And unless you think that Russia has adopted the moral system "whose place of origin is the USA"

Kind of. The current Russian constitution was written at the extreme high point of Russian popular affection for the American way of life, and the people who wrote it were big fans of the US constitution. Such attitudes have gone way down since then.

unless you assert that using the tokens "racism" and "sexism" is sufficient for your thesis to hold but spelling out that racism and sexism are bad without using those tokens somehow makes your hypothesis not apply.

Now I'm curious: why does this particular assertion look absurd to you? From where I stand, using marker words like "racism" and "sexism" looks like a pretty clear case of signaling. That's like the difference between saying cheating on your spouse is bad, and saying cheating is "a sin".

I could agree with you that "racism" and "sexism" are often used only for signaling, and even that they are (probably) used more for that purpose in the USA than elsewhere, on average, but I don't agree that they're only used for that purpose, and I don't agree that they're a product of one moral system or that they're only used by people who hold that moral system. Some people use the words because it's easier to say one word than ten words, easier to say "racism" than to speak a whole sentence when you know the listener will understand that you are referring to the systematic differential treatment of people on the basis of skin color.

Rationality Quotes November 2009

by Eliezer Yudkowsky 1 min read29th Nov 2009281 comments


A monthly thread for posting rationality-related quotes you've seen recently (or had stored in your quotesfile for ages).

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be voted up/down separately.  (If they are strongly related, reply to your own comments.  If strongly ordered, then go ahead and post them together.)
  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote comments/posts on LW/OB.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.