Getting Out of the Filter Bubble Outside Your Filter Bubble

post by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-20T00:15:52.373Z · score: 21 (11 votes) · LW · GW · 29 comments

Related: The "Outside the Box" Box [LW · GW]

As politics becomes more polarized, and more people are trying to figure out why, more people think the answer is that too many of us are in filter bubbles, and are consequently trying to get out of them. This seems like the kind of thing the rationality community would have tried to do earlier than most people, though whether the rationality community succeeded much better than other kinds of people is an open question. One criticism of a simple rationalist approach to avoiding filter bubbles is that exclusively joining a community that aspires to avoid filter bubbles is it that the community will not be conscious of its own bias blindspot. So, the community may form its own typical suite of biases that goes unrecognized. The rationalists I know who have been the most conscientious in not falling prey to a filter bubble take this criticism to heart, and consequently look beyond the rationality community for perspectives on politics. Julia Galef recently asked a question on a similar topic on Facebook.

Now that more people beyond the rationality community are talking about how one can get out of a filter bubble, it's easier to compare different approaches to doing so. Organizations like Jonathan Haidt's Heterodox Academy (HxA) talk about getting progressives and conservatives to talk to each other more, in particular for those pockets of progressivism in academia or other elite institutions that can't relate to conservatives whatsoever to learn how to actually listen to them. HxA has a goal of conducing people to seek what's true, and I assume they're relatively better at doing so than the default approaches random people take. However, HxA also has the priority of having people seek common ground in what we believe is true because they believe doing so will lead to a healing of the political divide. That's a normative goal aside from seeking what's true, and the goal of seeking common ground among progressives and conservatives is instrumental to the achievement of the goal of healing the political divide.

However, the way HxA seeks to get people out of their filter bubbles doesn't optimize for seeking what's true, or the absolute minimization of one's filter bubble. That's because once the goal of healing the political divide in America is motivated, there isn't the motivation to optimize for what's true beyond that. So, from a perspective focused solely on pursuing what's true regardless of anything else, HxA's approach is methodologically flawed because it doesn't encourage people to consider politics outside the Overton window of the United States. Namely, the Overton window of the United States is that of political ideologies relatively compatible with liberal democracy. Conservative, progressive, liberal, or libertarian, the vast majority of Americans of all stripes appear to still support some kind of liberal democracy over what alternative political systems popular in world history they could embrace. So, there are political perspectives that are so far from anything in the American Overton window, from where their proponents are standing, the full spread of American politics looks all the same.

There is a phenomenon called the narcissism of small differences, which is "the thesis that communities with adjoining territories and close relationships are especially likely to engage in feuds and mutual ridicule because of hypersensitivity to details of differentiation." One can see this in American politics in how for the last several decades there has been what is seen as a typical bipartisan Beltway political establishment that dominates the trajectory of both the Republican and Democratic parties, ensuring that neither party strays too far away from what the consensus of elite demands. Of course, in the last few years, with the rise of nationalism within the Republican Party, and socialism at the fringes of the Democratic Party, it would appear the hold this elite establishment has on both parties is breaking. Yet there are political perspectives that are still so different from anything happening in the United States that they would look at Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and see them as essentially the same because they're both 'liberals'. That is, they're political perspectives that are so polarized they see the fact that the vast majority of Americans support some kind of liberal democracy as meaning there are essentially no fundamental differences between any two political positions in the Overton window of the United States. From their perspective, 100% of American politics is narcissistically obsessed with their own small and ultimately insignificant differences.

These would, of course, be political perspectives like anarcho-communism or monarchism. By exposing oneself to these political perspectives, you can get outside the 'filter bubble' that is the entirety of American political discourse. All of this isn't to say anything about the quality of these perspectives except that these a radically different ways to get out of the broader societal bubble many people aren't cognizant they're own personal bubble resides in.

I've found the only reliable way to be sure I am getting out of my filter bubble is to expose myself to these kinds of radically uncommon political perspectives that reject liberal democracy itself. (This is assuming, like me, you live in the United States or a similarly liberal-democratic country.) It might seem futile to try to expose yourself to illiberal perspectives, since the last time thoroughly illiberal ideologies were as remotely popular as liberal ideologies throughout the Western world was in the 19th century. Getting out of one's filter bubble by internalizing a perspective that doesn't take into account what the world is like today could feel a bit silly. What I do is familiarize myself with the historical basis of an illiberal ideology, and then read the primary sources of reactions from particular ideological communities to current events. The internet has allowed people of every political position that has ever existed to congregate online, so it's not hard to find them. Subreddits are a good place to start to see what someone who rigidly holds to a politics that isn't based in the modern practice of government, and judges current events through such a lens.

To look to these kinds of illiberal ideologies to gain greater political perspective in the pursuit of truth might strike some people as hairy. After all, isn't an assumption of contemporary American politics to look at the rest of the world, and see that in history political systems like the communism of the Soviet Union, or the old monarchies of Europe, have been tried and failed relative to liberal democracy?

As out of touch with reality as much of American politics might seem today to so many people, one could be suspicious that communists and monarchists are even more out of touch with reality in their politics still. Personally, I have approached these potential concerns not by trying to solve them as a problem, but by just being aware that an unpopular worldview that is radically different than that held by most people will probably notice something important most people miss out on, but that isn't a reason to think it's less biased than any other perspective. Much of the language I've used here is figurative, and I don't think it makes sense to think of a political ideology as literally some kind of agent with a particular set of typical beliefs. Especially for rationalists, I think it still makes much more sense to talk about seeking what's true on the level of the individual, or at least social units still much smaller than 'the set of all people who adhere to a particular ideology'.

Finally, when I started exposing myself to illiberal ideologies, I also feared I might be taken in by tyranny through my naivete or gullibility. I found this fear wasn't borne out. If there is anything about liberal democracies as they exist that you are remotely sympathetic to, or would like to preserve in society, than I expect like me it's unlikely you'll be taken in by an anti-democratic and illiberal politics without even noticing, or against your better judgement. I found the very act of periodically exposing myself to radically illiberal ideologies has been sufficient to recognize the implicit assumptions that most people living in liberal democracies hold that I also held without consciously recognizing it. So, if you're afraid of exposing yourself to illiberal ideologies because you'll be unduly taken in by them, it's not something I would worry about unless you're someone who can't help but take extremely seriously radically novel viewpoints. I'd expect most people will face the opposite problem, in that they'll radically underestimate just how thoroughly and vehemently every facet of current politics in liberal democracies is rejected. I've found it takes much deliberate and conscious effort to get myself of taking some illiberal ideologies seriously at all.

In the last few years, I've come to still hold a lot of those assumptions underpinning our current political system, since I still believe something like how liberal capitalist democracy is the worst socioeconomic and/or political system ever tried, except for all the others. However, what those assumptions were, and why I believed them about liberal democracy, and how I came to believe them based on the kind of society I lived in, was something I didn't really appreciate until I had done a decent job of exposing myself to political perspectives on the Left, the Right, and everywhere in between that reject liberal democracy out of hand.

Returning to the Heterodox Academy, none of this is to say there is anything wrong with their approach. To fully embrace an illiberal political ideology for a country like the United States would be to believe something like a very violent revolution would be justified to institute a government nothing whatsoever like what the United States has today. That would be a goal as independent of seeking what's true as is the normative goal of healing the political divide. Illiberal politics will exacerbate that goal by widening rather than narrowing the political divide. For the record, I personally am skeptical HxA's approach is optimal for achieving their goals, but I admire their goals, and my goals are certainly closer to theirs than those of illiberal ideologues. It's almost never the goal of illiberal ideologues to get out of their filter bubble. I've found they see less value in it, since they often fundamentally trust less the judgement of humans who haven't come to already share their current political beliefs. So, illiberal ideologues who don't also have something like an aspiration to rationality don't make for good cooperators in social epistemology. I think for a lot of rationalists this will curtail their desire to interact with them beyond the initial value of novel information they can provide through their unique perspectives.

Rationalists appear to prioritize seeking what's true to a degree relatively greater than people whose goals are determined by a political ideology, liberal or illiberal, more than anything else. My solution for getting out of my own filter bubble, not only to understand people around me, but to seek what's true beyond that, has been to be cognizant of the full span of contemporary political discourse, including those political perspectives that fall outside the Overton window to the left, to the right, or whatever direction.

29 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by steven0461 · 2019-05-20T19:42:21.543Z · score: 16 (5 votes) · LW · GW

When people talk about expanding their filter bubbles, it often seems like a partial workaround for a more fundamental problem that they could be addressing directly instead, which is that they don't update negatively enough on hearing surprisingly weak arguments in directions where effort has been expended to find strong arguments. If your bubble isn't representing the important out-of-bubble arguments accurately, you can still gain information by getting them directly from out-of-bubble sources, but if your bubble is biasing you toward in-bubble beliefs, you're not processing your existing information right.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-20T23:57:35.436Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW
but if your bubble is biasing you toward in-bubble beliefs, you're not processing your existing information right.

I was thinking more that people's bubbles tend to bias them toward in-bubble beliefs by default, especially if people are not consciously aware of how it could be happening. So, I was assuming lots of people won't know how to process existing info right. But, yeah, everything you've said seems correct to me.

comment by Dagon · 2019-05-20T22:51:53.415Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed, but only partly. Replace "instead" with "in addition", and I'm there. The problem is that humans are consistently bad at information hygiene, and surprisingly weak arguments are not very good evidence of anything, positive or negative.

Common beliefs that seem wrong to you _ARE_ evidence that you're not understanding something, but finding the real reasons can definitely involve more direct contact with holders of those beliefs, not just updating on them.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-20T08:16:54.005Z · score: 10 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I think this frame of filter of filter bubbles is misleading. I think Kegan's levels of development are a more useful frame for understanding the problem.

If a Kegan level 3 liberal sees a post of a conversative on Facebook, the result isn't that they get more moderate because they are exposed to views outside their filter bubble. They rather get angry and more radicalized.

We used to live in a society where the opinion makers where mostly Kega level 4 and thus didn't consider winning tribal conflicts to be the most important thing.

Postmodernism that was about getting from Kegan level 4 to level 5 unfortunately destroyed the ability of the university to bring a large number of opinion makers from Kegan level 3 to level 4 which is what a good humanities education could do before it was deconstructed.

The internet provides additional flatting by giving more power to set opinions to the majority at Kegan level 2 and 3. The conflict that exists comes from the public agenda being set by people with lower Kegan level then it used to be the case.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-20T23:52:44.053Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"Filter bubbles" are a model, but I'm not confident their merely a 'frame' in the sense they're using them. Newtonian mechanics is a misleading frame compared to Einsteinian physics. We can choose to use either. Yet both are similar enough, and both are enmeshed with how we perceive reality enough, it's acceptable for casual purposes to use Newtonian mechanics to think about physics.

I think of filter bubbles similarly: they're casually enmeshed with reality. It's a description of the effects had by progressives/liberals typically having a disproportionately progressive/liberal social media bubble, and respectively likewise for conservatives.

I think Kegan's levels of development are a more useful frame for understanding the problem.

When I came to understand the basic premise of Kegan levels, I heard one issue a lot of people can have in applying them is that someone who is on Kegan level 4 might appear to people on Kegan level 3 to be on Kegan level 2. Or someone on level 5 will appear to someone on level 4 to only be on level 3. This seems like the kind of thing that could be exacerbated by, e.g., political disagreements, such that 2 different people who are both aware of Kegan levels won't be able to reach a better disagreement because they still don't know how to initiate conflict resolution with one another. I've never seen anyone suggest how this potential problem might be remedied, so I'm not confident a Kegan levels framing makes much progress.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-21T13:19:26.361Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Two people who are at Kegan level 4 are likely to have a debate that is at it's core about which ideas are better.

Two people at Kegan level 2 or 3 are going to put more value in their tribe winning than in the inherent quality of the ideas that are under discussion.

It's a description of the effects had by progressives/liberals typically having a disproportionately progressive/liberal social media bubble, and respectively likewise for conservatives.

It's largely a non-evidence based description of effects. Horoscopes are also descriptions of effects of people being classified in a certain way.

I think he common narrative about filter bubbles makes assumptions about effect sizes that aren't well backed by empirical data even if I grant that the effects aren't zero.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-22T00:26:35.808Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted. Those are good points. I still don't know enough about how to evaluate the quality of the 'Kegan levels' framework, so I'm not sure what I should make of its application in this context.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-22T07:16:58.086Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I'm personally unsure about how reliable Kegan's framework is. But in this case I think there's a basic idea that I believe to be true:

Considering signaling and whether one's tribe wins to be the most important is not an human universal. It takes a certain amount of mental maturity to move past it and the humanities are at the moment not teaching mental maturity at the quality they used to. The democratization through the internet additionally moved power about the public narrative to people with less mental maturity.

comment by Dagon · 2019-05-22T16:54:52.682Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I don't like the Kegan framework, as I think it's missing an important factor about what level of map is important to correct decision-making. And it tends to ignore actual value divergence between individuals.

Keep in mind that it takes both "mental maturity" AND trust in your correspondents' maturity to focus on communication and truth rather than personal and tribal signaling. As trust erodes, training and encouragement of individual maturity is reduced in value, which further erodes trust. It's not clear that either one (education reduction or trust erosion) caused the other.

comment by Richard_Kennaway · 2019-05-22T12:28:48.265Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
and the humanities are at the moment teaching mental maturity at the quality they used to.

Is there a "not" missing from this?

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-22T13:25:43.764Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Yes.

comment by ryan_b · 2019-05-21T15:01:43.626Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

I experimented with manipulating the filter bubble, and while I find noticing I am in a filter bubble a useful trick for avoiding unconscious bias, I don't find it useful when deliberately thinking about a specific thing.

Consider bubble-hopping: I find a better way is to deliberately spend time inside each of the relevant filter bubbles instead. The central benefit is that this naturally pulls your perspective above the fray. If we entertain the notion that the goal is to get the problem solved, we'll need to understand what the conversation is among the different groups anyway.

As a practical matter, my impression from doing this periodically is that most of the time the conversations are completely different, to the extent that it is hard to recognize they are talking about the same thing.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-22T00:02:26.987Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW

That has been my experience as well. I didn't have a term for it, so I didn't use 'bubble-hopping' in the OP. That term captures a lot of my experience as well. A tacit part of the process I didn't include in the OP is what the experience of actually exposing yourself to different political worldviews is like. I was mostly trying to get the basic concept out. I might write another post about what it's like.

I spend my time in new, different bubbles for about as long it takes for me to get a sense or feeling that I understand the basics of how they see the world. Doing so has in the past meant immersing myself in the communications and culture of the specific political niche online and through other sources for a month or two, or not longer. There are some groups I will dip in and out of.

I would have captured all this is I had written about how to do what I was talking about in the OP. There are a couple reasons I didn't do that:

  • Like I said above, I wanted to introduce a basic concept without extra clutter.
  • A lot of the sources I consumed to understand how radically different political perspectives than the norm aren't of great quality. Neither are lots of sources for more mainstream political perspectives, but the problem is political groups seen as extremist or on the fringe are controversial. So I didn't want to unnecessarily rouse backlash by recommending some controversial sources I think are at best mediocre. I figured people could easily find sources that suit them by themselves.
  • I didn't want my post to run overly long.

If the discussion here prompts interesting insights or questions, I might write a follow-up post.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-20T08:31:34.869Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW
My solution for getting out of my own filter bubble, not only to understand people around me, but to seek what's true beyond that, has been to be cognizant of the full span of contemporary political discourse, including those political perspectives that fall outside the Overton window to the left, to the right, or whatever direction.

To me this still seems like a strong filter as it's still thinking in the one dimensional frame of politics where politics is about a certain set of questions.

The question about whether or not the US should switch to an inquisitorial legal system like Germany has, is a political question that's not much asked in contemporary political discourse.

A similar question would be whether the Anglo-Saxon paradigm of how to do accounting is really better then the old German way.

If you move further then you get to question such as whether diplomats should do exercise that increase their bodily perception before sitting down to negotiate about important matters where the question is even farther out of the Overton window.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-20T23:32:22.755Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW
To me this still seems like a strong filter as it's still thinking in the one dimensional frame of politics where politics is about a certain set of questions.

It's all relative. Most of the time when people talk about filter bubbles, I still see them only going as far as reaching across the political aisle to people who still share many if not most of their core political beliefs. I've tried going beyond that, and I thought I'd write something about it, but you're right it is still a similar and simple way to go about things. I don't doubt one can gain even more perspective by expanding the sets of questions one asks about politics.

If you move further then you get to question such as whether diplomats should do exercise that increase their bodily perception before sitting down to negotiate about important matters where the question is even farther out of the Overton window.

In a sense, any question anyone asks about any topic related to politics can be thought of as a "political question." I was thinking of "political questions" in terms of the kind of conventional and typical problems most people try to solve in politics. The question you're asking is interesting. The idea of an Overton window doesn't make sense to me in the context of the unconventional question you're asking. Of course it's about diplomacy, which is political, but it's so out of left field, "what kind of exercise should diplomats do before negotiations?" seems to me "outside the Overton window" in the same sense of the question "what should I have for lunch today?" I don't see how you mean for the two to intersect.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-21T13:35:39.553Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW
I was thinking of "political questions" in terms of the kind of conventional and typical problems most people try to solve in politics.

You can use this kind of definition of politics but you have to be careful as it means that political power has nothing to do with politics. In that frame Robert Moses can have the power to get the parliament in New York to pass whatever bill he wants without him doing anything political.

Of course it's about diplomacy, which is political, but it's so out of left field, "what kind of exercise should diplomats do before negotiations?" seems to me "outside the Overton window" in the same sense of the question "what should I have for lunch today?" I don't see how you mean for the two to intersect.

That reaction is because it's far enough outside of your Overton window that you don't have a good way to think about the question and what it means.

The question "what should I have for lunch today?" is different because you don't want to achieve political ends. Getting diplomats to do exercises to get in touch with their body on the other hand can be a means to get them to come to a peaceful resolution instead of waging war.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-22T00:17:48.593Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
You can use this kind of definition of politics but you have to be careful as it means that political power has nothing to do with politics. In that frame Robert Moses can have the power to get the parliament in New York to pass whatever bill he wants without him doing anything political.

This is a good point. It's not the definition of politics I use for everything, just for the purposes of the OP.

Getting diplomats to do exercises to get in touch with their body on the other hand can be a means to get them to come to a peaceful resolution instead of waging war.

I guess it's fine as an example for depicting how far outside the norm thinking can be. I don't think you're using the concept of "Overton window" entirely correctly with your given example. An Overton window isn't just what in a country what is normal for people to talk about in politics. It's specifically the window of acceptable political discourse. That doesn't mean just 'politically correct', because while a lot of cultural institutions in, e.g., North America are in the thrall of political correctness, the fact of the matter is there are multiple political factions who disagree with political correctness. Altogether, this leads to what might be a majority of people opposing (different kinds of) political correctness, but for different reasons. So, there is wide opposition to political correctness. It's just not centralized like the support for political correctness is. So, I'd say in the last few years, ideologies like socialism and nationalism that 20 years ago weren't in the Overton window are back into it in the United States.

It doesn't seem the example of diplomats doing exercises isn't outside the Overton window, because it doesn't strike me as politically unacceptable. It's just seems like something most people wouldn't bring up because for whatever reasons they just wouldn't see the relevance of it. Or at least they may not be able to affect the personal behaviour of diplomats, so they wouldn't be the point of discussing it.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-22T07:21:23.576Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW
It's specifically the window of acceptable political discourse.

I don't think it's within the window of acceptable political discourse within North America to discuss whether or not Trump should do some exercises that get him in touch with his body together with the Chinese before they set down to negotiate, with the goal to get them to mutual understanding of each other.

That's not an acceptable question to ask about the US-Chinese trade dispute. It's not just that answers to the questions are problematic, the question itself is outside of the window.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-22T12:06:19.617Z · score: 2 (1 votes) · LW · GW

Well, before you were using diplomats as an example, and now you're specifically talking about the POTUS, which changes everything, especially with regards to the Overton window. Suggesting the POTUS do something is of course much more sensitive than suggesting a generic/random diplomat do the same, regardless of what it is.

comment by ChristianKl · 2019-05-22T13:26:52.139Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

It would also not within the discourse to suggest that the other diploments that are involed in the negotiation should do so.

comment by Monkyyy · 2019-05-20T01:13:01.449Z · score: 4 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Where's ancap in this? Am I an "illiberal" with all these lovely things you implying about it, or am I somehow part of the American bubble?

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-20T02:02:23.060Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

My primary experience with existing communities of illiberal ideologues is with some variety of communist, or some variety of traditionalist (including, e.g., monarchists and theocrats, but excluding fascists). At least in their own online spaces, my experience is these groups are frank in their belligerence regarding the capacity for judgement among the vast swathe of people they call 'liberals'. I haven't interacted with more exclusively anarchist online spaces as much, but my impression is anarchists, including ancaps, would typically be better at being intellectually respectful of liberals than other illiberal ideologues.

My ideal politics leans towards some kind of anarchism, perhaps inclusive of some varieties of ancap, though I'd be likelier to characterize myself as a left-libertarian. I haven't yet reconciled these ideals with my politics in practice, which from an anarchist perspective would rightly be described as statist. I think of my personal politics in terms of pragmatic goals and ideal goals, as opposed to theory and praxis. To frame my politics that way, a lot of my theoretical politics is focused on understanding good designs for a stateless society, but in practice my politics are statist. I don't think this is necessarily a problem, since I see a lot of left-libertarians, including anarchists, participating in left-leaning political parties, and I know right-libertarians, including self-identified ancaps, supporting Trump. So, it seems like there is a tacit social understanding one can have a judgement of what the ideal politics for society is, while currently pursuing some other proximate ends, without that entailing one is a hypocrite. There are lots of anarchists that believe any participation within the state disqualifies one from identifying as an anarchist, but that's mostly a self-defeating position, since there are scarcely any self-identified anarchists who could say they don't participate in the state whatsoever.

I don't know if I would qualify as a liberal. I've definitely qualified as a liberal in the past. I definitely don't want to displace liberal democracies with violent revolution. It doesn't appear most people are willing to do that. I consider this a litmus test for the public perception of the legitimacy of the current political system among available options. I'm also in favour of exploring options for the practical transition from the current political system to a newer, different, better one. I'm open to the possibility the best next political system would be some variety of ancap. I just feel like I don't know enough to confidently reach a conclusion one way or another.

That is the place the implications in my post are coming from. Maybe I should have assumed LW would be more tolerant of heterodox politics, though by default I assume most spaces will still be opposed to heterodox politics, which for this post I essentially defined as "anything outside liberal democracy". It was a loose ending to my post as I was making it quickly, and so to illustrate my point I was writing rhetorically, though I wouldn't call the implications you're speaking of beliefs I strongly hold or endorse.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-20T01:42:01.731Z · score: 3 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Short answer: yes, I'd say for most people ancap would qualify as an 'illiberal' ideology, though technically it's a political ideology originating in recent American history while many if not most of varieties of ancap remain outside the American Overton window.

Communist and monarchist were 2 stereotypical examples I was using from the Left and the Right to illustrate my point. My main point wasn't about any particular ideologies, so I was trying to stay away from concrete examples in general. Anarcho-capitalism could be framed as an extremized version of right-libertarianism, which originates in classical liberalism. That could be said for other kinds of anarchism as well. While all kinds of anarchism define themselves as being centrally predicated on individual liberty, how they think about it is sufficiently different from how liberal statists think about it, it would be fair to call them 'illiberal'. The only way for anarchists to change that would be to contest any other, including all more mainstream, definitions, of 'liberal' and 'liberty'.

It's difficult to characterize ancap in the context of world politics, since it's almost exclusive to the United States. A lot of varieties of ancap seem like they're still well outside the American Overton window. Since it's so hard to characterize in the context of my post was one reason I strayed away from using ancap as an example.

comment by Monkyyy · 2019-05-20T04:08:09.072Z · score: -9 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Allow me to break your mental model futher: I'm antidemocracy, yet believe in strong consent of the governed. I read and respect "old socailism" and believe it to be the true orgin of ancap( not classical liberalism nor Austrian economics, Spooner and that branch of americain socailism contains the important elements hundard years earlier), yet deeply respect finance. The rift between me and the other types of anarchists is very deep and go back to debates from old socailism.

I'm not "respectful" of modern liberals, or those other anarchists(they like calling me awfully mean names); and I don't try to change definitions of liberty or freedom. My politics, isn't in the word games or popularity contests; but rather economics, Bitcoin and the like are the pure ancap the Trump voters are not quite hereitics but they clearly are lacking something.

I'd rather have someone go to the farmers market (and pay in cash to help them dodge taxes) then vote a certain way. Hell I'd rather have 1 person work under the table then control 100 votes. Economics, not voilence or word games.

comment by habryka (habryka4) · 2019-05-20T06:48:54.673Z · score: 8 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Hmm, you left a bunch of relatively offtopic, confusing and unnecessarily political comments since you joined. I don't know how much you read of the site-content, but my current guess is that it would be better for you to read more of the existing content on the site before trying to engage much further, or to do something else to change your commenting patters.

(This is your first moderator warning, you might receive a temporary ban if we see you commenting more like this in the future)

comment by Monkyyy · 2019-05-20T20:34:48.944Z · score: -10 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I guess *kicks ground* I'll talk to a overeager moderator then https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBMpZRUl8tw


I'm allot of things, but off topic is not one of them.

The first comment you so rudely deleted, was a joke referencing "the democracy is not consent of the governed" argument; if your missing the context, yes the joke would go straight over your head. You should go read "no treason" by spooner, then the entire backlog of ancap thought before deleting comments; or you know, you could *ask* for context.


(If its not clear, me telling you to read all of ancap thought, this is a joke at your expense because you just told me to read the backlog of less wrong, and I remember reading ai to zombies, its quite long (furthermore this is a meta joke as I'm explaining how humor works and dismantling an argument you made without referencing it directly (Triple parentheses is an alt-right "dog-whistle", this is relevant as I do this meta-modernist shit)))

For this topic, op was like "talk to and try to understand political extremists"; and I was like "I'm one of those, hi op" with a subtext of "tell me what you 'think' you know about my political view"; op heard it loud and clear and went on to explain what he thought ancap was, I responded with corrections; he's being a bit formal for my taste but this conversation will in theory go until one of us feel he understands enough.

Getting someone up to speed on the subtext and context that follows my political movement is allot of information and work I try to not to that unless someone signals to me they are interested or already in the know. The alternative would be to dump links everywhere I go; I giving you *one* reference and a self contained lesson in how the hidden world of political word play works from my prospective, I think this method is kinder and more effective then just throwing book recommendations at people.


-----


now I "could" have done the "quote, response" communication pattern, for each of my statements and the conversation could have been clearer to an outside view

>> Anarcho-capitalism could be framed as an extremized version of right-libertarianism, which originates in classical liberalism.

> I read and respect "old socailism" and believe it to be the true orgin of ancap

However, I use this style is for debates, I do not wish to trap op on a moving goal post or any such minor thing; I wanted to teach soft subtle things, not "win".

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-20T05:26:08.325Z · score: 5 (3 votes) · LW · GW
Allow me to break your mental model futher

I tend to write on LW in a frank manner, at least when I'm writing and responding more informally. I figure not hiding what my own likely prejudices or biases might be like this, I am putting all my cards on the table. I.e., it's what I can do to be honest about the limitations of my own perspective, short of writing some kind of research/analysis essay discussing my own methodology for seeing the world.

Maybe I wasn't clear enough in my last comment that is what I was trying to do in my OP. All I was trying to say about ancap is that unlike most illiberal political ideologies, it originates in the United States. So in that sense it is unique, and doesn't easily fit into a broad category. None of the things you're saying about ancap shock me, so they don't "break" my model. You do introduce some new perspective on ancap I haven't been exposed to before. Yet there is no need to be edgy.

I'm antidemocracy, yet believe in strong consent of the governed.

Yeah, I'm aware consent of the governed is an aspect of a the political philosophy behind political systems other than democratic ones.

I read and respect "old socailism" and believe it to be the true orgin of ancap( not classical liberalism nor Austrian economics, Spooner and that branch of americain socailism contains the important elements hundard years earlier), yet deeply respect finance. The rift between me and the other types of anarchists is very deep and go back to debates from old socailism.

I'm assuming by "old socialism" you mean something like 'pre-Marxian socialism'. I'm vaguely familiar with what you're referring to. My history of political philosophy for the origins of socialism in the 18th and early 19th century is a bit foggy, as I haven't gotten around to learning as much about that yet as I have about other periods in the history of political philosophy and/or socialism. I thought the debate was rooted in a variety of classical liberalism, but it's also not clear to me which thinkers belong to, as you call it, 'old socialism', classical liberalism, or other schools of political philosophy from that era. Feel free to give me any reading recommendations for the historical origins of the split between old socialism and ancap as understand it.

I'm not "respectful" of modern liberals, or those other anarchists

Yeah, you've made this abundantly clear, and are far from alone among ancaps in thinking this way.

(they like calling me awfully mean names)

Yes, this is also a common experience among ancaps.

I don't try to change definitions of liberty or freedom. My politics, isn't in the word games or popularity contests

Again, I think you're interpreting what I wrote with a tone I didn't try to put on at all. All I meant is people who adhere to different political philosophies might believe individual liberty entails different things from each other. So, it can be useful for people to define, unpack, or 'taboo [LW · GW]' their words. It's intended to make it easier and not harder for people to avoid talking past each other. While people can also make playing the game of defining words a trap, that's not true for all cases of two or more different people unpacking the different conceptions they have of the same political concept.

but rather economics

While there are a lot of totally economically illiterate people, you're making it sound like you're exceptional in having economics inform your politics, when that's obviously not the case.

Bitcoin and the like are the pure ancap

So? What's your point?

the Trump voters are not quite hereitics but they clearly are lacking something

That you'd say something like this makes you sound like a common variety of anarchist or ancap who chides some people for participating in the state, e.g., by voting, while opportunistically making exceptions for some instances of average people legitimizing the state by participating in elections. I think it can be okay for someone like yourself to make that kinds of exception if you qualify them, but you haven't. Otherwise, for you to come so strong out of the gate as anti-statist (i.e., ancap), and then so casually condone nakedly pro-statist activity like voting for Trump like that isn't a complete 180, undermines whatever point you're trying to make.

I'd rather have someone go to the farmers market (and pay in cash to help them dodge taxes) then vote a certain way.

Voting and going to the farmer's market aren't mutually exclusive. Even if someone was forced to pick one, personally, I also think for a lot of people, them making a conscientious choice to go to the farmer's market each week and buy their produce with cash is both a more impactful decision, and makes a more direct contribution to their community, than the choice of who they vote for.

Hell I'd rather have 1 person work under the table then control 100 votes.

What? The most sense I can make of this is that you're so in favour of the free market and opposed to democracy, presumably as a better way for people to be governed with their consent expressed their their choices in the market, that you think it's better for there to someone to be a labourer outside the law than to have control of 100 votes in an election. I think most people would agree that for someone to have control of 100 other votes in democracy aside from their own is worse for society than there to be a single illegal labourer. That people oppose illegal labour while also living in a society where democracy is corrupted so it's like some people have the effective power of 100 votes or more doesn't mean they agree with how corrupt democracy is. Virtually everyone who even remotely tolerates anything about democracy wants it to be much less corrupt because they think it would be much better. Especially in the United States, while there is polarization around the issue of illegal immigration, while more people are opposed to illegal immigration, on the other side of the issue there is an increasing amount of support for providing illegal immigrants currently residing in the U.S. with a path towards citizenship. These days, there is even increased support for positions like increased immigration or open borders. So these are positions all kinds of liberals are increasingly sharing with ancaps, if increased immigration or open borders is indeed a typical ancap darling you share.

Economics, not voilence or word games.

I don't know what you're addressing here. I addressed above how people can talk about definitions without it just being word games. I don't know where you got violence from. It's like you're writing this response for someone who isn't here, as opposed to my above comment. And if you're going to bring up economics, then why not say something about it?

comment by Monkyyy · 2019-05-20T21:25:47.511Z · score: -11 (3 votes) · LW · GW

There is no edge here, "I statements" are here not for as an indisputable statement, but to be direct and concise. I guess I'll adopt the debate style.

>Yeah, I'm aware consent of the governed is an aspect of a the political philosophy behind political systems other than democratic ones.

Not my point, I believe juries, not democracy is what provides the consent of the governed in the usa/British empires. I believe that I'm protecting and extending the true value in western civilization, by being anti-democracy; not the sort of thing anyone in the current paradigm is going to get at first brush.

>you mean something like 'pre-Marxian socialism'.

aye, but the they all were alive at the same time, it would be weird to call marx existence as a time period split

>I thought the debate was rooted in a variety of classical liberalism

I think that's a red scare sort of myth, the new socialists hate me, I hate them, and socialism connections would have been intentionally forgotten for decades at a time. Marx "won" the socialism debate during ww era and then anyone who liked money existing got kicked out.

>While there are a lot of totally economically illiterate people, you're making it sound like you're exceptional in having economics inform your politics, ~~when that's obviously not the case.~~

Awww how kind of you <3. But no, I was referring to agorism. Economic action as political action, criticizing when you implied that violence and voting are the main ways to change the world.

>That you'd say something like this makes you sound like a common variety of anarchist or ancap who chides some people for participating in the state, e.g., by voting

Good, I intended to. I always worry that i'm not clear. :3

>Voting and going to the farmer's market aren't mutually exclusive

All actions have an opportunity cost, thats an exterme example as its dealing with tiny details. But reading the news from dozens of sources is rapidly mutually exclusive with being upto date on the whitepapers in the coin markets.

>What? The most sense I can make of this is that you're so in favour of the free market and opposed to democracy, presumably as a better way for people to be governed with their consent expressed their their choices in the market,

Your getting closer to understanding.

This is agorism, the importaint bit to ancap.

For example this was written by spooner in 1858 in ""A Plan for the Abolition of Slavery, and To the Non-Slaveholders of the South"" "Until such new governments shall be instituted, to recognize the Slaves as free men... sell them firearms and teach them the use of them; to trade with them"

This is a spectrum of course, farmers markets are slightly different from arms dealing. But this is where I feel effective action exists.

comment by Evan_Gaensbauer · 2019-05-21T00:07:41.101Z · score: 4 (2 votes) · LW · GW
Awww how kind of you <3. But no, I was referring to agorism. Economic action as political action, criticizing when you implied that violence and voting are the main ways to change the world.

I'm familiar with agorism. When I said there was 'liberal' ideologies and 'illiberal' ideologies, I didn't mean to imply that respectively through each voting and violence are exclusively the ways through which people change the world. It's not a great framing, I admit, but you're making mountains out of molehills, and positing me as believing a bunch of things I don't, and assuming I am much more ignorant than I actually am.

All actions have an opportunity cost, thats an exterme example as its dealing with tiny details.

You're being pedantic. The fact that economically, all actions have opportunity costs, has nothing to do with what we're talking about here. The time you took to write the above comment imposed an opportunity cost of time you couldn't spend spreading agorism, or whatever.

I'm not going to engage your comment further, because it's not worth my time. Another reason I'm saying this things like this in a public comment because I want it to serve as a signal to others on LW that this is how you tend to engage others, and how you persist in writing poor responses even when someone is willing to engage you. Your comments are making bogus assumptions, are full of grammar and spelling errors that make sections of your writing incoherent, and you're setting things up to be some kind of petty debate when nobody else was reading that into the conversation.