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Man, it is so bizarre living in a red tribe area, and absorbing red tribe perspectives, and then seeing a post like this, and being forced to try to bridge the gap between the two perspectives...

They live in a world where the authoritarian revolution already happened, and the 2020 election being 'obviously stolen' is the greatest indicator of such, and now that the blue elite learned they can get away with using social media censorship and shadowbanning to make any discussion of election security seem extremely low-status, we'll probably never have a real election again

And like, on the one hand, game theory tells me that I really ought to be immediately suspicious of election security that was thought up in the 18th century and not really updated since, especially given my job as someone who tries to secure linux servers and knows security is impossible. and yet on the other hand, even though i'd consider the lesswrong crowd to be far more sympathetic to the red tribe than most intellectual elites and definitely worth assuming good faith, even they reject Trump's complaints about election security as an attempt to manipulate the election itself, not anything to actually do with real fraud or security

it makes me feel like i've got my political compass out and it's spinning around like the second hand on a clock

But it makes me wonder what visible features obviously-rigged elections actually present in dictatorships? If we went and looked at some of erdogan's middle year elections, the ones that seemed most likely to be rigged, how did things play out? Did the opposition challenge the election's validity in court, but then the courts are specifically designed to only convict specific people of election fraud when serious evidence exists against that specific person, rather than being designed to rule on whether or not a crime is likely to occur... so the cases just sorta end up fizzling out, and then the pro-erdogan side announces that the courts failed to reach the preponderance of evidence needed to convict any specific person of election fraud, therefore no fraud occurred? Because I wouldn't be surprised if that's how it generally tends to shake out in those countries that have fake elections, and yet my red tribe friends tell me that that's pretty much exactly how it shook out here in America in 2020.

And it's not exactly that I believe them, it's just that when I go ahead and execute my 'active disbelief' circuitry, i get a very, very bad feeling, like i'm being horribly naive

It makes me want to do away with all the social nonsense, like the pressure i feel from respecting the hell out of Alyssa and other rat celebs and therefore wanting to agree with this if it feels like the reasonable consensus, or the pressure i feel from my family where they're red tribers who are undeniably beset on all sides by blues who have clearly seized control of the entire culture from top to bottom and are now using that control to make the ground crumble beneath the reds' feet, and now they're falling into the chasm, and screaming at me to give them a hand and pull them up to safety, and instead i'm here like "i dunno man, twitter is private property, if they want to shadowban people and then gaslight the entire platform into thinking shadowbanning is just a conspiracy theory i'm not sure i want to write laws that would stop them"

Like, which of these issues are actually existentially important, and which aren't? The control of information spread sure feels important and like the sort of thing that might snowball into authoritarianism very quickly, and i'd feel naive if i tried to dismiss it, but is it a 'real' issue the way determining if our elections are secure is 'real'? or the way establishing norms around not flipping the table when you lose an election is 'real'? Or the way establishing norms that all claims of election fraud are to be taken seriously and never brushed off as conspiracy theorizing is 'real'?

Back in 2020 when I was originally trying to figure this out, I ended up deciding that the only thing that should really matter was, who respects rule of law and who doesn't. and then it became apparent that actually nobody has ever respected rule of law; everyone treats the tenth amendment as an obstacle to be creatively routed around, everybody treats achieving their own political platform as being far, far more important than obeying the restrictions that everyone agreed to back in the beginning. And from studying history, it seems like this has always been the case; 1800s america was absurdly willing to ignore the principle of rule of law in ways that seem bizarre to us now. the global history of the 1900s is basically a bullet point list of all the times the american state decided to ignore its own rules, from the new deal to the civil rights act to vietnam, the birth of the 'executive agency', etc. and the current century seems to be faring no better.

so then the question becomes... why haven't we become an authoritarian state already? Why do we continue to pretend like rule of law is an inviolable feature of our government, when it never has been and we can all see thousands of examples? and yet, how come sometimes it actually does seem like one of the parties actually is willing to restrict themselves and go against their own platform, in order to maintain the sanctity of rule of law? Why are red judges so careful about the potential precedent caused by allowing physicians to refuse to prescribe abortions, and seem to actually give a lot of thought and care to thinking through whether such a ruling would affect other rulings regarding the FDA approval process, while other red judges are upholding qualified immunity without comment? Why the hell is civil asset seizure still a thing, where the government literally prosecutes actual piles of currency, at the same time lawyers and judges seem to genuinely treat the law as being Serious and Solemn and Mocking It Is A Crime? If anything mocks the idea of rule of law, it's the state stealing money from citizens without even accusing them of crimes, and instead prosecuting the money itself, forcing the citizen to prove the money's innocence since non-people aren't afforded innocent-until-proven-guilty! How can anyone involved in this system take themselves seriously while this is going on?

The sort of predictive model that I think I've inherited from Scott Alexander says that this sort of absurdity can't go on, it either swiftly devolves into naked authoritarianism where the state just steals your money without even bothering with the absurd excuse, or the Serious and Solemn judges stop it asap to stop making the law seem like a circus. And frankly, the predictive model I've inherited from my red environment says exactly the same thing, this kind of slippery slope should be much more slippery than this.

I feel like both of these models have to be wrong. Like we must have basically no idea what actually causes authoritarianism, because i'd expect both the blues and reds to have been ringing the authoritarianism alarm since... i mean, gosh, probably sjnce 1781. and from my hazy model, the complaints would seem really really valid. And yet it just keeps not happening.

I feel like any examination of this problem that doesn't try to figure out why, is missing an important part of the picture.

sorry for rambling, i kinda worked on this comment all day and it's definitely more 'rant' than intelligent contribution, but reading the OP gave me such a strong feeling of "wow, we live in such different worlds, how can we ever bridge the gap" and i felt compelled to put to paper something that tries to convey that distance. but i was much more motivated to type it all out than I am to go back and edit it down. :/


Oh sure, and I definitely agree that what you're doing isn't healthy. But it's unhealthy for reasons that have nothing to do with sexuality or gender, and I think that's pretty obvious. We've all promised ourselves we were going to stop nerding out over some topic, as the clock struck 1am, only to find ourselves still writing the same rant when the sun peaked over the horizon.

you just had the misfortune of happening to be obsessed with gender politics, while the rest of us get by ranting about much safer and less controversial topics like presidential election politics or AI notkilleverybodyism. (haha except...)

everyone who has ever been in the position of can't-stop-typing-just-one-more-comment can sympathize... except OP apparently, which is why i found it so shocking. when you're in that position, it's because you're trying to explain a very specific thing, and you keep failing to be understood, and it's really really frustrating and causes a horrible feedback loop where you just sorta give up on all goals except throwing out enough data that surely they must eventually understand the point you're trying to get across

and nothing is more frustrating in that position than having the folks on the other side of the aisle ignore what you're actually saying, and instead psychologize you with an eye towards figuring out what strange and pathological condition is making you say what you're saying

I agree with you in principle, we'll never get anywhere if we can't honestly report our opinion. Whether or not you're strong enough to take it, it is necessary that you take it for the benefit of the discourse.

But clearly OP doesn't agree. OP thinks you are damaged and self-hating and should just start believing that you've been a woman all this time, like a normal person, and stop raising such an unhealthy fuss.

Like, there's an extra layer of irony here that seems especially cruel and hateful. It's kafkaesque. i'm having trouble describing why... something about like, "please stop telling me that i am a woman, i am an autogynephilic man and i'm pretty sure there's nothing wrong with that as long as we can all admit it, i would be quite comfortable with my sexuality and orientation if not for the constant and unending pressure from society telling me that i'm not only wrong but evil for not thinking i'm a woman, it keeps trapping me in feedback loops of futile discourse, especially the part where people ignore what i am actually saying and instead either round me off to 'self-hating trans' or 'just a regular evil man', those specific responses just end up driving me crazy and i end up sleep deprived at the door of the mental hospital. if people would just stop making that assumption i would be fine, and that's why i'm trying to explain all this stuff in the first place"

to then get the response "oh you poor self-hating trans person, it's not healthy for you to deal with your gender dysphoria this way, there's nothing wrong with being a woman and you should stop hating yourself for it"

like, surely you're even more aware than I how aggravating that is, especially since the good will seems genuine

but for me, actually witnessing that kind of response in real life brought home your point more strongly than anything

society is never going to listen to you, it's never going to stop rigging kafkatraps to torture you, the absolute best you can hope for is the misguided compassion demonstrated here

it makes me very glad that i am totally apathetic towards these issues and my own sexuality, that i can go jack off to sissy porn without feeling any need to have a firm grasp on what it means for my identity. i'm pretty sure if i'd happened to roll a critical failure on being emotionally invested in understanding this part of myself, like you, i'd be in your exact position. instead i get to just not care, and spend my crazy unsolicited rants on arguments about linux kernel pull request policy or education reform instead, where nobody treats me the way you're being treated


Can you not even do him the favor of pretending to model his life story as an accurate retelling of events? If his lived experience doesn't include any gender dysphoria, and he spends 21 thousand words describing how the social pressure to assume gender dysphoria in cases where it might not actually be present has destroyed his sanity and ruined his social relationships, it feels incredibly rude and frankly bizarre for you to respond by telling him that this is all just a symptom of his gender dysphoria. I would almost go so far as to call it hateful.

The original work was the Sequences. It's great. But every time we try to get people to read it, they look at it and think "ugh, i really don't want to read a really long blob of nonfiction. isn't there something easier?"

hence, HPMOR the fanfiction. It was pretty successful at its job.

I took the survey, now give me my ~40 upvotes.

(is the free karma just an incentive to take the survey? or do 45 people really think that commenting that you took the survey is a valuable contribution to the discussion?)

Heh, I would have bid 0.5btc if I had known I would be the only bidder...

Yes, we are for-profit. Most grants stipulate that some proportion of the grant money be spent on an evaluation of the project.

This is an interesting thought. I started out a heroin addict with a passing interest in wireheading, which my atheist/libertarian/programmer/male brain could envision as being clearly possible, and the 'perfect' version of heroin (which has many downsides even if you are able to sustain a 3 year habit without slipping into withdrawal a single time, as I was). I saw pleasure as being the only axiomatic good, and dreamed of co-opting this simple reward mechanism for arbitrarily large amounts of pleasure. This dream led me here (I believe the lesswrong wiki article is at least on the front page of the Google results for 'wireheading'), and when I first read the fun theory sequence, I was skeptical that we would end up actually wanting something other than wireheading. Oh, these foolish AI programmers who have never felt the sheer blaze of pleasure of a fat shot of heroin, erupting like an orgasmic volcano from their head to their toes... No, but I did at least realize that I could bring about wireheading sooner by getting off heroin and starting to study neuroscience at my local (luckily, neuroscience specialized) university.

Once I got clean (which took about two weeks of a massively uncomfortable taper), I realized two things: the main difference between a life of heroin and a life without is having choices. A heroin addict satisfies his food and shelter needs in the cheapest way possible and then spends the rest of his money on heroin. The opportunity cost of something is readily available to your mind, "I could get this much heroin with the money instead", instead of being a vague notion of all the other things you could have bought instead. There is something to be said for this simplicity. Which leads me to the second realization: pleasure is definitely relative. We experience pleasure when we go from less pleasure to more pleasure, not as an absolute value of pleasure. The benefit of heroin is that it's a very sharp spike in pleasure for a minute or two, which then subsides into a state where you probably are experiencing larger absolute pleasure, but you can't actually tell the difference. Eventually, some 6-8 hours later, you start to feel cold, clammy, feverish; definitely you experience pain. I remember times where i'd be at 12 hours since my last shot, and feeling very bad, but I would hold out a little longer just so that when I finally DID dose, the difference between the past state of pleasure and the current state would be as large as possible.

In fact, being in the absolute hell of day 2 withdrawal, 24-48 hours since last dose, puking everywhere and defecating everywhere and lying in a puddle of sweat, and then injecting a dose which brought me up to baseline over the course of five-ten seconds, without any pleasure in the absolute sense, was just as pleasurable as going from baseline to a near-overdose.

I am glad to be free of that terrible addiction, but it taught me such straight forward lessons about how pleasure actually works that I think studying the behavior of, say, heroin-addicted primates, would be useful.

A better example of an anti-reductionism argument would be the behavior of supercooled helium. I am not a solid state physicist myself, but I have been told by an anti-reductionist that superfluidic helium behaves non-reductionistically. I do not know if this is true. The person also told me that solid state physicists tend to be non-reductionists. I also don't know if that is true, but if I needed to know if reductionism were true, I would immediately go study solid state physics, since superfluidic helium seems to me to have the highest probability, out of any phenomenon I've observed, of being a counterexample.

I don't think there is ever a direct refutation of religion in the Sequences, but if you read all of them, you will find yourself much better equipped to think about the relevant questions on your own.

EY is himself an Atheist, obviously, but each article in the Sequences can stand upon its own merit in reality, regardless of whether they were written by an atheist or not. Since EY assumes atheism, you might run across a couple examples where he assumes the reader is an atheist, but since his goal is not to convince you to be an atheist, but rather, to be aware of how to properly examine reality, I think you'd best start off clicking ‘Sequences" at the top right of the website.

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