suspected_spinozist

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Petrov Day Retrospective: 2021

I disagree. The fact that Petrov didn't press the metaphorical button puts him in the company of Stalin, Mao, and every other leader of a nuclear power since 1945. The vast, vast majority of people won't start a nuclear war when it doesn't benefit them. The things that make Petrov special are a) that he was operating under conditions of genuine uncertainty and b) he faced real, severe consequences for not reporting the alert up his chain of command. Even in those adverse circumstances, he made the right call. I'm not totally sure how to structure a ritual that mimics those circumstances, but I do think they represent the core virtues we should be celebrating. Not pressing a button is easy; reasoning towards the right thing in a confusing situation where your community pressures you in the wrong direction is hard.