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Lies, Damn Lies, and Fabricated Options

My general reply is “if you think you’re spending too much time at the airport now, try missing a connecting flight”.

Different airports vary greatly in how much it sucks to unexpectedly spend the night in the terminal.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Fabricated Options

My experience with that behavior has been: 1: have a desired outcome in mind. 2: consider the largest visible difference between that outcome and the currently expected one 3: propose a change that is expected to alter the world in a way that results in that difference no longer being visible 4: if there are still glaring visible differences between the expected future and the desired one, iterate until there are no visible differences.

For example, people who see homeless encampments in public parks wish that they were not reminded of income inequality. They propose courses of action which assign blame to individual homeless people for the lack of housing, justifying forcibly removing them from the public areas. Those courses of action are expected to make the world look (to the people making the proposals) exactly like one in which there is no income inequality, therefore they implement sweeps.

In many political spheres, solving problems by making everyone shut up about them (and making non-issues problems by getting people to continuously mention them) actually works.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Fabricated Options

It seems like the core issue underlying all of these specific examples is that “gather more information about the expected outcome and seek additional options” choice isn’t considered.

Sometimes the price gouging actually is someone who is making an obscene profit even considering their expenses. Price-fixing in that specific case can just be the socially desired outcome, but the policy maker has to have detailed information about the specifics of that specific case.

So far the idea that an embryo will become immortal if it exits the womb alive has been taken as an article of faith by people who claim that abortion is bad because it results in a death; if the choice is examined as including an option where the death is preceded by little suffering and an option where the death is preceded by an expected lot of suffering and little redeeming quality, the position that abortion is bad because death is bad loses all basis.

If someone is drowning (literally or metaphorically) and you don’t consider the option of calling a trained lifeguard or other person more competent or better equipped than you,, you haven’t considered all of the easily available options.

If you only consider the complete social pressure against ever blocking anyone for any reason or the policy of blocking people who are persuasive about things that you refuse to allow people to be swayed about, you completely miss the possible option of only blocking and banning people who are actually toxic or harmful.

And if you are raising a child who wants to hang out with someone harmful, like a white supremacist or someone who talks in the theater, your options include allowing closely supervised activities, not just blanket permission and blanket refusal. You can bribe them to practice piano (although that also probably won’t get you what you think you want), or you can try to identify what the aversive thing about piano practice is and figure out an option that addresses it directly- if the problem is that they are frustrated that their skill is increasing slowly, setting better expectations about what skill growth looks and feels like could completely resolve the aversion to practice (but that’s just me taking five actual minutes to think about the generic class of problem; anyone actually experiencing a specific problem of that class should be able to develop several different intentions of action based on their actual situation).

One of the core problems informing the entire process is that “spend some resources (time, money, attention) to get more options or more information about the options” is often not considered to be one of the options, and that course of action is declined not because the cost-benefit ratio is too low, but because it was not considered at all.

Coordination Schemes Are Capital Investments

Are there better tools for figuring out how much you value things?

Coordination Schemes Are Capital Investments

Is that also a reason to oppose every other advance?

As Few As Possible

Why are you characterizing "contraindicated cancer screening" as "healthcare"? In either case, it's not central to the issue where rural specialists have two-month waits for appointments and four-hour waits from the appointment time.

As Few As Possible

You said "More healtchare isn't always better".

Can you give a central example about a situation where more people receiving healthcare is worse, and why we should characterize that situation as one where more people receive healthcare?

If the government restricts the supply of meat (and food generally is adequately distributed), then the finite supply of meat makes it positional, and the fact that all needs are being met (within the scope of the example, at least) makes the outcome satisfactory.

If you thought that I intended some element of "maximize production even if all needs have already been met", then we have completely failed to communicate.

As Few As Possible

You're speaking of meat being a positional good, not a need. If luxury food or cosmetic surgery are easily obtained by everyone who wants them, then they stop being even positional goods.

Making more things universal is a goal that goes beyond the scope of providing basic needs, although the mechanism is rather similar. But it would be inhuman to eliminate the idea of positional goods and status entirely.


It makes no difference whatsoever why the scarcity is created- incompetence, malice, and apathy are all causes of waste. Logistical failures are no more tolerable than intentional genocide of equal total deaths.

As Few As Possible

The number of people killed by scarcity is the measure of scarcity. At least until there's enough that nobody is being killed by it. There's no point in trying thought discussion about whether scarcity changes nature after we stop killing people with it, not until we're a lot closer to that.

As Few As Possible

Food being scarce only because so much is destroyed instead of distributed. While people are starving to death for a lack of enough food at all, it isn't "meat" that is scarce, it is "food".


For a particular person, more medical attention might be harmful, but there's no shortage of examples of cases where people are not getting enough medical care because they can't. Sometimes because they can't afford to, sometimes because doctors simply literally refuse to perform certain procedures.

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