Politics Discussion Thread September 2012 2012-09-05T11:27:33.449Z
[Link] RSA Animate: extremely entertaining LW-relevant cartoons 2012-06-23T13:51:21.039Z
I've had it with those dark rumours about our culture rigorously suppressing opinions 2012-01-25T17:43:40.601Z
Why would a free human society be in agreement on how to alter itself? 2011-12-29T11:49:19.077Z
[fic idea] Rationalist Gurren Lagann? 2011-07-07T05:27:31.026Z


Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes February 2014 · 2014-06-26T22:10:04.374Z · LW · GW

Credibly dissociate yourself from people you don't want to be pattern-matched to, and show that you understand the reasoning by which your audience opposes them (in this case, for example, Salemicus should at least acknowledge that at-fault divorce can - to put it mildly! - increase underlying gender inequality without any explicitly gendered provisions), and that you're not going to defend them in that particular battle. Leftists do it all the time, to the extent that they have the opposite problem of not being able to unite while agreeing with each other on 95% of everything.

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes February 2014 · 2014-06-26T14:59:54.118Z · LW · GW

I say "damages in the case of breach" and I am confronted with people suggesting I mean specific performance, dragging people off in chains, or slavery. It's so strange.

Pattern-matching is often rational in politics just because it's so cheap, as long as the pattern makes sense in the first place. I'm sorry, but the pattern of reactionary rhetoric about marriage has these very deliberate connotations. People who discuss this tend to discuss punishing sinners (vicariously so), not holding rational economic actors accountable for damages on underrecognized-but-valid contracts.

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes February 2014 · 2014-06-26T14:53:40.506Z · LW · GW

a two-tier society, with the virtuous Vickies behaving themselves and keeping each other in check, and the other types reverting to the Somalia that Kennaway etc so fervently desire

David Brooks Says

I personally call this phenomenon "the Regressive Cost of Virtue" (virtue in the descriptive, not the normative sense). Too lazy to write a good comment on it, I'll just quote myself from IRC.

06:00 < Multiheaded> anyway, the thesis: not only is poverty insanely cognitively expensive, etc, but wealth and cultural capital are very very good for you. not only can you afford to buy virtue, but crucially it's easy and not painful to desire to buy virtue. like crazy work/study hours, responsible substance use, etc.
06:01 < Multiheaded>
06:01 < Multiheaded>
06:01 < Multiheaded>
06:07 < Multiheaded> note: naturally, there is much less written about the... cultural luxury of the rich and how awesome it is than about the culture of poverty. except by conservatives, who are awed at how inherently virtuous the elites seem to be, not noticing the regressive cost of virtue.
06:07 < Multiheaded> rightists say that the elites profess liberal values but are good hard-working conservatives at heart. i say that they profess liberalism but really just go with the flow in daily life and the "flow" is mostly determined by material circumstances, not memetics, even though it does shape behaviour
06:09 < Multiheaded>
06:09 < Multiheaded>

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes February 2014 · 2014-06-26T14:46:39.138Z · LW · GW

Once people realised that marriage wasn't enforceable, the marriage rate collapsed.

Would social conservatives and social liberals please both attempt to explain and steelman/criticize this assertion? Because it has always been among my biggest gripes with the conservative account of why divorce is so bad. It just doesn't seem plausible, especially given how over-optimistic most people are about the prospects of their marriage! And frankly, I'd be creeped out by people who start a marriage for affection or companionship and already think about enforcing loyalty. It might be rational in the abstract, but signals many troubling things about the individual, such as low trust and an instinctively transactional view of relationships. (Marriages for economic reasons probably need a whole different set of norms, such as a historically seen unspoken tolerance for adultery.)

I always understood falling marriage as being primarily linked to the rise in women's education and economic independence. Now, reasonable people who think those are great things can disagree whether the decline of traditional marriage is a cost or a neutral consequence, but I've never had time for people who seek to pin the blame on deliberate and direct political subversion.

Sure, I don't like how some liberals attempt to be contrarian and claim that all the changes in this sphere have actually been unreservedly wonderful and a worthwhile goal from the start.... but that's a general problem of people wanting policies to have no downsides, and the other side's logical leap from calling out the downside to denying the problem is always baffling. Liberals cheering for something as a triumph for the Wonderful Nice Liberal Agenda might be less evidence that it's a triumph for the Degenerate Corrupt Liberal Agenda and more evidence that liberals like cheering. This should not inform one's analysis of the material/economic factors.

Comment by Multiheaded on Open thread, 23-29 June 2014 · 2014-06-24T20:04:14.512Z · LW · GW

...stand back and look at what you've written. I don't know whether to laugh or cringe. What connection could this... "Rationalist"-fanfic-thinking possibly have to the real fucking world?! This is not how urban legends work, how teenagers work, how speading disinformation works... not to mention the ethics of it (which would not come into play in practice, as you'd just get called out on your bullshit).

This sort of utter fucking idiocy comes from a long-time and highly-upvoted LW user! No wonder LW is already seen as a fucking joke in some circles, and not for the transhumanist/singularity stuff either.

Comment by Multiheaded on What resources have increasing marginal utility? · 2014-06-16T09:10:27.473Z · LW · GW

But cheating on spouses in general undermines the trust that spouses should have in each other, and the cumulative impact of even 1% of spouses cheating on the institution of marriage as a whole could be quite negative.

In the comments on Scott's blog, I've recently seen the claim that this is the opposite of how traditional marriage actually worked; there used to be a lot more adultery in old times, and it acted as a pressure valve for people who would've divorced nowdays, but naturally it was all swept under the rug.

Comment by Multiheaded on What is Evil about creating House Elves? · 2014-04-18T11:36:38.155Z · LW · GW

This is among the best political comments on LW.

Comment by Multiheaded on Open Thread April 16 - April 22, 2014 · 2014-04-17T19:59:12.608Z · LW · GW

Many internet libertarians aren't very consequentialist, though. And really, just the basic application of rule-utilitarianism would expose many, many problems with that post. But really, though: while the "Non-Aggression Principle" appears just laughably unworkable to me... given that many libertarians do subscribe to it, is lying to voters not an act of aggression?

Comment by Multiheaded on Open Thread April 16 - April 22, 2014 · 2014-04-17T19:22:29.746Z · LW · GW

Evil Stupid Thing Alert!

"The Duty to Lie to Stupid Voters" - yes, really

I decided to post it here because it's just so incredibly stupid and naively evil, but also because it's using LW-ish language in a piece on how to - in essence - thoroughly corrupt the libertarian cause. Thought y'all would enjoy it.

Standard rejoinders. Furthermore: even if Brennan is ignorant of the classical liberal value of republicanism, why can't he use his own libertarian philosophy to unfuck himself? How is lying like this ethical under it? Why does he discuss the benefits of such crude, object-level deception openly, on a moderately well read blog, with potential for blowback? By VALIS, this is a perfect example of how much some apparently intelligent people could, indeed, benefit from reading LW!

Comment by Multiheaded on [Link] More ominous than a [Marriage] strike · 2014-01-10T03:38:53.645Z · LW · GW

Don't know; it's quite intellectually consistent, sure, but my point is that the argument in favour of poverty was pure 110% motivated cognition, and its full absurdity can be seen much better in retrospect . At the very most, I'd suspect that someone paid lip service to the latter part after a long attack on the poor - like, say, a right-libertarian like Tyler Cowen spends much more time condemning labour regulation (and I agree with him that private companies shouldn't be charities in disguise) than he does advocating for more ample welfare to compensate the proletariat.

Comment by Multiheaded on [Link] More ominous than a [Marriage] strike · 2014-01-09T12:10:46.742Z · LW · GW

Let me just bring up one historical parallel to put complaints like this ("if we ease up on controlling and punishing some particular group, this will greatly decrease society's productivity") in context. Such rhetoric was very common in the 18th and early 19th century, and its object was the proletariat and poverty. Here's a paper and an article about old-time Malthusian/anti-worker beliefs held by elites.

"The possession of a cow or two, with a hog, and a few geese, naturally exalts the peasant. . . . In sauntering after his cattle, he acquires a habit of indolence. Quarter, half, and occasionally whole days, are imperceptibly lost. Day labour becomes disgusting; the aversion in- creases by indulgence. And at length the sale of a half-fed calf, or hog, furnishes the means of adding intemperance to idleness."

"Poverty is that state and condition in society where the individual has no surplus labour in store, or, in other words, no property or means of subsistence but what is derived from the constant exercise of industry in the various occupations of life. Poverty is therefore a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilization. It is the lot of man. It is the source of wealth, since without poverty, there could be no labour; there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth."

In my opinion, this justification for class warfare from the top is analogous to such justifications for anti-feminism as seen today.

Tl;dr, from the outside view, the author is not in a good reference class.

EDIT: Downvotes, really? :tips fedora:

Comment by Multiheaded on [LINK] Why I'm not on the Rationalist Masterlist · 2014-01-09T10:36:08.494Z · LW · GW

Someone affected by the issue might bring up something that nobody else had thought of, something that the science and statistics and studies missed - but other than that, what marginal value are they adding to the discussion?

Thinkers - including such naive, starry-eyed liberal idealists as Friedrich Hayek or Niccolo Machiavelli - have long touched on the utter indispensability of subjective, individual knowledge and its advantages over the authoritarian dictates of an ostensibly all-seing "pure reason". Then along comes a brave young LW user and suggests that enlightened technocrats like him should tell people what's really important in their lives.

I'm grateful to David for pointing out this comment, it's really a good summary of what's wrong with the typical LW approach to policy.

(I'm a repentant ex/authoritarian myself, BTW.)

Comment by Multiheaded on On the unpopularity of cryonics: life sucks, but at least then you die · 2013-11-04T20:27:26.878Z · LW · GW

However, "dehumanized" was not a very good choice of term for the exact attitudes I had in mind, which I think indeed have little historical precedent and, and which don't really correspond to the traditional patterns of exercising crude power by higher-status groups and individuals, being a rather peculiar aspect of the present situation.

Dear Vladimir, must as I hesitate to offer you any assistance in your presumably shady-looking intellectual enterprise (as frankly I've grown to dislike you quite a bit, period).... the term you might've been looking for is "". Foucault, Arendt and Agamben have all pondered its significance in the 20th century.

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes October 2013 · 2013-10-11T12:13:40.105Z · LW · GW

There's only a certain amount of emphasis to go around. The more things you italicize, the less important each italicized word seems, and then when something's really important it doesn't stand out.

I keep trying to tell my mom exactly this, every time we need to design some kind of print materials for the family business. She just doesn't get that emphasis is about the relative share of a reader's attention to different parts within a text, a positional good of sorts.

Comment by Multiheaded on Advice for a smart 8-year-old bored with school · 2013-10-11T11:12:35.465Z · LW · GW

Please note that this answer does not include the "culture" part, because that's the part I don't have a reasonable definition for.

Oh! It's ok, it sounds like you've simply never heard it explained. In a nutshell, my analogy here is that women in grown-up society who suffer some kind of sexual violation or threat are overwhelmingly likely to meet the same blind/wilfully ignorant/worse-than-useless response that is typical of adults overlooking bullying. (It sounds like you and me both have suffered from the latter.)

So yes, this is not all of what feminists usually mean by these words - but they often do bring up such attitudes in the same vein as your description of bullying here. Given that you've previously decried some stereotypical "social justice" issues, including anti-sexist activism, as pointless/dishonest/hypocritical (IIRC), I wanted to point out how, this time around, you've independently echoed a popular feminist talking point.[1]

Here's another analogy, with a widely used contrast of robbery vs. sexual assault:

“So you’d been drinking. Are you sure you didn’t tell him he could take the money? You know, maybe you were feeling sorry for him, feeling bad about telling him you weren’t going to lend him money any more… Are you sure you didn’t give him one last bundle of cash, out of sympathy, but maybe you’re feeling bad about it today?”
“Maybe you’d had a few too many and it’s all a bit hazy? Are you sure you didn’t tell him he could have the money, but you can’t remember it?”
“No! He stole it from me-”
“What were you wearing at the time, Mr. Smith?”
“Let’s see. A suit. Yes, a suit.”
“An expensive suit?”
“In other words, Mr. Smith, you were alone and drunk late at night with someone you had previously given money to in a suit that practically advertised the fact that you had money, isn’t that so?”

Etc, etc. Disturbingly familiar in some regards, isn't it?

[1] Sure, a bit passive-aggressive of me... but at least I'm trying to achieve something rationalist here by pointing out that your beliefs appear not to be at reflective equilibrium.

Comment by Multiheaded on Advice for a smart 8-year-old bored with school · 2013-10-11T10:11:32.315Z · LW · GW

Also, one important step is that the parents must believe the child's report of bullying. As opposed to e.g. thinking "this is an exaggerated version of something that is probably harmless". (This was a mistake my parents were making all the time.)

Quick, what are your thoughts on the concept of rape culture?

Comment by Multiheaded on Advice for a smart 8-year-old bored with school · 2013-10-11T10:08:49.793Z · LW · GW

If you add that middle school lasts for three or four years, and after that most people are no longer in middle school, I think 'short' applies.

Not to one's subjective experience. Oh no.

Comment by Multiheaded on A Voting Puzzle, Some Political Science, and a Nerd Failure Mode · 2013-10-10T13:26:16.634Z · LW · GW

...the ranks of US liberals have included 9/11 Truthers, Marxists, etc., etc.

In spite of being a conservative Catholic apologist, what Chesterton is saying here isn't crazy...

Withholding my upvote until you rephrase that. People can be highly intelligent and rational not "in spite" of being a conservative Christian - indeed, they can take some good ideas characteristic of classical conservatism and Christianity while avoiding the bad stuff. E.g. from what I know, cousin_it here on LW is a conservative, and Will Newsome is Catholic (?), and both are awesome. Or read The American Conservative, a pretty great and high-quality magazine.

And my model of an educated American Marxist would certainly have her dislike 1) liberals and 2) "truthers" of all kinds. I'm puzzled.

Nuance matters.

Comment by Multiheaded on Open Thread, September 30 - October 6, 2013 · 2013-10-09T15:10:59.988Z · LW · GW

Actually, y'all wrong. It was simply a fun idea for celebrating 4chan's 10th birthday.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T22:45:50.382Z · LW · GW

...Michael Moore?

...Rachel Maddow?

Have you read a single damn word of my above comment?

The world today is a mess, and every time I wrote the DNC a check or marched for some Social Justice cause or kicked someone under the table for talking during a day of silence I was doing my part to make that mess worse. So I stopped. It's that easy.

I'm getting full-on Poe's Law vibes from this. Do you really, truly feel like the world revolves around your skinny first-world bourgeois STEM dudebro ass? That conversion from a very boring and milquetoast American white liberal to a wannabe fascist has been some ethical and philosophical triumph of yours? Man, oh man.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T22:16:26.733Z · LW · GW

"Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

-- Abraham Lincoln

in other words, the suffering of a lifetime of slavery is evidently worth 18.75% of the death of a free person in a horrific war.

Leaving aside all moral considerations of collective responsibility and individual complicity... and switching to my rough model of preference utilitarianism, which I generally don't use... this would sound like an incredible, unbelievably lucky bargain with this cruel universe at HALF a life for a freed slave. At 18,75% it appears perverse even to hesitate in this non-dilemma.

P.S.: instead of preference utilitarianism, I do find it much more comfortable to use broadly Christian virtue ethics for a snap moral decision. According to which... well, let's just mention that even a Catholic like Chesterton could be unapologetic in his respect for the Jacobins. Never mind the Christian abolitionists of the day.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T22:10:26.594Z · LW · GW

Would anyone care to dispute the object-level claim I made, or are people just spree-downvoting?

Wikipedia seems to be pretty unambiguious about Marx being the first notable theorist here. It's not about "neutrality", there just isn't any evidence that this claim is mistaken.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T22:04:37.967Z · LW · GW

name the Editor of the NY Times the Pontifex Maximus of the Church of Progress and have a synod to lay out the canon of responsible journalism

Oh, hahahahahaha, if that ever happened in some wacky weird moldbuggy universe... that'd be like Vatican trying to grab supreme jurisdiction over all Christian denominations by proclaiming the Pope to be the spiritual heir of Martin Luther and "interpreting" Luther's theses to show how all modern-day Protestants need to forget about their minor disagreements and follow the RCC.

Which is to say... you do realize that the vast majority of serious leftists - including American leftists, and I mean people who self-identify as socialists, left-libertarians, anarchists, etc - have nothing but scorn and contempt towards the NYT? In the left-wing interpretation of the "Cathederal", the NYT is not an active weapon of the Big Bad System like in yours, but it is nonetheless viewed as a symbol of moral bankrupcy, insidious propaganda and serving as the mouthpiece of the neoliberal elite. In short, it is not a case of the NYT being not progressive enough for a few of the most zealous commies; in their (our) interpretation, it is unambiguiously an anti-Left force.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T21:37:09.155Z · LW · GW

So you mean... I could really use another drink right now? Yeah, sure, that's what I was thinking too! Can't hurt...

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T21:24:48.342Z · LW · GW

democracy and marxism are absolutely religious in character

I have 0.75 confidence that you've never read even a review of a book by, say, Jurgen Habermas, or Amartya Sen, or Barbara Ehrenreich, or Eric Hobsbawm. These people have nothing in common, someone might object; their fields are vastly different - that is so, but all are considered eminent scholars, all offer nuanced arguments in favour of greater democracy, and all have explicitly Marxist or at least hard-left views on socioeconomic matters.

Frankly, you strike me as a walking, talking example of Dunning-Kruger.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T21:00:02.687Z · LW · GW

Dividing work in a family not about what people like, or about what's equal, it's about what works

To paraphrase Lenin, "Works for whom? To achieve what?" Cui prodest in any particular social arrangement? My personal go-to default hypothesis is that it's always the side that can harness greater bargaining power through having more overall control of resources. Apply to workplace/labor relations, families, tribal clashes etc.

(Citation! Citation! A very favourable review - by Satoshi Kanazawa of all people - of a book on the game-theoretical causes and consequences of power inequalities.)

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T20:57:21.003Z · LW · GW

The worst thing is... my crap doesn't just mildly degrade the "overall" signal to noise ratio (I disagree that this could be a coherent metric, especially in arguments directly related to actually existing socieies) - it outright hurts the (ever-precarious) position of "my" side, and doesn't even encourage my allies on any problematic topic to put forward a better denouncement of "hostile" content here. Yet silence and aquiescence feel even more humiliating to me than making a fool of myself on LW.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T20:43:21.942Z · LW · GW

I know, I know. If I was writing this with any actual goal-oriented hope for positive change on LW, I would've tried to bridge the inferential distance. But hell, I'm just a miserable and depressed cranky guy. Not even in gender studies. Sigh.

You know part of why I've been posting such low quality, counter-productive (passive)-aggressive remarks recently? I still remember that buzz, that breathtaking feeling of half-delight and half-awe when I discovered the LW community and read the Sequences two years ago. Here are some of the most insightful, kickass people I could realistically talk to and learn together with, it said. And now noticing all the terrifying, fascist-leaning political undercurrents that pervade the community, I feel zero joy at the thought of just averting my eyes and staying for the "Awesome Rational Shoes" stuff and smart conversation.

Don't get me wrong, Eliezer on his own is still just as ultra-badass as ever. But the honeymoon is definitely over for me.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T20:30:45.168Z · LW · GW

Ann Coulter, suffrage pessimist?

Well, you're going to find literally hundreds of women with outspoken feminist ideas to one outspoken Ann Coulter, so... Okay, let's be generous and say that she and Andrea Dworkin, a fierce critic of anti-feminist women, cancel each other out. Then you're still going to get far more women with explicitly and implicitly feminist aliefs. Even when they self-identify as "conservative" for cultural or political reasons, have a negative perception of feminist activism, etc. The public image of "feminism" might not be so great, but women by and large seem to genuinely stand behind feminist convictions Could it be because most women recognize women's social and economic self-interest better than most men?

It's not obvious to me that one needs to be of a group to comment about that group

Making certain types of comments from certain socioeconomic positions relative to the group in question is a huge, terrible epistemic hazard, which is so for pretty much the same reasons as the generally corrupting nature of power.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T20:20:45.429Z · LW · GW

How about I "poll" you about your current happiness, check your body language and such, then kidnap you, screw with your mind through typical abuser tactics, then pump you full of heroin and repeat the "poll"?

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T20:14:23.887Z · LW · GW

HUGE SPOILER: Technically, historical materialism and economic determinism was first... yup, a core Marxist idea.

Comment by Multiheaded on The best 15 words · 2013-10-08T20:01:06.518Z · LW · GW

And even domestically, "liberated" women and "tolerated" minorities are consistently polled as being decreasingly happy over time, almost as if our progressive policies of equality were thrusting them into arenas they were fundamentally not fit to compete in.

Way too sick of this shit on LW. And as usual, it's by straight white middle-class dudebro who hypocritically preaches about the danger of epistemic corruption in evaluating society while connected to it.

Check your fucking privilege and let people from the groups you bring up do some talking for themselves.

Comment by Multiheaded on Open Thread, July 1-15, 2013 · 2013-10-08T18:43:45.494Z · LW · GW


Comment by Multiheaded on October 2013 Media Thread · 2013-10-01T20:26:23.424Z · LW · GW

Said the Tailor to the Bishop:
Believe me, I can fly.
Watch me while I try.
And he stood with things
That looked like wings
On the great church roof-

That is quite absurd
A wicked, foolish lie,
For man will never fly,
A man is not a bird,
Said the Bishop to the Tailor.

Said the People to the Bishop:
The Tailor is quite dead,
He was a stupid head.
His wings are rumpled
And he lies all crumpled
On the hard church square.

The bells ring out in praise
That man is not a bird
It was a wicked, foolish lie,
Mankind will never fly,
Said the Bishop to the People.

--Bertold Brecht (via Benjamin Noys)

Comment by Multiheaded on Open thread, August 5-11, 2013 · 2013-09-14T18:09:01.386Z · LW · GW

If you oppose a government policy that personally benefits you, you are a hypocrite who bites the hand that feeds you.

If you support the policy that benefits you, you are a greedy narcissist whose loyalty can be bought and sold.

...but neither of these are meaningfully bad things according to post-Machiavellian political thought. Machiavelli dismantled the virtue-centric, moralizing system of "naive" political thought - finding wise, moral and incorruptible men to control society, as argued by Plato or Aquinas - and showed how the strength of a republic is in its internal conflicts and contradictions, how a naked struggle of competing group interests can ultimately lead to dynamism and progress. This is what most people don't understand about his legacy, and the great emancipatory power of making self-interest, not moralism the cornerstone of politics.

So yes, in some matters we're hypocrites, in others we're greedy narcissists... but society holds more hope for all of its warring factions when these facts are honestly acknowledged rather than wrapped in a cloak of "virtue"-moralism! And pursuit of socioeconomic self-interest has very little cross-over with following moral codes in day-to-day interactions, anyway. (No examples for either Blue or Green, let's pretend to be civil.)


So, (like almost everyone in earlier times), today's citizens succumb to a vaguely Catholic-flavoured way of seeing society, and end up less politically progressive than a 15th century theorist. Who unjustly acquired the reputation of someone between Marquis de Sade[1] and Emperor Palpatine- not without the help of 19th century clericals and reactionaries.

[1] Early libertarian socialist, proto-feminist and human rights advocate. Never ever got a fair shake either.

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-12T14:55:25.952Z · LW · GW

... that is not rationality that is a mild infohazard trying to hack you into taking actions that make people starve.


Seriously why would you post that as a rationality quote.

Because many people in the LW sphere seem to love the same ideas in better and more refined wrapping! See the aforementioned Caplan, Anissimov, etc for just a couple of famous ones.

(Oh, and Vladimir_M, who before his departure also often provided respectability to awful shit, like rampant anti-feminism, demonizing people on welfare, etc. He's probably my most hated high-karma poster here.)

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-12T14:42:49.319Z · LW · GW

Haha, no shit.

(Source: family experience.)

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-12T12:45:26.652Z · LW · GW

"Aw, you can't feed your family on minimum wage? well who told you to start a fucking family when your skills are only worth minimum wage?"

Pax Dickinson, former Chief Technology Officer at Business Insider, on rational family planning in the context of modern capitalism.

(in response to "That's perhaps an argument for the parents to starve but the children are moral innocents wrt their creation. Solutions?") - "If you remove all consequences to children from their parents stupid behavior, how will they ever learn any better?"

Him again on personal responsibility, setting proper incentives for the lazy masses, and learning one's place in society early on.

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationality Quotes September 2013 · 2013-09-10T15:56:37.599Z · LW · GW

That there are a few racial pseudoscience believers in the audience doesn't change genocide being wrong, just as there being a few homeopathy users in the audience doesn't change fraud being wrong.

Perhaps you haven't read much of those folks? (Not that I blame you, it can be stomach-turning.) They claim that they're the voice of Actual Science on human sociobiology. It is the accepted consensus of polite society today - that xenophobia is wrong and immoral and destructive, that non-"white" people aren't, as a group, cognitively inferior/inherently antisocial/undesirable - that they accuse of being ideologically corrupt pseudoscience.

They're very insistent on the fact that theirs is the True Enlightened Scientific racism, and that, therefore, there's nothing irrational or wrong with the stereotypes they deal in. Many - like, say, Mencius Moldbug - fancy placing themselves in opposition to the "vulgar" and "unreasoned" xenophobes, even as they espouse similar policy measures (barbed wire and apartheid 2.0).

P.S.: "in the audience"? In these circles at least, a few of them - like the aforementioned bloggers - are undoubtedly on the stage as well. Hell, Anissimov held the post of Media Director or something. (He claims his firing to be unrelated, and not damage control by SIAI.)

Comment by Multiheaded on I attempted the AI Box Experiment again! (And won - Twice!) · 2013-09-07T12:01:45.004Z · LW · GW

I must say this is a bit... awe-inspiring, in the older sense of the word. As in, reading this gave me a knot in the stomach and I shivered. People who played as the AI and won, how is it that you're so uncannily brilliant?

The very notion of a razor-sharp mind like this ever acting against me and mine in real life... oh, it's just nightmare-inducing.

On the subject of massively updating one's beliefs where one was previously confident that no argument would shift them: yes, it happens, I have personal experience. For example, over the last year and a half some of my political ideas have changed enough that past-me and present-me would consider each other to be dangerously deluded. (As a brief summary, I previously held democracy/universal suffrage, the value of free markets AND the use of political violence in some contempt; now I believe that all three serve crucial and often-overlooked functions in social progress.)

So yes, I could very easily see myself being beaten as a Gatekeeper. There are likely many, many lines of argument and persuasion out there that I could not resist for long.

Comment by Multiheaded on Feeling Rational · 2013-08-28T15:58:14.198Z · LW · GW

A somewhat related, incredibly badass quote.

"...I hear some one of my audience say,... and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less, would you persuade more, and rebuke less, your cause would be much more likely to succeed. But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti-slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it..."

"...Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively, and positively, negatively, and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding. There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven, that does not know that slavery is wrong for him..."

"...At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced. "

-Frederick Douglass, black Abolitionist leader, in What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

(Related, Richard Rorty on a pragmatist/postmodernist approach to human rights, solidarity and empathy.)

(P.S. Considered posting this in Rationality Quotes first... but I hoped that the context of EY's essay might help the quote look less provocative/trollish for LW.)

Comment by Multiheaded on Rationalist households: What can London learn from its predecessors? · 2013-08-25T14:08:04.591Z · LW · GW

For everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in a given group and to participate in its activities the structure must be explicit, not implicit. The rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone, and this can happen only if they are formalized. This is not to say that formalization of a structure of a group will destroy the informal structure. It usually doesn't. But it does hinder the informal structure from having predominant control and make available some means of attacking it if the people involved are not at least responsible to the needs of the group at large. "Structurelessness" is organizationally impossible. We cannot decide whether to have a structured or structureless group, only whether or not to have a formally structured one. Therefore the word will not be used any longer except to refer to the idea it represents. Unstructured will refer to those groups which have not been deliberately structured in a particular manner. Structured will refer to those which have. A Structured group always has formal structure, and may also have an informal, or covert, structure. It is this informal structure, particularly in Unstructured groups, which forms the basis for elites.

...Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned that Mencius Moldbug has apparently stolen his idea of "formalism" from the 1970s era Women's Liberation movement.

(Seriously though, excellent essay.)

Comment by Multiheaded on Open thread, August 19-25, 2013 · 2013-08-22T17:33:39.360Z · LW · GW

And that's it. No arguing about who cleaned it last. No debating whether it really needs to cleaned. No room for misogynist cultural machines to pressure the wife into doing more than her fair share. Just a market transaction that is efficient and fair.

P.S.: those last two sentences ("No room for misogynist cultural machines to pressure the wife into doing more than her fair share. Just a market transaction that is efficient and fair.") also remind me of "If those women were really oppressed, someone would have tended to have freed them by then."

Comment by Multiheaded on Why Are Individual IQ Differences OK? · 2013-08-22T08:05:32.596Z · LW · GW

Of course it has. But the issue is that the society isn't going to come out and say that -- it will deliberately distort the map and make claims that are not true in reality.

So, reason dictates that... "we" should shove our offended senses of intellectual consistency and naively understood "honesty" up our collective butt, and just do whatever helps people.

And we should absolutely not help people "equally"! Whatever you think of the abstract moral/political ideal of equality, in practical terms people's circumstances in any society are so unequal that symmetrical treatment makes no sense. Any policy that does not identify the most vulnerable and marginalized groups and offer them targeted aid and protection is not "fair", it's not "impartial"... it's basically a waste of resources, failing to seek out the greatest marginal utility for its subjects. So, ironically, it becomes a core left-wing idea that people should not be approached as identical or treated in an "equal" manner. Bam!

"In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread." - Anatole France on "legal equality"

Comment by Multiheaded on Meetup : West LA Meetup—Confess Your Unpopular Opinion · 2013-08-09T12:17:23.199Z · LW · GW

(OT: Ms. Evans certainly has a very good opinion of herself...)

Comment by Multiheaded on Open thread, August 5-11, 2013 · 2013-08-06T22:51:49.354Z · LW · GW

Feminism is what you get when you assume that all gender differences are due to society.

Hahahahahahaha, hell no. Read up on Shulamith Firestone!

(A longer review/liveblog of her Dialectic of Sex coming soon... honestly. I'm reading it right now, and loving it. Amazing book.)

Comment by Multiheaded on Open thread, July 29-August 4, 2013 · 2013-08-04T10:37:51.316Z · LW · GW

If, however, you're drunk


If you want to leave this board, but suspect you lack the willpower to do so

I feel like I have a duty before a community that I see massive potential in. To stand up for my values and denounce all the shit I hate here in an articulate, reasoned manner. But I'm very much not up to the task, and this makes me feel frustrated and miserable. And angry at my own impotence in the matter.

It'd be a big amount of work to even call out the most egregious shitty shit here on a regular basis, with some citations and explanations for why I did so. And it feels like people hardly even care.

Comment by Multiheaded on Open thread, July 29-August 4, 2013 · 2013-08-04T09:26:40.718Z · LW · GW

I hate all the smug, condescending fascist fucks in this fucking community so much. Please just ban me or something, I can't fucking look at half the motherfucking comments here. From extreme, ruthless classism to casually invoked sexism to brazen authoritarianism to just complete fucking stone-cold inhumanity. I just can't go on.

You gentlemen can probably guess as to which ones of you I mean by this. Fuck you.

Comment by Multiheaded on The Robots, AI, and Unemployment Anti-FAQ · 2013-08-02T13:13:09.600Z · LW · GW

Albert Speer, Werner von Braun, Robert McNamara, John von Neumann and many others like them would likely qualify as "tech people". I'm terrified of people like them forming a stable and entrenched ruling caste, despite any "value overlap" they might display. Based on prior performance... I'd say it could potentially be just as bad as e.g. a Stalinist dictatorship.

"Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!"

Comment by Multiheaded on Open thread, July 16-22, 2013 · 2013-07-24T15:47:12.791Z · LW · GW

Fun fact: There is a RedPillWomen group on Reddit. Are those women misogynists too?

No shit, Sherlock. Internalized sexism exists. Luckily, one lady who just wanted "traditional gender roles" in her relationship, and less of the fucked-in-the-headedness, has escaped that goddamn cesspool and reported her experience: