort of quasi-charity because it is actively counterproductive. Well, unless you are a butcher or something. Why not give your limited charity funding to the most virtuous and deserving people? The way actual human beings respond to that tactic, is to see you as dividing the human race into an in-group and an out-group and conspicuously abandoning the out-group to the wolves.
Which even the less committed members of your in-group will see as a really crappy thing to do. You may argue that this is not what you are actually doing, and you may be correct on the facts, but being correct on the facts does not help you here. By contrast, giving charity to everyone who needs it with no strings attached, but putting your name and logo in a prominent place and repeatedly but politely asking people to consider the rest of your message, that has a record of working quite well with real people.
Of course the organization is the devil in that scenario. Everyone thinks their own pet cause helps people. This kills the democracy. People will believe things if they just repeat them enough. If the poor are poor, we can argue to help them. That seems more like compensated work than opinion buying. It may not, and I believe in general it will not, because the substitutions people will make will not improve their health nor ultimately be any cheaper, but there are plenty of authorities on both sides of the question.
He asked you to go to Church and go through the motions, and eventually you would brainwash yourself into believing in God. Similarly, here, they are being asked to stop eating meat for animal rights reasons. Soon enough, this will cause most people to actually believe those animal rights reasons. I was in complete agreement until you got to your supposedly unobjectionable cause. Anyway, agree on the meta-issue as I said below. So the point of this is for publicity, to somehow use the people of Detroit as examples.
The people of Detroit are therefore forced into a position where they have to signal allegiance to PETA if they want to drink water. And also imagine the embarrassment, of having to be that guy who is constantly inconvenienced by his role as a puppet to a pet cause of rich white liberal hipsters, simply because he is forced into that situation. In this light, it almost seems kind of sadistic. We know from the existence of child labor and minimum wage laws that just because an exchange hypothetically benefits both actors, does not mean our society should allow it.
Also, another possible problem with the deal PETA offered— how were they planning to enforce it? Enforcement strikes me as a big problem here. Even within households, how can parents keep their teenagers from ordering pepperoni pizzas? There probably are a few honorable people, and anyway what they mostly want is publicity for the cause.
Your literal statement is weird: The law is just because it is the law? That sounds like the stupid kind of conservatism I can never like.
I would be extra interested in an estimate of how frequent that is. It assumes that the person giving the charity knows more about how to help the person receiving the charity than the recipient themself. A good argument against this approach can be found here: And the drug addicts in question who destroy their lives have a track record of acting against their own interests.
PETA is engaging in trade, not in conditional charity. No-one thinks that illegal immigration is a good thing: Because they will never get in that way. When you eat cheap meat for dinner, you should be fully aware that the animal you are swallowing lived a horrible life in an overcrowded cage where it never got to see the light of day.
When you advocate against illegal immigration, you should do it in the full knowledge that most of those people will never be able to legally enter the country, and that they will almost certainly have a worse quality of life as a result. Anything else is intellectual cowardice. I tend to agree. If they were serious about changing minds, however, rather than just garnering attention for themselves, they would have offered to pay the water bill for those who pledged to go vegetarian for a week or a month.
I agree with you on the issue at hand. Do you mind explaining to me why you believe that animal welfare is an actively harmful cause? I do think you can argue that any new thing changes the ecosystem in ways that can hurt others. In most of the US, the widespread use of cars changed city planning and made it close to impossible to do without a car.
Public transit works well in New York because lots of middle class people use it, and they can exert political pressure; I can imagine a future in which Uber siphons off a lot of them, leaving an underfunded transit system used mainly by poorer people. You can imagine a future where so many middle class people are riding around NYC in Uber cars that it significantly impacts mass transit ridership?
Where would the cars all fit? PETA, at least, has an honest goal, even if they are targeting the vulnerable. We focus on pattern-matching something to blackmail, while ignoring what exactly are those people asked to do eat a different meal?
Poor people already have trouble eating a balanced diet. PETA is also forcing them to choose the more expensive vegan alternative whenever meat would be cheaper, which I suspect is most of the time given that veganism is a life-choice for the middle and upper class i. Fresh veggies are a little spendy, but vegetable proteins are cheaper than meat. Dried beans, lentils and tofu are all cheap as dirt. Given more than a billion of the poorest people in Asia still live off of vegetarian or near-vegetarian diets based primarily on rice, greens and soy protein, it can be done.
Except, meat is often one of the most expensive ways to get calories and nutrition. A balanced vegetarian diet is harder to construct than a balanced nonvegetarian diet, but it is cheaper. I am not a nutritionist. Vegetarianism is cheaper, but veganism involves cutting out eggs and dairy, which are extremely cheap sources of calories and protein in the US which also have the advantage of requiring virtually no preparation.
The former mostly provide ingredients, the later mostly provide prepared foods. Both cases are absurd! I think that the question has to be asked, though, how non-surge pricing works.
How do the taxi rides get rationed? Does whoever happens to the moment call when a taxi becomes available get it?
Does everyone who calls get put in a queue, and now people have to wait a long time to get a ride? Do taxi drivers pick rides on proxies for higher fares, such as going to neighborhoods with a better reputation for higher tips? But you can see people being charged a lot of money for rides, and that makes it an issue. It smells bad when people profit or advance a cause by means which are only possible because someone else is miserable.
It makes a sort of sense, actually. I think the missing link is that the possibility of relevant bad behaviour is far lower than it was in the ancestral environment, so our natural reactions on issues like these are obsolete. But PETA almost certainly had nothing to do with Detroit going bankrupt in the first place, so the outrage is pointless. And honestly, the more I use Uber the more I appreciate traditional taxis. Never once had that happen with a taxi, despite many more rides.
Contact Uber and ask for a partial refund based on the GPS data they record for every ride. Anonymous, have you heard about the ultimatum game? If you know human nature at all, you probably guess that when you try that game in practice, people do complain about getting something that would otherwise not exist, even to the extent that they reject it just to punish the unfair partner.
And yes, they do take advantage of crises. In my country, and I suspect in most jurisdictions, holding a taxi driving permit means you have an obligation to drive.
I understand some jurisdictions are a lot more stupid on that point. Taxi customers are happy that they can get cars at a predictable price when and where, they need them. Now Uber could do something similar: They are all about skimming the cream of the personal driving market, they disavow any personal, longer term responsibility towards their customer base.
In effect, they are leeching of the trust we have in taxis to have a minimum of social responsibility. Riders are tired of being taken advantage of by taxi companies. Taxi companies need to step up their game or go the way of the dinosaur. For example, they started with the black car service, which only richer people use.
But then instead of being told: What happens if Uber is forced to serve the richest and poorest neighborhoods equally, and the most profitable and least profitable times equally?
In other words, they become taxis. With no regulation, instead of inefficiently limiting their services arbitrarily, they squeeze the most money possible out of every level of income by providing services matching to how much people are willing to pay.
Rich people get to ride in an Escalade at twice the price if they want, and they run as many Escalades as they need to fill that demand. And instead of being limited by some kind of medallion count, they can run as many as people are willing to pay for. And the surge pricing thing is just absurd. Surge pricing efficiently distributes the limited number of available rides to those who are willing to pay the most for them. As more people catch on to that, they decide to become Uber drivers, just so that they can work on peak days as a part-time thing, and the price at peak times goes down until everyone can find a cab at a price only moderately above normal.
Instead of a few lucky people being able to find one at a normal price. Common Libertarian fallacy can we start numbering them? Price gouging distributes the limited number of available resources to those who are wealthiest, not to those who need it the most.
Depends on whether the limited resources are limited in the long term. If they are limited forever, then yes, they will be forever inaccessible for the poor people. On the other hand, if the resources can increase gradually, if there is enough profit, then extracting more profit from the rich people will in long term make the service more accessible for the poor ones.
Think about personal computers, or mobile phones. The first ones were available only to rich people. But they financed the industry, and today many poor people can afford a mobile phone or a personal computer. Their only responsibility is to provide the service offered for the price promised, ie.
Taxis often have special government-enforced privileges e. That is a very libertarian question, but I thought I answered it: What is hard to understand, is the push to commodify all human relationships and reduce all obligations to economic ones. It still does not provide a very satisfying explanation to me.
People might say that during an emergency, the business relationship takes a backseat to the citizen or human relationship — but they can say whatever they want. Not that this answer leaves much more room to the right. Click on his name and see that there is a lot of room to be more right.
I think you would be surprised at the experience of poor and minorities in many US cities when it comes to taxis. Secondly, you are disregarding the supply part of surge pricing. So Uber nudges people to want to drive during times when drivers are needed. Compare that with a static taxi pool. Instead you find a balance. The downside is that during times of crisis or overly heavy usage, people are forced to go without.
And price controls are good at keeping prices stable but terrible at meeting demand. As I said, I think tradable permits medallions is a horrible idea.
But I did address the supply part. In my perfect world, and the current taxi system is closer to it than Uber, at least where I live , everyone pays a little extra to drivers during convenient times, in order to compensate them for their willingness to be available in less convenient times also.
In practice, Uber obeys them much more than taxis. In particular, the main reason that people use Uber is that it comes when they call, even to poor parts of town. That then raises the question of which counterfactual. The logical counterfactual is one in which the person being criticized had not made the offer. But in the ultimatum game, the first place is given the money on the condition that they make the offer. It gets worse when government is involved in this fallacious behavior, because they can seriously hurt people.
A common theme is when they ban things that look like exploitation without compensating the party who needs it most for their loss of option value. It looks like morality and helpfulness but really makes people worse off.
I should get at least as much outrage as PETA for this. I know anti-capitalist criticism tends to be backwards in this way e. Are you saying that anything new should be automatically immune from criticism? How far back should this extend? Or perhaps nobody should complain about the rent because back in the ancestral environment there were no houses. For example, in the rent situation: Complain about the government and misguided activists responsible for rent control, zoning laws, and building codes that make it impossible to build new apartments that poor people might be able to afford.
You miss the point. Supply and demand suggests that when you artificially decrease supply, through zoning, rent control, and other things which reduce the incentive to build and rent housing, then the price goes up. But as the new nice apartments come into existence, the total number of apartments goes up, and the price of old shitty apartments drops. And many new apartments are much smaller than old apartments, so although the price per square foot may be three times as high, the total can still be lower.
Surely more supply must be good, or at least, not worse? And get criticized for building luxury units, which the rich move into instead of buying old rooming houses and turning them into single-family homes. If there is a right to housing, would there not also be a right to build housing? I think you actually may be missing my point. Note that my comment agrees that new construction is a better idea than blocking it with regulations, etc.
I doubt the price of old shitty apartments would actually drop. However, the new construction would drive wages up which would have a roughly similar effect. I mention this explicitly in my comment. If effects are, as your comment implies, distinct from intentions, then the objection is that the effect is being conflated with the intention.
I was actually explicit about this:. Intentions are clearly relevant to moral arguments, as demonstrated by the reams of jurisprudence implying that intention should be taken into account. The argument that I hear often this is not specifically a response to you is that housing is far too expensive, and this implies a moral problem. Then the supply which alleviates that problem arrives, and complaints begin about the intentions behind it. Which seems counterproductive, to me.
Unless you are arguing that, all else equal, increased supply has little or no effect on prices, in which case we have a more fundamental disagreement. What are the landlords going to do when all the middle-class people go to live in the nice new apartments?
If the family is not offered aid, they get no aid. If they are offered aid and choose to not give up meat, they get no aid. The PETA case is a really interesting one to think about. After all, anyone can stop eating meat. Not anyone can get a job. Okay, so imagine a similar situation with, say, an evangelical non-denominational Christian church outreach or parachurch ministry involved in street ministry to the homeless.
All you have to do is agree to recite the following simple formula about inviting Jesus into your heart and turning your life over to God. Are you saying that you would prefer people to remain sleeping rough on the street and running the risk of dying by hypothermia these cold winter nights rather than take the offer? And how do you think these arguments would fly, if it was about religious strings attached to an offer? And why then should an ethical conversion, rather than a religious conversion, be let off the hook more easily?
I see Family Guy or South park or whatever making jokes about Jesus, sticking Jesus into action movies, and so on. I get uncomfortable because I consider and again, since I am pretty dogmatic here, fair warning: Compare the logic here to people getting outraged over use of say, the N word. White people cannot say it. I think humor is very often tied to this dynamic, frankly, particularly modern humor, because there is tendency to laugh off the sacred in a sense.
I sure you can think of way better examples here. So, why are you offended? Well, you hold it as a sacred that and this is my speculation that people do not say, proselytize our religious beliefs to others. How many of them will know a murdered mother-in-law? Yes, those people would also be doing a great deal of good. Churches offer free food to the general hungry public on the condition that you accept their religious literature, or whatnot, and everyone seems to generally accept that this is good thing.
I was sure you were going to specifically mention Salvation Army, which is well known for doing almost precisely what you describe. And in fact you can find plenty of liberals complaining about them.
But at least the people I normally hear complaining are very, very good about suggesting alternative charities to donate to which accomplish the same goal, rather than getting mad at Salvation Army for helping with strings attached. So I think real life provides some very clean counterexamples to your claim. Even if PETA would prefer the long-term effects of changing opinions rather than behavior, they could plausibly settle for changes in behavior since it still has an impact on their ultimate goal.
Compare to an offer by a church to provide housing for homeless folks on the condition that anyone using that housing has to, e. Does this still make people mad? They are providing an option that was not there previously. If anyone takes advantage of it, the world will be better off. If nobody takes advantage of it, the world will not be worse off. People who rely on virtue ethics will condemn PETA. It helps a few guys right now. And it establishes new norms and equilibria.
Those new states may have long run good or bad consequences. Their are reasons why a person might believe this has long run bad consequences.
But somehow providing a huge number of people with a slightly crummy job which is nevertheless better than whatever alternative existed is more evil than just not providing anybody with any jobs. I have worked menial restaurant jobs for low pay myself.
You probably even bargain when you buy a car. Paying more than you have to for something is charity, not business. It is perfectly analogous to the PETA case: That is, I could adopt a set of moral premises in which I assume that corporate persons are the moral equivalents of actual persons and should be treated accordingly, but that seems utterly stupid to me.
Corporations are inventions for the purpose of improving human lives, and if there is some way that a corporation could make a small sacrifice to ultimately improve human lives that seems worthwhile to me. What I am claiming is that in some cases there might be a way for the fictional person to be slightly less well off while on average all the actual living human beings involved are better off. Does anyone criticize the federal government for not paying their workers enough?
Governments are also not at all a fair comparison to private corporations, because they are tax-funded. Yes, they are founded to improve the lives of their founders and investors, not to provide employment opportunities. And you know what benefits those people? Not paying more than they have to to procure the labor services they need. When people start companies it is generally with the aim of making a good product or service, and of making money in the process.
It is not for the purpose of employing people per se. Employing people is a means to an end: It is a nice side effect of the integrative nature of the economy that others benefit by helping you get what you want, but that is not the primary purpose. Organizations founded for the explicit purpose of helping people other than their founders and investors are not businesses; they are charities.
Charity is great, but it follows a completely different logic and serves a different social function than business. Trying to mix the two does not seem a good idea to me.
That sounds like a premise rather than a conclusion. I may have somewhat different ideas of what the purpose or intended results of capitalism is than you do. In short, I think that the purpose of business is to improve human life. The usual and usually pretty defensible argument for laissez faire capitalism is that self-interest is actually the best way to improve human well-being overall.
Or maybe incentives could somehow be shifted to get good results without direct regulation. That would be circular. You seem to be making the moral argument that a person is morally unjustified in criticizing an institution if that person is not personally capable of accomplishing what that institution has already accomplished. I think the argument is just too strong. I think if this principle were followed generally it would work to impoverish the marketplace of ideas by preventing potentially valid criticisms and alternative practices from being discussed.
But it is a shift from in-your-face offensiveness to helping people, albeit not everyone, still! Framing may change a lot. This is something I had to think about. Aside from the PETA case in the post, three other examples have been named in comments upthread. My initial reaction to the cases as presented is: What is the difference in utility between what the groups do and what they could do? Why do the groups do what they do instead of what they could do?
I an unsympathetic to this, and rate its utility as zero. If they were struggling to stay afloat, or if they were reinvesting their profit in, say, malaria drug development, I would be more sympathetic. As a fairly strong atheist, I consider converting a Catholic to become a Protestant to have basically zero utility, and a nonbeliever becoming a Protestant to be borderline negative. As an extreme example of 2 trumping 1: Not sure how any of this relates to how the public in general actually reacted to the four listed cases.
Thinking about it further, I realized I missed a third criterion: Is the demand made by the would-be benefactor onerous? Paying more for a cab ride is really minor for most people. Religious instruction and switching to a vegan diet may be mildly to moderately burdensome depending on circumstances.
Working a job in fast food is even more so. Not being an ISIS militant is something that all decent people should be — are — doing anyway. Even if we assume that religious conversion diminishes utility, the only way the net utility of 2 would be 0 that is, equal to that of case 1, in which no interaction between the groups takes place would be if the level of unhappiness and suffering the poor people endure as a result of their religious conversion somehow equaled the total suffering described in case 1, which seems highly unlikely.
Kids starve, incurring major negative utility. A few kids refuse and starve, and there may be additional negative utility for the kids from having to go through religious teachings. All kids are fed; no negative utility on their part. TV Tropes has a general term for 2-type scenarios: Now it may be true that 2 has significantly higher utility than 1, but 3 has higher utility still. I am accordingly criticizing the Souperists for doing 2 instead of 3. This may be unfair not least because doing 1 instead of 2 would likely put the Souperists under the radar and let them avoid criticism entirely , but I think society should act to generate additional utility by creating a pressure away from 2 and towards 3.
There is an obvious drawback to this: Presented with the above criticism, a Souperist may react by switching to 1 rather than 3. The risk of this happening is an important consideration in determining how to move people towards 3; it seems plausible to me that generally speaking, positive reinforcement towards 3 is preferable to punishing or prohibiting 2.
Yes, I can certainly understand and support encouraging option 3, but punishing and prohibiting option 2, strongly encourages the wholly inferior option 1, so I think people need to be careful about how they try to get people from 2 to 3. Whether for this case or the case of low-paying fast food jobs, the correct guideline to me seems to be that charity is supererogatory and therefore worthy of praise, but voluntary quid pro quo is ethically neutral and therefore not worthy of condemnation.
Praise those who help with no thought of personal benefit. Praise or say nothing of those who help for the sake of personal benefit; save ethical condemnation for those who hurt. Are you expecting this to be intuitively obvious and unobjectionable, or do you have an argument for it? Incidentally, I dislike the whole concept of the supererogatory. I know this community argues back and forth about utilitarianism and virtue ethics a lot, but I thought it was pretty clear that deontology is right out.
What an excellent post! The toxoplasmosis analogy is great, as well as the harkening to Moloch as Carthaginian strife demon. In general, I am no fan girl. I am sarcastic and fussy, yet felt no such sentiments after reading this. I love it when you tie things back to Moloch. A lot of people react to the revelation of bad things by trying to figure out who caused those bad things.
But sometimes the bad things happen for reasons other than malevolent individuals. In that sense, in might be conducive to coming up with solutions in that it helps to prevent us from pursuing anything in a big class of non-solutions. I like it too. This is exactly the problem with the framing of Moloch. The thing I want most for the rationalist community right now is for us to figure out how to build a better garden for talking about social-justice-related issues. Because there are really important questions there that we as a society need to find the answers to.
This really hits the mark for me. I also note that even rationalist communities are prone to non-constructive debates I freely acknowledge I am guilty sometimes too , so we need something better.
I guess what we really need is a giant intelligent machine made of humans constructed to fight Moloch. I can totally build you that if you supply the humans and a decent web developer! If you can wait a decade or so for me to get rid of this illness, I can do it without the web developer.
Obviously, it is impossible to have the rational debate on clickbait outrage websites. And when you try to have it somewhere else, as soon as you become somehow significant, these websites will have an incentive to attack you.
If the community is supposed to achieve anything meaningful, they must be super resistent to this kind of attack. They must think about it strategically, because when the attacks come, they will already be in a bad position.
Trolls are the warriors of Moloch. Probably the best solution would be to go completely offline. Or to create a secret debate, which of course has the problem of defection, and difficulty to recruit new members. Yes, but the anti-rationalist community is too small to matter. The trick is to get the mainstream media not to fall for the fake-spokesperson. That might not be too hard. Most media would want to talk to Scott himself. What would they get done? What would the victory condition be? And I can tell you, there has never been a time when no one hated each other over video games.
Oh, people have always hated each other over video games, or at least have since they grew out of the kiddie ghetto. Twenty years ago it was soccer moms getting upset that their precious babies could see cartoonishly gruesome violence in Doom and Mortal Kombat.
These days no one cares about cartoon violence, but boob armor and the existence of the save-the-princess plot are somehow newsworthy. Gamers have always hated each other, too — at times just as intensely or more. I would go further and suggest that any past-time or activity of any sort with a large enough group of people min size: A couple related XKCDs seems appropriate now: All past-times are alike when examined closely enough, and we can find differences in anything.
You can find actual birdwatching racism discussions if you google, sadly enough. The larger the number of people enjoying a past time and the more time, money, and attention that is focused on it, the more likely it is to be a breeding ground of this sort of thing — and videogames, which have been growing in marketshare and mindshare of the entertainment sector for years, has been very ripe for it.
I dispute that min size! And promptly started reblogging every single thing they saw criticizing feminism- Valid or not. The culture of controversy is horrifying not just because it polarizes people who are naturally drawn to one side or another, but also because if you can ever manage to persuade someone that perhaps a more moderate position is called for, they are much more likely to flip all the way over to the other side with a vengeance and pick up the very worst of the MRA memes to offend the feminists they can no longer tolerate and purge their follower list.
You could argue that this is Bayesian reasoning in action. If I was previously confident in [Issueist] issue X, and later decide that I was way off on X, it stands to reason that the other things [Issueists] had me convinced of are also way off. I think what he was pointing at is that when you have an ideology, it is a dense nest of ideas, values, suppositions, filtered data, etc.
If one point in the matrix of thought turns out to be wrong, you still have the same network of reinforcing beliefs — so the whole network gets torn down with that one element. It might be weakly true, in that sometimes by pure coincidence an ideology will happen upon a Grand Theory of Why The Other Guys Suck that represents reality a bit better than the alternative.
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues.
Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
I think journalism might be a case where there is a relevant General Parameter hanging over everything. It sounds like the fallacy of assuming that reversed stupidity is intelligence. To spell it out: You become convinced that X is false.
Stupid people really are less likely to have correct opinions than smart people. The notion is that you know a foolish person believes X, so you very strongly believe the reversal of X. It would not be valid to strongly believe that men and women are extremely different heights on average. Note that this is the case even when X itself is wrong. Regarding feminism in particular: The only way to do it is to build a truth oracle and reverse all of its answers at the end.
The structure of feminism you describe is logically impossible. Should we therefore conclude that rape is awesome? That seems like a reductio ad absurdum. It believes in one opposite-of-true thing and bases all of its decision-making on that.
Homeopathic theory is also never right. You may as well try to credit Communism with the idea that abusing people is bad. Do you not remember the thing you were responding to?
If I create an ideology all about how the subterranean lizard-men are responsible for all ills in the world, and I interpret everything through this ideology, I will never ever ever arrive at a correct conclusion through it, and my incorrect conclusions will yield no useful information.
I think it depends on how specifically the beliefs are connected. They may be connected differently even for different people in the same camp. If I have independent evidence for X, Y, Z, then learning that X is false will not undermine my belief in Y and Z significantly, because the arguments for them still feel valid. Of course this alone is not a reason to believe in non-Y and non-Z; I should merely become ignorant about Y and Z.
But people are not good at admitting ignorance, they want to believe this or that way. So, it depends on the structure of beliefs. If you want to prevent your members from turning fully to the opposite side if they find a flaw, you should teach your beliefs as independent.
Of course then you can have a lot of people who accept a subset of your beliefs and refuse the rest; and you might want to avoid that, to rather have less strong believers than many half-believers. The system with a few strong believers is probably more powerful politically, but also more fragile.
On the other hand, for a two-part meme which is fueled both by strong believers and strong anti-believers, because each of them serves as a reverse-stupidity recruitment tool for the other side , having a few strong believers is an advantage, regardless of the fragility. To fight against the meme, we should evaluate X, Y, Z separately. And then we could conclude that e. And then we should get ready to be attacked by feminists for not believing X, and by anti-feminists for believing Y and Z.
So I have a friend, or someone who used to be a friend, who is in a convent. This story is relevant to the above, but gradually. The rules of the convent read like a manual for bringing about persuasion through the dark arts rather than rational means: Conformity in dress and action? Having other people read your mail, and being obliged to tell them all about yourself? Framing so that leaving the convent is seen as rejecting a gift?
And so on and so forth. So this bothers me. It seems to me the kind of thing that is designed to produce non-agenty automatons. If a Catholic is reading this, bear with me. But to the people in the convent, of course, all this is precisely designed to free one from the slavery to the flesh.
Destoys pride and vain signalling so you can be with Christ. Again, separation from the world so you can be with Chris.
All this is optimization, from their point of view, for truthseeking—not something designed to brainwash you. The basic Catholic point is that all this is supposed to be the only way you can really be perfect, or really be an agent, or something. This is a severe disagreement, then, between Catholics and me. And no doubt, if I were stupid enough to share some atheist article about Mother Theresa, people reading that would feel the rage. We could shout at each other a lot.
I want to say things about it because it is distressing for me to think that someone thinking about joining a convent would not hear an opposing view. And they could say something similar, of course.
So with regard to the above post. The above is really, really excellent. If Scott kickstarted a book by that title, I would fund the hell out of it. When I argue with a non-cloistered individual Consecrated to Christ, very nearly everything that they say presents itself to me as something a horrible, evil, infectious, dangerous memetic attachment would cause them to say.
And no doubt they perceive very nearly everything I say as something someone would say who is in thrall to the Devil and Sin and bound by the chains of the flesh. We may be right or wrong in not seeing them as such, of course. Catholic nuns and atheist rationalists seem clearly sufficiently far away that what is identified as truth-seeking behavior by one is usually identified as foreign-principality-infection by the other.
And this is surely true of memetic as well as viral agents. And this warning to stay away will be perceived as an attack—which, to a certain degree, it is—and this will lead to name calling.
Not really sure I am right about this, of course, and not really sure I formulated this clearly. It seems to jar a little with the SSC project, if so. This is not clear. While there is no upside to allowing viral agents to go around and infect people, allowing the same for memetic agents is both less bad and has benefits in allowing broader consideration of ideas.
In this metaphor, limitations on discourse look less like a quarantine and more like a mandatory eugenics program. Which, I suppose, says less about the merits of free speech than it does about the dangers of choosing metaphors arbitrarily. There is an upside to allowing viruses to go around infecting people, which is why we do it. The opportunity cost involved in avoiding all viral infections is much worse than the cost of infection for most viruses. Link is not safe for sanity. When I read that comment, I immediately tried to think of some benefit to letting viral agents go around and infect people, and Guns, Germs, and Steel came to mind: Which would actually support you: So one could develop a theory of American cultural imperialism based on this.
But thanks for the criticism. How about I respond by qualifying the generality of the statement: And Xianity and rationalism, oddly, share that they regard large portions of mankind as being in a vulnerable ungrounded epistemic state.
Also, I certainly seem to have more sustained and interesting streams of consciousness in response to arguments with which I disagree than I do with arguments with which I agree. As a Catholic who has a number of atheist friends, it seems, from my experience, that disagreement is only detrimental to the extent that the controversy begins to affect the daily lives of the interlocutors in relation to one another.
Obviously your convent example is on the extreme end, but in most cases a Catholic and an atheist or agnostic, or Pastafarian, or whatever can live in harmony since they usually have vaguely similar life goals such as advancing careers or trying to raise families. The problem arises when this commonality begins to collapse, when the implications of utterly contrasting belief systems begin to manifest as contradictory ways of life.
Your convent example is one, but another would be if, for example, one party decides that having over 5 children is part of their divine calling, or if one person wants to send their son to a private school that the other wants to shut down, because he believes private schools should not exist. Ultimately, I think that the existence of such incidents demonstrates that pluralism is not a stable end-state for society if it generates such completely antithetical views.
At some point trends will shift to favour one world-view over all the others, simply because there is no other way to have a naturally stable polity. It seems that, essentially, you need to start making conversions to your worldview, if at the very least as a self-protection measure. That was enjoyable and made sense of why we seem to expect people to be much inferentially closer than they often are. It helped me formulate two reasons that intelligent and otherwise reasonable people might not be able to disagree or discuss things profitably, though.
One is the above—enormous inferential differences make people think that other people are insane. But a theist might think that one ought to have the habit of clinging to particular beliefs because confusion is from the devil.
But a theist might think the intutive sense one gets of Someone being there is from God, and to ignore it is to crush a particular sensus divinitatis http: At least, that might be something different from inferential distance.
Inferential distance seems like something more biologically based, and the habits difference seems like something maybe more culturally based. I mean, but here I am, anonymously on the Internet, so no one knows who I am or how, if at all, I advantage myself by this argument. Plus, faster information turnaround than the old monks reading and writing books system.
There are good kinds of feedback the ones we get from scientific experiments and bad kinds of feedback the ones we get from Moloch. If you detach yourself from the world, you remove both.
You are allowed to say true things that would have cost you a career outside of the monastery. You are also allowed to say things that are just plain crazy. Yes, there are differences in values, worldviews, and epistemology, both between individuals and between groups. But, on the other hand, there are also beliefs we have in common. Perhaps not with every person in every situation, but certainly on most of the controversial issues with most people, there is an area on consensus: And these points of agreement could be a basis for both action — implementing policies most of us would support, even if our reasons are different, and dialogue — trying to persuade each other and expand the common ground, one step at a time.
Maybe should have waited for the open thread or something. I agree with everything you say. Including that it is terrifying and flesh-chillingly creepy to see people become belief-aliens. I agree that there is actually a lot more agreement out there on certain issues than is apparent from what you see on the internet. Not all the nastiness can be blamed on the perverse incentives out there.
I think about it this way: If we instead optimize for fighting each other, the results are suboptimal in case our values are different, and deeply tragical if they are not. Enclosed or religious institute all nuns are sisters, but not all sisters are nuns? Generally, discernment of a vocation nowadays is more nuanced than it used to be, and psychological fitness is one of the things assessed. Then you make your first profession which is taking temporary vows binding for three to six years, depending what order.
Even in light of this I am extremely troubled by Carmelite practices re. Might as well add that, even from a Catholic perspective, theological justifications for these practices appear to me to be really severely lacking — or depend on a kind of inherited Neoplatonic dislike of the world, which seems to me pretty much separated from any moderately viable Catholic theological perspective.
Well, to be fair, everyone knows that the Carmelites are tough — sort of the equivalent of special forces units in the armed forces of any nation. Ancient attempts by societal leaders to control religion are really a type of memetic warfare, though perhaps a very simple form. Generally speaking ancient religions that were open to other religions and had a way of incorporating them did better than ancient religions that required strict doctrinal purity.
As for staying away from memetic risks, I disagree. I find no good standards for determining what information people should not ever be exposed to. Take heart in the fact that Cthulhu swims ever leftward, at least on long enough time scales.
Eventually we may become the unstoppable eusocial aliens that could pose an existential threat to us. Only because the Ministry of Truth rewrites history so that things cease to be leftist once they fail. So was segregation — it was not the end of Reconstruction but the election of Woodrow Wilson that set it loose, and they openly said they were glad to finally be free of that fossilized dogma of the equality of man. But yes, it seems that gardens of rational discussion do grow over their competitors in the end.
Personally I have a lot of faith that truth will out eventually, and that it wins out more quickly when people have honest and well intentioned conversations. As far as I can tell, the best cure for a dangerous idea is a better idea, administered via conversation. Conversation means listening, understanding, and debating respectfully — something I see an awful lot of on SSC which just gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies.
Maybe the solution is to start with a conversation about conversation? Infect them with the idea that the truth will ultimately trump any memetic agent given the right environment: An obviously true rape allegation will only be spread if the response is controversial enough to split people in half along lines corresponding to identity politics.
You can always find a counterexample — but this is not always significant. People Say Offensive Things on Twitter! Inventing or over-hyping a tiny minority an opposition lets us have long conversations about stuff that would otherwise drop off the radar. The problem, unfortunately, is that the FB feeds seem to be: People from the Other Tribe say offensive things on Twitter.
Re animal rights charities: Many people have actually heard of Vegan Outreach. They hand out more than a million leaflets a year on university campuses. There are other organisations in animal welfare which try to optimise more for media coverage than Vegan Outreach while being less objectionable than PETA, most notably Direct Action Everywhere, who managed to get a bunch of mainstream coverage recently.
They do it by regularly releasing absolutely horrifying undercover video of abuse on factory farms and slaughterhouses. They seem to be incredibly good at getting media coverage, and the coverage they get is pretty consistently about the issue, not about their own silly stunts.
Maybe that had some value when they started in the 80s, but as Scott points out, enough people are aware of the basic issues factory farming, etc. I had Direct Action Everywhere in mind when I read the post. Its publicity seems to be an effect of controversy — as I understand it, its lucky break came when Glenn Beck mocked one of their protests.
I have a vegan animal-rights activist brother and I get all this PETA-style crap from him and let me tell you, it has not changed my mind re: I have been handed and summarily thrown away many dozen leaflets on my college campus. Many schools of ancient philosophy e. The point of a philosophical education is to help you make peace with that.
Scott has done a fantastic job of pointing out ways in which our control over the world is exceedingly imperfect. In trying to improve the world by collective action, we create serious coordination problems. There is no particular guarantee that these problems are actually soluble.
Is the right approach a return to a less activist world-view? Should we be trying to fix the problem, or primarily trying to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we are trapped inside a badly flawed system? It seems to me that people ought to strive to accept the world-as-is with as much equanimity as possible. If the world is full of serious co-ordination problems, I desire to see the world as full of serious co-ordination problems!
If those problems are unsolvable, I should desire to see them as unsolvable. You can be reconciled to the badly flawed system while still trying to fix it.
You might as well be describing the gulf between rationalism and post modernism. Not that I disagree with you, but the movement you are proposing is that large.
For instance, despite all our efforts to eliminate expressions of evil intent and action, there are not many rational people who would state that evil can be eliminated from man.
Therefore the question is more of a philosophical one — Imagine you live in a desert village where the sun rising every morning causes pain, discomfort, potentially even death, to the people in your village.
I think the same scenario applies to your question, that is, a significant portion of the population have not accepted the nature of man as flawed, so rather than working within those constraints to find equitable solutions, they seek instead to fix that which cannot be fixed. Imagine you live in a desert village where the sun rising every morning causes pain, discomfort, potentially even death, to the people in your village. I find this an interesting example because we actually do live in this world.
The sun causes pain sunburns , discomfort overheating , and potentially death skin cancer. Meanwhile, most people have generally accepted the inevitability of this and take measures to protect themselves sunscreen instead of trying to block out the sun like Mr Burns did in the Simpsons.
I even said so in my article. Boll weevils in our beautiful walled garden! Why am I always harping on feminism? Sometimes they do this explicitly, like Andrew did. I am Exception Nazi! Here we have built our Schelling fence and here we are defending it to the bitter end.
Feminists like to mock the naivete of anyone who says that classical liberalism would suffice to satisfy feminist demands.
And true, you cannot simply assume Adam Smith and derive Andrea Dworkin. Feminists are very concerned about slut-shaming, where people harass women who have too much premarital sex. They point out that this is very hurtful to women, that men might underestimate the amount of hurt it causes women, and that the standard-classical-liberal solution of removing relevant government oppression does nothing.
But one assumes the harassers think that women having premarital sex is detrimental to society. So they apply their general principle: When I was young and stupid, I used to believe that transgender was really, really dumb.
That they were looking for attention or making it up or something along those lines. Luckily, since I was a classical liberal, my reaction to this mistake was — to not bother them, and to get very very angry at people who did bother them. I got upset with people trying to fire Phil Robertson for being homophobic even though homophobia is stupid.
You better bet I also got upset with people trying to fire transgender people back when I thought transgender was stupid. And I said a mea culpa. But it could have been worse. My epistemic structure failed gracefully. God only knows what Andrew would have done, if through bad luck he had accidentally gotten it into his head that transgender people are bad.
I admit there are many feminist principles that cannot be derived from, or are even opposed to my own liberal principles. For example, some feminists have suggested that pornography be banned because it increases the likelihood of violence against women.
Others suggest that research into gender differences should be banned, or at least we should stigmatize and harass the researchers, because any discoveries made might lend aid and comfort to sexists. To the first, I would point out that there is now strong evidence that pornography, especially violent objectifying pornography, very significantly decreases violence against women.
And to the second, well, we have a genuine disagreement. But I wonder whether they would prefer to discuss that disagreement reasonably, or whether we should both try to harass and destroy the other until one or both of us are too damaged to continue the struggle.
And if feminists agree to have that reasonable discussion, but lose, I would tell them that they get a consolation prize. Having joined liberal society, they can be sure that no matter what those researchers find, I and all of their new liberal-society buddies will fight tooth and nail against anyone who uses any tiny differences those researchers find to challenge the central liberal belief that everyone of every gender has basic human dignity.
Any victory for me is going to be a victory for feminists as well; maybe not a perfect victory, but a heck of a lot better than what they have right now. But there is a famous comic which demonstrates what can happen to certain walled gardens.
That people who voluntarily relinquish certain forms of barbarism will be able to gradually expand their territory against the hordes outside, instead of immediately being conquered by their less scrupulous neighbors?
One is reminded of the old joke about the Nazi papers. The rabbi catches an old Jewish man reading the Nazi newspaper and demands to know how he could look at such garbage. But here, everything is great! We control the banks, we control the media. Why, just yesterday they said we had a plan to kick the Gentiles out of Germany entirely!
Everyone believes their enemies are evil people doing evil things. In each of the following conflicts in Anglo-American history, you see a victory of left over right: Clearly, if you want to be on the winning team, you want to start on the left side of the field. Where is the John Birch Society, now? Cthulhu swims left, and left, and left. There are a few brief periods of true reaction in American history — the post-Reconstruction era or Redemption, the Return to Normalcy of Harding, and a couple of others.
But they are unusual and feeble compared to the great leftward shift. McCarthyism is especially noticeable as such. In the history of American democracy, if you take the mainstream political position Overton Window, if you care at time T1, and place it on the map at a later time T2, T1 is always way to the right, near the fringe or outside it. So, for instance, if you take the average segregationist voter of and let him vote in the election, he will be way out on the wacky right wing.
Cthulhu has passed him by. In particular, the history of the past few hundred years in the United States has been a history of decreasing censorship and increasing tolerance. And that has corresponded to spectacular successes of the specific causes liberals like to push, like feminism, civil rights, gay marriage, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel. And yet when liberals enter quarrels, they always win.
Andrew thinks that liberals who voluntarily relinquish any form of fighting back are just ignoring perfectly effective weapons. They were up against the Roman Empire, possibly the most effective military machine in history, ruled by some of the cruelest men who have ever lived. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.
And he was pretty insistent on truth too: Also skilled at missing the obvious: Aung San Suu Kyi. Nelson Mandela was smart and effective at the beginning of his career, but fell into a pattern of missing the obvious when he was older. Maybe it was Alzheimers. Of course, there are counterexamples. You need to have pre-existing community norms in place before trying to summon mysterious beneficial equilibria.
Clearly this requires much stronger measures! Liberalism does not conquer by fire and sword. Liberalism conquers by communities of people who agree to play by the rules, slowly growing until eventually an equilibrium is disturbed.
But some people, through lack of imagination, fail to find this battle cry sufficiently fear-inspiring. Elua is the god of kindness and flowers and free love. He is the patron deity of exactly the kind of sickeningly sweet namby-pamby charitable liberalism that Andrew is complaining about. And there is a certain commonality to a lot of the Kushiel books, where some tyrant or sorcerer thinks that a god of flowers and free love will be a pushover, and starts harassing his followers. Elua is the god of flowers and free love and he is terrifying.
If you oppose him, there will not be enough left of you to bury, and it will not matter because there will not be enough left of your city to bury you in. Moldbug portrays liberalism as Cthulhu, a terrifying unspeakable Elder God who is fundamentally evil. This is going to be so easy! And you want to scream: When I lived in Ireland, one of my friends was a pro-choice Christian. Hey, you do think I would ever have learned to write things this long and bombastic if I had never read Moldbug?
NR is newer and thus fresher, Scott is sympathetic to a lot of NR thought correct me if wrong , and NRs actually are astonishingly honest and nonviolent. Mind you, there are various groups of non-honest filth that orbit NR, as there are for smart semi-leftists like Scott, so that might color your perception. I forgot the spoiler warning on the top until about thirty seconds after I posted, so you may have hit it in that time.
However, I will say this: Thank you for clarifying. I have read the Kushiel books, and I was very confused for a moment. The gif itself is from the movie, Citizen Kane. Kane, self-made millionaire and aspiring politician, has an affair with Susan.
The affair is discovered by both his wife and his rival. This breaks his political career and his marriage. Kane marries Susan, and forces her into becoming an opera singer; however, she turns out to have no talent for it at all. At the end of the show, infuriated Kane claps nevertheless, and rest of the guests are compelled to follow suit. The context is much more subtle than that. There is a debate to be had on who gets locked out of the garden. Almost all of us agree that not every idea deserves a place in polite conversation but our perspectives as to which might qualify are as varied as Western dietary preferences.
You could talk at a friendly and superficial level to a wife-and-seven-kids coworker that treats his family as his personal fiefdom, but do no more. The same is not true for someone who makes credible rape threats. Also some people are very happy trapped in a small outside-of-garden-cum-preserve, though they may complain a lot. I would rather pay attention to talk to the person to move him in the right direction if I would feel myself responsible for a lesswrong meetup.
At risk of stating the obvious, you could also throw him out because your garden is full of Jews? Or you may think that the Nazi would do not just rude but harmful things to said Jews. Not tactically smart, and not all Nazis are stupid. Which returns us to likely- rude-but-not-injurious. Which one is the least wrong one, and can you come up with an even less wrong one? I needed to come back and thank you for this phraseology.
I was burbling with incoherent rage over that piece, but you have the virtue of coherence. Using yours in here is just destructive to the garden. I mean, there absolutely is a time for banishing people from the garden — e.
The threat is rarely explicit. And, as I said, feminists seem to generally act as if there is no garden, as if the enemy is always right here on our doorsteps, as if there is no bubble wherein feminists are taken seriously and those who might oppose them are not. Which, as I said, allows them to do go around wielding this threat without realizing it, and not understanding why people consider their behavior a problem. I really like Slate Star Codex. And the NR get criticized by others on the far-far-right for not being alpha enough or being too nerdy.
Are you referring to the recent NRx-Manosphere dustup? They just want to get laid and improve themselves full disclosure: I much prefer them to the Neoreactionaries. IMO, the far-far-right would criticize the Neoreactionaries for being too Philo-semitic. There are even people who want to purge Matt Heimbach because he dated a Jew once. This is just a matter of personal taste though. My father is Jewish, at least racially.
This does not make me Jewish, but surely it makes me suspect, at least to some anti-Semites. I read him as making a few different claims, a couple of which seem broadly correct and one of which is much more controversial:.
They are dominance fights to determine allocation of resources, and there are times when we need to be focused on winning rather than on maintaining a high level of discourse.
This seems right to me. It lowers morale and saps motivation and cohesiveness. Again, I basically agree. The only argument I can see for this one is that people may be so deeply predisposed to be excessively racist and sexist that arguments in favor of racism and sexism have negative utility.
Good examples fail me. Seriously though, great post, Scott. To take the example you used already, if the Nazis are invading your country with tanks and bullets, you need tanks and bullets of your own.
All that has to be true is that deceit is, at least some of the time, able to triumph over the truth. The trouble is that pretty much everyone even LW rationalists does seem to recognize or at least act as if debates are status fights at least as much as they are discourse. Do a plurality, or even a majority, of people identify with their arguments? Do all of us? Perhaps Scott feels the same way. Much like the poor, bad arguments and people who see nothing wrong with using them will always be with us.
We may not be able to entirely extirpate the appeal of deceit, but we can at least lessen it, which strikes me as better than nothing. If debates were actually about figuring out the truth, they would look completely different. People would be careful to keep their connotations as neutral as possible.
Folks would share likelihood ratios, not posterior beliefs. I prefer to avoid it entirely most of the time. But sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you really quite badly do need to win. I feel about these situations sort of the way I feel about wars. The effectivity of a tool may depend on the whole ecosystem of the given side. There may be tools which are effective for my enemy, but not for myself. Then, trying another lie is a good strategy for them, because the worst thing that can happen is that nothing changes.
On the other hand, if I invested heavily into my reputation of a truth-teller, and even trained my allies to better recognize truth from lies, the same would would be an extremely bad tactics if used by me.
But that assumes that truth-recognizing and truth-telling does not have its own huge advantages, which may make it a superior long-term strategy. It is true that being caught in a blatant lie undermines your rhetorical effectiveness with both lies and, to a lesser degree, the truth.
Maybe the risk of being caught is, in the long term, so high as to outweigh any short-term benefit? Ok, but that looks like a really strong claim. I think that you are failing to distinguish between bad arguments having been programmed into people because they work, and bad arguments emerging as a result of cognitive constraints. Report likelihood ratios, not posterior beliefs?!? As a general norm? Did you think about implementation even a little?
Your incredulity makes me half as confident that sharing likelihood ratios instead of posterior beliefs is a good idea, but my posterior is still strong enough to give it a try. This looks like the kind of conversation I try not to have. And then telling them to charge a trench full of machine guns.
Metaphorical exit from democracy, innit. Which coincidentally is the same reason I hang out here. Giving up on absolutist egalitarian beliefs leads to a more accurate model of the world, which in turn allows us to make the world more pleasant. This essay is extremely weird to read as someone with vague IRA sympathies mostly because of my family.
One of my favorite lines about war is this: Some better peace than the one you started with. What Chu seems to be suggesting is using the biggest weapon you have, regardless of what the outcome would be, on the theory that any blow struck against the enemy is justified.
And I wonder how many wars have been lost on using exactly the same thinking. I blame it on listening to the music and not reading the newspapers. Mostly found in pockets of first- and second-generation descendents of Irish immigrants. I personally zeroed out my sympathy for the Provos when I found out they were Marxists.
Still fond of Michael Collins. It mostly reminded me of this: The only thing I can say in defense of that article is that I had the facts right; I just read them wrong.
The British media was so frustrated by not having bloody corpses to show that they settled for architecture: The bloody-gang-war faction — the RIRA that blew up civilians after the Good Friday Accords — showed exactly the problem with unrestricted warfare — the other side has the same weapons and tactics, and might be willing to reciprocate if you go no-holds-barred. The IRA may also be a misleading example as a result of being one of the most successful terrorist organizations ever.
Terrorism very often produces no change despite all the death, or change only in unintended directions; terrorist organizations very rarely achieve any of their official goals. Discussion of the track record of terrorism here.
Though the IRA — especially the specific tactics that brought about the Good Friday Accords — could perhaps be better characterized as irregular or asymmetric warriors rather than terrorists. Chu was writing on a facebook thread, not in a public forum. If a lie is the best way to win your point, then why is Chu not lying here … or is he lying here? Maybe he is playing a role in his argument. This seems very strong. It is very easy to engage in bad statistical reasoning and not look at your first estimate closely when it supports your prior viewpoint.
Also, while you do claim that the feminist movement has more of these sorts of issues, I think that that is to a large extent a function of what sources you are looking at. World Net Daily for example has about as blatant issues or more so almost daily. Another example is the Orthodox Jewish section of blogosphere which has had some real doozies and not too surprisingly the section of former Orthodox Jews also has some serious issues with fact checking often in the exact opposite direction.
The difference is that their bubbles are recognizably outside of ours in much the same way the creationists are, and thus not really a concern. That is what Scott is objecting to. I find it really really hard to believe that someone could make that mistake by accident. If you look at his article, you wonder why he would even start trying to introduce the average number of sex acts into there unless he was planning to do something sneaky with it.
However, I have changed the above post to make explicit this line of reasoning and the uncertainty behind it. I have also sent Mr. Clymer a message saying that if he can absolutely swear to me the mistake was unintentional, I will apologize unreservedly.
All that is required to make mistakes like his, is to be very bad at math. Honest mistakes should be uncorrelated. Even if an extreme error is unlikely, the extremest error out there is going to be picked up by uncritical feminists and trumpeted to the world. Sure, if I do math honestly, I will get mistakes in both directions. But if I then check my results to a greater or lesser extent depending on how surprised I was by the results, the remaining mistakes will have an ideological bias.
Note that the second step here is still an honest one! We now have a simple selection criterion that allows favorable math errors to survive while unfavorable ones are filtered out, without requiring that the writer was ever being actively deceitful. That process you describe is deceptive, hypocritical bullshit.
If we want a decent discourse, we must not stand for it. Raise your standards or we will never stamp out this scourge. Judging people by their intentions produces strong incentives for people to honestly claim to have good intentions. It just makes them more divorced from reality. Why do you care about Clymer at all? Is he in your walled garden? I thought your main concern was the people who forwarded his post to you. The problem is not the lies, but that some filter, perhaps your circle, perhaps feminists in general, amplify the lies.
You want to defend civilization. So do many conservatives. He wanted to see the defenses fully manned and he hated the liberals because he thought them gullible and feeble, believing in the easy perfectibility of man and ready to abandon the work of centuries for sentimental qualms. I might be labeled a conservative not entirely accurate, but whatever. But I believe in progress. Things can and do get better. I want to make them better. But there can and will be fits and starts. This was a really good post, thanks.
On the other hand, there are people who agree with the Dawkins-aligned atheist community in principle, but dislike their our tactics. The meme that says this is bad feels like it might share an origin with that of your intellectually honest walled garden it does seem like it would have smoothed conflict in days gone by , and yet polite etiquette is to not criticise cherished beliefs.
So here we have a funny social contract to not be intellectually honest, and criticism of people who break it feels a lot like my own criticism of the intellectually dishonest groups on the political left. Tell that to Atlanta, Dresden and Johannesburg in chronological order of destruction by liberalism. Feminists are all about socially conditioning men and women to think, feel and act a certain way.
Yes, because feminism is a unitary block, not a gigantic umbrella of different and sometimes mutually contradictory groups. So do several other self-identified feminists of my acquaintance. Some do not, and they are feminists too. But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter.
He used both fire and sword, and conciliation and generosity, in achieving his aims. Here I think Scott is wrong: Liberalism sometimes conquers with fire and the sword, but it is far more effective when mixing force and friendship. And yes, I still say burning Atlanta was justified, when stacked against an aristocratic regime that kept people as property, and had absolutely no intention of ever admitting it was wrong, changing, or having a civil discussion with those who disagreed.
Remember that secession was kicked off by the election of a President who had no intention of interfering with slavery, but just wanted to keep the institution from spreading! The Southern planter was completely insane, drunk with their own self-righteousness, and they got the reward of hubris.
So glory, glory, hallelujah. Let the Left go marching on. Many Liberals do attempt to spread their ideas by the sword, as evidenced by the Bermans and Hitchenses of this world. You are right, though, that it is not a winning strategy, as evidenced by the startling grimness of the Middle East. In Syria, I favor an imposed truce backed up by nukes — whichever side breaks the truce gets their favorite sites nuked.
Your holy places, ours. Every thing that drives men mad. The Wall, and the Rock, and all the other holy places in Jerusalem, get reduced to radioactive ash. As for slavery, which you seem to take for granted was a bad system as well: As a leftist, I think an aristocracy is generally bad for a republic.
And as for slavery, would you have consented to slavery, if you had been born a black slave? Do I consider it ethical to lead an army to destroy such a system? Yes, when the alternative is the savagery and horror of a Haiti-style slave rebellion.
Radishes may not be tasty vegetables, and certainly not my favorite, but if they can sprout here, so can more delicious and useful plants. Him being able to say what he wants means I can say what I want. So I smile, even as I snarl. Like Oscar Wilde said: It was put down entirely through the grossly illegal conduct of certain agitators in Boston and elsewhere, who were not slaves themselves, nor owners of slaves, nor had anything to do with the question really.
Regarding the breaking up of families, you really must read South-Side View, and I hope you do, particularly for the way it shows you the difference between appearances say, a law against slaves reading, or an advertisement for a human being and reality those laws were disregarded in practice, and the system of slave selling was designed to minimize possible abuses—but really, you gotta read the Reverend himself, not my summaries.
As for how to end slavery: Civil War and slave rebellion are not the only options history provides. I appreciate that you think I should be allowed to speak.
Your implications are total fucking bullshit, and you, Karl, are a pathetic craven coward who would never, ever have the guts to tell Harriet Tubman all this. Your foolish, entitled rhetoric mocks the dead. Of course, white liberalism is implicated in this gross distortion of historical memory; you are protected by its vacuousness. Received no support from the salves themselves — what about the large number of former slaves, like Frederick Douglass- who supported and wrote and lobbied for abolition?
The South was hysterical on the subject. But for the thousands of slaves who put on the uniform and picked up a musket, they helped end the damn thing. They were mostly rear-area and garrison troops, but when they fought, they were the equal of white soldiers and often impressed the white generals who commanded them. They helped end slavery — by picking up guns and fighting for it. And probably being much more effective doing that than any slave rebellion would have been.
You might be right. But if these are the best arguments you can make, you need to do a lot of reading too. And Harriet Tubman, while badass, is also bones, therefore a little hard to be intimidated by. There is Richard Toler:. Ah thank God that ah lived to pas the yeahs until the day of But there is also Joseph Holmes, edited slightly to ensure SSC stays on the right side of the filters.
I kin remember de days when I was one of de house servants. But they are perspectives, drawn from lived experience, and not ghostwritten by abolitionists. I assume there are many more recorded perspectives that I do not know about, but I do not know. But I am not optimistic about the existence of an opinion poll. Perhaps it is an irresponsible exercise of democratic nanopower to discuss all this, but when the drive to question the unquestionable collides with the demands of responsibility, you have to pick one, and picking the latter runs counter to the whole point.
I would say there should be a secret society, but they have distinct disadvantages in the realm of drawing in new quality commenters. No wonder academia is so paywalled! Well, you know what they say about winners and history books. There is also this. I do not know whether it is correct, but nowhere have I seen either side of it argued, and it strikes me as too important a possibility to leave unmentioned. I have no idea. It is not debated; it is simply assumed.
The secession of the Upper South, when it came, was hardly a bid to protect slave property. Virginia, Tennessee, even North Carolina, with a hostile anti-slavery United States on their frontier, could never hope to maintain slavery as a viable economic and social institution. Their pre-war complaints about fugitives prove they knew it. Thanks for the links. About the death toll: Hell, at least those deaths would be directly in the cause of emancipation and Reconstruction ; and look at how Curtis LeMay burned Tokyo largely because he could, yet most, historians included, still think that the annihilation of the Japanese Empire has paid off.
History remains just that fucking horrible in its more hopeful moments. But fundamentally, any such speculation should indeed probably belong to the fallen and their descendants.
But I recommend the e-book edition because it is an enormous volume. The second quote undercuts itself by saying that slavery in Virginia was good because the slaves were being raised for export. Better luck next time. Replying to this comment. When in Rome, as they say. What do you expect to gain from this tone? All it will do is lower the level of discourse to metaphorical poop-slinging. So again — you have a lot more to lose than he does by engaging in that, and you guarantee that you lose it by doubling down.
You were elevating the discourse and everything. They say immigration is the sincerest form of flattery. Throughout slavery, there was a constant stream of runaway slaves seeking freedom, despite serious attempt to prevent it with enforcement and punishment. There was not a corresponding group of free people going south and looking for owners to give themselves to. In general, the superiority of slavery is an extraordinary claim that calls for extraordinary evidence.
Fortunately I could think of some in only a few minutes, but had the matter been more confusing I could have been lead badly astray…. The board can replace Dumbledore with a Death Eater at any time, and where are the house elves then? This is not a difficult concept. So fuck this mealy-mouthed, cowardly hand-waving in the direction of already-refuted claims.
Fuck the whole Moldbug school of unfalsifiability-through-obscurity. Daniel, does that argument disprove American racism vs Mexicans, Africans, Arabs, Asians, or other minorities with which we have an immigration deficiet more coming than going? Just like escaping slaves showed that freedom is better than slavery, immigrants show that living in the US is better than living in the origin countries. Ialdabaoth, now that you have drawn attention to behavior, I hope you can learn what is in character.
You throw around nerd as an insult an aweful lot. If there had been white immigrants going to the South looking for owners to give themselves to for in theory, not in practice some predetermined period of time, would you have heard about it?
I feel that the meta here is already too corrupt. You turned an otherwise reasonably civil thread into a shit-flinging contest, and while I completely understand why you did it, I am disappoint.
Note that you, unlike your rhetorical opponent, can disappoint me. This is both a blessing and a burden. Note how equality is now beyond good and evil, and dissent is actual insanity.
Examples of both sacralizing—if not acually deifying—liberal values, and medicalizing dissent from them. Someone wrote about that recently, no? The new owners and other pro-slavery people would have made them quite famous. Even if the winners of the war had tried to suppress it, the story would have been too big and too interesting to be suppressed. Dissent is not insanity.
Uncritically accepting the insane assumptions of a particular debate does feel insane to me, and trying to instill those assumptions more so. Wilde above is as guilty of this as the reactionaries. Are you having fun beating that strawman? I find it depressing that, when your evidence was challenged by multiple people, you chose to respond to the weakest of your attackers, and continue attempting to reassert ideological dominance over that attacker rather than provide anything interesting to the conversation.
It makes you look like you subconsciously feel that your beliefs need protecting. So, this is true, but there is a problem here which is worth pointing out, I think. Where have I, specifically, insisted that anyone who disagrees with me must be evil? After all, this is the Age of Social Justice. Not that you or anyone else has the power to stop them. As for repeating after you: The post-colonial world is full of shocking tragedies caused by attempts to spread liberalism to countries lacking the prerequisites for it.
As just one example, the author mentions the pro-life and pro-choice dinner party as an example of peaceful coexistence, but what society is that taking place in?
The liberal may freely dine with the conservative he has beaten. The conservative has accepted his defeat. And Cthulu swims a little bit further to the left. I realize that HPL hated THE SAVAGE NEGRO nearly as much as reactionaries do, but Cthulhu is not, and never has been a metaphor for social progressivism and you just sound like an out-of-touch nerd for using a character created by a mediocre s pulp author to badly illustrate a concept that has nothing to do with it.
All is forgiven Giordano. This corner of the internet is full of allusions and references; best read up! That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth.
The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.
Meanwhile the cult, by appropriate rites, must keep alive the memory of those ancient ways and shadow forth the prophecy of their return. Our local verbose Jewish cult leader used the metaphor and we liked it because it conveyed the right aliefs.
LessWrong using Azathoth for evolution also sounds super-dumb and lowers my respect for those who do it. He considered the English — not Europeans in general — the fount from which all of modern civilization emerged.
That at least makes some sense, given that Azathoth is supposed to be kind of a metaphor for the blind purposelessness of the universe. If you read Moldbug at all you would know he spends a lot of time working out an attempt to explain why it is there. The skeleton of the theory is quite simple: When mass belief is considered the root of the moral legitimacy to wield power and use force, mass belief will be hacked.
A society based on consent will be eaten by consent generating factories. A current contention is that academia and academic culture outside the hard sciences is systematically compromised and biased in this direction. And articles calling for an end to academic freedom for insufficiently leftist research today. Actually, abortion was illegal in Ireland at the time. I believe the death penalty is a bad idea. Changing the law by shunning one possible dinner partner, mostly works if that one partner has a lot of political power, and you have some sort of power over zim.
Are you implying those same extreme feminists are okay with , er, hooking up with trans men? But if its a social thing, surely there are some cis men not part of the power structure?
That seems like a qualitatively different thing. I think your writing does a good job by specifically bringing up examples which run contrary to the more contrarian feminist tendency: I was under the impression that liberal feminism was quickly becoming the most relevant strain. I like your magazine! Today somebody told me that I needed to see a psychiatrist for being against feminism, and I was going to link him to your article on people who say that, but I decided on second thought that would just make the problem worse.
To the first approximation Liberal feminism is not so terrible and wrong, radical feminism is terrible and correct. These are the things that make me flinch: What makes you feel like this is worth any of your time and attention, let alone praise?
This is still somehow troubling from Scott. His general pathological niceness does not feel like an indulgence for even remotely tolerating such ugliness. This might be hypocritical of us.
If you believe atheism is correct, there is an obvious example. If you believe gender equality is correct, there is another obvious example.
What property does this civilization have that suggests that it is an exception? But hypothesis space is big, there are only so many keystrokes in a lifetime, and this horse has been exhaustively beaten.
Also metaphors are hard. I have only read two articles in Radish, this one condemning people who treat conservativism as a mental disease and informing me that propranolol treats racism which is fascinating , and this one which I find informative and hilarious.
I have been told by enough people now that all their other articles are horrible that I am inclined to believe it, and will check to see if the other articles are as bad as everyone says before praising them in the future. This is a statement which, by its nature, cannot be proved with logic or a scientific experiment.
Obviously it is inconsistent with the feminist narrative. You would have to temporarily drop the one in order to try out the other. The conduct of the American Civil War and especially its aftermath was absurdly soft on the treasonous slavers.
I agree, it would have made the ensuing fracas less bad. I… I was being sarcastic. I do not endorse genocide. I am generally opposed to most forms of mass murder. I just wanted to highlight how not all heritages are considered equal. I have greatly enjoyed this blog ever since I started reading. This post reminded me of the Less Wrong quote which I think I also first read on a different post on this blog: Does not get bullet. Never ever never for ever. My parents came here when I was one because this was a better place to live and do science and raise kids.
Thus you get things like asymmetric warfare, where the weaker side wears down the stronger by just existing. Niceness can be seen as a prevention of that failure mode when the stronger side, and ensuring survival when the weaker. Sometimes I miss the good old days, when men were men and wore Vibrams.
I kid, I kid. Funny how that happens. I think we can survive some cultural drift. The core stuff is basically the cognitive bias literature and the Sequences. And some sort of shared spirit: I do see more progressive ideas as a good thing if it leads to rationalists extracting and assimilating whatever useful insights into psychology and social structures they contain.
Dealing directly with politics is obviously pretty dangerous for individuals. But look at Scott — he engages, battles, comes out clean, and still maintains an attitude of basic benevolence. And a community of liberal-ish writers talking about the importance of reason and discourse, and becoming the most lively intellectual culture around? In my mind, the Sequences were, if not exactly preaching feminism all along, then definitely laying a very strong foundation for many feminist arguments that are just a few inferential steps away.
Certainly this was my own impression initially wading into LW. The question then becomes, what does that actually cash out to? And on the object level it cashes out to largely agreeing with feminist positions. In a lot of ways the feminist bubble seems to me a rather more sensible place than the outside world. And yet despite that I no longer call myself a feminist. And feminists in my experience try to get you to agree to the more extreme forms by a sort of guilt-laden equivocation — you agree with these basic things, right?
So, you also accept these more extreme positions… right? But men are considered suspicious. There was a recent hubbub on the internet over this article. My reaction to this was laughter — oh, now some of the women in the feminist movement are being treated like men in the feminist movement always have been! Yes, one of the insidious things about the feminist movement is the way they frame things such that the presumption is that all good and decent people agree with them.
This gives them offensive power their pronouncements are not just their own, but the pronouncements of all good and decent people as well as defensive power that you would disagree with them marks you as evil and indecent and why should we listen to what you have to say. In several comments on this post you seem to be defining feminism rather nonstandardly.
For instance, compare my comment:. Therefore, third-wave ideology focuses on a more post-structuralist interpretation of gender and sexuality. But if you take a moment to steelman it, there seem to be rather clear connections to the bits in the Sequences that I mentioned. The clearest example of this is actually a piece that Scott wrote: Those are some serious tools of feminist analysis right there: Among the useful terms feminists have appropriated from post- structuralism are […] deconstructtion.
The method consists of two related steps; the reversal and displacement of binary oppositions. This double process reveals the interdependence of seemingly dichotomous terms and their meaning relative to a particular history.
It shows them to be not natural but constructed oppositions, constructed for particular purposes in particular contexts. The literary critic Barbara Johnson describes deconstruction as crucially dependent on difference: The differences between entities … are shown to be based on a repression of differences within entities, ways in which an entity differs from itself….
And it is very similar to, for example, this bit from the WP article on queer theory:. For all important decisions, the terms should probably be tabood and replaced with the relevant attributes. I can think of groups that would hold this view. I think the paragraph you quote is itself confusing map and territory — the language of binary distinctions with the actuality of them.
For example, a common MRA refrain is that divorce courts are sexist against men, but what gender runs nearly all courts? Feminism tries to break down these gendered stereotypes and let people interact with each other on their own terms.
I encountered it first from anti-feminists as you describe but I did not update because they seemed to be speaking from hate. I have a bunch of heuristics that usually protect me from that, but maybe they failed here. So can you recommend any good feminist blogs? Ones that take the consequences of what they advocate seriously? I really would like some.
If you can provide links, I promise to give them a fair change and subscribe to any that meet these standards. Third wave feminism has literally been the mainstream kind of feminism for twenty years.
What about if an apparently neutral interview procedure leads to hiring disproportionately one gender or the other? On top of that women could be just as capable at everything as men and have the same interests and it still would be a terrible idea to have an equally mixed workforce because men and women make incredibly inefficient teams.
Evolution dictates that people will take work orders of magnitude less seriously than mating. Funny, because I a straight male worked with multiple attractive females my own age without things ever becoming complicated. Or even wanting to mate with them, more than the average amount of male noticing-attractiveness. Even though several of them were my direct subordinates and I could have mated with them without any adverse consequences to myself.
And I know dozens of men and women who have been in the same situation without mating. This is the thing that baffles me about evo-psych: It reduces humans to, well, this: This anecdotal, I admit data even fits in a framework of looking at behavior through a lens of evolutionary theory, but if you expand it with the following observation: Making evolution work requires more than eating and mating.
Especially in humans, where getting the next generation to produce a next generation requires a lot of work to feed and shelter and clothe.
Double especially modern humans, with infrastructure that takes a lot of effort to maintain. Your model says one thing but the data says another — which one is more likely to have a problem?
Also, as a military-type myself, I have been batting around ways to connect the nontraditional viewpoints discussed in these circles to certain modern military issues. Growing up as almost all of us have after two Total Wars and several conventional wars limited only by fear of nuclear escalation, pre-modern warfare seems quaint. Then I realized that democracy is essentially the same thing; armies show up, get counted, and leave.
It is bloodless combat. Reading Hoppe and a few others really put this into perspective for me. The role of ideology and nation-states as a path from this sort of warfare towards modern total wars of annihilation is something I had never considered. I think classifying groups of people into nations and then people within those nations as enemies is indeed one of the reasons wars got so bloody.
Then again, it could just be the massively higher population density. There have been some pretty bloody wars in history. Obvious example being the Mongol conquests, which tended to act upon a city that resisted them much like an atom bomb might, only with more actual blood and less tidy incineration. The Romans were pretty ugly at times, too.
Consider what they did to finally end their problem of recurring Jewish rebellions, or the eventual fate of Carthage. Chapter 3B of Book 8 War Plans deals with that question extensively, too much for me to quote the whole thing, and seems to come down pretty heavily on the politics side. The executive had become completely unified and represented the state in its foreign relations.
Armies were paid from the treasury, which rulers treated almost as their privy purse or at least as the property of the government, not of the people. Apart from a few commercial matters, relations with other states did not concern the people but only the treasury or the government.
That at least was the general attitude. A government behaved as though it owned and maintained a great estate that it constantly endeavored to enlarge — an effort in which the inhabitants were not expected to show any particular interest. War thus became solely the concern of the government to the extent that governments parted company with their peoples and behaved as if they were the state. Their means of waging war came to consist of the money in their coffers and of such idle vagabonds as they could lay their hands on either at home or abroad.
War was thus deprived of its most dangerous feature — its tendency towards the extreme, and of the whole chain of unknown possibilities which would follow. No great expansion was feasible at the outbreak of war. Safe from the threat of extremes, it was no longer necessary to go to extremes. Necessity was no longer an incentive to do so, and the only impulse could come from courage and ambition.
These, on the other hand, were strongly curbed by the prevailing conditions of the state. Even a royal commander had to use his army with a minimum of risk. If the army was pulverized, he could not raise another, and behind the army there was nothing. That enjoined the greatest prudence in all operations. Only if a decisive advantage seemed possible could the precious instrument be used, and to bring things to that point was a feat of the highest generalship.
Not only in its means, therefore, but also in its aims, war increasingly became limited only to the fighting force itself. Armies, with their fortresses and prepared positions, came to form a state within a state, in which violence gradually faded away. All Europe rejoiced at this development. It was seen as a logical outcome of enlightenment. This was a misconception. This was the state of affairs at the outbreak of the French Revolution. Suddenly war again became the business of the people — a people of thirty millions, all of whom considered themselves to be citizens.
The resources and efforts now available for use surpassed all conventional limits; nothing now impeded the vigour with which war could be waged, and consequently the enemies of France faced the utmost peril. The effects of this innovation did not become evident or fully felt until the end of the revolutionary wars. Once these imperfections were corrected by Bonaparte, this juggernaught of war, based on the strength of an entire people, began its pulverizing course through Europe.
Just in time, the reaction set in. The Spanish War [origin of the Guerrilla and Guerrilla warfare] spontaneously became a concern of the people. In the Austrian government made an unprecedented effort with reserves and militia; it came within sight of success and surpassed everything Austria had earlier considered possible. In Russia took Spain and Austria as models; her immense spaces permitted her measures [i. The result was brilliant.
In Germany, Prussia was the first to rise. She made war a concern of the people, and with half of her former population, without money or credit, she mobilized a force twice as large as she had in The result was that in and Germany [the various Germanic peoples; this was pre-unification] and Russia put about a million men in the field against France — counting all who fought and fell in the two campaigns.
Aug 23, · Suggested Essay Topics. What elements does Wilson employ to give the audience a sense that time has passed and characters have changed during the course of the play?
While looking to buy the book Fences by August Wilson this item came up and I thought it was the actual book due to the fact that what is prominent in this cover are the title and the author's name.
A list of all the characters in Fences. The Fences characters covered include: Troy Maxson, Cory Maxson, Rose Maxson, Gabriel Maxson, Jim Bono, Lyons Maxson. Mahatma Gandhi In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.
Write a five-paragraph essay about your project. Identify the aspects of your culture you have recorded and exposed. Meeting August Wilson. August Wilson’s play Fences highlights a difficult chapter in African American culture. Use the “About the Author” section on the next page to introduce August Wilson to your students. There are. Travel essay by Brandon Wilson describing the St. Olav's Way, a pilgrimage hike from Oslo to Trondheim, Norway.