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David_Gerard comments on Efficient Charity: Do Unto Others... - Less Wrong

130 Post author: Yvain 24 December 2010 09:26PM

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Comment author: David_Gerard 28 December 2010 04:50:55PM *  6 points [-]

generally, shelter is a necessary condition for internet access, and food and medical needs are probably - hopefully? - prioritized over internet access

Actually, no, it turns out your view of the world is incorrect and in need of updating. I spent a chunk of 2002 couch-surfing, living on the kindness of friends, looking for work in London. I seriously put rather a high value on Internet, because it was the rational choice in securing a job. "Well, yes, it's a house ... but there's no net there." It's that important.

Comment author: shokwave 28 December 2010 05:08:29PM 7 points [-]

Wow. I definitely do not treat the internet as that important. Clearly I generalised from my own example instead of seeking out any data. I can even see how it makes rational sense to prefer internet over shelter, food, and medical needs; it's an instrument to achieve all three terminal goals. I just didn't think that way.

Man, that one-mind fallacy is insidious.

Comment author: David_Gerard 28 December 2010 05:18:27PM *  5 points [-]

In the situation, it would have been irrational - blitheringly stupid - not to make damn sure I had internet access in the prospective new place. Medical needs are fine in the UK (here's to the NHS!), cheap food exists in small quantities, shelter is the crippling expense in London.

Fortunately my friends are sysadmins. I would characterise my situation at the time as closer to "distressed gentleman" than "bum". (1)

In any case, I owe the world (and said individuals) lots of kindness points, and am quite proud to pay a sizable chunk of my income in tax, because I know personally what it pays for ...

More broadly: yes, you actually need Internet to participate in Western civil society these days. Restricting it from the homeless is a way to keep them there. They have phones too these days, and not just as some sort of frippery - why do they need them? And also, loving kindness and encouragement are how to treat humans; positing that as somehow dichotomous with food, shelter and medical care is a twist of thought I find confusing.

  1. And hadn't been the former long enough for it to smell like the latter.
Comment author: BillyOblivion 01 January 2011 12:12:38PM 0 points [-]

What was that t-shirt (from slightly earlier than 2002) 'bout drugs, sex and 'net access?

Comment author: David_Gerard 01 January 2011 04:55:32PM *  1 point [-]

One of the several alt.gothic T-shirts, dating to the mid-1990s. (I had several but appear to have only the original 1994 one left.)