Friday, May 30, 2014

5/30/14, stream of consciousness

Strong evidence is not the product of a very high probability that A leads to X, but the product of a very low probability that not-A could have led to X.

--Eliezer Yudkowsky
There’s a technique we use in our local rationalist cluster called “Is That Your True Rejection?”, and it works like this: Before you stake your argument on a point, ask yourself in advance what you would say if that point were decisively refuted. Would you relinquish your previous conclusion? Would you actually change your mind? If not, maybe that point isn’t really the key issue. You should search instead for a sufficiently important point, or collection of points, such that you would change your mind about the conclusion if you changed your mind about the arguments. It is, in our patois, “logically rude,” to ask someone else to painstakingly refute points you don’t really care about yourself. 
--Eliezer Yudkowsky

Libertarianism is not like socialism or liberalism. Those political movements found a way to buy politicians. Politicians used the new ideas to win elections and increase government power, leaving room for corruption at the margins. Actually reducing power can't work like that. It won't happen as the result of a violent revolution, either. If it can happen at all, it will grow organically. This could happen suddenly or slowly, but it won't spring from the dream of a philosopher. It will crystallize like a supersaturated solution. People will start doing something, and other people will imitate it, like Baochan Daohu.
David Brin proposes radical transparency. Thaddeus Russell wants to assassinate shame. Can these go together? Brin has a problem, in that no one wants their bank account to be transparent, or their political donations to peripheral causes (liberty), etc. Russell's solutions, screw them! Do it openly! Or don't do it. Not sure how to keep my bank account/bitcoin wallet secure without a bit of secrecy. The bigger problem for Brin is how do you actually get the powerful to tolerate transparency and accountability?
Make a difference, stay under the radar and out of jail.  Is that possible? It should never occur to them to put you in jail. If it does, don't be there when they come to pick you up.
Would I rather have people take me seriously, or point Cassandra-like in the right direction, ignored? Would I willingly abandon my search, for the sake of friends and admirers?
How do we forge new social connections? Production, trade, socializing, learning. Religion, philosophy, science, politics.
Teach with stage-magic. That sounds manipulative. How about stage-magic that is obviously fake? I could imitate Colbert, who is always in character but hilariously fake. Or the opposite, I could drop the mask often.
Conventional wisdom, conspiracy theory, Hanlon's razor. If government is as inefficient as libertarians claim, beating them should be no problem. Provide a better service? No problem. Pry their hands loose from power? Maybe not.

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