RIP Slate Star Codex

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nomadscientist
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by nomadscientist »

If you think it will go that far, the most robust option is to just leave the USA. Not every country is refusing you, and there aren't capital controls yet. Admittedly many of the better destinations are shut for corona.

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

nomadscientist wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 4:58 pm
If you think it will go that far, the most robust option is to just leave the USA. Not every country is refusing you, and there aren't capital controls yet. Admittedly many of the better destinations are shut for corona.
Agreed. But my act of leaving is proof that I was affected by negative circumstances despite my current stash and earnings. ;)

slsdly
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by slsdly »

Isn't this easily solved by maintaining the illusion you work from home? If we get to the point they are actually checking, I'm reasonably certain wealth is being seized, so you probably have to work anyways. (Edit: Assuming you don't feel the need to rise to prominence via a popular blog. They aren't going to question/doxx every single rando.)

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jennypenny
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jennypenny »

On this afternoon's podcast, Bret Weinstein briefly talked about being 'cancel resistant'. It came up because he was discussing this week's purges on Reddit and other social media. It does seem like being cancel resistant is another form of resilience that EREs will have to take into account.

It made me think of this thread because by being outed, Alexander could end up losing his side hustle and a substantial number of patients in his practice. Not very cancel resistant.

IlliniDave
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by IlliniDave »

jp, I was planning to watch that one later this morning while I'm doing my quarter end bookkeeping.

There's sometimes an assumption that social capital is more robust than financial capital. It's certainly a diversifier but depending on how it's arranged it's potentially volatile and subject to tail risk. For whatever reason I've never been comfortable counting on it as a major weight-bearing column. My instinct has always been to focus social capital energy on family, based on a gut feel that over a broad range of outcomes family is somewhat more likely to stick with you a little longer. That won't always be the case, of course, and families can come with a lot of liability too.

I've resigned myself to the idea I can never be catastrophe proof. When I think of robustness I think in terms of holding the line long enough I have one chance to run away.

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jennypenny
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jennypenny »

It's a good episode. Most are. It's been a good sanity check for me during all of the crazy lately.

I feel like there are two options ... either try to signal along with everyone else to stay in the good graces of the most vocal or avoid signaling in any situation. Expressing independent thoughts, even with independent means, can land you in the crosshairs.

slsdly
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by slsdly »

Ultimately the strategy of remaining current with signalling will fail if your communications are persistent, e.g. posting on a forum, or other forms of social media, and you become a target. Society's moral framework is always evolving; this is not new. It stands to reason that one can reasonably fall afoul of future standards while operating in the current.

Perhaps flying excessively will be regarded as doxx worthy; one can argue it is already immoral due to carbon emissions. Now your previously innocent travel blog and/or Instagram feed could destroy you.

Everyone who didn't document it, destroyed the evidence, or the evidence was not widespread, e.g. family photos from the 80s/90s, will pretend they were always against it. I find that very 1984-esque. This happened in recent memory in Canada with Trudeau's costume habits in the 2000s. I asked people who were outraged, e.g. what kind of asshole wears costumes of another culture/ethnicity, did you ever wear any ethnic costumes during Halloween or costume parties in the 80s/90s? Most sheepishly admitted yes, it wasn't on as many people's radar back then.

One could argue Trudeau should have known by that point not to wear blackface. But I honestly didn't know the history of blackface until this matter came to light. I doubt I would have chosen such a costume, sounds like too much effort and I hate dressing up. But my point is there is an adoption curve for a new societal moral standard, and some are ahead, and some are behind. It doesn't make them bad people, but the early adopters are surrounded by like-minded people, and live in denial about their own past actions.

My strategy is to avoid posting online too much (yes here I am at it again...), and to minimize the number of outraged people in my life. If I get doxxed for something I can't even imagine right now, well, I'm probably in the one-more-year syndrome phase of ERE anyways.

Jean
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Jean »

Not expressing an opinion already starts to be enogh to be called out against. See elon Musk and steam.

IlliniDave
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by IlliniDave »

jennypenny wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:34 am
It's a good episode. Most are. It's been a good sanity check for me during all of the crazy lately.

I feel like there are two options ... either try to signal along with everyone else to stay in the good graces of the most vocal or avoid signaling in any situation. Expressing independent thoughts, even with independent means, can land you in the crosshairs.
I think you are right. But given the sophomoric level of collective logic these days, not signalling is as much of an adverse signal as signalling alternatively. It's ironic for me that at one time I looked at retirement as a time to be a little more direct/open in engaging the world. As it is, I will probably burrow more deeply. It's occurred to me that what I say here in imperfectly veiled anonymity is more of a risk than I should take, even though going back as little as 10-15 years none of it would have warranted any undue attention by virtue of being conventional/mainstream.

And I agree with slsdly above, it's time to start distancing myself from exuberant combatants in the Woke Wars. It only takes one instance of someone jumping in and tossing accusations at you to awaken the risk of an avalanche.

slsdly
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by slsdly »

@Jean, none of us have the level of exposure as Elon Musk, including Jacob. A famous, uber rich, bombastic, white man who seems to seek the spotlight is a far more interesting target than an unknown, modestly wealthy, bombastic, white man who manages to stay out of the news. It is possible, with the whole "Karen" memes, for individuals to reach such a level of fame, but unlikely.

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jennypenny
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jennypenny »

People are publishing lists of who has not signed on to different agendas or expressed support on social media. Weinstein's podcast discusses it.

In my own recent experience, this is even happening in online sewing groups (to give you an idea of how small businesses and solopreneurs can be affected). Those that haven't posted the black square or whatever the trend of the day is are being touted as 'obviously' racist by others in the group. It's nuts. And it's driving people like me away because I abhor social media mobs, cancel culture, and outing people, and I won't support any movement that tolerates it.

I see these tactics as very different than impromptu protests in reaction to something, which I understood a few weeks ago. Weaponized social media -- and media in general -- is deliberate bullying and scapegoating to induce the fear of objecting or even abstaining from the outrage du jour.

This won't end well.

slsdly
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by slsdly »

@jennypenny, that's awful. I have walked away from social circles that are too angry like that. Nothing at that level, but if one cannot assume good faith in conversations with ones' friends, then they aren't friends at all. Better off finding a new group or hobby. It is a shame, but I haven't had trouble finding likeminded souls in general.

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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jacob »

I think some of this discussion is backwards. Much is being made about having the wrong opinions/outside the Overton window which might have drifted or shifted over the years leads to people coming after you. I think that in most cases having the wrong opinion is a required but not a sufficient condition.

The sufficient condition, which slsdly alluded to is more about how many people are angry with you. If you're on someone's shit list, they can use you having the wrong opinion or alternatively no opinion against you. This is why people are going after politicians' histories 30-50 years back ... or why it's a problem if Elon Musk is not commenting on something. But ultimately, this is secondary to these guys having made some "enemies" for whatever reason.

Historically, people would report on their competitors or neighbors they disliked for whatever reason---maybe their dog was too loud---for the reason of being in the wrong category, whereas they would save/help those they liked despite being in the wrong category. There are thus two dimensions to one's reputation. How much one is disliked but also how much one is liked. Therefore, in my opinion, the best strategy is not to have zero public opinions but in general to be well-liked. The worst strategy is to engage in disliked opinions and count on anonymity.

Even if pogroms rise to the level of persecuting a specific class like e.g. teachers or oil workers, being generally liked still goes a some way as opposed to being disliked or not-disliked whether in general or specifically.

In terms of social capital, recall that it's not a zero-sum proposition like financial capital. The more you use it, the more everybody gets. It's also not fungible. You can't take one kind of social capital and use it elsewhere (you can leverage it though). The more social webs you build, the greater the chance that one will catch you. Essentially it makes you anti-fragile. Not engaging is more likely to turn you into a scapegoat because no one is there to stand up for you.

IlliniDave
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by IlliniDave »

Jacob, five years ago I would have probably agreed with the hypothesis of your first paragraph. The degree of rage that can arise from an alternate opinion is truly something to behold. Preexisting anger is not a necessary condition IMO.

Edit for clarity: by preexisting anger I meant preexisting anger towards the target personally. I think a lot of the mobbers are harboring quite a bit of unfocused anger. A relatively innocent slip-of-the-tongue or somewhat heretical opinion then acts like a lightning rod.
Last edited by IlliniDave on Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

nomadscientist
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by nomadscientist »

Scott Alexander isn't a disagreeable person, or even someone who holds non-conformist views. He's infuriatingly agreeable in that he's very difficult to personally dislike or strongly disagree with also when you see what he is writing as totally wrong. That is probably why he is now being attacked: he engaged - and disagreed - with non-conformists on their own turf at a time when it was acceptable to do so, whereas today nothing but total commitment to conformism from public figures is tolerable.

Making friends and mouthing the platitudes is always a relatively effective survival strategy. But 1. it is not a very ennobling life 2. the platitudes can tend toward serious self-harm 3. it is not always possible to separate the platitudes from one's actual beliefs. The book "1984" does a really good job of explaining the universal psychology behind this, even if the Stalin days are now far enough in the past that its ground level picture of a society has become hard to take seriously.

slsdly
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by slsdly »

I reflected on this after one friendship sort of soured, in part due to my own actions, a few years back. A large chunk of society has been trained to feel that a microaggression is equivalent to physically assaulting someone (even if the affected individuals or groups aren't present). They are rushing to defend the helpless, full of righteous anger. The worst thing you can do is scream back, be snarky, or proclaim your innocence; you are identifying yourself as the enemy.

You want to defuse the situation. Be calm, and be willing to be critical of yourself. In the vein of "Huh, I never thought about that. You're right, that was uncalled for. Thanks, I'll do better next time." Honestly, there is often a kernel of truth in their outburst, even if I think the reaction is excessive. They certainly aren't going to calm down if you let your own emotions get the better of you. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? I choose happy.

I think this helps the future too. People generally remember these heated moments well. If they remember you as saying stupid shit, but had the good sense to realize it when called out, they are going to give you credit for it. They might also feel a bit shamed that they overreacted after you were so calm and reasonable. This is a public service. Likewise, if they remember you as that asshole who doubled down, well, that doesn't bode well for your interactions.

There are so many things one could share one's opinion about. There is absolutely no reason to talk about the hot button items, even if you feel very strongly about them. Let's say you are anti-abortion, and deeply so to your core, and you are surrounded by pro-choice people. Is it going to help you, or anyone, to engage in this topic? Are these discussions going to change policy? Please. Don't be stupid. You are only sacrificing your reputation because it makes you feel righteous. Talk about your new hobby doing permaculture in your backyard.

Campitor
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by Campitor »

They certainly aren't going to calm down if you let your own emotions get the better of you. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? I choose happy.
There comes a point where being nice and well liked won't save you. This is the problem with identity politics. Just being yourself is enough cause to be hated. Just ask the Hutus and the Tutsis.

slsdly
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by slsdly »

It is like wearing seat belts. Will it guarantee I won't die in a car crash? Of course not. It might even make very particular cases worse. But it is still a good strategy. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good :). (Edits: me fail English, that's unpossible.)

slsdly
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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by slsdly »

Another strategy is to choose a facet of another ideals you do actually agree with, and engage in that topic. My favourite is environmentalism. I criticize high energy lifestyles, like flying all over the world for vacations, buying new stuff all the time, etc. Even people who love doing those things tend to agree, realize they are hypocrites and find it hard to defend. Even if you aren't perfect in other ways, if you are consistent on that chosen ideal, they will tend to recognize you as a moral authority in your own right. It makes it hard to assail you for your own flaws, when you are understanding of their own.

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Re: RIP Slate Star Codex

Post by jacob »

Okay, this is taking it further off-topic, but I think slsdly's recommendations contain a lot of wisdom that is helpful on an individual level. It also serves to improve society (social functioning) both by the immediate influence of one's actions as well as setting a good example. Over the past 5-10 years, I've gone through a similar change of perspective in terms of how I engage with other people and I've seen what a difference it can make. It changes not only how I perceive others but also how they perceive me. It changes how we interact with each other but also how they later interact with others.

For some (I still recognize myself, especially my younger self) it's tempting to score points for yourself or your side. In internet-inspired politics this is known as "owning" someone. In more civilized circles, it's known as winning the debate. Some might set out specifically to own someone because they're bored or because they're is on holy a mission to gain more influence for their tribe which could be a political party (red, blue, green, ...), a special interest (pronouns, gun rights, ...) or a certain ideology (e.g. identity-politics, libertarianism, ...). It's a zero-sum mentality in that in order for someone to gain, others have to lose.

It's likely that someone at some point will try to own you, that is, expand their territory into your territory. Basically, you just got drafted for the debate. It's instinctive to "fight back" by rationalizing why your position is just and how their points don't matter. It might even trigger you to own them back (the best defense is a good offense). "What about ..."

(From the perspective of the overall battlefield, these innate tendencies derive from the majority (my ideology) and (my tribe) tendencies of humanity. This makes it easy to instigate conflict by simply feeding people ammo in the form of talking points they can throw at each other. This is similar to dealing with hot borders. If a leader of a country wishes to start a war w/o directly declaring it, they put a bunch of hotheads on border patrol. Inevitably they will start a fight while allowing plausible deniability that the order didn't come from above. While true, the leadership did create the situation that would likely create the conflict.)

Best advice I can give is to not engage. The problem is that most of us haven't spent nearly enough time to understand those who try to oppose us. IOW, we can not explain their position in a way that they would deem a fair and complete representation. Since that is usually the case, it's best to defuse or ignore the first attack. Then try to figure out WTH they're going on about. The tactics for this is to try to describe what they're talking about in their words. You'll know you understand it, when you're no longer getting push back. At this point you will be seen as eminently reasonable---this might not actually be the case, but humans naturally think someone smart insofar "they're saying what I'm thinking". Bingo! You now have increased social capital with them as opposed to the decreased social capital that would obtain from fighting/being stupid/reactive.

At this point you'll understand two perspectives. Whenever someone tries to own you, you can easily defuse because you can see where they're coming from. That is not just understanding their position from the perspective of your position but from the perspective of their position. If you see two [hotheads] fighting, knowing both perspectives and describing them to them will elevate the interaction from simple owning to understanding each other. An immediate effect of that is that it reduces the internecine aspects of the battlefield. There are people who work to create conflicts and they understand both sides too---often better than the sides understand themselves. It's possible to use this knowledge to reduce conflicts as well.

(From the perspective of the overall battlefield, this is an attempt to create diplomacy by making it easier for the tribes to meet.)

With more experience, it will get harder to think of the two [or three or four] perspectives as different perspectives beyond a simple naming convention. Instead of facilitating, you can look at similarities between them and highlight those if you wish to build social capital. Not just for you personally but for the community in general. If you put on your evil hat, you also have the power to destroy social capital using the same mechanisms by highlighting and leveraging differences. Mastering several perspectives also makes it easier to "patch" someone's position within their framework. E.g. if you know someone to be a libertarian, you know that there are things in their framework that are non-negotiable, but things that are "served" by other frameworks. Thus you can treat the holes w/o disturbing the integrity of their system. This is very different from the "must destroy the whole thing in order to build it up my way" thinking described above.

(From the perspective of the overall battlefield, it's just like with Wheaton levels. People rarely have a good framework for understanding the thinking that's going on one level above them. They understand the what but not the why. For example, hothead soldiers do not understand why they're being posted to the border in order to start a war. More importantly, they do not understand that they're hotheads in the first place.)

One can think of the lowest level as combat (destroy the opponent), the next level as sport (without rules the competition makes no sense), and the highest level as a dance (we're here to make each other better).

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