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Perhaps next time you write a post you could put a bit more effort into coming up with something that's actually worth communicating.


Why are you focusing on so heavily on whether it's "rational"? He said that it's an irrational, politically extremist position. The whole statement is what I was replying to.

Full strength, axiomatic, dismantle-the state libertarianism is impractical. If your central example of libertarianism is bitcoin, then that is not impractical.

See here for a good overview of how the State is already being dismantled.


I don't see how this is a reply to my question. Being impractical doesn't mean something is irrational and politically extremist. If you look at the comment thread, you'll see that I'm reacting to a certain poster deciding to quit posting on Less Wrong due to "politically extremist" ideologies, where he gave libertarianism as an example. I think it's a bit silly to refer to libertarianism as a "politically extremist" ideology, hence my question.

If you want to go on a tangent and discuss whether libertarianism is practical or not, then sure, we can do that. To start, Bitcoin (or crypto-currency in general) has the potential to create massive changes to the economic landscape, where the government may lose a lot of control over the flow of goods and services. This could create a more libertarian world without requiring the normal process of passing legislation and influencing politicians.


I'm open to a continuing conversation. Your post just gave me the impression that you weren't trying to read my writing in a careful manner. To be honest, the number of punctuation oddities and unusual phrasings in your post made me believe you simply didn't care about the discussion. This is a rather deep and technical topic, so it doesn't seem worth my time to interact with someone who isn't invested.

Worst yet you didn't even respond to this question of mine:

Have you experienced this psychological effect?

This was a key question, because if your response is "no" or it turns out that you don't know what it means to experience philosophical skepticism in the tradition of e.g. David Hume in the conclusion of Book I of A Treatise of Human Nature, then we're going to have to delve into the nature of that psychological effect from a much more fundamental point of view.

Pushing aside isn't solving, it's dissolving at best.

Participating on Less Wrong suggests that you should know that dissolving in many cases is solving.


The evolutionary process produced humans, and humans can create certain things that evolution wouldn't have been able to produce without producing something like humans to indirectly produce those things. Your question is no more interesting than, "How could humans have built machines so much faster at arithmetic than themselves?" Well, humans can build calculators. That they can't be the calculators that they create doesn't demand an unusual explanation.


You're not putting in very much effort to have a deep discussion.


It just sounds like you're saying that the final authority gets decided at run-time, based on whoever happens to have the most financial power.

That's just one of the many possibilities.

Why do you think this is preferable to a system where authority is agreed upon beforehand by a majority of the people?

Democracy inevitably becomes a grandiose popularity contest where the population votes based on social-signaling considerations which have little if nothing to do with putting into place an institution which will lead to sustainably benevolent results for the society. There are all sorts of oddities, such as systematic redistribution of resources from the productive members of the economy to the unproductive, shortsighted policy enactment because the real problems of society usually can't be solved without initial pain which the politician would be blamed for, and so forth.

The comparison to religion makes no sense. Unlike biological organisms, human governments are designed. For example, in the case of the US, the structure and function of the court system is very explicitly laid out in the US constitution, and it was carefully designed in a committee via months/years of debate.

The court system is an absolute wreck, no matter how "carefully designed" the designers believe it to be.

Imagine a pre-industrial world with two villages on either side of a large forest. The people need to get back and forth between these villages every few days or weeks. The first person through his own self-interest simply looks for the easiest path, breaking several branches on his way. The next person does the same, probably going on a completely different route, not thinking anything of the previous person. After quite a few iterations of this, some of the people will end up going on routes that were previously made a bit easier by previous hikers. After tens of thousands of iterations of this, there will be convenient trails going through the woods in an efficient way, with all the obstacles neutralized.

If a foreigner chanced upon this creation, they would surely think to themselves, "What a great trail system! I'm glad the people of this area were kind enough to make a trail for all to use!" They would immediately jump to the idea that the trail, looking like it was created for a purpose, must have been designed by a committee of individuals or commissioned by a wise member of one of the villages. But no such thing happened; each person acted upon their own self-interest, and the byproduct was a trail system that looks like it was designed but really was an automatically emergent order.

Most of what works very well in society is like this, and most of what breaks in a disastrous way is an attempt to design systems where simply setting the initial conditions for an emergent order would have been a much better idea.

Investors simply try to buy low and sell high for their own self-interest. Many of them, even very successful ones, probably have little or no appreciation for how important the role of investors is in the emergent order of the economic system.


I described what it feels from the inside to run into philosophical skepticism. It's simply where your ability to engage in manual reasoning hits its limit, but you press onward and overheat your brain. The final antidote to this issue is to simply realize exactly what happened.

The feeling of philosophical skepticism is a psychological side effect of a certain kind of intellectual adventure. I've been there many times in the past. The antidote is to realize that we as humans are designed such that we have a limit to how much manual reasoning we can do and how deep we can go in a given timeframe, where the limit descends upon us quickly enough that we must spend most of our day-to-day life thinking in an automatic way.

The ready reply you mentioned doesn't address my argument. I'm absolutely not suggesting that the person throw out their desire to produce knowledge and understanding through manual thinking. I'm simply explaining exactly what's going on so the person can re-frame the situation. Philosophical skepticism isn't a statement about the world; it's a mental feeling. For most people, encountering that feeling causes them to make grandiose claims about reality. My suggestion should bring them back down to Earth: "You've figure out a lot, but you're at your limit. Take a break."

Have you experienced this psychological effect? If not, then you may simply be repeating the words that people who have ended up with the feeling of philosophical skepticism have used, in which case it may be harder to challenge my arguments in an effective way, since I'm pushing aside the claims about reality they're making as a result of experiencing this side effect, and instead describing exactly what this side effect is.


In certain cases people can pattern-match sociopath by looking at someone's face. I didn't mean to suggest the average person can do it on a consistent basis.


Many people who delve into the deep parts of analytical philosophy will end up feeling at times like they can't justify anything, that definite knowledge is impossible to ascertain, and so forth. It's a classic trend. Hume is famous for being a "skeptic", although almost everyone seems to misunderstand what that means within the context of his philosophical system.

See here for a post I wrote which I could have called The Final Antidote to Skepticism.

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