kbog comments on A Different Take on President Trump - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 08 December 2016 11:08:08PM *  15 points [-]

This is why I've argued that for EA to make political judgements about broad partisan issues and elections, it should come together with a formal or semi-formal structure to aggregate and compare evidence from both sides. If we can't make reliable political judgements or can't make a meaningful political effort, then we shouldn't pretend that it counts as effective activism. The justifications of who to vote for and how much each vote is worth have so far been methodologically lacking, as they leave many basic counterpoints (like the ones here) unanswered. In particular, the points raised here about nuclear war and democracy underscore the fact that EAs commenting on Trump have been generally uneducated, and occasionally clueless, about international relations. If we do politics, then we'll have to do it systematically better. In the spirit of this main idea, I'll resist the urge to comment on the object-level of this essay.

However, everybody complaining about sources needs to take a step back and remember how many people write official-sounding essays here sourced entirely with inline links to LessWrong and rationalist bloggers. Strange how nobody complained about sources until now.

Comment author: HenryMaine 20 December 2016 08:13:15AM 1 point [-]

Thanks for providing one of the several sensible responses in this thread.

I realize that some of the evidence I have been providing is shocking and uncomfortable to think about, and that the people here may not agree with my theories about why these events are happening (e.g. they might not agree with my hypothesis is that mass immigration is a case of Hansonian hypocrisy, where it's really about getting leftist votes, and the moral and economic Koolaid is cooked up afterwards). But I think I provided enough novel information to deserve further investigation.

Your suggestion of some kind of more formal approach to evaluate political arguments is a good one. Or else you will have a situation where important topics are left up to a "gotcha" debate with an outsider.

What I would say is that the audience here shouldn't let an imperfect messenger like me get in the way of learning something. Maybe I'm over-stating the problem. Maybe I'm under-stating it. I don't have infinite knowledge about what's going on in Europe or infinite patience to explain what I think is going on.

Despite all the skepticism towards my claims about law and order breaking down in Europe, today, a Pakistani refugee killed 8 people in Berlin (and wounded 48 others) with a truck. Perhaps this event will inspire some people to update and realize that what I'm talking about is real. Perhaps the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey will teach some utilitarians that terrorism has consequences beyond the numerical quantity of lives lost.

But if you are going to update, do it soon, because in a few weeks, it will lose significance (like the Nice attack, Paris attack, or the San Bernadino attack) and everyone will be lulled by the press into becoming accustomed to regular terrors attacks in Europe. It's the new normal.

Comment author: DavidNash 20 December 2016 11:41:56AM 0 points [-]

It's good that you're providing this point of view, although I really think it's worth looking into the long term history of terror and violence in Europe which is quite different to America. There is also much larger media focus on terror attacks than there used to be in the past.

I'm not sure it'd be a new normal, especially for people in the UK.



Comment author: HenryMaine 22 December 2016 08:52:18PM 0 points [-]

I agree with you Europe does have more of a recent history dealing with terrorism, like the IRA in the UK, while the US had a large "gap" in Muslim terrorism after 9/11. The economic damage by the IRA is also an example of why utilitarians are wrong to dismiss terror attacks.

My exhortations about updating are addressed not to the average Mail reader, who has already updated and voted for Brexit. Instead I am addressing policymakers and intellectuals. It is they who are still living in a fantasy world.

Basically, at any time, any of these Muslim terrorist attacks could have become a reason to change policy. Politicians could have switched a more restrictionist policy towards countries with high rates of terrorism or crime. Economists could have jumped in and explained how migrant crime, welfare use, and loss of social trust was damaging the economy. Progressives could have argued that continued mass immigration would cause a humanitarian crisis. Feminists could have argued that bringing in large amounts low-skill male immigrants from countries with very different attitudes towards women would result in elevated sexual violence.

But instead, this is not what happens. Instead, the politicians continue with open borders. Women are told to keep migrants at arm's length. Feminists in the press are worried about mass sexual violence causing an excuse for Islamophobia, rather than actually worrying about rape.

For a further example, the Berlin truck attacker already had a criminal history and was on a watch list due to participation in another terror plot. And yet, Germany "couldn't" deport him because he didn't have papers and Tunisia wouldn't accept him. Let's get this straight: migrant criminals can enter Europe, destroy their own papers, and then they "can't" be deported under current policies. These are some perverse incentives.

This whole situation is simply insane, and the attempts by politicians and the media to rationalize it are ringing increasingly hollow. Our intellectuals don't fully realize how insane it is because the media and politicians keep saying that mass immigration and multiculturalism are still good, and all we need is a few minor policy bandaids, and for the "xenophobes" and "Islamophobes" to shut up. This is why they are prevented from updating.

So why is something so insane going on? Why is the government and media not changing course? Obviously, they don't want to change course. Either they like the course we are currently on, or they are stuck with it because they are already committed.

This is where we need to start asking who benefits from these policies, rather than listening to the absurd humanitarian and economic logic that tries to justify them. These immigrants and their children will be voting for the political parties and establishment that bring them in, and their social dysfunction and welfare use will expand big government bureaucracy. Corporations enjoy cheap labor, but the economic benefits never trickle down to middle-class natives, who have declining fertility and live with their parents.

I suspect the elite politicians knew quite well that bringing in large numbers of low-skill Muslim males would cause an epidemic of sexual violence and crime, it's just that the politicians don't care because this is their voting base. Meanwhile, progressive intellectuals are completely duped by the humanitarian and economic rationalizations that the politicians have created, which is why it's important to confront them with the actual catastrophes that result from these policies, during the week or two afterwards before the media lulls them back into complacency.

Comment author: DavidNash 09 December 2016 09:31:20AM 1 point [-]

It seems like all of the responses are about the Europe section, from people who live in Europe.

I agree that there has been a partisan response to the US election and that there seems to be quite a few people looking to solve the issues that have been highlighted by the media rather than taking a step back and looking at things in a larger context.