Comment author: Vidur_Kapur  (EA Profile) 10 December 2016 06:21:00PM *  2 points [-]

The main problem with this post, in my view, is that it's still in some places trying trying to re-run the election debate. The relevant question is no longer about who is a bigger risk or who will cause more net suffering out of Trump or Clinton, but about how bad Trump is on his own and what we can do to reduce the risks that arise from his Presidency.

I agree that Trump's views on Russia reduce global catastrophic risk (although his recent appointments seem to be fairly hawkish towards Russia.) However, he'll likely increase tensions in Asia, and his views on climate change seem to me to be a major risk.

In terms of values and opinion polls, immigrants to Western nations have better attitudes than people from their native countries. Furthermore, immigrants when they return to their native countries often take back the values and norms of their host countries. I'm not saying this to make a judgement on whether immigration on this scale is good or bad, just to make the point that our aim is to make the world a better place, not to decrease crime rates in Europe.

That said, far-right extremists are on the rise in both the United States and in Europe (thanks in part to irrational overreactions and hyperbolic statements like law and order is breaking down, which is just patently false as others have said, and thanks in part due to a number of false beliefs about immigration and immigrants themselves, Muslim or not) and I think that one way to stop them from taking power in elections and from attacking immigrants, refugees and others is to give them the sense that they have control over 'their' borders; in other words, tactically retreating on the issue of immigration may well be a good thing. Did we need to elect Trump, with all of the risks that come with his Presidency, in order to do that?

I don't know, but I do know that Trump has been elected now, and that many of his stated policies are terrible, and if individual EAs think that trying to change the policies of the Trump administration from the inside would be an effective thing to do (as Peter Singer has suggested) then I'd say that's plausibly true for a small number of EAs.

I think, in general, it's true that a small number of EAs going into party politics would be an effective thing to do, over and above the policy-change focus which already exists in the EA community and some of its organisations, but that this should be done on an individual basis: EA-affiliated groups and organisations should not get involved in party-politics.

Comment author: DavidNash 14 December 2016 10:53:35AM 0 points [-]

Is it that the far right is on the rise, or that the views they held have been dropped by the centre right, and so now they have their own parties that seem larger than they used to be, but the positions they hold don't have as much public support as they did in the past.

Comment author: Telofy  (EA Profile) 14 December 2016 10:22:09AM *  2 points [-]

I hope this response is not discouraging for xccf and Henry. Hugs! And thanks for reminding me of the concept of the Overton bubble!

I upvoted mostly to see how many votes the post has gotten because it was at 0 when I found it. It went from 50% to 52% positive. Wow.

So ignoring for the moment all the half of us readers who upvoted it, I wonder whether the reasons for downvotes are really just split between (1) “this is not a good argument” and (2) “I disagree,” or whether there is also (3) “I’m deluged in arguments like this from most of my friends because they’re just Gray Tribe openness signaling.” I’m not implying that I endorse or reject the first or the last of these reasons; I’m more curious on meta level <del>because I want to signal meta-ness</del> because I’d be confused about what exactly my bubble is if there were few of the last type.

(I don’t feel like I know enough about this to have a strong opinion on the topic, but it’s probably the most detailed article I’ve seen. Thanks!)

Comment author: DavidNash 14 December 2016 10:35:03AM *  0 points [-]

I didn't vote either way as although I think the first part about Trump is actually quite good, the second part doesn't seem to match long term trends or the experience of the Europeans who have commented and has it's own filter bubble when picking examples.

If this had been two posts I suspect it would have got a very positive reaction the first, and negative to the second.

Comment author: kbog  (EA Profile) 08 December 2016 11:08:08PM *  14 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: 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.

Comment author: DavidNash 08 December 2016 01:40:32PM *  6 points [-]

The first part about Trump makes sense, he is more interested in having good ratings and pleasing people than carrying out any specific policy agenda, and I'm not sure he'd want to put the 12 hour days in to achieve it, so his presidency might just be generic republican.

I think the part about Europe doesn't match what I see where I live in one of the 'muslim no-go' areas. Overall crime is roughly similar and much lower when you look at the long term trends. It seems like the majority of people are concerned with just living their lives and only a few pay that much attention to news/politics.

A lot of the things highlighted seem to have always existed in Europe, far right militias, gun smuggling, crime, more dangerous areas.

Only a third of people who voted for Brexit put migration as their top concern, for half it was sovereignty and some people who will just treat it as a vote against the current government.

It also seems like Brexit and Trump have raised EU support in most EU countries.

I think it's important to look at long term trends rather than the soundbites that hit the news from both left and right as they will always look for the strange and scary rather than give a good overview of how the world is changing.

Comment author: DavidNash 07 December 2016 11:55:59AM 2 points [-]

Could it be possible that neoliberalism was just a more correct model of how the world works, rather than an example of effective movement building?

Comment author: DavidNash 14 November 2016 12:24:02PM 1 point [-]

It seems to me there are lots of people who live below median wage with high life satisfaction and that increasing earnings could result in a smaller increase in happiness than helping inform people about the best ways to lead a satisfying life.

Do you think their is potential for more focus on how people can spend/save their money to maximise their well being? Or maybe more restrictions on advertisements and the tools they can use to promote spending?

Comment author: DavidNash 11 November 2016 11:49:33AM 1 point [-]

One potential upside might be a higher chance of a swing towards the democrats in the next few elections. US politics seems to be cyclical and if Clinton had won this time, republicans would still control the senate, the house, the majority of state senates, houses and governors.

It is likely that not much would have been achievable in terms of advancing policy and 4 years later there could be a bigger push to the right with continuing economic stagnation.

This could motivate a much larger base of people, especially young people, to get involved in local politics and up and lead to a chance of democratic control of government and the chance to move policies forward that they haven't had since 2009 with a population that is more agreeable to socially liberal ideas. This natural motivation might mean there is less of an incentive for EAs to get involved because it will be a much less neglected area.

From a ten year point of view, this might be a better outcome than a Clinton win.

Comment author: Michael_Wulfsohn 11 November 2016 04:09:29AM 0 points [-]

On political reform, I'm interested in EAs' opinions on this one.

In Australia, we have compulsory voting. If you are an eligible voter and you don't register and show up on election day, you get a fine. Some people do submit a blank ballot paper, but very few. I know this policy is relatively uncommon among western democracies, but I strongly support it. Basically it leaves the government with less places to hide.

Compulsory voting of course reduces individual freedom. But that reduction is small, and the advantages from (probably) more inclusive government policy seem well worth it. I've heard it said that if this policy were implemented in the US, then the democrats would win easily. I can't vouch for the accuracy of that, but if it's true, then in my opinion it means that the democrats should be the ones in power.

Comment author: DavidNash 11 November 2016 10:40:36AM *  1 point [-]

I'm not sure there's any evidence of it having changed election outcomes, the people who are forced to vote that wouldn't normally are divided along similar lines as those that do vote.

Also there maybe more people voting who are easier to persuade because the only reason they're voting is the risk of a fine. I used to be quite pro this idea but now think it is neutral in outcome.

One example might be the Brexit vote which saw the highest turnout since 1992.

Comment author: DavidNash 08 November 2016 05:47:25PM 0 points [-]

Do you have suggestions for people that want to volunteer their time in person?

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 25 October 2016 03:10:00AM *  2 points [-]

I'd be much more inclined to act with honesty if I believed people would do an extremely thorough public invesitigation into everything I'd said, rather than just calling me names and walking away.

I don't understand what you're claiming here. Are you saying you'd be honest in a community if you thought it would investigate you a lot to determine your honesty, but dishonest otherwise? Why not just be honest in all communities, and leave the ones you don't like?

Comment author: DavidNash 25 October 2016 11:23:37AM 6 points [-]

I think he means that it is human behaviour to do that, not that he does it himself.

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