Posts

Only selfimmolate if you care about what foreigners think 2011-07-21T22:25:06.205Z · score: -15 (22 votes)
The importance of Not Getting the Joke 2011-07-17T09:34:15.104Z · score: 3 (23 votes)

Comments

Comment by charliesheen on [LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist · 2014-01-13T07:36:48.430Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

You know the problem with not outright saying that what you are advocating is actually eugenics is that eventually someone else will do it for you.

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-18T21:48:17.404Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

use the evidence that you see to update your model of the world,² and your model of the world to decide which possible behaviours would be most likely to achieve your goals

I endorse this advice. Note however some consider this in itself unethical when it comes to interpersonal relations. I have no clue why.

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-17T15:49:50.972Z · score: 8 (18 votes) · LW · GW

I'm actually at the point when I think it is impossible to give men useful advice to improve their sex lives and relationships because of the social dynamics that arise in nearly all societies. Actually good advice aiming to optimize the life outcomes of the men who are given it has never been discussed in public spaces and considered reputable.

Same can naturally be said of advice for women. I think most modern dating advice both for men and women is anti-knowledge in that the more of it you follow the more miserable you will end up being. I would say follow your instincts but that doesn't work either in our society since they are broken.

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-17T15:46:06.215Z · score: 21 (23 votes) · LW · GW
  1. Approach lots of women
  2. Act confident
  3. Have entertaining things to say
  4. Dress and groom well

...

If all PUA said was those 4 things, it wouldn't be interesting or controversial

This sounds reasonable until you actually think about the four points mentioned in Near mode. Consider:

  1. What does approaching lots of women actually look like if done in a logistically sound way? How does this relate to social norms? How does this relate to how feminists would like social norms to be?

  2. Observe what actually confident humans do to signal their confidence. Just do.

  3. Observe what is actually considered entertaining in a club envrionment that most PUA is designed to work in.

You know most of the things considered disreputable that PUAs advocate are precisely the result of first observing how points one to three actually work in our society and then optimizing to mimic this.

Only dressing and grooming well is probably not inherently controversial and even then pick up artists are mocked for their attempts to reverse engineer fashion that signals what they want to signal.

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-17T15:19:56.336Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

uncritically downvote anything feminist sounding, and upvote armchair ev-psych;

This is frustrating to read since complaints of other groups that amount to the same thing are ignored, but then again this is to be expected.

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-17T15:18:39.182Z · score: 2 (8 votes) · LW · GW

From the complaints (and not just here and now) it seems obvious that there is a problem we really should solve.

There being a problem people complain about and it actually being worth solving are remarkably uncorrelated. Here is an argument I made on the matter in the past.

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women: LW Online · 2013-02-17T15:14:36.143Z · score: 5 (15 votes) · LW · GW

Schelling point for metacontrarian replies of the sort I currently don't feel like making but probably need to be made despite bad signalling.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Noam Chomsky Killed Aaron Schwartz · 2013-01-16T19:02:19.736Z · score: 6 (16 votes) · LW · GW

No dude. Just no. If that becomes policy I'm out of here.

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T09:54:08.671Z · score: 10 (12 votes) · LW · GW

Okay, so... you're going to argue that undersocialized straight white males in 1st world countries currently suffer the most? And what else? Because I already agree that they have it bad, and I can't for the life of me think of any other oppressed group that is denied publicity.

Consider the context of this debate. Are you really sure (mostly) white (mostly) heterosexual (mostly) middle class women are really the most depriviliged group present on LessWrong?

Yet clearly they are the ones with the most explicit political activism and seem to be winning the popularity contest here. See any kind of controversy over sex/romance/gender/PUA we've had over the past oh... 5 years?

Comment by charliesheen on LW Women- Minimizing the Inferential Distance · 2012-11-28T09:51:52.249Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Apply this argument to the politics of suffering Konkvistador talked about.

Comment by charliesheen on Why is Mencius Moldbug so popular on Less Wrong? [Answer: He's not.] · 2012-11-21T17:38:36.343Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Name three.

Comment by charliesheen on Does My Vote Matter? · 2012-11-05T20:58:19.697Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

nonpartisan analysis

Please vote for Mitt Romney if and only if you throw a fair die and it comes up greater than 2.

Was that a partisan appeal or not? Be consequentalist about policy analysis, I dare you.

Comment by charliesheen on Any existential risk angles to the US presidential election? · 2012-09-20T19:47:04.923Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Democrats are more likely to take the risk of a global pandemic serious

If its a foreign plague I actually expect Republicans be better at quarantine.

Comment by charliesheen on Any existential risk angles to the US presidential election? · 2012-09-20T19:39:19.808Z · score: 16 (26 votes) · LW · GW

Which administration is less likely to increase Peter Thiel's taxes?

I'm fairly certain he is spending it better than the USG. Considering what kind of charity he spends it on, it doesn't seem like he gives to charity to get tax brakes or buy status for bragging at cocktail parties. I'm fairly sure a richer Peter Thiel translates into a better less existential risk exposed world.

Edited: People don't seem to be following my Peter Thiel link, it goes to the Top Donors for the Singularity Institute:

Thiel Foundation $1,100,000

Comment by charliesheen on How about testing our ideas? · 2012-09-14T12:37:35.651Z · score: 4 (14 votes) · LW · GW

How about testing our ideas?

Actually judging clever articles by the rent they demonstrably pay in anticipated experience? This idea is too radical Konkvistador. Don't you know that hand waving or reading papers is fun and testing is like ... work?

Comment by charliesheen on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2012-09-12T20:19:00.320Z · score: 6 (8 votes) · LW · GW

"This has traditionally been a very divisive point within radical feminism, and it typically divides the discussion into transphobic social-constructionist radical feminists and neo-essentialist post-feminists."

I'm just wondering would you mind reading Moldbug? I want to see the resulting philosophy for the lulz.

Comment by charliesheen on LessWrong could grow a lot, but we're doing it wrong. · 2012-09-01T10:57:34.475Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

You guessed the teacher's password!

How clever of you to share another one! A gold star for both of us! Can you now explain why trusting a sound rationalist's or specialist's conclusions based on their authority if one hasn't the time to investigate them oneself is wrong from a Bayesian perspective?

Now, can you recite (and criticize) his reasons?

I think it mattes for his arguments about us being the pattern in our brain rather than the meat of our brain. But again I haven't read all of the QM sequence, I don't recall claiming I was a particularly good rationalist, all I claimed was that: "It really really helps to be comfortable with math to do rationality, there is no way around it. "

You don't need to be a great rationalist to see that.

Why? There is very little math in the Sequences, and almost none beyond the American grade 10 equivalent. Most is simple arithmetic and an occasional simple equation.

Please tell me how many Americans with 10 grade equivalent can read and understand any of the statistics used in papers LWers cite. How much of a gwern do they have in them? Those who can't and don't read the studies cited are taking EY's or gwern's or lukeprogs conclusions on various topics as much on authority as I am the relevance of QM to rationality.

Comment by charliesheen on Open Thread, August 16-31, 2012 · 2012-09-01T10:23:01.161Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW · GW

Actually the word race is about what part of your ancestry you identify with or society identifies you with. Obviously both culture and genetic diversity correlate strongly with ancestry. The word race was also used in a taxonomic sense in the early 20th century. Indeed racial classification is still used that way in say medicine though naturally euphemisms are gaining popularity.

not the Bantu and the Scot as haplogroup L3 and the San as L0. Why overload the word

You really miss the point here so I suspect you didn't read the article.

When you take a look at the entire genome of the person and look for clusters in thing space you find groupings that basically match old racial classifications. For all the number crunching gene analysis that went into it this map does not much differ the map Lothrop Stoddard would have presented when asked about the distribution of racial groups before the Age of Discovery. Clearly they are touching the same underlying reality.

Sure looking at one or two genes a Scott might be more similar to a San than a Sardinian, but as you increase the number genes you are looking at, the similarity more and more matches to the first approximation what you'd guess from looking at faces.

Why overload the word, if not to justify preexisting racism?

Creating two words for the basically the same cluster in thing space in order to diffuse "x-ism" will only makes the x-ists feel more clever than they are. This gives the ideologies they create a new source from which to pump warm fuzzies into believers and a hook with which to appeal to people who figure out it is the same cluster.

Comment by charliesheen on LessWrong could grow a lot, but we're doing it wrong. · 2012-08-31T19:32:09.681Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't. However EY keeps emphasizing how crucial the QM sequence is to the other material, so I take his word at it.

I do think probability theory and a lot of other math is a must.

Comment by charliesheen on The noncentral fallacy - the worst argument in the world? · 2012-08-27T18:04:09.211Z · score: 5 (16 votes) · LW · GW

"Affirmative action is racist!" True if you define racism as "favoring people based on their race", but though the archetypal case of racism (white people keeping black people down) has nothing to recommend it, affirmative action (possibly) does. In the archetypal case, decisions are made based on race, success is completely decoupled from merit, and disadvantaged groups are locked into a cycle of poverty with little to no escape. Affirmative action keeps the first disadvantage, arguably escapes the second disadvantage depending on the setup of the particular program, and positively subverts the third. The question then hinges on the relative importance of these disadvantages. Therefore, you can't dismiss affirmative action without a second thought just because it's racist and you can dismiss most cases of racism without a second thought. You would also have to demonstrate that the unique advantages of affirmative action which other forms of racism lack fail to outweigh the disadvantages affirmative action shares with racism in general.

I think most contemporary invocations of "That's racist!" are examples of the worst argument in the world so I'm not so sure about that.

Comment by charliesheen on Open Thread, March 1-15, 2012 · 2012-08-27T17:07:05.070Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Good point about the Weimar Republic as an example of failure mode of democracy. I'm not sure whether it's germaine that part of the failure was it ceasing to be a democracy. Any other examples?

Here you go:

To promote an informed population and democracy in Rwanda, international agencies had promoted development of the media during the years leading up to the genocide.[27] It appeared that promoting one aspect of democracy (in this case the media) may, in fact, negatively influence other aspects of democracy or human rights. After this experience it has been argued that international development agencies must be highly sensitive to the specific context of their programmes and the need for promotion of democracy in a holistic manner.[27]

My comment on it.

Comment by charliesheen on LessWrong could grow a lot, but we're doing it wrong. · 2012-08-27T09:18:53.216Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW · GW

I would like to see more diversity. Not just in terms of demographics (though that too)

To take a stab at that applause light.

Ceteris paribus yes I can agree diverse contributors may be beneficial to our mission. Especially value diversity, since differences in desired conclusions may lead to motivated cognition being called out more. But I think when most people speak of diversity they don't have that kind of diversity in mind. So sticking to the other kinds, I have to note that I haven't seen a single data driven argument for this why this would be so in actual humans. It is simply assumed or asserted. I'm pretty sure this is so because it happens to be a sacred value of our society. While cyberspace is clearly different from meatspace, studies done in meatspace seem to show diversity has negative effects that are seldom talked about.

But leaving aside such undesired consequences let me just point out that the ceteris paribus in my first paragraph is also unlikely. Very small differences can result in almost complete homogenization. Not only has it proven difficult, expensive and perhaps mostly ineffective to do this in meatspace, you would actually need to keep a delicate balancing act to keep a certain heterogenus mix together if your goal isn't to simply swap one group for another. I think we already spend insufficient attention spent on gardening and this would be just one more difficult task to add to the list.

Once more I ask why no one ever subjects such proposals to explicit cost-benefit analysis?

Comment by charliesheen on LessWrong could grow a lot, but we're doing it wrong. · 2012-08-27T09:00:10.540Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

There is nothing inherent in rationality that should limit it to computer/ math/ physics/ philosophy types.

Actually, I'm pretty sure there is.

It really really helps to be comfortable with math to do rationality, there is no way around it. The kind of people who have both the capability and interest to master things like programming or probability theory or Quantum mechanics will tend to be what you call "computer/ math/ physics/ philosophy types".

There are highly intelligent people in other fields also, and I feel like people from other disciplines could introduce an influx of new ideas.

But again how do you know we don't already efficiently mine smart people from other disciplines? Surely you don't expect smart people to be evenly distributed between professions? Consider the 2011 census:

In order of frequency, we include 366 computer scientists (32.6%), 174 people in the hard sciences (16%) 80 people in finance (7.3%), 63 people in the social sciences (5.8%), 43 people involved in AI (3.9%), 39 philosophers (3.6%), 15 mathematicians (1.5%), 14 statisticians (1.3%), 15 people involved in law (1.5%) and 5 people in medicine (.5%).

Computer scientists probably are overrepresented and there are some fields we could recruit from more. For example I think we would benefit greatly from more economists and biologists, since more and more LWers are unfamiliar with some relevant basics in those fields as we've had less emphasis on those questions since the Overcoming Bias days.

We can reduce the computer science share but I don't think we can reduce the "computer/ math/ physics/ philosophy types" share without lower standards, either with regards to intelligence or by reducing the focus on human rationality.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Social interventions gone wrong · 2012-08-22T06:45:47.196Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Oh yes I fully agree. I wasn't trying to start a discussion on gay marriage after all! Its just the title the author chose.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Social interventions gone wrong · 2012-08-20T18:38:07.929Z · score: 10 (14 votes) · LW · GW

I find it exceedingly unlikely that increasing "stigma and fear" will reduce such behavior.

I found this article interesting overview of examples of unintended consequences of past changes, that makes a case for being very cynical of this particular kind of argument:

A Really, Really, Really Long Post About Gay Marriage That Does Not, In The End, Support One Side Or The Other

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Social interventions gone wrong · 2012-08-20T18:33:57.433Z · score: 5 (13 votes) · LW · GW

I find it exceedingly unlikely that increasing "stigma and fear" will reduce such behavior. For instance, out-of-wedlock births, teen pregnancy, divorce, etc. are all higher in more socially conservative societies — including when we compare the U.S. vs. Western Europe, or "red states" vs. "blue states" within the U.S. ...

I find it very likely that they will since social shaming is among the most powerful means a culture can employ to maintain norms.

Blue state vs. Red state comparisons as well as Western Europe vs. USA are weaker than they seem because of demographics differences. The US Black population was particularly hard hit by the fallout of the sexual revolution, partially leading to the infamous circumstances in the US inner cities. Also note that the heavily shame based groups such as say the Amish or the Mormons in the US maintain very low rates of such dysfunction.

We clearly also clearly see that all Western societies used to have far fewer unwed mothers, less divorce and teen pregnancy when these where more strongly shamed before the sexual revolution. Obviously empirically observed covariation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for causality.

But in the light of what else we know of humans I'm pretty sure there is causality there.

Comment by charliesheen on Open Thread, August 16-31, 2012 · 2012-08-19T09:03:34.554Z · score: 7 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Races are clusters in DNA-space by James_G

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-14T05:25:25.788Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Marriage is getting less common.

Marriage rates have basically collapsed among lower SES African Americans in the US and dropped significantly for all other classes as well. In addition to this the number of relationship hours one can expect from a marriage is that the average age of marriage is getting higher and higher for women.. In addition to this divorce rates are high and mostly driven by women, for example:

Evidence is given that among college-educated couples, the percentages of divorces initiated by women is approximately 90%.

Both also speak of a probably lower quality of relationship hours as does a lower satisfaction with marriage than in the past.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T20:09:42.270Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

Charlie, your argument style in this conversation started insightful and tactfully expressed. It has become lax and contemptuous.

I can see that now, I was tired and went emotional. Sent an apology to novalis and I'll retract the ones that now seem inappropriate.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T18:31:19.873Z · score: 4 (6 votes) · LW · GW

The link was there since before your responded. All I was saying that if you don't see my argument yet I won't be bothering with you further today since people are wrong on the internet all the time and I'm unfortunately mortal. Maybe I will write up a post in response tomorrow or maybe someone else can pick up where I ended.

I might have had more patience with you if you hadn't so clearly displayed tribal feeling in the OP btw. Thought I must admit once you threw around "rape apologist" that made me laugh hard enough to forgive you.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T17:46:31.433Z · score: -1 (7 votes) · LW · GW

You get the kinds of arguments you deserve brah. But I know it kind of sucks, its like when someone sneaks in an ad hominem or something like that.

One might uncharitably describe this as the "nerds whining about not having a girlfriend" argument..

At this rate I don't think I'll be able to cure your brain today.

My condolences.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T17:37:53.510Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW · GW

You are missing the point.

There is no shortage of available employers either!

A man being desired by other women is intrinsically sexy to women. Consider what this means if you take a laissez-faire approach to the sexual marketplace.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T17:34:18.374Z · score: -2 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Serial monogamy is not equivalent to polygamy, because at any time, there are in fact plenty of partners to go around. I have no idea why you would think there is any similarity at all

Also, of course, the term "alpha" does not in any way describe human behavior in Western society.

Run rationalization hamster run!

Just in case there is a misunderstanding I was using PUA terminology.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T17:27:37.722Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

The difference, of course, is that there is in fact no shortage of available partners.

There is no shortage of available wealth either! I don't know why those Africans go on starving when we clearly have enough food for everyone on the planet. I mean all they have to do is arrange to get hired by someone and then buying some food!

There is in fact no shortage of people employing desirable employees.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T17:11:00.785Z · score: 6 (12 votes) · LW · GW

One might uncharitably describe this as the "nerds whining about not having a girlfriend" argument.

I know! Its like those icky poor people whining about material inequality.

Serial monogomy, rather than polygyny, constitutes the vast majority of all Western relationships. So I just don't think it's true that there's unequal access.

This might shatter your brains, serial monogamy in practice basically is soft polygamy. You badly need to read some of Roissy's writing on how sexual attraction seems to work if your own IRL observations haven't sufficed. Once there do a search for "hypergamy".

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T10:45:49.450Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Or rather they might believe that, yes, some men are dangerous but my current boyfriend is an exception.

We have evidence precisely this is happening.

Ovulating women perceive that sexy cads would be good fathers to their own children but not to the children of other women.

Strongly recommend people follow the link to read K's comments on it as well as the original paper.

Comment by charliesheen on What is moral foundation theory good for? · 2012-08-13T10:00:42.936Z · score: 17 (17 votes) · LW · GW

I just can't imagine a woman saying, "yeah, he's going to rape my daughter, but I really love him!"

You have a very limited imagination and limited experience in moving outside middle our upper class social circles or you are being dishonest. Go out and meet some young people in your nearest underclass neighbourhood. Or if that is too scary read up on the sociology papers on such communities.

Even outside of that, women find dark triad traits sexually attractive in men. Getting away with violence is also sexy. Now pause to consider in addition to thins things like Stockholm syndrome and do the math.

Also to add mere anecdotal evidence a good friend of mine in primary school was routinely beaten up by the trashy boyfriends his mother dragged home so I have very little patience for "oh noble mothers never make bad decisions for their kids in order to follow their romantic or sexual preferences!" sacredness signalling.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Admitting to Bias · 2012-08-11T14:12:53.627Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I'm sure you've read the sorts of arguments I would make before and been unconvinced.

Yes because I think the strong moral revulsion the average Western person has towards "racism" comes from ethics based on sacredness (I recommend your read Tinkerbell ethics series by Sister Y to see what I mean by sacred) and not due to consistent application of utilitarian ethics.

Not to say lots of "racism" might not reduce overall or average utility, but the same could be said of the targets of other emotionally charged arational revulsions. For example some people are revolted by sexual promiscuity or material inequality and proceed to sometimes build convincing utilitarian arguments against them.

But clearly their bottom line was written before the rationalized argument.

I'm not trying to put you down here, everyone has sacred spots like that. And we probably share the kinds of spots we have if not their intensity. I'm emotionally disturbed by a high enough setting of "racism" too and I'm pretty sure a high enough level of sexual hedonism might be emotionally disturbing to you.

So let's drop it, yes?

I can see how these debates might be counter-productive, but are you sure? I find debates on ethics fun. :)

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Admitting to Bias · 2012-08-11T14:05:48.819Z · score: 2 (6 votes) · LW · GW

If someone's belief that white people have higher average IQ than black people was based on evidence that white people have higher average IQ than black people, they'd very likely believe that East Asians and Ashkenazi Jews have even higher average IQ. If they don't also believe that, I'd strongly suspect their belief is based on something else

I agree with this assessment, since such a person is likely just searching for good things to say about one group and bad things to say about another.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Admitting to Bias · 2012-08-11T10:06:17.431Z · score: 7 (13 votes) · LW · GW

Can you tell me what the word "racist" means?

The use of "racist" is generally very wide and means several different meanings, their only common point is that they are boo lights that are hard to get rid of once someone accuses you of them.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Admitting to Bias · 2012-08-11T09:55:22.978Z · score: 0 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Wikipedia definition:

A hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Admitting to Bias · 2012-08-11T06:18:26.421Z · score: 4 (8 votes) · LW · GW

I don't think VDARE is a hate group.

Comment by charliesheen on [Link] Admitting to Bias · 2012-08-10T15:57:33.241Z · score: 5 (9 votes) · LW · GW

In other news the group X has decided that the most reasonable set of political positions is held by the ideology Y. It just happens to be the ideology that has a ready made and politically viable arguments for more funding to be funnelled to group X.

Comment by charliesheen on Suber, "The Ethics of Deep Self-Modification" · 2012-08-06T12:34:01.043Z · score: 10 (16 votes) · LW · GW

It might start a session of self-modification by looking for the secret of joy and end (like some Greek sages) deciding that tranquillity is superior to joy. This modification of desire en route to realizing it is easily classified as learning, and deserves our respect. But imagine the case of a machine hoping to make itself less narcissistic and more considerate of the interests of others, but ending by desiring to advance its own ends at the expense of others, even through violence.

It might start a session of self-modification by looking for the secret of something we like and (like a high status group of people) deciding that applause light is superior to something we like. This modification of desire en route to realizing it is easily classified as learning, and deserves our respect. But imagine the case of a machine hoping to make itself less unlikeable and more likeable, but that ends up pursuing unlikeable goals, even through the use of boo lights.

Machines that self-modify can fail at goal preservation, which is a failure if you want to optimize for said goals. No need to import human value judgements, this only confuses the argument for the reader.

Comment by charliesheen on Is Politics the Mindkiller? An Inconclusive Test · 2012-08-02T07:26:20.901Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

The reasons why they might be anti-correlated Thiel explores seem mostly about the US and not some hypothetical country of mostly Libertarian voters. The thing is no such country exists in the world and this is I think no coincidence.

Democracy is like having dinner in a expensive restaurant with a few million people where everyone knows they will be splitting the bill at the end of the evening. The incentives are both on a organizational and individual level messed up and we rationalize our choices afterwards to make them seen less like defecting against other people. If this wasn't bad enough people for some reason tend to have strong sentiments attaching them to their state of birth, which leaves them open to exploitation by that Eldritch Abomination. Note that I fully agree that "the market" is one too. Then there is the Moldbuggian argument that in a democracy power corrupts the truth finding mechanisms of a society. The map the society uses veers off in all sorts of unpredictable but memetically adaptive ways from the territory. One of the more insidious edits is the doddle at the centre of the map claiming that you are living in a good approximation of a Popperian Open Society.

In short democratic government like many structures built out of humans doesn't necessarily behave in human friendly ways. We have strong evidence that it is viral and good at waging 19th and 20th century style wars, weak evidence that it is less unfriendly than most structures we have tried in the past and even weaker if any evidence that we can't come up with something much better.

That's a tautology. Because they are better places, you call them first world countries.

You are right. I should have said Western Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan are nicer places to live and more free than say Iran, Egypt or Nigeria but the reason probably isn't democracy.

While redundantly worded I think the original statement still makes sense. Countries that are nicer places to live may tend to be democracies, but they also tend to have higher rates of diabetes. Why do we assume democracy is causing the niceness and not diabetes? This is hyperbole of course, but what if democracy is diabetes human societies get when becoming wealthy or too large?

Comment by charliesheen on Is Politics the Mindkiller? An Inconclusive Test · 2012-08-02T06:34:58.462Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

I have added a source for Peter Thiel's statement, some of his reasons are also mine.

My previous belief was primarily based on adults telling me as a child that democracy was the mechanism keeping us free. My change of opinion stems in large part for me looking for the appropriate evidence for such a claim and not finding it.

One of the arguments that kept me believing in my early teenage years was that looking around the world one sees "democracies" as better places to live and more free than "non-democracies". This isn't powerful evidence at all since we have only a handful of countries in the world that don't claim to be democracies. The problems of this poor data set are compounded by first world people play a game of no true Scotsman to explain the terrible results democracy brings to many third world countries, often with sentiments not far from:

Genocide in Rwanda? Clearly they weren't a true democracy yet! A key element was clearly missing.

Note this is a fully general argument against all failure of any political regime or ideology, one that is often use to explain away the atrocities of Communism under Stalin or Mao.

First world countries are much better places to live materially and have more freedom than many third world ones but I don't see a convincing case that this is due to democracy.

Comment by charliesheen on Is Politics the Mindkiller? An Inconclusive Test · 2012-08-01T17:59:32.203Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I think they are possible. I'm especially optimistic about the new possibilities opened by advancing technology. Thought talking to Konkvistador has made me think even something as simple as a well thought out monarchy might be better for city-states and small countries with no more than a few million people.

Comment by charliesheen on Is Politics the Mindkiller? An Inconclusive Test · 2012-08-01T17:32:58.024Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Moldbug is less wrong than most political scientists, many historians and quite a few sociologists.

Comment by charliesheen on Is Politics the Mindkiller? An Inconclusive Test · 2012-08-01T17:28:05.380Z · score: 0 (2 votes) · LW · GW

"I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible."

--Peter Thiel, The education of a libertarian

This has been my opinion as well since late 2011.

Comment by charliesheen on Open Thread, July 16-31, 2012 · 2012-07-31T12:19:47.178Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Thank you for the correction and actual info! I should have made it clearer I was speculating.