less people seemed be on the fence than I expected, "the distribution of opinions about neoreaction" seemed bimodal

I suspect this is the polarizing effect of politics, not something specific for LW nor specific for neoreaction. We are talking about labels, not ideas. I may agree with half of ideas of some movement, and disagree with other half of ideas, but I usually have a clear opinion about whether I want to identify with a label or not.

I understand that LessWrong consists of real people, but when I think about LessWrong, the mental image that comes to my mind is that of a place, abstract entity and not a community of people.

My mental image for LW community is more or less "people who have read the Sequences, and in general agree with them". Yes, I am aware that in recent years many people ignore this stuff, to the degree where mentioning the Sequences is a minor faux pas. (And for a while it was a major faux pas, and some people loudly insisted that telling someone to read the Sequences is a lesswrongeese for "fuck you". Not sure how much of that attitude actually came from the "Rational"Wiki.) That, in my opinion, is a bad thing, and it sometimes leads to reinventing the wheel in the debates. To put it shortly, it seems to me we have lost the ability to build new things, and became an online debate club. Still a high quality online debate club. Just not what I hoped for at the beginning.

What I am trying to say is that when I see neoreactionaries commenting on LessWrong, I do not perceive them as "them" if they talk in a manner that is close enough to LessWrong style about the topics that are LW topics.

LessWrong was built upon some ideas, and one of them was that "politics is the mindkiller" and that we strive to become more rational, instead of being merely clever arguers. At this moment, neoreactionaries are the group most visibly violating this rule. They strongly contribute to the destruction of the walled garden. Debating them over and over again is privileging a hypothesis; why not choose any other fringe political belief instead, or try creating a new one from scratch, or whatever?

And I guess that if we are to overcome biases we will have to deal with politics.

Politics is an advanced topic for a rationalist. Before going there, one should make sure they are able to handle the easier situations first. Also, there should be some kind of feedback, some way of warning people "you have strayed from the path". Otherwise we will only have clever arguers competing using their verbal skills. When a rationalist sympathetic to neoreaction reads the SSC neoreaction anti-faq, they should be deeply shocked and start questioning their own sanity. They should realize how much they have failed the art of rationality by not realizing most of that on their own. They should update about their own ability to form epistemically correct political opinions. Instead of inventing clever rationalizations for the already written bottom line.

In my opinion, Yvain is the most qualified person for the task of debating politics rationally, and the only obvious improvement would be to somehow find dozen different Yvains coming from different cultural backgrounds, and let them debate with each other. But one doesn't get there by writing their bottom line first.

To put it shortly, it seems to me we have lost the ability to build new things, and became an online debate club.

Did LW as a group ever have this ability? Going by the archives it seems that there were a small number (less than 10) of posters on LW who could do this. Now that they're no longer posting regularly, new things are no longer produced here.

try creating a new one from scratch, or whatever?

A reasonable case could be made that this is how NRx came to be.

1Salemicus6ySentiments like this are, in my opinion, a large part of why "politics is the mind-killer." I am no neoreactionary, but I thought the SSC neoreaction anti-faq was extremely weak. You obviously thought it was extremely strong. We have parsed the same arguments and the same data, yet come out with diametrically opposed conclusions. That's not how it's supposed to work. And this is far from a unique occurrence. I frequently find the same article or post being held up as brilliant by people on one side of the political spectrum, and dishonest or idiotic by people on the other side. It is not merely that people don't agree on what's correct, we don't even agree on what a successful argument looks like.
-3Lumifer6yThat's a warning sign, not a barbed-wire fence patrolled by guards with orders to shoot to kill. Neoreaction is an interesting line of thought offering unusual -- and so valuable -- insights. If you don't want to talk about NRx, well, don't. If you want to talk about different political beliefs, well, do. What is "the path"? LW is a diverse community and that's one of its strengths. You did mention mindkill, didn't you? I recommend a look in the mirror. In particular, you seem to be confusing rationality with a particular set of political values. Political opinions are expressions of values. Values are not epistemically correct or wrong -- that's a category error.

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

by MrMind 1 min read17th Nov 2014329 comments


If it's worth saying, but not worth its own post (even in Discussion), then it goes here.

Notes for future OT posters:

1. Please add the 'open_thread' tag.

2. Check if there is an active Open Thread before posting a new one. (Immediately before; refresh the list-of-threads page before posting.)

3. Open Threads should be posted in Discussion, and not Main.

4. Open Threads should start on Monday, and end on Sunday.