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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_Europe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_Great_Britain

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: 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: 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: HenryMaine 17 December 2016 09:02:02AM *  0 points [-]

My perspective is implausible to people here because they are trapped in a media bubble. If you want to know my confidence level, it can be inferred by the way I discuss this subject. If people don't trust what I'm saying because of my conclusions, then how does it help for me to quantify my confidence level by pulling numbers out of the air? My confidence level will clash with their worldview, which will be used as an excuse to dismiss the content of my argument regardless of its merits.

I realize that asking for predictions or bets is a common norm here, but I don't think it helps us in this case due to the level of inferential distance. There is no point in trying to trade predictions based on certain trends or get into the nuances of forecasting when people don't agree on those trends, or whether predictions have or haven't been falsified. This is exactly why Popper is not the last word and there are many objections to falsifiability.

In theory, me giving predictions could be helpful for people to figure out whether my model is correct (at least the people who are being honest), but then we would have to wait and see whether those predictions come true, and be able to agree on whether they have come true. If I predicted X number of mass rapes or terrorist attacks in 2017, and it came true, would people finally admit that maybe there was a problem?

Your reaction to the world is going to be very slow if you cannot update on anything until someone's predictions come true months or years later.

I believe that there is already significant evidence that there is something wrong, and by giving you predictions about the future, I would be underselling my case about the past and the present.

So then how should this audience evaluate my perspective?

  • They could check the sources I've provided, and see whether they provide novel and important knowledge about the world, and the trajectory of Europe. Even if someone doesn't agree with everything I say or fully trust my calibration, they would be doing themselves a disservice if they dismiss the novel material I have provided here, instead of investigating it further.

  • They could attempt to extrapolate predictions from my model and then see whether those predictions match the future world.

  • Rather than asking me for predictions about the future, they could look at the past record of predictions of people with similar models to mine. For example, is the Rotherham mass child rape scandal more consistent with the predictions of multiculturalists and open borders advocates, or is it more consistent with a perspective that is citizenist, nativist, restrictionist, or right-wing?

For another example of predictions, see Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech from 1968 (original audio), for which he was crucified as a "racist," even though it's quite moderate. If you look at some of Powell's predictions (native Brits becoming strangers in their own country, neighborhoods changed beyond recognition, crime, discrimination against natives under the guise of anti-discrimination, natives socially punished for speaking up), I think it's quite clear that if Powell was still alive today, he would feel vindicated. As for "rivers of blood," that hasn't happened in England yet, but it has happened in France during the Bataclan attack (warning: graphic).

Powell was capable of forseeing 2016 in 1968. In contrast, people in the media bubble cannot postdict events that have already happened (e.g. Rotherham, Brexit, Trump).

Comment author: HenryMaine 20 December 2016 07:26:23AM 0 points [-]

Muslim jihadists have done a truck attack in Berlin and assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey. Me two days ago:

If I predicted X number of mass rapes or terrorist attacks in 2017, and it came true, would people finally admit that maybe there was a problem?

Comment author: AGB 18 December 2016 05:01:07PM *  1 point [-]

I just wanted to reply to deal with one factual claim:

A better approach would be to try to find crime by ethnicity, crime by religion, or crime by immigrant nationality. Unfortunately, I can’t find those exact stats (probably because they would be incendiary).

LMGTFY

We have stats from some countries for crime by immigrant nationality. Muslim countries top these charts.

Um, no? Here's from the link above:

Poland: 4742

Romania: 3952

Lithuania: 2561

Ireland: 2503

Jamaica: 2323

India: 1902

Somalia: 1384

France: 1384

Italy: 1357

Portugal: 1202

Not a lot of Muslim countries there, in particular Pakistan and Bangladesh are notably absent. Yet here's the top 10 countries for overall population of foreign nationals in London from Wikipedia.

India: 262,247

Poland: 158,300

Ireland: 129,807

Nigeria: 114,718

Pakistan: 112,457

Bangladesh: 109,948

Jamaica: 87,467

Sri Lanka: 84,542

France 66,654

Somalia: 65,333

And in another entertaining example of MSM bias against immigrants, note how the Mail describes one in four London crimes being committed by foreign nationals as an 'immigrant crimewave', even though over 35% of London's population is foreign-born. Also, even that claim was originally exaggerated; see the correction at the bottom.

That's likely the true reason you were struggling to find these stats by the way; incendiary stats about immigrants are easy to find, the more prosaic ones highlighting that they are less likely to commit crime than native-born people tend to be buried in government reports (until an outlet like the Mail decides to report them and just deliberately mislead people about their relevance).

Comment author: HenryMaine 19 December 2016 08:20:33AM 0 points [-]

Somalia is up there in the criminal ranking you provided, and it's Muslim. I would be interested to see how this data defines "foreign born." Sometimes different generations of immigrants behave differently. In general when talking about immigrant crime, "immigrant" refers to 2nd, 3rd, or even nth-generation immigrants if they are not assimilated.

I agree that at least superficially this analysis clashes with my hypothesis, but we still have many pieces of data in my favor (see previous response for links):

  • Muslim immigrants in Scandinavian countries commit crimes at a multiple of the native population.
  • Muslims are overrepresented in British and French prisons.
  • And then of course we know that sexual assault rates are up in particular jurisdictions, like Rotherham in the UK and Cologne in Germany

Additionally, Guardian says that child sexual abuse is up 60% in the past 4 years. Someone is doing the abusing.

On finding stats: What I am talking about with the difficulty finding crime stats is that race and religion aren't broken out clearly. For instance, Muslims are often rolled into "Asian." And Muslim North Africans are rolled into "black."

We could go back and forth for ages dredging up crime stats and the poking holes in the methodology. Crime stats are known to have methodological problems. When British police are allowing Muslim sex gangs to abuse thousands of children in multiple towns out of racial "sensitivites", then you will have to forgive me for not letting police statistics end the debate. At some point, we should consider what our priors should be.

I would also like to reiterate that I am much more worried about France, Germany, and Sweden than I am about the UK, despite most of this debate being about the UK.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 16 December 2016 08:01:05PM 2 points [-]

an audience full of people who can't tell whether or not to trust my perspective.

Statements like "There is a growing risk that European countries will fall into civil war" are very implausible to many folks here. So if you want people to take you seriously, you should at least show us that you sincerely believe this, by being willing to turn those statements into testable predictions. Your refusal to do this is part of the reason some of us don't trust your perspective.

Comment author: HenryMaine 17 December 2016 09:02:02AM *  0 points [-]

My perspective is implausible to people here because they are trapped in a media bubble. If you want to know my confidence level, it can be inferred by the way I discuss this subject. If people don't trust what I'm saying because of my conclusions, then how does it help for me to quantify my confidence level by pulling numbers out of the air? My confidence level will clash with their worldview, which will be used as an excuse to dismiss the content of my argument regardless of its merits.

I realize that asking for predictions or bets is a common norm here, but I don't think it helps us in this case due to the level of inferential distance. There is no point in trying to trade predictions based on certain trends or get into the nuances of forecasting when people don't agree on those trends, or whether predictions have or haven't been falsified. This is exactly why Popper is not the last word and there are many objections to falsifiability.

In theory, me giving predictions could be helpful for people to figure out whether my model is correct (at least the people who are being honest), but then we would have to wait and see whether those predictions come true, and be able to agree on whether they have come true. If I predicted X number of mass rapes or terrorist attacks in 2017, and it came true, would people finally admit that maybe there was a problem?

Your reaction to the world is going to be very slow if you cannot update on anything until someone's predictions come true months or years later.

I believe that there is already significant evidence that there is something wrong, and by giving you predictions about the future, I would be underselling my case about the past and the present.

So then how should this audience evaluate my perspective?

  • They could check the sources I've provided, and see whether they provide novel and important knowledge about the world, and the trajectory of Europe. Even if someone doesn't agree with everything I say or fully trust my calibration, they would be doing themselves a disservice if they dismiss the novel material I have provided here, instead of investigating it further.

  • They could attempt to extrapolate predictions from my model and then see whether those predictions match the future world.

  • Rather than asking me for predictions about the future, they could look at the past record of predictions of people with similar models to mine. For example, is the Rotherham mass child rape scandal more consistent with the predictions of multiculturalists and open borders advocates, or is it more consistent with a perspective that is citizenist, nativist, restrictionist, or right-wing?

For another example of predictions, see Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech from 1968 (original audio), for which he was crucified as a "racist," even though it's quite moderate. If you look at some of Powell's predictions (native Brits becoming strangers in their own country, neighborhoods changed beyond recognition, crime, discrimination against natives under the guise of anti-discrimination, natives socially punished for speaking up), I think it's quite clear that if Powell was still alive today, he would feel vindicated. As for "rivers of blood," that hasn't happened in England yet, but it has happened in France during the Bataclan attack (warning: graphic).

Powell was capable of forseeing 2016 in 1968. In contrast, people in the media bubble cannot postdict events that have already happened (e.g. Rotherham, Brexit, Trump).

Comment author: IanDavidMoss 17 December 2016 02:21:35AM 1 point [-]

I think I have one more response left in me and then I'm going to call it quits.

Regarding Trump's character: you are still not fully engaging here. You didn't respond at all to my point that we can see him bullying private citizens on Twitter knowing full well that his supporters will rain down harassment on anyone he calls out there. As far as unfounded rumors go, the voting thing is just one of many, many examples, but let's talk about that. I appreciate that you provided evidence for your case, but you failed to mention that that evidence is disputed in what I find to be a convincing rebuttal by Harvard researchers. Sure, the claim that zero undocumented immigrants vote in elections is probably untrue, and I would not be surprised to learn that it happens once in a while. But millions of votes? The backup for that claim is pure speculation and hearsay. I stand by the characterization of that rumor as unfounded.

More to the point, I have counted two instances now in this thread where you have provided sources to back up factual claims you've made that have later turned out to be misleading or downright false. (The other example being the story about settling 1000 refugees on a small island when it turned out that there were just a couple dozen). Say what you want about outlets like the New York Times, but they issue corrections when they get facts wrong, and even employ a public editor to call them out when they screw up. When has Breitbart ever issued a correction for anything? I think that should be a red flag for you to reconsider the relative reliability of the mainstream media vs. your preferred sources. Perhaps you don't know anyone who works in mainstream media. I do, and they are honest people who believe strongly in journalistic ethics and integrity. I understand you have a worldview that is not well represented in those spaces and I support a reasonable degree of skepticism about any source, but when you find your views challenged there you should apply some of that skepticism to yourself as well. That's what we all do.

Regarding authoritarianism, if the best example you can come up with for a worst-case scenario in a democracy is seriously Angela Merkel, I think that speaks for itself. (Agreed that Hitler came to power in a democracy, but it was an extremely compromised democracy and the fact that he immediately moved Germany toward dictatorship supports rather than undermines my point.) The idea of Merkel "destroying her own country" seems, uh, inconsistent with a nation that is the 16th-happiest in the world.

Regarding social ostracization of "thought criminals," that is going to happen in any society, democratic or not. If it's going to happen, I'd prefer that the people who are ostracized are those who cause the most harm to others by their words and actions. It seems from your response that you don't believe in white privilege. I hope you can see that if one accepts white privilege as a reality, than the progressive double standard on racism makes sense and is justified. So it then becomes an empirical question of whether white privilege exists, for which I think there is ample evidence that it does.

So you are correct, I'm not convinced. I do appreciate you being realistic about that, and the time you've put in to explain your views. It seems we will continue to disagree.

Happy holidays (or, if you prefer, Merry Christmas) to you.

Comment author: HenryMaine 17 December 2016 07:25:05AM 0 points [-]

I'm afraid this debate has gotten overly partisan.

On Trump: I didn't engage your accusation about Trump bullying private citizens, because "bullying" is a subjective and partisan term, and you didn't provide any specific examples. My perception is that Trump plays tit-for-tat and attacks those who attack him.

As for the reliability of the sources I provided, you are not operating in good faith.

Illegal immigrants voting: You point out the Harvard study rebutting the study about illegal immigrants voting, despite the fact that my link mentioned that rebuttal. Well, the authors have their own response to that rebuttal (short version in Washington Post, long version). They defend against the charge that their results were just due to measurement error and they provide reasons to believe that their measures were valid. Since neither of our comments captured this larger debate, I object to your characterization of my comment as "misleading," because I could just as easily say the same thing about yours.

The larger point was about about whether Trump spreads unfounded rumors. I showed that one of the supposed unfounded rumors spread by Trump (illegal immigrants voting) was in fact supported by research. Yes, that research is under ongoing debate, but Trump was painted as a madman for holding a similar to position to some scholars in that debate.

On Breitbart: I provided a Breitbart article about British police arresting a man for criticizing Syrian migrants. AGP and you are picking on a totally tangential part of the article, where it mistakenly said that migrants were getting put on the island instead of in a larger area of Scotland. This seems like a deflection from the key point of the article. I agree that Breitbart isn't perfect, but it reports on politically inconvenient events which the mainstream media is trying to sweep under the rug for political reasons; it's a good source because its biases are anticorrelated with mainstream biases. We could have a larger discussion about the credibility of Breitbart vs. the New York Times and their errors and retractions, but I think we are going to have to disagree because you believe that people in the mainstream media have journalistic ethics and integrity.

Merkel and Germany:This 16-year-old German girl. A 31.6% increase in crime doesn't sound happy (article in German but readable with Google Translate).

White privilege: Yes, I reject the concept of "white privilege" and all such social justice concepts. The concept of white privilege is that whites and non-whites are fundamentally similar and would have the same outcomes if it wasn't for the evil oppressiveness of white people. I believe that human tribes are sufficiently different that underperformance of one cannot be blamed on another. There are also plenty of bad historical things that non-white people did that are erased by the concept of white privilege (e.g. the Barbary Slave Trade). Social justice and anti-racism are purely a recent political invention for elite white people to dispossess poor and middle-class white people, using non-white people as the excuse.

I recognize that you are putting in effort to engage me in detail, but I'm happy with leaving this here because we are clearly operating in two completely different realities.

Comment author: IanDavidMoss 11 December 2016 02:28:04PM 4 points [-]

Since most of the discussion here has focused on Europe, and I'm based in the US, I will address my comment to the US-specific aspects of your response. I am a little tight on time so I apologize in advance for my brevity.

Re: Trump's character I think your rebuttal of Haydn's point here is quite weak. The only source you cite for Trump's character actually being okay is the Collected Work of Scott Adams, a cartoonist who as far as I know has never actually met or spent time with Donald Trump. Adams makes a big deal in his posts about how he has studied persuasion and hypnosis, make claims like "facts don't matter," and appears to me upon reading some of his recent work to be a sophist of the first order. (E.g., in one post he strongly implies that Clinton supporters are silly to think that half the country is having a mass hallucination that Trump is a sane/effective leader; in another post he strongly implies that experts are having a mass hallucination about climate change.) I would not consider his opinion about Trump's character to be any more valuable than those of the thousands of others who have opined on it and come to a different conclusion. As to your point about the media distorting Trump's character, there are significant ways in which our view of Trump is unobstructed by third parties -- e.g., we are able to see exactly what he says in his Twitter feed, including his bullying of private citizens and spreading of unfounded rumors.

Re: Bannon While I agree that descriptions of Bannon as "literally a Nazi" and the like are inaccurate, I do not think it's unfair to hold him accountable for views expressed in articles published by a website of which he was CEO. Similarly to critiques of Trump's candidacy in general, the problem is not that Bannon has expressed overtly bigoted views himself, the problem is that he had no problem helping to foster an environment in which bigotry was condoned, which in turn perpetuates systemic racism. This also relates to your point about policing the term "white nationalism." In general, the pattern that I see among conservative/liberatrian commenters is one in which racism is defined as bigotry; racism is an essential characteristic of a human being, and is an individual flaw rather than a systemic reality; and if one holds a single non-racist view that disproves any claims of racism (e.g., Trump is not racist because he picked Ben Carson for a cabinet post). By contrast, the sense in which people in the social justice movement use racism is as follows: racism is defined as prejudice + power (so in that sense it is specific to white people so long as white privilege is the norm, and distinct from bigotry which can be exhibited by people of any race); racism is characteristic of systems, institutional structures, and specific actions rather than people; people (progressives included) can be complicit in racism even if they do not have a prejudiced bone in their body. These are really important distinctions that affect the way in which language is used and understood, and I would advise against advocating for policing language unless you are willing to grapple with this more complex view of race relations.

Re: authoritarianism This seems addressed largely to a straw man. I don't think many people seriously believe that democracy equals utopia. The quote I most often hear from my liberal friends about democracy is that it's "the worst system of government, except for all the others." I also would agree with the idea that in some circumstances an authoritarian government could be more stable and better for collective wellbeing in the short term than a democracy, especially a compromised and/or divided one. The problem with authoritarian governments is that the downside risk from bad leaders is strongly magnified compared to the downside risk from democracies. The nightmare scenario here is not a Singapore but a North Korea. Furthermore, there's a big difference in risk between some tiny state being taken over by a dictator and the world's richest and most militarily powerful country moving in an authoritarian direction. I take your point that the risks to nuclear war may be overstated in the very short term, but still this does not bode well for a world in which minority rights are protected and truth-telling is valued and incentivized. I don't know about you, but I would not want to live in a regime like China where not only my speech but my very access to ideas and facts is strongly limited (and please don't come back with the absurd false equivalency that political correctness is akin to mass-scale state censorship).

Comment author: HenryMaine 16 December 2016 09:23:50AM 0 points [-]

Trump's character: The press was in bed with the Clinton campaign, so I discount their claims about Trump very heavily. I am not citing Scott Adam's as a "source" on Trump's character, I am citing him for providing skepticism against the media and the Clinton campaign's portrayal of Trump.

As for Trump spreading unfounded rumors, like which ones? The press recently attacked him for claiming that illegal immigrants voted in the election.

However, illegal immigrants do vote in elections. Here's the abstract:

In spite of substantial public controversy, very little reliable data exists concerning the frequency with which non-citizen immigrants participate in United States elections. Although such participation is a violation of election laws in most parts of the United States, enforcement depends principally on disclosure of citizenship status at the time of voter registration. This study examines participation rates by non-citizens using a na­tionally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants. We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congres­sional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

So it's not all at unreasonable for Trump to speculate that voter fraud gave Hillary the popular vote. The media discussion is highly distorted.

Bannon: I don’t agree with your section on Bannon because I don’t believe in social justice and I don’t believe in the concept of “racism.” Racism is merely a leftist term of abuse with an ever expanding definition. Tribalism and prejudice are real, but in many cases they are justified: human tribes really are different from each other, and every group has their own grievances. The concept of “racism” is that red tribe’s tribalism is evil, but blue tribe’s tribalism is good; attacking members of the red coalition based on ethnic attitudes is good, but attacking members of the the blue coalition on ethnic grounds is evil. Privileged white progressives use minorities as a shield. When the older concept of racism as prejudice wasn’t enough, progressives had to expand it to the ludicrous “privilege + power” definition, which bakes in a double standard that it’s impossible to be racist against certain groups. The word “racism” has been stretched so much that it should be abandoned; there is no “true” definition of racism to salvage.

It’s a mistake to engage in moral reasoning that takes such shifting and politicized moral weapons for granted, without inspecting them, and then reasons from these premises.

Authoritarianism: The original post I was responding to held democracy in such high-esteem that it advocated donating to a political party to “protect” it. However, why is democracy considered so great? Most smart people nowadays weren’t reasoned into this belief. They believe it because they were educated with a few propagandistic platitudes.They cannot justify democracy without the concept of “rights,” a meaningless concept that is inseparable from democracy. They are not familiar with any of the criticisms of democracy before 20th century propagandists defined it as the best thing since sliced bread (like Maine’s criticisms cited in my original post). They are not familiar with the history of democracy. They are not familiar with the history of monarchy, the most typical non-democratic form of human government, and they believe that any non-democratic government is like a dice roll for Hitler, Stalin, and Kim Jong-Il.

The downside risk is not greater for non-democratic government. It only looks that way if you take all your data-points from the 20th century.

Kim Jong-Il and Stalin were selected through communism. Of course you are going to get a bad leader that way. Hitler was selected through democracy, but the conditions of post-WWI Weimar Germany were unprecedented. Hitler was an expansionist populist, but Trump is an isolationist populist.

Angela Merkel and other EU leaders demonstrate the downside risk of democracy, by destroying their own countries by depressing their own people’s fertility in favor of foreign voters who commit elevated levels of crime and sexual violence. Virtually no historical autocrats did anything so crazy. The goal of historical rulers was to prevent their countries from getting overrun by hostile foreigners and their women raped en masse. It is only because of propaganda that we do not recognize what is obviously going on.

If the US recognized Kim Jong-Il as Emperor of North Korea, he would relax and become less oppressive over time. If the US stopped trying to undermine Putin, then he would be a lot nicer, because he would no longer have to fear the US trying to rig elections and using democracy to install their own puppet, like they’ve done in so many other “democratic” countries. It is not authority that inherently makes rulers evil, it is insecure authority. Being in a democracy, being under communism, or being at war tend to make rulers insecure. In the case of democracy or communism, they can be replaced as “the people’s” chosen; in the case of war, they can be unseated by a foreign power.

So what does this mean for Trump? Well, he is a populist and he was selected through democracy, which are both bad. Luckily, Trump is not a communist or socialist, and the US is not threatened by a bigger foreign power. Trump may not be the president America wants, but he is the president America deserves: red tribe deserves him because they voted for him, and blue tribe deserves him because they tried to push globalist socialism too fast from inside their self-congratulatory media bubble.

I don't know about you, but I would not want to live in a regime like China where not only my speech but my very access to ideas and facts is strongly limited (and please don't come back with the absurd false equivalency that political correctness is akin to mass-scale state censorship).

There’s a small difference: in China, they are using a more technological approach, while in the West, they use a more ideological and social approach. In China, the state suppresses free speech explicitly. In the US, the state suppresses free speech by punishing employers of thought criminals to make them unhireable if they step too far outside the Overton Window.

Free speech causes a problem in democracies, because it means that any new coalition can develop to challenge the current coalition. This makes the reigning coalition insecure, so it lashes out with social pressure and tries to crush individuals who join a challenger coalition. This is our current situation of culture wars: culture wars are inherent in democracy.

I don’t expect this response to convince you, and in fact you probably shouldn’t be convinced by something this short that clashes with your current worldview, but my goal is to show that alternative perspectives are possible. Those who want a more sophisticated understanding of democracy and its alternatives can start with this essay, or ask me for recommendations.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 08 December 2016 01:52:37PM *  8 points [-]

Europe is a morass of ethnic conflict, terrorism, sexual violence, rising nationalist militias, and jihadism. There is a growing risk that European countries will fall into civil war. Civil war in Europe would be a catastrophic risk that could go global.

  1. What is your credence that at least one European country will fall into civil war in 2017?
  2. How do you define the global catastrophe that you believe could result from civil war in Europe? In particular, how many people would need to be killed for such an event to count as a global catastrophe in your sense?
Comment author: HenryMaine 14 December 2016 09:04:20AM *  -1 points [-]

I don't believe in making up credence numbers, especially for an audience full of people who can't tell whether or not to trust my perspective.

The very reason that I am here is to get EAs sufficiently engaged with the right material so that they can approach these sorts of questions themselves, and then we can have a real discussion.

How do I define the potential global catastrophe and people killed? I think I've already answered that in my original post: nuclear war. Of course, there is debate about whether a nuclear war would be a global or local catastrophic risk, though HaydnBelfield's original post is subject to this same question.

Local ethnic cleansing is much more likely than nuclear war.

If you are looking to understand my priors, then imagine the breakup of Yugoslavia, but in the entire EU, not just the Balkans. And the EU is much more strategically relevant to the world’s nuclear powers than Yugoslavia. The EU also contains over a million Russians, and Putin would be motivated to protect them if the EU started to collapse.

Comment author: AGB 10 December 2016 04:23:46PM *  5 points [-]

Even if concerns about cultural clashes with Muslims did not motivate a large percent of Leave voters, it could still be the case that those concerns did motivate many of the influencers behind Leave.

I certainly grant that this influence-via-influencers argument seems like a more-plausible causal mechanism, though also seems difficult to falsify so I'm not sure how much weight to put on it.

Of course, if you ask people in polls, they are going to under-report their concerns about mass low-skilled Muslim immigration because they don't want to be seen as racist.

Under-report? Sure. But the 'shy Tory/shy Trump' effects are generally only on the order of a few percentage points while for the world to really look the way you say it looks, they'd have to be under-reporting by huge margins. What reason do you have for thinking that? Is it a falsifiable one? I ask because it seems kinda unreasonable for you to say 'people are highly concerned about Muslim immigration in particular', I say 'no they aren't, see survey'. and you say 'ah well obviously huge numbers of people are really concerned, just don't want to admit it'. If direct survey data doesn't convince you otherwise, what would?

Since many Western countries are totalitarian states full of thought policing, and critics of Muslim immigration can result in visits by police, then it's no surprise that opinion polls are failing to capture how populations actually feel.

You just gave many examples of high-profile politicians criticising Muslim immigration. Many newspaper columnists criticise it daily (remember, the mainstream newspapers are right-wring/anti-immigration here). Those people don't get arrested. So I don't know exactly what that man did to merit a police visit, but it seems clear that either (a) it was more serious/threatening than that or (b) that particular police force is particularly over-zealous. Without more details it's hard to judge. But either way it's not something the general population has to worry about or would worry about.

Incidentally, the article you link to here is a great example of why I don't consider Breitbart a reliable source. It states* that 1,000 refugees were being relocated to a tiny island of 6,500 people, but if you check its source for that number then you discover that actually the refugees are actually being spread across the whole of West Central Scotland.

*"The tiny Isle of Bute in the Firth of Clyde, which had a total population of just 6,498 in 2011, is expected to take in around 1,000 Syrian migrants"

"More families are set to arrive on Bute over the next few weeks, which will bring the total to 28 adults and 31 children, topping up the small 6,300-strong population. They are among the first of about 1,000 refugees who are to be re-located around the west central area of Scotland after the British Government agreed to take a total of 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020."

Comparison to American crime rates is confounded because America is a highly multiethnic society of groups with very different rates of criminality. Highly violent urban populations skew US crime statistics (which is rarely taken into account in the debates about gun control). If your reference point for a peaceful society is US crime rates, then your standards are too low.

All agreed, I would be horrified if Europe reached American levels of violent crime. But that makes it sound very strange to European ears when Americans talk about 'Law and Order breaking down'. If that's true for us, it's definitely true for you.

But I did also point out (and give sources) that violent crime is at historically low levels within Britain itself, so I can also use the reference point of 'Britain 20 years ago' and get much the same conclusion, which indeed seems a lot more reasonable.

Note that this kind of civil unrest would not show up in homicide statistics, which suggests that it’s the wrong metric.

Agreed. I only used it because I expected you to complain about massive under-reporting if I used anything else; it's hard to massively under-report murders. What metric would you suggest?

While I am glad to hear that you don’t feel in danger in Tower Hamlets, the environment in the UK looks pretty bad. Sharia parades, Rotherham, Muslim patrols, and scuffles with EDL and Britain First: it’s too much dirt to explain away.

Not really, it's quite easy to explain away. I'm going to mirror your 'mainstream media' argument back at you I'm afraid; the mainstream media is right-wring, wants to eliminate those 'precious, precious leftist votes' and bolster support for nationalist politics, and does this by a mixture of making things up, ignoring examples to the contrary, and blowing fairly minor events out of all proportion. There are plenty of examples where the general public's beliefs about the number of immigrants, their rates of criminality, their rates of worklessness, etc. are completely disjoint from reality, and always in the direction that makes the immigrants look worse (I can give many examples to this effect if required, but I'm in a bit of a rush so I won't do it right now). That's what a concerted brainwashing campaign over many years can achieve.

The people most immune to such a campaign are the people actually living on the ground since they can confirm or deny the reports directly, and they indeed tend to be much less concerned than the general population.

Comment author: HenryMaine 11 December 2016 10:02:02AM 2 points [-]

I think your objections are fair, unlike many of the other skeptics in this thread. But what I am not seeing is you, or the other skeptics, fully updating on the implications of Rotherham (and Cologne, Sharia demonstrations, violence between nationalists and Muslims, etc…).

If events like Rotherham are able to happen, and it’s not an isolated incident, then this hints at the shape of the probability distribution of Muslim immigrant criminality. Additionally, it indicates that the shape of the distribution of police efficacy, and the probability of cities covering up Muslim crime. If you imagine these distributions as bell curves, then Rotherham is at the right tail, but this means that lesser crimes (and police failures) are likely occurring in high Muslim areas across the UK. And in fact, this is occurring: the Wikipedia Rotherham article lists sex gangs in 10 other cities.

I think it’s a mistake to overly focus on particular flawed crime statistics without trying to actually understand what is going between these two cultures. This is why I am emphasizing qualitative measures like video.

I will also advance another argument: my case about European destabilization does not hinge on a national increase in crime rates. I believe that local conflicts are sufficient enough to be a problem. I am basing this view on studying the breakup of Yugoslavia and the wars in Kosovo and Bosnia, a history that I don’t think anyone else here has studied.

One of the catalyzing events of the Bosnian war was a wedding attack on Serbs by Muslims:

Serbs consider Nikola Gardović, a groom's father killed at a wedding procession on the second day of the Bosnian independence referendum, 1 March 1992, in Baščaršija, to have been the first victim of the war.[40] The Sijekovac killings of Serbs took place on 26 March and the Bijeljina massacre (of mostly Bosniaks) on 1–2 April. Some Bosniaks consider the first casualties of the war to be Suada Dilberović and Olga Sučić, both shot during a peace march on 5 April at a hotel under the control of the Serbian Democratic Party.

The conflict started with small-scale violent events, which turned into a genocidal war that killed over 100k people. The EU is much bigger than Yugoslavia, it contains nukes, and it is much more strategically relevant between the US and Russia.

Utilitarians don’t understand rule-of-law, because they are focused on blunt measures of the number of people affected, without taking into account the second-order effects of reprisals, feuds, and tribal tensions reaching a boiling point.

So it’s not just the crime rate across the country that matters, it’s also local intensity of crime. Could this lead to large-scale sectarian conflict or civil war? I think it’s less likely in the UK, but more likely in other European countries like Germany, France, or Sweden.

But back to crime stats. You are right that crime rates in general have been falling in the UK, but you agreed that statistics of crime reports have flaws. So let’s try to find some other data to resolve this, since it’s data you want.

Rather than looking just at homicide, or at all crime, this article claims that sexual offense were up 36% and violent crime was up 27% in 2015.

However, this is still crime reports, and these are sensitive to police recording methodology, size of police force, and policing effort. Furthermore, Muslim immigrations are still a minority of the UK population, so trends among non-Muslim groups might mask Muslim crime.

A better approach would be to try to find crime by ethnicity, crime by religion, or crime by immigrant nationality. Unfortunately, I can’t find those exact stats (probably because they would be incendiary), but we do have some proxies.

  • Muslims are 20% of the inmates in maximum security prisons in the UK, but 5% of the population, overrepresented at a factor of 4. In France, Muslims are 70% of the prison population and 8% of the general population, overrepresented nearly by factor of 8.

  • We have stats from some countries for crime by immigrant nationality. Muslim countries top these charts.

This article takes data from Scandinavian government reports and finds that foreign-born individuals, particularly from Africa and West Asia, committed several times more crime. For example, here is Sweden:

A report studying 4.4 million Swedes between the ages of 15 and 51 during the period 1997-2001 found that 25% of crimes were committed by foreign-born individuals while and additional 20% were committed by individuals born to foreign-born parents. In particular, immigrants from Africa and South & Western Asian were more likely to be charged of a crime than individuals born to two Swedish parents by a factor of 4.5 and 3.5 respectively. In regard to rape, the report revealed that immigrants were 5.5 times more likely to be charged of rape than individuals born in Sweden to two Swedish parent, although the category of immigrant was not broken down by country of origin in this report

This article which I linked to took official Denmark statistics and constructed this chart, where Somalians were found to commit rate at 16x the rate of the native population.

Let’s take stock:

  • Initial priors were towards integration problems for Muslim immigrants due to Western/Muslim history of conflict (e.g. Barbary Slave Trade), cultural differences, and ethnic cleansing during breakup of Yugoslavia. Many people in this thread have no sense of the history of Western and Muslim relations.

  • High profile criminal events and clashes (Rotherham, Cologne, Sharia demonstrations, no-go zones, terrorist attacks) reinforce these priors. We both agree that these events are happening, though we’ve quibbled over the details of no-go zones.

  • Your experience in Tower Hamlets and falling UK crime rates was weak evidence against my hypothesis.

  • Muslim overrepresentation in prisons in Europe, and disproportionate offense rates elsewhere in Europe show that indeed Muslims immigrants are committing higher levels of crime, and nearly an order of magnitude higher than native for some subgroups. This makes the UK crime trends look confounded.

So there the overall direction of this evidence is in favor of the priors of Western-Muslim conflict. And I’ve only summarized a small amount of the evidence.

My arguments about elevated Muslim immigrant crime rates fueling destabilization in the UK are still in play, though I will concede that Germany, France, and Sweden are likely at much higher risk. The best argument against my case would be that European governments are strong enough, and European nationalism is weak enough, that a cycle of reprisals and civil unrest can never get started (unlike Yugoslavia): native European just learn to live with high rates of crime, eventually becoming persecuted minorities in their own countries.

What would falsify my argument? Since my argument is drawn from a wide variety of evidence, it would take a wide variety of evidence to contradict it, ideally evidence that isn’t tainted by the state trying to hide the egg on its face. Examples: Farage recants, or some of the videos I’ve linked to were shown to be staged.

When you are in a society with rape gangs attacking thousands of young girls, you have an uphill battle to rescue its image. I think a lot of people in this thread, would benefit from reflecting more on what it means when this can happen in a society. It took me more than a year to process this information, so I totally understand why lots of people in this thread are having trouble grappling with it.

Anyway, I hope this long comment will convince serious readers that this is a nontrivial subject that deserves further investigation. I would highly encourage people to do their own research. If indeed governments engage in risky large-scale social engineering, and then cover it up when it goes wrong, then that has pretty serious consequences for EA.

Comment author: Rick 09 December 2016 05:00:02PM 0 points [-]

So, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I for one am quite glad that these discussions are being down-voted.

When we consider entertaining these discussions, we can take a consequentialist viewpoint and run a simple cost/benefit analysis to determine if entertaining the discussions is a good idea, such as the following: Benefits = (tractability: chance entertaining discussion will lead to changes in EA thinking) * (impact: amount of marginal good that will occur if change in EA thinking occurs) * (maybe an uncertainty discount, depending on your preference) + (improved reach: benefits of bringing in new EAs who are amicable to these arguments) + (value externalities: benefits that arise from fomenting a culture of openness to new ideas among EAs) Costs = (decreased reach: harms of causing EAs not amicable to these arguments to become disenchanted with EA) + (reputational risk: harms that would arise if people started saying "EAs seem to be amenable to alt-right discussions", which in turn would further scuttle our already struggling efforts to diversity the EA movement and repaint ourselves in a better light)

People pushing the above arguments clearly think that the potential impacts of integrating these thoughts into EA are very very high (e.g., a lot more conservative people could join EA, we'd avert WWIII or something, etc.), even if they admit that the tractabillity is quite low, hence why they are pushing so strongly.

However, I, and many other EAs, believe very strongly that the costs (reputation risk + harming our ability to reach more potential EAs) are higher than the potential benefits. I'd also say that, for many of us, the estimated sign on "amount of marginal good that will occur if change in EA thinking occurs" associated with the above arguments is actually negative, for a variety of reasons.

Now, the people arguing for these arguments will most likely say "but what about intellectual diversity and freedom of speech!" To which I retort A) freedom of speech and the ideals of liberty do not mean that I have to spend my time entertaining your thoughts or that I need to write 10 pages explaining why, exactly, I think you are mistaken, and B) as a consequentialist, I am a fan of pushing and supporting equal intellectual diversity as a vehicle for good, and in this case I very strongly think that entertaining this particular form of intellectual diversity will cause much more harm than good. I do think that we need to push for more intellectual diversity in the EA movement, but there are much better ways to do this than entertain this sort of discussion.

Comment author: HenryMaine 10 December 2016 09:57:32AM 0 points [-]

I agree: if EA wants to climb the ladder of prestige in the current climate, then best to avoid any crimethink. I only wrote my comments due to a request. EA is trying to have a high positive impact, but it is hamstrung by an establishment media that is disconnected from reality. There is very little that EA can do about this that wouldn't confront that establishment. However, there are a couple things that EAs can do: stop publicly pushing for leftist partisan causes like open borders, and stop donating to Democrat political campaigns.

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