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The legalizer is the only thing here that isn’t inherently evil. The others may not be end-the-world kind of evil, but still evil.

To expound on the first two: they’re morally wrong because they’re lying. Your explanation of why they’re ok seems like some very short-sighted utilitarian thinking.

why are you trying to attack instead of educate? 


90% of your article is “rationalists do it wrong”.  Why?  Who cares?  Teach us how to do it better instead of focusing on how we’re doing it wrong.  

Answer by xepoJan 03, 202343

You’re thinking of money as being more central than it is.  Instead, try shifting your view back to barter days, where currency is just another thing that can be traded for.  So, if you had some corn to sell, you could sell it for $3, or you could sell it for 5 cans of beans.  Another way to phrase that is: You could use your corn to buy 5 cans of beans, or you could use your corn to buy $3.

Now, imagine that the stock market, instead of being valued in currency, was valued in the amount of whatever random good you want.   E.g. the s&p 500 is worth 90 trillion cans of beans, or 2 billion jacuzzis or 1.6 million 747s.    Clearly there’s nothing that limits the S&P from growing to be larger than the number of beans there are in the world, just like nothing prevents the S&P from growing larger than the amount of money in the world.

(Clearly the amount of money in the world can affect how companies can grow, since monetary policy affects lots of things.  But, while this is clearly different in magnitude, it’s no different in principle than “the number of 747s in the world affects how airlines can grow”.)  

and also very smart/impressive/competent etc


My theory is that being a politician in the way that presidents have to be is genuinely extremely difficult.  Of course they make gaffs and make stupid mistakes, but that’s because they have the difficulty level set to “stupidly insane”.  And that most people that are in those roles would actually seem much more impressive if you swapped them with the millions of americans you’re talking about.

There’s some intuitiveness about this: Look at any modern day campaign trail — it’s public speaking, Q&A, many flights, traveling, remembering a lot of stuff day-in and day-out while working 10-12 hour days.  Very few of the most competent people I know would be able to do that at all, much less do it with the small number of gaffs that politicians actually make.

Thanks for posting this!  will try it.


The trick that works for me when I have too many things in my head and it’s keeping me from sleeping is to pull out my phone/laptop, and write them all down.  Just stream-of-consciousness. Write everything you can think of, until you run out of things to write.  Pause for a second looking for more things to write and if nothing comes to you, then turn off the phone and go to sleep.

It just clears my head and lets me stop circling.

I’m not sure I fully understand the original argument, but let me try. Maybe it’ll clarify it for me too.

You’re right that I would choose L on the same basis you describe. But that’s not a property of the world, it’s just a guess. It’s assuming the conclusion — the assumption that “I” is randomly distributed among the clones. But what if your personal experience is that you always receive “R”? Would you continue guessing “L” after 100 iterations of receiving “R”? Why? How do you prove that that’s the right strategy? What do you say to the person who has diligently guessed L hundreds of times and lost a lot of money? What do you say to them on your tenth time having this conversation?

Is your argument “maybe you’ll get lucky this time”? But you know that’s not true — one clone won’t be lucky. And this strategy feels very unfair to that person.

You could try to argue for “greater good”. But then you’re doing the thing where it’s no longer about the “I”. You’re bringing a group in.

I ~entirely agree with you.


At some point (maybe from the beginning?), humans forgot the raison d’etre of capitalism — encourage people to work towards the greater good in a scalable way.  It’s a huge system that has fallen prey to Goodhart’s Law, where a bunch of Powergamers have switched from “I should produce the best product in order to sell the most” to “I should alter the customer‘s mindset so that they want my (maybe inferior) product”.  And the tragedy of the commons has forced everyone to follow suit.

Not only that, the system that could stand in the way — the government — has been captured by the same forces.  A picture of an old man wearing mittens that was shared millions of times likely had a larger impact on how people vote than actual action or policy.

I don’t know what to do about these things.  I’ve tried hard to escape the forces myself, but it’s a constant battle to not be drawn back in.  The thing I’d recommend to anyone else willing to try is to think of who your enemy is, and work hard to understand their viewpoint and how they came to it.  For most people in the US, I imagine it’s the opposite political party.   You’ll probably realize that theirs is built on sand — then turn that eye to yourself, and hopefully realize that your in-group is too.

Relatedly, I’ve been wondering lately how much of modern society is built totally on “feeling superior”.  Superhero movies, political gotchas, the subreddits that make fun of people, the subreddits that boast your own team, 90% of the memes out there; All of these feel like they’re targeting almost the same human emotion — to feel superior or important (or like you belong to a group that is).

Random aside: If you like Sci-Fi, you should take a look at “Lady Of Mazes”. It’s the only post-scarcity book that feels weird enough to be even somewhat probable.  And I don’t wanna spoil it, but there’s a large of the book that relates very closely to your post.  

Did you set up the survey in a way that you can treat the people who haven’t had Covid as a control?

If not, I’m afraid this is gonna be pretty inconclusive — my best explanation is that people are blaming ~every health ailment they have on long Covid, even if it’s unrelated.

I think one of Zvi’s recent posts highlighted a study that convinced him that long Covid mostly wasn’t a thing, but I can’t seem to find it now.