Non-standard politics

by NancyLebovitz1 min read24th Oct 2014235 comments


Personal Blog

In the big survey, political views are divided into large categories so that statistics are possible. This article is an attempt to supply a text field so that we can get a little better view of the range of beliefs.

My political views aren't adequately expressed by "libertarian". I call myself a liberal-flavored libertarian, by which I mean that I want the government to hurt people less. The possibility that the government is giving too much to poor people is low on my list of concerns. I also believe that harm-causing processes should be shut down before support systems

So, what political beliefs do you have that don't match the usual meaning of your preferred label?

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[-][anonymous]7y 21

When you compare governments (modern or historic), it looks like good governments are those that do several foundational things very well, and that almost all the benefits of good governance flow from these things. These foundational things are often those that reduce the incentive to make personal investments in political outcomes. Unfortunately, this means people living under good government tend to become blind the reasons why their government is actually good.

For example, not having to bribe low-level officials is worth at least 10000 correct decisions on the latest gun-control proposal. Some other examples would be avoiding patron-client patterns, having a meritocratic bureaucracy, being able to collect taxes from everyone, having a non-political military and an independent judiciary, keeping kinship away from politics, not having civil/religious/ethic violence, having some sort of consensus that markets are okay, and so on.

My country (USA) does a pretty decent of most of the foundational issues. However, when I look at the distribution of my fellow citizens strategies, I still think it would be good if more people just patterned matched political issues against something like corruption or balance of power, and cared less about things like gay marriage, gun rights, abortion, etc.

For example, not having to bribe low-level officials is worth at least 10000 correct decisions on the latest gun-control proposal.

This is one of the reasons asset forfeiture and police/city reliance on revenue from fines worries me as much as it does.

3ChristianKl7yI'm not sure that the US does anymore get the fundamentals right. In the savings and loans crisis 1,000 bankers got convicted by the Justice Department. In the recent crisis very few if you ignore people like Bernard Madoff nobody went to prison. Even for washing billions of drug money nobody at a company like HSBC got a prison sentence. The US has various armed defense contractors that spend a lot of money on lobbying. There are something like a politicized military that feels the need of regular annual growth of 10%. The extend to which the NSA can influence political decisions is also unclear.
6[anonymous]7yKinship and political power is another area to consider. Hunter Biden [] is one clear-cut example of dysfunction, but this pattern is common and repeated at every level of government. I also think the existence of political families is evidence of dysfunction, and should be avoided in most circumstances. I oppose the political careers of any future Bush's or Clinton's.

I generally call myself a quasi-libertarian. I am in favor of basic income. That seems to be something libertarians would be against, but I feel like it's the most libertarian way of helping the poor. They talk about how giving money to the poor is just paying them to be poor, and how minimum wage introduces deadweight costs. Basic income does neither of these. I also think no taxes and subsidies is a good schelling point, but when externalities get strong enough, it's worth while to let the government tax or subsidize it.

3Scott Garrabrant7yI also support basic income, but I think you are wrong when you say it is not "paying people to be poor." If you give everyone the same amount, but then just take it right back from the rich in taxes, this is basically the same a just paying the poor for being poor.
6ChristianKl7yNo. There are cases where a person has less money/health insurance if they get a low paying job than if they register as unemployed. Marginal tax rates of >100% do happen in the real world and effectively lead to "paying people to be poor".
1Scott Garrabrant7yCorrect me if I am wrong: Ah, so you and DanielLC define "paying people to be poor" to be when government incentives make it better for people with less normal income than for people with more normal income. I was trying to say that we would still be paying people to be poor, just not enough to cancel out 100% the negative of being poor, so that making more money is still monotonic in increasing happiness. I think my definition is more reasonable, but yours is also reasonable, as it seems to capture some extra connotations. I retract my complaint under your definition.
3ChristianKl7yIn the real world there are cases where a person with 0 income get's X support from the government. On the other hand there are people with income less than X who don't get government support. That means there an incentive out there to have income 0. The phrase "paying for" suggests to me that you create a monetary incentive for something. I think you dilute the value of the phrase "paying for" when you don't let it mean "create a monetary incentive for something".
3Prismattic7y"Paying people to be poor" carries an additional connotation of "encouraging them to remain poor"; it's distinct from "paying people because they are currently poor".
4Scott Garrabrant7yI do not understand your argument. If people know that taxes/basic income are coming in the future, that is an incentive for them to become poor relative to if taxes/basic income was not coming. They may not say "Oh, that is a good deal, I want to be poor," but they may work less or take bigger financial risks because of it, because being poor is relatively less bad than it would be otherwise.
2Prismattic7yThe ability to declare bankruptcy has a similar relationship to the riskiness of entrepreneurial activity, but we do not generally describe bankruptcy law as "encouraging people to fail at business" or "paying people to fail at business."
7lmm7yMaybe we should?
0[anonymous]7yIANA native speaker, but I'm not even sure it's just a connotation. It sounds to me like it's part of the denotation, and if I didn't want it I'd word it as “paying people for being poor”.

by which I mean that I want the government to hurt people less

What makes this a specifically libertarian position? I imagine pretty much every political faction wants the government to hurt people less. They often disagree on whether particular government actions are hurting people on balance, though.

Do you think the right way to get the government to hurt people less is to significantly reduce the government's interaction with people (as opposed to, say, simply changing the nature of the interaction)? That might make you something like a libertarian.

6Vaniver7yAs far as I can tell, libertarians want the government to hurt people less; statists want the government to hurt bad people more, and disagree over who is bad. (They also want the government to help good people more, but we're talking specifically about hurting.)
1pragmatist7yPerhaps this is true of some Platonic ideal of libertarianism/statism, but in the real world people who would usually be classified more on the statist side of the spectrum tend to also want the state to hurt people less in various ways. For instance, progressives in the United States tend to be in favor of ending the drug war, or at the very least legalizing marijuana, on the grounds that the current regime hurts people unnecessarily. They're also usually in favor of legalizing gay marriage, reforming prisons, removing subsidies on certain industries, police reform, cutting defense spending, less foreign military intervention. All of these positions could reasonably be described as the government hurting people less. I guess you could say that American progressives have a mix of libertarian and statist views, and the "hurt people less" positions I've mentioned above constitute the libertarian side of things. But I think the fact remains that if you asked pretty much any politically engaged American (and I'm presuming this remains true in most other countries) whether they would like the government to hurt people less, they would answer "Yes".
0Vaniver7yI think we interpreted that claim differently; I saw "want government to hurt people less" as "oppose any government policy that hurts someone," rather than "oppose at least one government policy that hurts someone." I can't think of a libertarian policy proposal that leads to the government actively hurting someone more (though, of course, many libertarian policy proposals would make people worse off as the government moves from action to inaction).
1pragmatist7yWouldn't you characterize parents who refuse to feed their child as actively hurting the child?
2Vaniver7yIt seems cleaner to characterize that as "not helping." Preventing anyone else from feeding their child seems like hurting. As a general comment, libertarian policies work better for adults than they do for children, because they assume a level of individual responsibility that seems unreasonable to expect of, say, infants. It's not clear to me how fatal a flaw that is for it as a policy-generating mechanism.
1NancyLebovitz7yI see a politically powerful contingent in the US who want to hurt people more. They want longer prison sentences, worse prison conditions, and they're in favor of torture. Elected judges judge more harshly. [] Podcast [] I do want government to interact with people less, and I also want more examination of government policies to see whether they have a net effect of making life worse. I also want the government to interact with people better. I've been mulling the effects of a legal system that the vast majority of people can't afford to use. I'm sure this is bad, but I haven't moved farther on the subject. Any suggestions for resources? I favor open borders, or nearly open borders. The default should be letting people in.
1Azathoth1237yThis tends to interact badly with letting the people you just let in vote.

I put 'other' and wrote 'technocracy', by which I mean rule of experts/replacement of elections with standardised tests. And I don't mean that the country should be run by someone with an IQ of 180 and no social skills, the tests should also measure aspects such as ability to detect lies/lie, emotional control, credence calibration and so forth. The tests and criteria would also be non-uniform, so a foreign minister would require more social skills then the health minister.

I could go on, but suffice to say this should solve all the problems the NRx people identify with democracy, without putting all power in a single point of failure who is chose on the basis of being inbred.

Sounds like Imperial China's civil service exams, with emphasis on different skills. (The civil service exams focused on Chinese classics, which is probably a decent proxy for conscientiousness and intelligence but not so good at measuring social skills.)

There's obviously something to be said for the system, since it lasted for better than a thousand years and weathered several dynastic changes. But plenty has also been written about its drawbacks, and the main ones seem to revolve around regulatory capture: empowering experts to rule also empowers them to decide the meaning of "expert", which we might expect to incrementally make a system less meritocratic and more aristocratic. Goodhart's law is also worth thinking about.

6skeptical_lurker7yFrom what little I know, Imperial China was a highly functional civilisation, and as you say, any system that can last a thousand years is impressive. Of course, far more thought would be needed to set the system up. Perhaps the examination-writing body should be separate from the rest of government? Perhaps it alone should have some form of democratic oversight? Would there be a constitution as well? Overall, I think the best thing is to have fluid intelligence as an essential component of the tests - if the tests focus on Shakespeare and medieval Europe then they can be accused of cultural bias, or if they mainly recruit experts from elite universities then the administration process there wields tremendous political power. But Raven's progressive matrices for instance is completely objective. Anyway, isn't democracy somewhat aristocratic? The current UK prime minister is the 5th cousin twice removed of the Queen, and politicians tend to come from very posh public schools (one school in particular produced 19 PMs). In the US, the Bush line has been described as aristocratic, and it takes a lot of money to run a presidential campaign.

if the tests focus on Shakespeare and medieval Europe then they can be accused of cultural bias

Um, "cultural bias", i.e., limiting important posts to people who've assimilated into and agree with the culture, was a large part of the point of the Chinese Examination System and a big part of the reason why the system remained so stable.

3gjm7yYou sound very confident of that. Is there positive evidence for it, or is it just that it seems plausible?
1skeptical_lurker7yNornagest seems to be worried about the system becoming aristocratic, so I somehow doubt that he'd be interested in a more NRx flavoured technocracy. While technocracy could come in many forms, I personally would advocate for a less culture-neutral system - at a bare minimum the test should require fluency in the native language and knowledge of the countries' history. But I also wouldn't advocate too much cultural bias - after all, we are discussing China in a positive light!
2Azathoth1237yThe most important aspect (from the point of view of stability) is making sure people agree with the concept of a test-based meritocratic society and with parts of the culture that support it.
3skeptical_lurker7yI would agree that this is important, with the caveat that a system should be able to evolve to changing circumstances, so there ought to be room for a dissenting voice within the part of the system that controls the systems evolution.
1Azathoth1237yWell, the historical Chinese system wasn't very good at dealing with changing circumstances and dealt with it by discouraging technological innovation. If you let the system change freely it'll change to a form that causes the meritocratic parts (and even the openness to dissenting voices part) to collapse. I don't know whether it's possible to combine stability and adaptability. My attempt would be to include an "unquestionable core" to protect meritocracy and the ability to question everything else. But as St. Thomas Aquinas's successors discovered, even that may not work.
0skeptical_lurker7yWhat exactly do you think it will change into? A plausible idea. Essentially the government would have a constitution. Another idea would be that the constitution can be changed, but with differing levels of unanimity needed (so the "unquestionable core" would need a 90% vote to change for example - I'm worried about making anything entirely irrevocable.)
0Azathoth1237yWell to common failure modes are collapse to hereditary aristocracy and "pod people" takeover by fanatical ideologues. The way the later works is that since not "pod people" are willing to hire competent "pod people" but the fanatics will base hiring on ideological fanaticism rather than competence, an ideological faction will gradual take over unless stopped by other forces. For example, look at the current state of academia outside hard STEM fields.
1skeptical_lurker7yThis is exactly why I have not mentioned interviews anywhere in the exam process, otherwise yes the pod people would take over. I suppose it might be possible to have interviews for parts of government except the bit which oversees the examination process. Aristocracy seems a lot less likely, unless generations of associative breeding lead to a multimodal distibution of IQ. This might have been the case in the indian caste system, a quick search finding this HBD guy [] who says that subgroup means vary from 80ish to 112 and this "progressive" [] . Who says: Errrm... ok. That doesn't sound very progressive. Anyway, it is also possible that any sort of transhumanism capable of significantly raising IQ would also turn a meritocracy into a aristocracy, where the wealthy elites can afford BCIs or embryo selection or whatever and thus also form a cognitive elite which dominates government, and passes laws that benefit this elite. This is one of the more reasonable objections to transhumanism, but there is no particular reason why this aristocracy would be oppressive, and certainly not compared to old feudal aristocracies, because in the modern world exit is an option. Finally, this situation would probably not persist long without a singularity, and for that reason in general I do not think that stability of the meritocracy in the long run is of particularly high importance compared to good governance in the short to medium term.
4IlyaShpitser7yNo, see, out of the set of all societies only a very small fraction is "not oppressive" by a reasonable definition. So unless you are really aiming for that small subset, you are all but guaranteed not to get there. The question should be "is there a particular reason why X would not be oppressive?" -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We have more tools to oppress now, as well. In some sense feudalism was only a thing because you couldn't send messages faster than a horse/boat.
0skeptical_lurker7yThe "reasonable definition" is tricky to agree on - many would say that aspects of modern democracies are oppressive in some respects. I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure that in historical feudal societies the aristocracy generally gained power through military force, rather than economic or intellectual routes. This is going to select for people who are naturally inclined towards oppression. Such as? I know there is increased surveillance, but given events such as the arab spring, it seems like modern communications are far more a tool for expressing and organising dissent.
1IlyaShpitser7yAbsolutely -- and that's my point. You are after something tricky and subtle, not something simple like "no death penalty." So most societies will not have it. The answer to the question of whether we have any reason to believe [society] will not have [tricky and subtle thing] is "yes, the thing is tricky and subtle." It is super neat that the panopticon society is also operating in reverse, e.g. cell phones filming police being thugs. It's hard to work out counterfactuals properly, dystopian writers often get them wrong. But here is a partial list (some of these are double edged, naturally): big data analytics, cheap world-wide communication, strong crypto, clever PR/marketing people, professional bureaucracy, multinational corps, cheap manufacturing of all sorts of horrible things, incredibly deadly weapons, ability to kill via drone strikes, learning to coordinate larger and larger organizations (see for example how China learned to crowd-source censoring and online propaganda on the cheap), etc.
0skeptical_lurker7yWell, that's quite a long list. To pick out a few of your examples: My impression is that one of the main arguments against corporations is corporate lobbying. Under an examination-based system, there is no campaign funding which should go a long way to removing this problem. And the 'multi-national' bit is an incentive against wars. You can kill a lot of people with machetes. Large scale co-ordination is good! People like Gwern argue that large-scale cooperation to suppress harmful technologies is mankind's best hope of survival. Big-data and facial recognition applied to CCTV cameras is understandably something of concern. OTOH, some of the bitcoin people think that blockchain technologies will bring down governments.
3NancyLebovitz7yIt's equally important that the officials who are chosen that way aren't too awful at their jobs.
0ChristianKl7yWhy exactly history and what do you consider history to be in this case? Dates?
0skeptical_lurker7yAre you familiar with the adage "those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it"? I am talking about the standard history exams that one might take in school or at university, and when I studied history at school there was a greater emphasis on 'why' rather than 'when'. Its important to know roughly when stuff happened, but only insofar as it helps a general understanding. And world history in general is important, but your own countries history is especially relevant, so more weight should be attached to it, although certainly not to the exclusion of all else.
-3ChristianKl7yOf course I'm familiar with a lot of folks beliefs. On LW you can generally assume that the people with whom you arguing aren't stupid. We have found that learning how causation works is usually really hard and requires a lot of data. A single countries history doesn't provide much data, so most lessons that you draw from it are going to be overfitted on the available data. It's quite all right if you are conscious that you want to teach certain lessons and objective appearing history is the easiest way to teach those lessons. It also allows you to kick out anybody who doesn't agree with your interpretation of events out of your political system. If you are NRx of course you might want a tool to kick out those people with different political ideas but if that's what you want, be more open about it and don't hide behind slogans.
1skeptical_lurker7yI wasn't trying to imply that you are stupid. Which is why I said that knowing world history is beneficial. But if you are going to participate in American government then knowing about the American civil war is going to be especially beneficial in understanding current political tensions, while if you were going to be in the Iraqi government then you would gain more from knowing abut the history of conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite. My intention is examinations with questions like "why did Napoleon lose?" not "write a description of our glorious victory over the French!". Incidentally, people who disagree with the mainstream view of history are never going to get elected in a democratic system, so this examination-based system is more tolerant of dissenting views. Are the NRx the only people intolerant of those with different political ideas? Or can someone lose their job for, say, being against gay marriage? (I'm ok with gay marriage, but uncomfortable with censorship) Anyway, I'm not NRx, in that while certain aspects of society were better in the past, on the whole things are a lot better now. And even if modern society is going in the wrong direction, it seems to me that classical Rome/Greece/India/China were more functional than medieval Europe, so heading back to medieval social norms is entirely the wrong way to go.
1ChristianKl7yYou can easily tune your fluid intelligence test in a way that gives woman an advantage or in a way that gives men an advantage. No, performance on that test is trainable.
2skeptical_lurker7yIf typically male forms of fluid intelligence are more important for government, then all other things being equal there should be more men in government. If typically female forms of fluid intelligence are more important for government, then all other things being equal there should be more women in government. Perhaps you would want a female foreign minister and a male minister of defence? I was also thinking that most people take the IQ test at 16 or 18, in the same way you have the SATs in the US. In fact, in the US you could just use SAT scores instead. This way, everyone would train for the test.
1ChristianKl7yWho's the "you" you are talking about?
0skeptical_lurker7yI probably should have written 'one'.
1ChristianKl7yThat doesn't solve the issue. Who get's to make that decision? A lot of mental tests benefit some heuristics over other heuristics. Maybe you find a heuristic that correlates with openness to experience. If your test favors people with high openness to experience you get less conservative people in your government. Test design is highly political if the results of the test matter.
-4Lumifer7yYou misspelled "Kennedy".

I never said that the same thing didn't apply to Kennedy.

0Pfft7yI guess using the classics is also good for preventing standard drift, since they are set in stone. But reading the Wikipedia page, the exams seem a lot more subjective than I had imagined, basically entirely based on free-form essays on political problems? It seems this would lead to a ruling class of The Economist columnists, which is a pretty terrifying prospect. :)
1the-citizen7yI'd love to make a suggestion that your tests include a goal/empathy/altruism/duty test that ensures they're not in the office in order to simply enrich themselves through corruption.
4Baisius7yI'm not sure any of those things measure incorruptibility.
0the-citizen7yAgreed, but I think they'd have some correlation, and I strongly suspect their absense would predict corruptability.
1Vaniver7yOne of the fascinating world-building pieces of Divergent [] was that the group in charge politically was not Erudite (the clever/curious group), Amity (the kindness/service group), or Candor (the honesty/justice group) but Abnegation (the frugal/self-denying group).
2the-citizen7yCheers for the mention. I still haven't worked out if Divergent is meant to be a dystopia or utopia (somewhere in between I think?). Its an interesting world.
0Vaniver7yI think it's dystopic that they see the virtues as rivalrous instead of cooperative (wouldn't you want someone to have as many virtues as possible, and to 'graduate' from various groups?). The post-apocalypse part is hard to measure; less alienation, but also less trade. I would suggest, though, that a real teen dystopia is one in which everything is perfect and you are not needed- and so the existence of an obvious defect that you can change (and become important by doing so) seems like a component of a teen utopia.
0the-citizen7yI think you've got a good point regarding having as many virtues as possible. On the idea of perfection being dystopic, this reminds me of an argument I sometimes hear along the lines of "evil is good because without evil, good would just be normal", which I don't find very convincing. Still I guess a society and its people should always focus on betterment of themselves, and perfection is probably better thought of as a idealised goal than some place we arrive at.
1skeptical_lurker7yIts a nice idea, although when making decisions regarding the live and death of many people, an empathic person might simply shut down, so it might be good to include some more dispassionate people who can shut up and multiply. Unfortunately, I'm not sure there exist tests that can measure these things without being faked. Maybe you could measure empathy by looking at oxytocin levels? But more oxytocin=more empathy is a huge simplification. Do you have any good ideas for a goal/empathy/altruism/duty test?
0the-citizen7yI think you're right that the relationship is complex and you probably wouldn't want to optimise just around empathy/altruism. In particular highly empathetic people can sometimes run into problems with cognitive bias around large abstract concepts or numbers. I'm guessing there might be a "sweet spot" for leaders of having enough empathy to want to do the right thing, but not to be overwhelmed by emotion and unable to make difficult decisions. I'm very interested in possiblities for that sort of test, but it could be tough finding something that can't be gamed. Perhaps some research looking at a range of candidates for (perhaps multivariant) correlations with morally good and effective leadership decisions needs to be done. Actually... surely someone would have done that... though I haven't run into it so far...
3skeptical_lurker7yA good idea might be to have a mix of cognitive styles so that you can approach a problem from different sides. Of course, you need to be able to decide between these different viewpoints, otherwise you just create arguements. The first problem is to identify morally good and effective leadership decisions. This isn't easy.
1skeptical_lurker7yA good idea might be to have a mix of cognitive styles so that you can approach a problem from different sides. Of course, you need to be able to decide between these different viewpoints, otherwise you just create arguements. The first problem is to identify morally good and effective leadership decisions. This isn't easy.
0the-citizen7yYes that's a fairly good point and I don't know any easy way around it either. Looking in the world of business, government, politics etc etc. would be a matter of fairly subjective ideas about moral goodness. I suppose you could formulate an approach along the lines of experimental psychology, where you could deliberately design experiments with clearcut good/bad group outcomes. So get a bunch of people to be leaders in an experiment where their goal was to minimise their group members (including themselves) getting hit in the head with something unpleasant, build-in some selfish vs unselfish options, and then look at the correlations between leadership behaviours and oxytocin or whatever else you wanted to measure as an input. With a robust range of experiments you could perhaps develop something broadly useful.
0ChristianKl7yI don't think that's the case. EQ seems to make people both empathic and also able to keep a clear head when it comes to tough decisions.
0ShardPhoenix7yIdeally I also support more testing for everything, but there's a difficulty in keeping more complex tests both accurate and non-corrupted. IQ tests should be fine for some things but probably not everything.
0skeptical_lurker7yI'm guessing that "here are 20 people, who are each going to tell you a statement. You have five minutes to cross question each one, and then you must decide if they are lying" would be a decent test of social skills for instance.
0ChristianKl7yThat test is quite easy to corrupt by telling the 20 people to make it easy for them of the people who get interviewed. More importantly you test for a very specific skill that's likely trainable. The best people at the skill will be people trained by specific coaches in telling lies in that artificial setting. Those coaches might be payed for by lobbyists. In real life telling whether people lie when things are at stake for them is a much more useful skill than telling whether someone is lying for whom nothing is at stake. In most real world contexts where telling whether someone lies is important you analyse the persons motivations and the emotions that body language reveals. That's highly different from telling whether someone whom you give a random card from a deck of cards lies when he says: "This is the Queen of Hearts"
2skeptical_lurker7yThis kinda sounds like 'trials are easy to corrupt by telling jurors how to vote'. If this specific test were implemented then it would be possible to, for instance, choose the 20 people by lottery. Maybe look into how people prevent jury tampering? I don't think the primary goal is to have a system 100% free of corruption. That simply isn't realistic. I was more thinking of having people lie about statements about their lives, perhaps ones with emotional significance, to make the test more realistic.
0ChristianKl7yJurors are supposed to be able to use their subjective assessment of the situation. If the juror thinks that the person shouldn't be judged guilty, then the person should get an advantage. Furthermore getting a single jury case wrong isn't as bad as selecting the wrong president. It's more important to have a system for selecting presidents that immune to tampering. There's still no motivation to lie in that example besides: "The experimenter assigned me the role of a liar."
1skeptical_lurker7yOk, so I think that what you are saying is that if the person being tested is already a public figure (like a president up for periodic re-testing), then the 'liars' will have pre-existing opinions destroying the objectivity of the test. This is a good point - perhaps this specific test can only be used on new applicants. When it comes to selecting a president, extra care must be taken. One possibility is that testing is used to select people at the senator level, who then vote one of their number into the presidency. This means that many tests would have to be tampered with to subvert the system as a whole. You could give the liars a financial incentive. You could play candidates off against each other. You could get them to literally play the game 'diplomacy'.
0ChristianKl7yI think it's very likely that there are special skills involved in the game diplomacy. There the notion that American politics often resembles poker while the Chinese rather play go. I don't know what heuristics come with the game diplomacy but those heuristics could also matter for politics. The whole situation also raises a bunch of stress in applicants which can cloud the body language. Are you aware of any company for which hiring people with high social skills is important who let's their applicants play diplomacy?
0skeptical_lurker7yI think there is a reasonable case that go teaches certain useful skills beyond 'just' providing generic brain excersize. You have to know which groups to fight for and which to abandon, you have to prioritise, you have to avoid becoming fixated on any one part of the board. 'Play urgent moves before big moves' is good life advice. Diplomacy might train people to avoid being stabbed in the back, or it might train them to stab other people. You could even invent your own, positive-sum game if this seems like a potential problem. Politicians are going to need to make decisions under stress, and deal with stressed people. Since what I am proposing is similar to a job application process, looking at the hiring process for high-paid corporate roles could be a good starting place for anyone who was actually trying to implement this in real life, as opposed to my attempt here to paint a rough picture of what the process might vaguely look like. I do know that some financial companies have 'the theory of poker' as required reading, and a quick search turned up this recent idea of using custom video games [] but I think in general companies use interviews more. Of course, using interviews to select politicians simply allows the government to form an aristocracy. Companies are at least accountable to their stockholders. The idea of turning the government into a company and giving the people shares was, I believe, an idea of Moldburgs'. I find it more interesting than reverting to monarchy, but it has its downsides, especially that, given the distrust of the financial system, I cannot see it having to popular support to get started in the first place.
0ChristianKl7y'Play urgent moves before big moves' is not so much what I'm talking about. Go strategy suggests that attacking weak positions directly is a bad idea. In Go power doesn't get used to bluff. You continue to build power and if you are strong enough your opponent has to sacrifice a few stones because it's not worth to defend them. China's idea with Taiwan isn't to take it in a bloody war. It's idea is to get enough power that Taiwan has no other choice than to come back. Chinese foreign policy is different than US foreign policy. Poker has no notion of aji keshi and a lot of people in the west don't use a concept like aji keshi in strategic conflicts. I'm not even aware of a good word in the Oxford dictionary for aji keshi. I don't know about strategy behind Diplomacy but given that I have never read a book about Diplomacy strategy that explains why I don't know. If you have never learned Go then given the knowledge of Go rules you wouldn't come up with the concept of aji keshi yourself and see that it's important in Go. If I have a high stakes negotiation then I can usually safely assume that the other person is stressed because he cares about the outcome of the negotiation. If he is on the other hand stressed because his wife send him an SMS right before the negotiation that she wants to divorce and he spends all the time thinking about the SMS instead of focusing on the negotiation then he becomes hard to read. Especially if you don't know about the SMS that person get's very hard to model. If I do hypnosis and say a wrong word then the tension in the person I'm hypnotising rises. I perceive that change in body tonus and can change course. That helpful as long as the person doesn't get suddenly tense for reasons that have nothing to do with my interaction with him. As long as I'm having a decent mental model of the other person and perceive body language I can sometimes do well as far as mind reading goes. On the other hand I lose that if there are stress fac
-1ChristianKl7y"Popular support" might not be needed. As multinational corporation get stronger and nation states get weaker we might get a world where a corporation get's stronger than a state. It's possibly that a corporation just overtakes a powerless African state.
1NancyLebovitz7yYou could make there be something at stake by having everyone telling lies also be part of the group taking the test. Unfortunately(?), this would mean that people would train at telling convincing lies as well training at detecting lies.
0skeptical_lurker7yI second the question mark.

I'm a pro-U.S. military libertarian. I have the standard free market libertarian beliefs but think that the world is a vastly better place because of U.S. military power which has done much to reduce the harm that governments cause. Basically, I find it historically exceptional that the United States doesn't use its military dominance to rule or extract tribute from rich but relatively weak nations such as Canada, Japan, and much of Western Europe. I attribute the post-WWII peace in Western Europe and South America mostly to the fact that the U.S. would slap down an attempt by one country to invade another.

7skeptical_lurker7yThe modern world is different from the past in many ways, such as NATO, the UN, nukes, vast international trade, rapid communications, power moving away from the church and aristocracy, and horror at the vast death toll of the world wars. I couldn't imagine Canada invading the US if the Canadians suddenly developed an unstoppable superweapon, and even if the US became completely isolationist I doubt Germany would invade France again any time soon. The west has too much trade, too much communication, too much tourism to want to fight even if NATO, the UN, the EU all shut down. On the other hand, the fact that the US gave Germany money for rebuilding in the immediate aftermath of WWII really is an unprecedented act of generosity.

The west has too much trade, too much communication, too much tourism to want to fight

While that's a valid observation, similar points were made just before WW1... Also you did notice how one European nation, Russia, invaded another European nation, Ukraine, just this year -- right?

the fact that the US gave Germany money for rebuilding in the immediate aftermath of WWII really is an unprecedented act of generosity.

Not generosity. The US was building barriers against Stalin's European ambitions.

7skeptical_lurker7yFar more people have visited other countries now than in 1914. Having said that, once France and Germany were connected by trains it does seem a bit stranger that they would want to fight. And the Russia stock markets crashed afterwards. But the war in the Ukraine is pretty limited with only a few thousand casualties, if it wasn't for the amount of trade esp. gas with Russia, the war might have escalated far more. Incidentally, I'm not sure Russia counts as part of 'the west'. I know, but despite that it still seems very charitable compared to the treatment of the vanquished in previous wars. If only the allies had shown the same wisdom after WWI...

But the war in the Ukraine is pretty limited

The war in Ukraine started with Russia just grabbing an important and lucrative chunk of territory: the Crimea. The West said: "Um.. err... OK."

it still seems very charitable

What you probably mean is "not vindictive". The US was following self-interest, not doing charity.

1Azathoth1237yDepending on who you ask. Others would say that the war started with a US-backed coup against Ukraine's democratically elected government.
2Lumifer7ySure, I am aware of such people, but listening to them tends to lead to severe brain damage :-/
3[anonymous]7yI dunno, it also gave lots of money to Britain [] too, which is harder to explain that way. (And I just learned from Wikipedia it also offered money to the Soviet Union and its allies, though I guess it expected them to turn it down.)
2NancyLebovitz7yI thought part of it was Germany starting WW2 as a result of resentment at reparations, so a more generous approach was tried.
2Lumifer7yThe Marshall Plan was not Germany-specific, it provided money for rebuilding of the entire Western Europe. It also coexisted with severe restrictions on German economy during the first post-war years, e.g. []:
0Azathoth1237yIncidentally, Germany stopped paying reparations long before Hitler came to power. Not that that stopped various German governments from blaming Germany's economic problems on them.
3James_Miller7ySort of. Well-fed Germans excel at killing and would have been very useful to the United States in a WWIII.
0Azathoth1237yIf the US became completely isolationist, including pulling out all support from NATO and dismantling the nuclear umbrella, I'd predict the next Franco-German war in 20 years max (possibly sooner). Edit: since it wasn't clear judging by the replies, I never said that the war would start with a German attack on France.

Ehrr... France is a nuclear power. Wholly independently so - It isn't like the british deterrent which might get a lot more expensive without US support, the French nukes are French. Made in France, mounted on french rockets, in french submarines that are propelled by french reactors. "Has a firing solution for washington DC right along with the one for Moscow" is what I am saying. Nobody is invading them.

7Emile7yAs a Frenchman with German friends, and family near the border, this seems outrageously stupid.

Why? There were Frenchman with German friends near the border before the two world wars as well.

1Emile7yI'm not saying that friendships would prevent a war, I'm saying that I know people on both sides of the border and that from both point of views the idea of war is ludicrous and unthinkable. The French don't hate the Germans, the Germans don't hate the French, and the kind of flag-waving gun-toting nationalism you'd get in the US or China or Russia is highly unfashionable. Predicting Franco-German war on a French talk show would probably get you laughed off stage ...
3Azathoth1237yGive them a decade or two under austerity, that will change.
1seed1yI'm a Russian with Ukranian friends, and a war against Ukraine always seemed unthinkable. The war propaganda is based on the assertion that Ukrainians are our brothers and so we've got to protect them from the junta.
6ChristianKl7yWhich what credence? Why the heck should Germany want to wage war in the next 20 years on France? Why should an isolationist US lead to a weaker EU instead of the EU coming more together?
4skeptical_lurker7yThis seems very unlikely to me. Could you explain what you think would cause this war?
4Azathoth1237yProbably the French getting annoyed at the real or perceived German takeover of their country through the banking system.
6IlyaShpitser7yIn what ways do you differ from a typical US conservative?

I would like the government to legalize drugs. I support strict separation of church and state, and am not bothered by gay marriage. I support a right to die for sane adults. I don't think that feelings of disgust should play any role in policy making. I think that current government policies do considerable harm to African Americans.

5buybuydandavis7yI'm about the same. But it's not just the US military. Most of the freedom and prosperity in the world is due to the military dominance of the entire Anglosphere.
-1singularitard7yMind explaining your reasoning? Or is it just jingoism? edit: option 2 it is, then
2buybuydandavis7yYou would have gotten an answer if you had stopped at the first question.
4Viliam_Bur7yI believe that without USA, Russian tanks would already be in my country. Probably decades ago. And I would probably be forbidden from participating on LW. So... thanks!
5James_Miller7yI'm happy that my tax dollars have helped enable your LW contributions.
1DanielLC7yWhat's your opinion on a public military vs. mercenaries?
9James_Miller7yBetter mercenaries (volunteers) than slaves (conscripts). I generally support the U.S. government contracting out lots of responsibilities including military ones. I fear that organization such as Blackwater will become vital to U.S. power if the Blue tribe succeeds in turning our official armed forces into social justice warriors.
6BrassLion7yWhat about the practical effects? Correct me if I'm wrong, but explicit mercenaries (like Blackwater) give worse results for vastly more money than normal volunteer (paid) soldiers. I am with you on the preference for incentivizing people to go in to the military, rather than using conscription. Not being able to conscript more soldiers limits our ambitions to smaller wars against inferior powers. Then again, America seems to have a really good track record fighting giant military machines and great empires (Germany, Great Britain) and a really bad track record accomplishing our stated objectives in these regional wars against inferior militaries (Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan). Maybe I should be pushing for us to expend our military might on European plains?
0DanielLC7yI find this unlikely, though I haven't seen any evidence either way. Where did you learn this? We can conscript as many as we want if we pay them enough. If we're willing to draft people, then why wouldn't we be willing to raise taxes?
2taelor7yTaxpayers are generally better organized politically than potential conscripts.
0BrassLion7yBy the second point, do you literally mean it's legal to conscript soldiers (it is in America at least, although starting a draft would be politically impossible absent an immediate existential threat to America as a state), or do you mean that figuratively, in that if we pay soldiers enough, we'll get more volunteers? I'm not sure what point you're making. I will see if I can find the data on the poor performance and high cost of mercenaries.
0DanielLC7yThe second one. I seem to have misused the word "conscript".

The possibility that the government is giving too much to poor people is low on my list of concerns. I also believe that harm-causing processes should be shut down before support systems

Harm causing is endemic to the government "support" systems for the poor, who face the highest effective marginal tax rates of anyone, often exceeding 100%, and huge penalties for marriage and cohabitation.

Both Milton Friedman and Charles Murray, who are about as canonically libertarian as it gets, favor social welfare policies that are approximately geolibert... (read more)

0NancyLebovitz7yThat quote from me was intended as a answer to the conservatives who seem to believe that giving government money to poor people is bad for the poor people, even if there isn't a high marginal tax rate on the poor people earning much of anything for themselves.
0roystgnr7yDo you have a reference for "often"? I've seen hypothetical examples demonstrating that it's possible for means-tested subsidy loss to push effective marginal tax rates above 100%, but I've never seen any estimation of how many people are in such situations (or in nearby situations with sub-100% but still ludicrous marginal rates).
2Douglas_Knight7yHere's a CBO report [] finds that 15% of low to moderate income people are subject to 40-50% marginal rates and maybe another 10% are in excess of 50%. The caption implies that it isn't considering many benefits, but the rest of the report talks about them.

The Heritage Foundation analyzed the report, making it easier to see the effect for a woman with one child in the +100% marginal tax rate, which by eyeball is about 7k->15k.

I wonder if they factored in the increased costs associated with having a job: commute, lunch, clothing, laundry, etc.I'd guess from 7k->20k, you're basically working for no financial benefit, and that's valuing the personal cost of the time you spend working at $0/hr.

I hadn't realized how appallingly bad it was. Looks like going from 0k->20k produces about 4k in increased disposable income. For a 20k job, it's an 80% effective tax rate, ignoring the issue of marginal rates.

And I thought the drug war was evil.

We're from the government, and we're here to help.

0ChristianKl7yTo be fair Obama did a lot on this issue through Obamacare. The state where you got medical coverage when you were unemployed but not if you got a low paying job was just appealing. Sorry, but if you want medical care for your child you can't take that job.

I generally call myself a "technical libertarian," by which I mean I am libertarian for technical reasons, not because I 'technically' fit the definition. I think a lot about systems and designing them, and Hayek's concept of 'information cost' seems fundamental to designing any economic or political system. I typically contrast myself with "moral libertarians," who reason from rights to policy, because I think most rights get ludicrous when taken to extremes. (Rothbard claims, at one point, that the principled libertarian position on p... (read more)

1skeptical_lurker7yStone age people still had fires to warm their mud huts.
0Vaniver7yI suspect you could feasibly obtain consent from everyone damaged by a wood fire with population density that low.

I'm a traditional leftist/tax-and-spend liberal but anti-abortion. It could be my catholic upbringing, but it just seems incredibly obvious to me, a "you must be this rational to ride" line, that killing the same entity inside someone else is just as bad as killing it outside.

(Pro-abortion is coherent if you are pro-infanticide - really pro it, not just the "lol yeah delicious babies" kind we sometimes see on LW. And there's a coherent position of "the line needs to be somewhere and birth is the Schnelling point, so I'm contingently pro-abortion but anti-infanticide, pro tem". But I don't think many pro-abortion folk would endorse that position. )

killing the same entity inside someone else is just as bad as killing it outside

89% of abortions occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (source). A 12-week-old fetus is not viable outside of the womb.

Also worth noting is that the majority of pregnancies are terminated by natural miscarriage within that 12 week period. In most such cases, the mother has not even realized she was pregnant. (source) Do you consider these natural miscarriages to be the equivalent of human deaths from disease or injury, and if so, what should be done about them?

2lmm7yI rounded off "I think abortion laws should be stricter than they currently are in my country" to "I am anti-abortion", which was misleading and I'm sorry. I think that still puts me out of line with my political group though (e.g. the provisions of that Texas bill that was notably filibustered sounded reasonable to me). I think we should be less squeamish about acknowledging when we're trading off on human lives, particularly those of children. I think the life of a 12-week fetus is less valuable than that of a 30-week one, which in turn is less valuable than that of a 12-month child, but not by a huge margin. I think we should attempt to reduce (and ideally eliminate) these natural miscarriages through funding of medical research, the same way we do e.g. cot death.
1Dreaded_Anomaly7yPolitical and social context is important for the Texas bill and others like it. The relentlessly pursued goal of the "pro-life" movement is to restrict access to abortion. Requiring hospital admitting privileges sounds reasonable on its face, but the stigma faced by abortion providers makes it an onerous burden that is more likely to shut down clinics than to improve the safety of their operations. Alongside bills such as the above, the "pro-life" movement is making every attempt to restrict access to long-lasting low-failure-rate birth control, which is one of the best ways to reduce abortions. They often base their arguments on erroneous claims that such birth control is abortifacient. Even if those claims were supported by evidence, the idea that a single-celled zygote is morally equivalent to (or even anywhere in the neighborhood of) a thinking, self-aware person is absurd. "Human lives" is an artificial category []. What counts as a human life? Why should we care about those things? There are two important points about these natural miscarriages. The first is the sheer number of them, which certainly would merit medical research and treatment if one considers fetuses morally equivalent or close to persons. The second, however, is not addressed by that proposal. In most cases of early natural miscarriage, the woman did not realize that she was pregnant. Does medical treatment for a fetus warrant, e.g., surveillance of women to ensure that no pregnancies go unnoticed?
1Izeinwinter7yOne additional factor is that it is theorized that a heck of lot of those miscarriages are in fact the body spotting something fundamentally wrong with the pregnancy and going "Abort, Retry". One would certainly want to examine if this is the case before proceeding on a project to stop it from doing so. Not that this seems like a very easy project. I mean.. what is the research team supposed to do? Collect feminine hygiene pads from women trying for children and go through them for cell samples to analyze? That really sounds like a very.. obnoxious. project to set up. Persuading at least several hundred would-be mothers to consign their menses to a cold chain for starters. Logistics hassle from heck.
0stripey77yA third point would be that, often, the reason for the miscarriage was a fundamental defect of the embryo or fetus that makes it nonviable.

I'm pro-infanticide, but there's also a consistent position of "the line between not having and having a right to not be killed is crossed while in the womb". Another plausible position is evictionism - "Regardless of whether you have the right to kill a fetus, you aren't obligated to support it and are free to expel it if you wish".

7RowanE7yIs "birth is the schelling point" really that rare a position? In LW circles it's in every discussion. Although the more common argument in wider circles is "one person's right to bodily autonomy trumps the right to life of anyone whose life depends on impinging on the first person's bodily autonomy", cf "famous violinist". Although I see both of the above as independently being enough to make it a slam-dunk for pro-choice, I'm pro-infanticide so don't have to actually worry about it.
1lmm7yPeople actually find the famous violinist metaphor convincing, would permit the "host" person to kill them? I'd be interested to see it happen in real life. To my mind society has always reserved the right to curtail your freedom where it would threaten others; compare e.g. the detention of Typhoid Mary.
2RowanE7yProbably what would happen in real life would be that rights get ignored, people just take sides based on popularity, and being famous, the violinist wins. Or, people recognize it as the thought experiment from abortion debates, and the masses take sides based on previous pro-choice or pro-life opinions and nobody changes their minds and we don't learn anything. I think there's a difference there between negative freedom and positive freedom - the freedom to go around spreading typhus everywhere, vs the freedom to not have things stuck in your body and the freedom to not be forced to dedicate resources to constantly keeping someone else alive.
7buybuydandavis7yTo this entire thread I'll say that it's not just about the rights of the fetus/baby, but the rights of the host/mother as well.
6Douglas_Knight7yThe systems in the US and Europe treat infanticide and late-term abortion the same. They are quite coherent, but just don't like to spell out the rules. Infanticide by the mother is illegal, just like late-term abortion, but not much more. If the mother expresses grief at the death, people figure that there's no punishment worse than losing a child, and call it an accident. Many countries have laws on the books explicitly making infanticide a lesser crime than homicide, with a shorter jail sentence. Even when there is a conviction, the sentence is usually suspended.
6shminux7yThe pro-life/pro-choice argument seems to be, as it tends to be in many other cases, about where to place the Schelling point. Is all sperm sacred? Is Plan-B evil? Should a fetus with likely very poor quality of life be forced to develop, anyway? Should we take any and all measures to reduce the incidence of "natural" miscarriages? How much risk to the pregnant woman's life is acceptable in the name of saving her future baby? The problem is that different Schelling points seem unique to different groups. When you say "(Pro-abortion is coherent if you are pro-infanticide", what you really mean is "I see no Schelling point past the conception stage", whereas someone else (like ZankerH []) sees brain activity as such a point, or the heartbeat, or a fixed number of weeks, or birth. There is very little difference between your position and theirs, except one number.
5Nornagest7yThere's at least one. Actually, I thought this was the obvious answer even before I knew what a Schelling point was: there's no clear point at which humans become sapient and it probably isn't a binary issue, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere, putting it at conception implies a lot of nasty tradeoffs, and so we might as well put it at the other big obvious developmental transition. (There are smaller and less obvious alternatives, of course. One's the viability standard that's usual in the US post-Roe. Another is the point of "quickening", when fetal movements become obvious to the mother, which has seen historical use in this context. And then there are various developmental stages post-birth, as are used in many older cultures to mark when to name the kid. I think these are all substantially worse Schelling points as things stand, but you could make an ethical case for any of them given certain assumptions or additional data.)
3ZankerH7yI always thought this was a pretty straightforward issue from a rationalist perspective - we have the technology to figure out whether the foetus has an active brain and can meaningfully perceive pain. That should be the cutoff point.

Maybe it's straightforward to discover when the fetus can feel pain, but it's not straightforward that being able to feel pain should be the cutoff point.

8ChristianKl7yI see no reason to believe that you can in general kill a person because the person can't perceive pain. Congenital insensitivity to pain [] is a thing. "Active brain" is also a term that wide open.
2Adele_L7yI think for pro-abortion it is more about letting the woman decide to undergo an intervention over something which will affect her health/well-being significantly. So killing a fetus/baby might still be a certain amount of bad (maybe ramping up continuously with age), but it is more bad to not allow this choice (but this is de-emphasized by the pro-abortion movement for the obvious political reasons). I think this also explains why lots of people are ok with early-term abortions, but not late-term abortions.
0stripey77yThe latter is exactly my position and the reason for it, although I didn't know the term "Schnelling point" years ago when I decided that.
0ChristianKl7yDo you suggest that women have a right to abortion but doctors have no right to help them with the procedure?
0lmm7yNo, that wasn't my intended meaning.
-2singularitard7yI don't think very many people who are "pro-choice" are actually pro-abortion. The crux of the issue is that people will be getting abortions whether they are legal or not, so there should be a safe option for those people (as opposed to backroom doctor, coat hanger, etc) which requires it to be legal and regulated I should know better than to explain anything to homeschooled randroids
0Lumifer7yThat's not a particularly persuasive argument, to see why replace "getting abortions" with e.g. "stealing" (pro-life people would replace it with "murder").
-1singularitard7yHaving something done to yourself VS doing something to other people, there's really no comparison here. The science is sound. Not that people with grade school equivalent knowledge of politics are worth arguing with (I mean you by the way). Dunning-Kruger alarm bells ringing. Don't worry, you'll get laid one day
3Lumifer7yHeh. It's interesting how you assume the real crux of the issue away. The real crux (IMHO, of course) is whether and when a fetus stops being a chunk of tissue and begins to be a human being. There are two endpoint views -- at birth and at conception -- and a variety of intermediate positions. Your post assumes that the fetus is a chunk of tissue so when you are doing something, it's to yourself, not to another person. But that assumption is precisely the root of the disagreement.

I'm honestly not sure what my political views are. When I vote I am left to far-left by default, but if I can find a candidate that is against corruption I will vote for them regardless of their other political views. However, I harbor substantial sympathy towards anarcho-communism/OWS/etc. even though I know it likely wouldn't work in practice. Keeping in contact with idealists is good for my mental health.


I've been libertarian for a while (and I did answer "libertarian" on the survey) but I'm drifting more in the direction of NRx/"post-rationalist" because they seem like the only group willing to embrace the truth, while pure libertarianism is starting to seem incompatible with actual existing people. I'm increasingly disgusted by the left and want to get as far away from their lies and bullying as I can.

I seem to be one of the tiny number of people on LW who are conservative but not a "neo-reactionary." I'm socially conservative in the sense that I think the classical virtues are real virtues--I would like to live in a society that supports the classical virtues in its people.

I don't fit into ordinary US-conservatism on most levels. I'm very anti-interventionist and I think the US has had a profoundly destructive role in the world since the cold war era began. I'm not against "big government" as long as it isn't wasteful or overly complex. I'm also a transhumanist, but I don't really think transhumanism is inherently anti-conservative.

1ChristianKl7yDoes that basically mean Singapore is okay, but the US isn't? Otherwise what's your idea of not overly complex big government?
3knb7yFor example, with regard to energy policy, I wouldn't be opposed to the government establishing a large carbon tax. A large carbon tax would be "big government" in the sense that it would have a large economic effect relative to laissez-faire. But it would be simple and therefore would have little overhead. It would be easy for voters to understand, easy for economists to evaluate, and easy for companies to make decisions about without having to hire extra bureaucrats and lawyers to ensure compliance. Ensuring compliance with complex regulations is a deadweight loss.
-1ChristianKl7yI think you underrate the complexity of carbon taxes. Measuring emissions isn't trivial. Various offsetting schemes can also get complex.
1knb7yThe complexity of emissions taxes is orders of magnitude lower compared to current US legislation.
0NancyLebovitz7yWhat do you consider to be the classical virtues? How would a government support them?

I wrote in "Federalist". I believe Texas should be governed by Texan values and California should be governed by Californian values.

I wouldn't suggest that this principle is the highest principle, but it seems obvious that it should be somewhere high up in the ranking of principles (say, #3). People often try to argue that because we can't make federalism the highest principle, it shouldn't be a principle at all. That seems totally wrong to me.

2taelor7yIn general I agree with this. However, I am also in favor of government subsidy on moving between jurisdictions (though, not a full subsidy, as that would cause moral hazard problems). Uprooting your life and relocating to a new location is costly, in time, money, effort, and social ties. These costs will be disproportionately borne by people with values far from the mean of their cultural/geographic locale. Without a subsidy to help Texans with California values and Californians with Texan values relocate, Federalism will essentially develve into a large welfare redistribution to individuals with values close to their jurisdiction's mean from individuals further from that mean.
8Azathoth1237yThe biggest problem is not moving costs but a form of adverse selection: suppose Texas values are more conductive to running a prosperous state than California values. The you will wind up with people from California moving to Texas for economic reasons but keeping their original values.
6ChristianKl7yWhy should Californians pay more to support people from Texas, than say support Nigerians with bed nets?
3Nornagest7yIf we were to decide that local homogeneity of values is something we wanted to encourage -- which I'm not sure of -- a subsidy for moving costs would probably help, but I don't think it's sufficient to overcome the inertia that keeps e.g. Texans with Californian values in Texas. People have lots of ties to a place besides the purely financial: moving implies leaving friends and often family, finding a new job and new housing, probably learning a certain amount of new cultural content, etc.
5taelor7yI wouldn't expect such a subsidy to overcome inertia in all cases. I expect it would help on the margins, though.

I consider pluralism to be important. Very often having good governance and organisations you check and balance each other is more important the specific "issues".


Liberal here, I think my major heresy is being pro-free trade.

Also, I'm not sure if there's actually a standard liberal view of zoning policy, but it often feels like the standard view is that we need to keep restrictive zoning laws in place to keep out those evil gentrifiers, in which case my support for loser zoning regulations is another major heresy.

You could argue I should call myself a libertarian, because I agree the main thrust of Milton Friedman's book Capitalism and Freedom. However, I suspect a politician running on Friedman's platform today wou... (read more)

6Azathoth1237yDepends, is this in addition to or in place of the existing welfare state? Friedman's position was "in place of", someone running on that position today would probably be considered a "heartless fascist".
0ChristianKl7yThe existing welfare state only gives unemployed money if they are looking for a job. Unconditional basic income gives them always money. Today's GOP is likely to see that as encouraging laziness.
0Azathoth1237yThere's a lot more to the welfare state then just what's called the welfare program.
1ChristianKl7yYou can read my statement narrowly. Then it's about giving money and not about various other advantages. You can read my statement broadly for it's intent. Then it's about the difference that an unconditional basic income system puts less pressure on people to get jobs. The GOP generally wants that pressure. It also likes to give food stamps instead of cash. Both reading are correct. There no reason to read something else into my sentence.
0Azathoth1237yWell the current system has an over 100% marginal cliff in some places.
0ChristianKl7yMedicAid is only available to people who are unemployed. Seeing that everyone who isn't unemployed is still insured was an important part of Obamacare. YOu see how the GOP reacted. While certain people in the GOP don't like 100% marginal cliffs I don't think they are willing to not put pressure n people to get jobs as it currently stands to get rid of those cliffs.
0Azathoth1237yIf you had instead eliminated Medicaid entirely and given everyone a basic income that includes enough money to buy insurance you would have gotten more GOP support. I've paid a lot of attention to the debate on Obamacare, I don't think I've heard that argument made once.
0ChristianKl7yPeople in the US generally don't care that much about the poor so nobody frames the argument that way. On the other hand that there are people who don't get medicare because they work and who can't easily insure themselves was surely part of the debate. Whether or not people use it as a talking point also doesn't matter that much to the practical results of policy. If the proposal simply would have been Medicaid for everyone, likely more people would have made the argument.
3fubarobfusco7yGood thing! We're going to end up in a world where robots do the poor-people jobs. (Just as we are now in a world where machines do the horse and ox jobs, like plowing and pulling carriages.) I for one would prefer that the poor people not starve to death as a result.
2Barry_Cotter7yHe supported a large negative income tax for those on the lowest (earned) incomes, tapering off to zero, then positive as earned income increased. This is really very far from a guaranteed basic income.

Not sure if this counts, but though my views can roughly be described as "libertarian", I have a mix of moderate and radical positions that I rarely see found together. On the moderate side, I favor a carbon tax, think intellectual property protection is justified in principle, want a government-managed fiat currency (and don't want to abolish or audit the Fed), and probably other positions that I'm missing here. On the radical side, I want to abolish the welfare state, open the borders, and greatly reduce the military budget and only use the military for defensive wars.

Predominantly liberal/social democrat, but unlike most left-wingers (here at least), I'm isolationist and anti-immigration

I define myself as a techno-liberal: people should organize in a strong state that helps smoothing market inefficiencies and promote internal survivability, but I'm also on the opinion that machines can do much of this work. Other than that, people should be able to do pretty much as they please.
Oh, and we should really do that world government thing.

My political views aren't adequately expressed by "libertarian". I call myself a liberal-flavored libertarian, by which I mean that I want the government to hurt people less.

Gotta agree with you there. I describe myself as a center-libertarian based on my Political Compass scores, which put me halfway between the right-libertarians and the left-anarchists.

The possibility that the government is giving too much to poor people is low on my list of concerns. I also believe that harm-causing processes should be shut down before support systems

A... (read more)

Seems like your political views are close to Yvain's, are they not?

Sounds like 'Left-Libertarian', which is what I put in on the last survey.

2blacktrance7yI usually see "left-libertarianism" used to refer to left-wing market anarchism, not to something between progressivism and libertarianism.
6Jayson_Virissimo7yDuring my time as a libertarian, it was common to refer to people like Nancy as "liberaltarians". You are correct that "left-libertarian" usually signifies a certain kind of anarchist, not a progressive/libertarian hybrid.
3Lumifer7yAnother name is "bleeding-heart libertarians".
0NancyLebovitz7yFor what it's worth, I check in at the Bleeding Heart Libertarians website [] now and then, and I never find anything I want to read.
2Luke_A_Somers7yI can't make sense of 'left-wing market anarchism' except as something that is in fact kind of in between progressivism and libertarianism, even if it's not really what I'm thinking of.
7blacktrance7yLeft-wing market anarchism is anarcho-capitalism that is left-wing in its orientation. They typically support the same policies as other anarcho-capitalists, but in non-policy areas, they have notable differences. They're opposed to hierarchical labor relations (though they don't want to make them illegal), with which they associate the term "capitalism" [], and which is why they like to call themselves free-market anti-capitalists. They have a favorable view of labor unions, strikes, and worker cooperatives. They tend to believe that the current political and economic system favors large corporations and the wealthy to such a degree that there would be much less inequality under market anarchy. Finally, they support feminism, anti-racism, and related ideologies in their cultural goals, though, being libertarians, they oppose the state being involved. Essentially, they're libertarians who believe that many (sometimes radical) left-wing goals are desirable and achievable in a free market.
0[anonymous]6yReplies to the comment you are now reading accurately describe my ideas so the original post has been replaced by this disclaimer to spare your time :)
0[anonymous]7yThe term "left-libertarianism" is kind of ambiguous []. But I don't think it usually means anarcho-capitalism.

I could be called libertarian socialist or libertarian communist. It's hard to say whether I fit the "usual" meanings of the individual words since most people don't have a clear idea of what any of them mean. Certainly I don't fit any of the categories in the first part of the survey. In the extra credit part I could pick "socialist," but only by ignoring the definition in the first part. "Anarchist" would describe one aspect of the desired end (non)state, but often implies a more rigid attitude toward present-day politics than I actually have.

I believe that society should be organized so that people work collectively in a society focused on its own survival and power. My views are extremely collectivist, in that, the relationship between the society and its people would be a lot like the relationship between a body and its cells.

1Azathoth1237ySo most people would have no need to think for themselves?
[-][anonymous]7y 0

I have conflicting values. And not just in a right vs. left way--simultaneously implementing all the policies I like seems hard, and I don't have time to figure out how.

I guess as Will Wilkinson says, I am "inscrutably idiosyncratic." But I have a fantasy that in 30 years when I retire, I'll devote myself full-time to developing something coherent.

By the way, this is a cool post by Bryan Caplan on labels. He uses the most labels I think I've ever seen.

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I entered "Other: electic mixture" on the survey. On my Facebook profile, I elaborate this as "classical liberalism, Rawlsian liberalism, reactionary, left-libertarianism, conservatism, and techno-futurism." Ideologies are for picking apart, not buying wholesale. I gather a variety of them together and cut away the rotten parts like moldy cheese. What's left is something much more workable than the originals.

[-][anonymous]7y -3

I would have to say: consequentialist, reflectively-coherent socialist. Marx's critiques of capitalism are mostly correct, the Soviet Union is entirely wrong, and for God's sakes, you don't get a correct politics by a priori political philosophy, you get one by looking at what makes a society people actually prefer to live in.

-1Azathoth1237yHow do you measure what people prefer to live in, by where they move when given the chance, or by how they vote? The two tend to be very different.
0[anonymous]7yI would say: usually by how they vote. While it's quite noisy, where people move is, to my best knowledge, driven strongly and chiefly by the ratio between real-estate prices and median incomes (as a measure of income distribution location, of course). If you measure that way, you'll mostly find that everyone prefers cheap land over all else.
1ChristianKl7yLand is cities isn't cheap and still more people move to cities than vice versa. The interesting question is whether if someone takes a job in Dubai and then goes and pays taxes there instead of living in the US or a European country it means that he supports that political system. Defacto he supports it but he likely doesn't vote that way. Furthermore if people move around mainly based on median incomes, shouldn't politicians maximize public policy to maximize median incomes? Basically what the Chinese leadership tries to do?
0[anonymous]7yAs you said, he likely does not have a coherent preference for Dubai's system. I don't see why it's an interesting question. More people move to cities than vice-versa right now, in current employment conditions. There was a time of "white flight" from the central cities into the suburbs, you know. Furthermore, if you look at which cities the migrations are headed towards, it's usually actually the cheaper ones: the expensive areas are undergoing a net-loss of population over time, despite being exactly the places that everyone says they want to move to. So you could go with a "revealed preferences" model of preference measurement in politics, but I don't think it's very useful: economic "revealed" preferences are conditioned on people's current available income and assets, and politics contains the business of how we assign incomes and assets as a society. If people appear to move to cheap land, this does not indicate a terminal preference for cheap land as such, it indicates that their resource availability constraints make cheap land into a subgoal stomp -- they're trading off what they really want for what they can get.
3ChristianKl7yBecause moving to Dubai isn't really something you do by accident. It takes a quite deliberate choice.
0[anonymous]7yPeople move for work all the time without their choice representing a coherent ceteris paribus preference.
1Azathoth1237yThey're more coherent than the preferences revealed by polls. It's fairly well known that polls can be made to produce vastly different results by slight reformulations of the question. In other words, when revealed and stated preferences disagree it means that people's stated preferences lead to results that the person isn't willing or able to actually live with.
1Azathoth1237yIn other words, they move to places where they can get well paying jobs (as measured against the local standard of living). So I would argue that the policies that lead to a society that people what to live in are those that are conducive to economic prosperity.
0[anonymous]7yThose are not equivalent words for the same thing. In fact, they describe more-or-less the exact opposite phenomenon: land values push people to move to places where they personally will be further up in the local income distribution, and thus more able to purchase real-estate, rather than places with a higher expected productivity. If you don't believe me, go check the numbers: the Sun Belt areas (presuming we're talking about the USA) to which large amounts of migration happen have cheap land but low per-hour productivity, compared to California and the BosWash Corridor, which have very expensive real-estate but much higher per-hour productivity (in fact, which produce the mode of the value in the American economy!).
-2[anonymous]7yActually, hold on, jump out, meta-level question: why are you privileging the hypothesis that "voting with their feet" represents a reflectively-coherent all-else-equal preference anyway? It usually involves changing several variables quite a lot, all at once, some by the choice of the person moving and others for other reasons, with close correlations between many of these variables. In terms of extracting uncorrupted information about preferences, it's about as bad as any randomly-chosen Life Choice, and a lot worse than ushering a person into an isolated booth to have them anonymously fill out a questionnaire about their preferences over possible societies. What evidence do you possess that locates "migration patterns reflect people's real preferences over societies" in the hypothesis space?
1Azathoth1237yWell, for one thing "voting with one's feet" doesn't have the rational ignorance [] problem that voting does.
-2[anonymous]7yWhich is not evidence regarding migration as a preference indicator. You're playing politics, not rationality.
-1Azathoth1237yWhat definition of "preference" are you using there? If I pick the vanilla rather than the chocolate ice cream, would you agree that this is evidence regarding my ice cream preference?
0[anonymous]7yThat depends: what system of incentives, ranging from monetary payment to a gun to your head, is acting to make you choose vanilla? People's real preferences are the ones they possess and exercise without external compulsion or incentive making some possibilities easier than others.
-2Azathoth1237yThat's still evidence that the value of said incentives is larger than any preference I have for chocolate over vanilla.
0[anonymous]7yWhich is actually why those incentives are confounding factors when we're trying to measure your actual preferences.
-1Azathoth1237yNot if those same factors also show up it the decision you're planning to make based on those preferences.
-2[anonymous]7yThey don't: collective, political decisions are simply not supposed to take individuals' incentives into account as inputs, but instead to change those incentives as output.
0Azathoth1237yHow did we go from "preferences" to "incentives" and what distinction are you trying to make here?
[-][anonymous]7y -3

I think government should not be monolithic. I believe only land ownership should be taxed. I think the law should be unchangeable. I think every citizen should enforce the law and learn the procedures when they get their gun permit. I think there should be a monarch as head of the judicial system.

I don't have a "preferred label" to start with. I always have major difficulties with fitting into pigeonholes X-)

3BrassLion7yTell me your rough beliefs and I will pigeonhole you. If you want me to, of course. It might lead you towards a school of political thought you'll agree with, or at least enjoy reading about.
0Lumifer7yThank you for the offer. My pigeonholing problems do NOT stem from me being unaware of the variety of pigeonholes on offer :-) I can stick some labels onto myself, it's just that I don't consider that exercise either productive or accurate.