Category Archives: rationalism

Quick insight from the Rationality Meetup Organizers Retreat

One undercurrent I got from the Effective Altruists at the conference (there were many) was that EAs (at a base level) are not motivated by the usual social worker reasons, righting wrongs, preventing harm, helping people, etc, but as a way to optimize the distribution of good fortune. Not sure how meaningful that is, but it does produce a marked change in delivery.

Argument for Minarchism in mathematical form

Pardon the ramble – I will be organizing this at some point – but in the spirit of creating artifacts

From listening to Michael Malice wax morally on about anarchism

I’m reminded of Albert Jay Nock’s comparison of State Power and Social Power – they operate at each other’s expense to some degree.

But to expand on that (this is not Nock’s thinking) – there is a need for order, and real costs to lack of order (at certain levels of anomie we reach the world of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road) the question is who supplies that order – in the best case for State Power you have the English policeman found in European stereotypes, in the worse case you have modern day North Korea. In the Social Power cases you have at best David Friedman’s wildest dreams (or Utah as seen in brochures), at worst you have Mississippi in 1940 where everyone is white except you.

Formula for Minarchism (where order is defined as “liberty” in the mid century sense of the word):

80% of State Power is interchangeable with Social Power in producing order
80% of Social Power is interchangeable with State Power in producing order
Quality declines as more of each power is used after 20% – and State and Society decline at different rates

Order is maximized at Power Unit * Quality

I’m pondering what that equation would be.

The relativity of wrong

A perfect essay by Asimov on the right way to view the world

Another way of looking at it is to ask what is the “curvature” of the earth’s surface Over a considerable length, how much does the surface deviate (on the average) from perfect flatness. The flat-earth theory would make it seem that the surface doesn’t deviate from flatness at all, that its curvature is 0 to the mile.

Nowadays, of course, we are taught that the flat-earth theory is wrong; that it is all wrong, terribly wrong, absolutely. But it isn’t. The curvature of the earth is nearly 0 per mile, so that although the flat-earth theory is wrong, it happens to be nearly right. That’s why the theory lasted so long.