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RichardKennaway comments on Politics is the Mind-Killer - Less Wrong

72 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 February 2007 09:23PM

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Comment author: RichardKennaway 23 April 2012 09:02:58AM 1 point [-]

actually discussing anything political on LessWrong has gone badly enough that quite a lot of the community now behaves phobically even to allusion to politics

Why do you judge that the past history has made us irrationally averse to discussing politics, rather than rationally averse?

Comment author: David_Gerard 23 April 2012 09:09:20AM *  2 points [-]

Because the responses look to me more like conditioned reaction than something considered.

If it is, as you hypothesise, rational to avoid even slightly politically-tinged discussion to this degree, then that greatly reduces the hope of raising the sanity waterline. Because very few problems people want and need to solve are going to be free of such a tinge.

As I've noted elsewhere, this doesn't mean I think we should dive headfirst into it on LW. I don't have a handy solution. But I do think it's a problem.

Comment author: gokhalea 23 April 2012 01:56:58PM 2 points [-]

i'm a bit new to all of this, but its oddly convenient to conclude that it is rational to ignore a topic that doesn't lend itself to classic rational thought.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 23 April 2012 02:59:44PM 0 points [-]

It's a question of whether to respond to a track record of failure by going off and doing something else instead or persevering. When is it best to attend to developing one's strengths, and when to attend to remedying one's weaknesses?

Comment author: gokhalea 23 April 2012 03:32:07PM 2 points [-]

what is your focus, i.e. what would be the ideal goal that you are saying is difficult or impossible to achieve and so it is rational to avoid -- what goal do you find elusive here -- personal understanding of the correct "answer" in spite of biases, "raising the sanity waterline" as someone mentioned above, or something else?

Both these items suggest a need for an definitive answer to political questions and I'm not sure that is the correct focus.

If applying rational thought to politics has a track record of failure and we agree politics is a part of everyone's reality, do you think rational thought cannot explain politics and is an inherent shortcoming of the theory? (this is other way of saying we should move on to things). We talk about rationality like its the way to live life. its troubling that it cannot answer or explain political issues, which shape our government, laws and community. The value of the a theory should partially be tested based on issues and questions it cannot answer. If there are things rational thinking cannot solve, that is an issue/problem with rational theory, not the particular subject matter.

Comment author: RichardKennaway 23 April 2012 04:11:18PM 0 points [-]

do you think rational thought cannot explain politics and is an inherent shortcoming of the theory

No, merely a contingent failure of people almost everywhere and always.

Comment author: gokhalea 23 April 2012 05:03:56PM 0 points [-]

so its a problem of the individual, not the theory. not sure how you conclude that if no one can apply the theory to prove it.