You seem to have excluded a middle option, namely "I am in favor of heretics not being thrown to the lions, and no amount of bird-related omen interpretation will sway my opinion on the subject one way or another."
comment by bio_logical
· score: -4 (4 votes) · LW
Here on Lesswrong, I'd favor such an argument. However, What happens when you look at a giant crowd of people with their bird masks on, and all of them are looking at you for an answer, and they're about to throw the heretic to the lions, because they lack moral consciences of their own? It's hard to argue against a "dishonest" strategic argument that still allows the heretic to live, when logic is out-gunned. Even so, I think that such a thing could be stated here, especially with an alias, in case you're called for jury duty in the future and want to "Survive Voir Dire."
...This is an old political question. There are a lot of people who were forced to answer it in times when right and wrong suddenly came into clear focus because it became "life or death." Anne Frank is hiding in the attic: you have to be "dishonest" to the Nazis who are looking for her. In that case, dishonesty is not only "legitimate" it's the ONLY moral course of action. If you tell the truth to the Nazis, you are then morally reprehensible. You are morally reprehensible if you don't even lie convincingly.
Here's another example where the status quo is morally wrong, and (narrow, short-term, non-systemic, low-hierarchical-level) dishonesty is the only morally acceptable pathway: A fugitive slave has escaped, and is being pursued by Southern bounty-hunters and also Northern judges, cops, and prosecutors. He can be forcibly returned on your ex parte testimony, and you'll even get reward money. Yet, if you don't make up a lie, you're an immoral part of a system of slavery, and an intellectual coward.
Here's an example that is less clear to the bootlickers and tyrant-conformists among the Lesswrong crowd: You're called for jury duty. The judge is trying to stack the jury full of people who will agree to "apply the law as he gives it to them." Since the other veniremen are simpletons who have no curiosity about the system they live under that goes beyond the platitudes they learned in their government school, the judge is likely to succeed. You however, are an adherent to the philosophy of Eliezer Yudkowsky, and you have read about jury rights on a severely down-ranked "mind-killed" comment at Lesswrong. You know the defendant's only hope is someone who knows that the judge is legally allowed to lie to the jury, the same way the police are, by bad Supreme Court precedent. You know that the victimless crime defendant's only hope is an independent thinker who will get seated on the jury and then refuse to convict. The defendant will be sent to a rape room for 20 years, to have his young life stolen from him, and have his hopes and dreams destroyed, if you fail to answer the "voir dire" questions like the other conformists, and fail to get seated. So, you get seated, and then, knowing that you are superior in power to the judge once seated, you vote to acquit, exercising your right to nullify the evil laws the defendant is charged with breaking.
All three of the prior lessons reference the same principle: lying to an illegitimate system is proper and moral. Yet, the powerful status quo derides this course of action as "immoral." Thus, it is the domain of proper philosophy to address the issue, and provide guidance to those who lack emotional intelligence.
(Ideally, if Lesswrongers are actually "less wrong" about a subject, the uprank and downrank features could begin to indicate real political intelligence, or how closely one's argument mirrors reality, or a viable philosophical position. --regardless of whether advocates in one direction or another are "mind-killed" or not. Even a "brain-dead" or "mind-killed" person can say 2+2=4. So maybe that truth doesn't get upvoted, because it's obvious. It's still true. And in times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.)
Ultimately, political arguments decide policy. Policy will then decide which innocents will live or die, and whether those innocents will be killed by you, or defended by you.
That's what politics is. That most people lack any kind of a political philosophy and simply "root for their color" is a tangential aside that has now superseded the legitimacy of the debate.
I prefer to have arguments act as soldiers, because that's still preferable to actual soldiers acting as soldiers. That's still debate. We're all adults here. My feelings won't be hurt when this is downvoted into oblivion and I need to create another profile in order to down-vote somebody's stupid (unwittingly self-destructive) comment.
Which, by the way, should be the criterion for judging all political arguments: what is the predicted outcome? What is the utility? What is the moral course of action based on a common moral standard? How do the good guys win?
Good guys: abolitionists, allies in WWII, people who sheltered Shin Dong-Hyuk and didn't report him to the secret police in his Escape from Camp 14, the Warsaw ghetto uprising's marksmen (not the ones who tried to inform on them, or who counseled putting faith in "god")
Worthless: The people hooting down debate as "mind-killing," those who counseled faith in god in the warsaw ghetto, the people who turn anti-government meetings into prayer sessions, those who gave up their friends to avoid being killed by the KGB, etc., those who suggest silencing political debate about ending the drug war because "it's a downer" (as much of a "downer" as living 14 years or more behind bars like Gary Fannon? --you callous, uncaring pukes!)
Bad guys: the slave owners, the plantation owners who politically opposed abolition, the Nazis, the KGB, the teacher who beat the little girl to death for hiding a few kernels of corn in her pocket inside North Korea's Camp 14, those who want the drug war to continue because they profit from it, people with a lot of private property who vote for the state to control all private property, etc.
Being dim witted and shutting down debate is not being the opposite of mind-killed. It's not being philosophical. It's being brain-dead far worse than being mind-killed --it's being "inanimate to begin with," or "still-born."
That would be a good comeback for those accused of being "mind-killed." "Tell me how I'm mindlessly taking a side of an irrational argument, or bear the true appellation of 'still-born' or philosophically absent, follower, conformist."
And isn't that the most damning charge anyway? "Conformist." Someone who adopts a philosophical position without any reason, simply because there's safety in numbers, and someone in authority gave the command. Big strong men who don't dare to defend a logical principle, physically brave, but intellectually weak. ...The core of the Nuremburg defense, which was universally ruled illegitimate by western philosophy, law, and civilization.
I suspect that the real fear on this board is that narrow logic divorced from reality is no longer adequate to defend one's reputation as a thinker.
"Going with the flow" might work in an uncorrupted, civilized regime. Now, show me one! This is really why people don't want to have to reference reality. Reality implies a bare minimum standard in terms of moral responsibility, and that's the most terrifying idea known to the majority of men and women, worldwide.
How else do you explain the very low moral standards and corresponding bad results of the majority?
The majority are conformists, guided by power-seeking sociopaths. This isn't just a fringe theory, it's a truth referenced by all great political thinkers. To deny this omnipresent truth is to indicate an internal problem with moral comprehension, or basic philosophy.
Those who want to kill or punish anyone should be highly suspect, and a natural question follows: would that be retaliatory force, or "preemptive" force? There is always a path to the truth for those who know how to ask the right questions. Rather than point at someone like Donald Sutherland in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" while typing out "mind-killed," perhaps it would make sense learning a little bit of economics, law, and libertarian philosophy, and asking some questions about it to try to see where it's fundamentally mistaken. The same goes for supporting arguments of a political position.
I'm always willing to tell you why I think I'm right, and offer evidence for it that meets you on your own terms and your own comprehension of reality, and individual facts and evidence within it. I can drill down as far as anyone wishes to go.
What I can't do is respond in any meaningful way to a crowd of people yelling "mind-killed" as a thrown bottle bounces off my lectern and my mic is turned off. That's what Karma does to political conversations. It lets those who feel intelligent kill the debate, and kill the emergence of the Lesswrong cybernetic mind.
“Political tags — such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth — are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
“Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love
“Goodness without wisdom always accomplishes evil.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
comment by Lumifer
· score: 0 (0 votes) · LW
You haven't said much besides "I'm right and you're wrong".
I am wary of people with black-and-white minds.