Politics as gymnastics for rationalists. No one one Less Wrong is quite sure why politics is a taboo topic or how things got to be that way. What we do think we know is that politics is a great way to bring out the irrationality in people. So why not take advantage of that and use politics as a way to measure rationality? Since politics brings out the most irrationality, it should provide the strongest signal. Since there aren't useful objective metrics of how a political discussion went, we'd have to use subjective judgements by neutral third-party raters, kind of like they do in gymnastics. (In the comment thread for this post, feel free to find fights that you have no dog in, improvise a rationality rubric, and grade participants according to your rubric... let's see how it goes.)
Be a sheep. This is probably the exact opposite of what you were taught in your high school civics class. But if my friend Jane is more intelligent, more informed, and less ideological than I am, it seems like voting however Jane is going to vote is a strict improvement over voting however I would naively. It also saves me time, and gives Jane an incentive to put even more time in to carefully considering political issues since she now controls two votes instead of one. Done on a large scale, this could provide an interesting twist on representative democracy. Imagine a directed graph where each node represents a person and an edge is directed from person A to person B if person A is auto-copying person B's votes. There's a government computer system where you can change the person you're auto-copying votes from at any time or override an auto-copied vote with your own personal guess about what's best for society. Other than that, it's direct democracy... all bills are put before all citizens to vote on. Problems this might solve:
- Voting as signaling - a smaller portion of the population is expected to follow politics, so they have an incentive to understand issues in depth and make the right choice for society as a whole rather than signal that they have some characteristic or another.
- Lobbying - I could configure my voting so that I auto-copy the votes of a lobbying watchdog group whenever it votes on anything, and fall back to my regular representative's vote when the watchdog group abstains. That would allow me to selectively vote to preserve net neutrality while continuing to copy my regular representative's votes on other issues.
- Wasteful political discourse in general. We don't need everyone to be obsessively discussing politics the way they are currently... a representative sample of ten thousand smart neutral people is plenty. Specialization of labor FTW.