All of bio_logical's Comments + Replies

"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

I'm interested to know what rational people should have done in 1930 Germany to prevent politics from killing minds there. Is there a general consensus here on that issue?

I mean, if ever there were an issue worthy of rational prioritization, I would think that the construction of deathcamps and the herding of people into them, should be prioritized. How might one rationally prioritize one's actions in that type of situation?

I honestly would like to know if there's a "non-mind-killing" approach possible in such a situation.

If the answer is not &... (read more)

If the forum can be said to have an intelligence which is equal to the sum of its parts, or even just some additive function of its parts, then yes. But this is not reliably the case; agents within a group can produce antagonistic effects on each others' output, leading to the group collectively being "dumber" than its individual members. This is true in much the same sense that it's true that you can effectively govern a country by encouraging the populace to contribute to social institutions and discouraging antisocial behavior. It might be true in a theoretical sense, but it's too vague to be meaningful as a prescription let alone useful, and a system which implements those goals perfectly may not even be possible.
"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

(There's no way to break the rule on posting too fast. That's one I'd break. Because yeah, we ought not to be able to come close to thinking as fast as our hands can type. What a shame that would be. ...Or can a well-filtered internet forum --which prides itself on being well-filtered-- have "too much information")

"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

An idea that's false but "spectacularly well-written" should be downvoted to the extent of its destructiveness. Stupidity (the tendency toward unwitting self-destruction) is what we're trying to avoid here, right? We're trying to avoid losing. Willful ignorance of the truth is an especially damaging form of stupidity.

Two highly intelligent people will not likely come to a completely different and antithetical viewpoint if both are reasonably intelligent. Thus, the very well-written but false viewpoint is far more damaging than the clearly stupid ... (read more)

Well, to the extent of its net destructiveness... that is, the difference between the destructiveness of the idea as it manifests in the specific comment, and the destructiveness of downvoting it. But with that caveat, sure, I expect that's true. That said, the net destructiveness of most of the false ideas I see here is pretty low, so this isn't a rule that is often relevant to my voting behavior. Other considerations generally swamp it. That said, I have to admit I did not read this comment all the way through. Were it not a response to me, which I make a habit of not voting on, I would have downvoted it for its incoherent wall-of-text nature.
You haven't said much besides "I'm right and you're wrong". I am wary of people with black-and-white minds.
If you cannot speak without insulting your audience, you probably aren't going to convince anyone. This comment would be much better, therefore, without the insults — the "emotional dysfunction", the "totalitarian (objectively unintelligent)", the "corrupted or uneducated", the "sociopaths and their conformists", and so on, and so on, ad nauseam.
No, he was wrong. The right thing to buy was tickets overseas. I see a certain... tension between these two sentences.
"Politics is the mind-killer" is the mind-killer

Are some ideologies more objectively correct than others? (Abolitionists used ostracism and violence to prevail against those who would return fugitive slaves south. Up until the point of violence, many of their arguments were "soldiers." One such "soldier" was Spooner's "The Unconstitutionality of Slavery" --from the same man who later wrote "the Constitution of No Authority." He personally believed that the Constitution had no authority, but since it was revered by many conformists, he used a reference to it to sh... (read more)

The Two-Party Swindle

This is known as Duverger's law. Bryan Caplan explains why it fails, here.

The Two-Party Swindle

But that's not even the important question. Forget that Congresspeople on both sides of the "divide" are more likely to be lawyers than truck drivers.

The "lawyers" filter is just one of many filters put in place by sociopaths to favor sociopaths. Another such filter that was fought bitterly by Lysander Spooner was the licensing of lawyers (the licensing of lawyers has brought all lawyers under the power of judges, who are almost always bar-licensed ex-prosecutors). Before 1832 in Ohio, lawyers weren't licensed. Spooner overturned... (read more)

Sociopath is a psychiatric diagnosis which has a very specific meaning; using it outside of that context, especially as a pejorative towards people you disagree with, dilutes and pollutes that meaning. This is especially true here, where your "sociopaths" are evidently very good long-term planners capable of coordinating through trust (the "general predisposition" not to harm other "sociopaths"). Needless to say, these are not exactly typical sociopathic traits; several of the diagnostic criteria for sociopathy/psychopathy depend on their relative absence. There is little evidence to suggest that even so-called subcriminal sociopaths, such as are found in slightly elevated numbers in CEO positions, are as a rule much less impulsive or unreliable than the standard model. In the dual interests of accuracy and minimizing the demonization of the mentally ill, can we agree to avoid using the term sociopath when "power-hungry asshole" is sufficient?
I think you need to read more of the writings here re: scepticism of one's own beliefs
Policy Debates Should Not Appear One-Sided

If you mean that some people are Evil and so take Evil actions, then ... well, yes, I suppose, psychopaths. But most Bad Consequences do not reflect some inherent deformity of the soul, which is all I'm saying.

I'd prefer to leave "the soul" out of this.

How do you know that most bad consequences don't involve sociopaths or their influence? It seems unlikely that that's not the case, to me.

Also, don't forget conformists who obey sociopaths. Franz Stangl said he felt "weak in the knees" when he was pushing gas chamber doors shut on a g... (read more)

In before this is downvoted to the point where discussion is curtailed. And yet here you are arguing for Evil Mutants []. I'm aware many people who believe this don't literally think of it in terms of the soul - if only because they don't think about it all - but I think it's a good shorthand for the ideas involved. Observing simple incompetence in the environment. I should probably note I'm not familiar with these individuals, although the names do ring a faint bell. Seems like evidence for my previous statements. No? These are Nazis, yes? I wouldn't be that surprised if some of them were "gleeful" even if they had literally no psychopaths among their ranks - unlikely from a purely statistical standpoint. While my contrarian tendencies are screaming at me to argue this was, in fact, completely unjust ... I can see some neat arguments for that ... We punished Nazis who were "just obeying orders" - and now nobody can use that excuse. Seems like a pretty classic example of punishment setting an example for others. No "they're monsters and must suffer" required. I'm probably more practiced at empathising with racists, and specifically Nazis - just based on your being drawn from our culture - but surely racist beliefs is a more sympathetic motivation than greed? (At least, if we ignore the idea of bias possibly leading to racist beliefs that justify benefiting ourselves at their expense, which you are, right?)
Politics is the Mind-Killer

The Caplan work, The Totalitarian Threat, as a Word Document, is excellent, as is his book "Myth of the Rational Voter," (a brief speech summarizing the book's thesis), but neither work covers the primary dissenting points raised in this thread.