The most important decisions are before starting a war, and there the mistakes have very different costs. Overestimating your enemy results in peace (or cold war) which basically means that you just lose out on some opportunistic conquests but underestimating your enemy results in a bloody, unexpectedly long war that can disrupt you for a decade or more - there are many nice examples of that in 20th century history.

Generals are not the people who decide whether or not a war gets fought but who decide over individual battles.

2fortyeridania5yPeace or cold war are not the only possible outcomes. Surrender is another. An example is the conquest of the Aztecs by Cortez, discussed here [], here [] , and here [] . Surrender can (but need not) have disastrous consequences too.

Rationality Quotes Thread March 2015

by Vaniver 1 min read2nd Mar 2015235 comments


Another month, another rationality quotes thread. The rules are:

  • Please post all quotes separately, so that they can be upvoted or downvoted 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  • Do not quote yourself.
  • Do not quote from Less Wrong itself, HPMoR, Eliezer Yudkowsky, or Robin Hanson. If you'd like to revive an old quote from one of those sources, please do so here.
  • No more than 5 quotes per person per monthly thread, please.
  • Provide sufficient information (URL, title, date, page number, etc.) to enable a reader to find the place where you read the quote, or its original source if available. Do not quote with only a name.