I agree it would be good to find a better method to debate politics. Maybe we should have a meta-rule that anyone who starts a political debate must specify rules how the topic should be debated. (So now the burden is on the people who want to debate politics here.)

It seems to me that in political topics most of updating happens between the conversation. It's not like you say something and the other person is "oh, you totally convinced me, I am changing my mind now". Instead, you say something, the other person looks at you very suspiciously and walks away. Later they keep thinking about it, maybe google some data, maybe talk with other people, and the next time you meet them, their position is different from the last time.

For example, I have updated, from mildly pro-NR to anti-NR. I admit they have a few good points. But this is generally my experience with political movements: they are often very good at pointing out the obvious flaws of their competitors; the problem is that their own case is usually not much better, only different. I appreciate the few insights, they made me update, and I still keep thinking about some stuff. I just didn't come to the same conclusion; I separated the stuff that makes sense to me from the stuff that doesn't. Just like I try to draw good ideas e.g. from religion, without becoming religious. Instead of buying the whole package, I take a few bricks and add them to my model of the world. There are a few bricks in my model now that an outside observer could call "neoreactionary", although that would probably depend on the exact words I would use to describe them (because they are not unique for NR). The other bricks I have judged separately, and I was unimpressed. That's where I am now.

There is also this irritating fact that NRs keep associating themselves with LW. I consider that a huge dishonesty and in a way an attack on this community. If people are impressed by LW, this can make them more open towards NR. If people are disgusted by NR, this can make them dislike LW by association. They gain, we lose. It never goes the other way round; no one is going to debate overcoming their cognitive biases just because they fell in love with NR. To put it bluntly, we are used as a recruitment tool for some guy's cult, and all his shit falls on our heads. Why should we tolerate that? (This, especially #1 should be a required reading for every nerd.) That alone makes me completely unwilling to debate with them, because such debates are then used as further evidence that "LW supports NR". (As an analogy, imagine how much would you want to have a polite debate with a politician you dislike, if you know that the reason he debates with you is that he can take a photo of you two having a conversation, put it on his personal webpage, and claim that you are one of his supporters, to impress people who know you.) I refuse to ignore this context, because I am strongly convinced that NRs are fully aware of what they are doing here.

So even if we try having rational debates about politics, I would prefer to try them on some other political topics.

Maybe we should have a meta-rule that anyone who starts a political debate must specify rules how the topic should be debated.

Um, this is a horrible idea. The problem is people will make rules that amount to "you're only allowed to debate this topic if you agree with me".

2Sarunas6yI think this is a great suggestion, since it allows different standards for different types of political discussion, as well as giving us a chance to actually observe which set of rules leads to most productive discussion. Well, I think this is probably true in my experience. On the other hand, since this is an internet forum, no one is forcing them to post their answers immediately. Maybe for most people it takes months to change their position on significant political belief even if they have a lot of evidence that contradict that belief, thus we do not expect that given a person he/she would change their beliefs after a conversation. However, thinking at the margin, there must have been people who were on the fence. There must have been people who quickly jump from one set of beliefs to another one whenever someone posts an interesting essay. Maybe for them a week would have been enough to update? And since this was not a real time conversation, they could post about their update after a week and it was their pride that prevented them from doing so? However, less people seemed be on the fence than I expected, "the distribution of opinions about neoreaction" seemed bimodal. However, now that I write this, I realize that such people would have been less motivated to write their beliefs in the first place, thus they were underrepresented in the total volume of posts in that thread. Thus, it is possible that the impression of bimodality is partially an artefact of that. It is good to hear that you have found something in that thread that you thought was worth updating on. I also agree that neoreaction is better at finding flaws of other movements (for example, I think that some trends they describe as dangerous are actually dangerous) and providing some intellectual tools for thinking about the world that can be added into one's toolbox (I am not a neoreactionary, whether those tools accurately describe the world is a different question, to me it seems that they ar

Open thread, Nov. 17 - Nov. 23, 2014

by MrMind 1 min read17th Nov 2014329 comments


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