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a soulless automaton
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@Tomasz: The downside is that threaded commenting on LW encourages and enables long-running off-topic discussions or side arguments, both of which I seem to recall that Robin wants to discourage here (though I could be misremembering). nazgulnarsil: "social liberties stem from economic liberties, not the other way around. social liberties problems are mostly solved once you respect private property." david: "No, it works the other way around. Economic liberties without social liberties creates accelerating inequality and erodes government and non-government institutions that allow either." This exchanges strikes me as potentially very insightful on the difference in perspective, indepdent of which (if either) is accurate. As an aside, I finally read the "liberaltarian" link in Robin's post and find the article's proposed compromise to be surprisingly close to my own actual views.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2009 on Missing Liberaltarians at Overcoming Bias
TGGP is correct re: Republicans. The "social conservatives" have been taken for a ride--they turn out the vote, and get nothing but empty rhetoric as a reward. Of course, it seems like the same can be said about the libertarians, especially after the failure of Ron Paul's presidential campaign. They get a lot of "small government" talk to keep them voting, and then get ignored once power is secured. Maybe mainstream Republicans actually had libertarian credentials at some point, but of the last 20 years I can't fathom how anyone could see them that way. As for myself, I'm largely what you might describe as a "liberaltarian". I disagree with certain prioritization among many libertarians (such as the fetishization of economic over social freedom, and the weird fixation on firearms), don't see non-governmental solutions as always viable for handling problems of collective actions, and have extremely little desire to be associated with other "right-wing" groups. Otherwise, I agree more with an average libertarian than with an average Democrat.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2009 on Missing Liberaltarians at Overcoming Bias
The primary argument against spending on positional status goods seems to be that, due to the inherently zero-sum nature, it induces wasteful spending, displacing other things, correct? However, as has been mentioned, some positional goods (education, beauty, &c.) potentially have positive externalities. If the magnitude of these externalities is great enough, wouldn't it actually make sense to, if anything, encourage positional spending on them, since this will lead to people voluntarily spending additional resources creating said positive externalities? A society of well-educated, beautiful people seems strictly better than a society of less-educated, less-beautiful people with the same relative status positions.
Toggle Commented May 19, 2009 on Against Makeup? at Overcoming Bias
The different response percentages between the two money questions is interesting. The obvious hypothesis this suggests to me is that the value people give to money drops off above some maximum (presumeably, however much they feel they need to buy the tangible wealth to live comfortably), after which they value money primarily as an indicator of social status which requires having more than other people do. I recall seeing research showing that the correlation of wealth and happiness is very strong at lower incomes, but weakens above some income level, which seems potentially related, but I don't remember the source.
Toggle Commented May 18, 2009 on Mea Culpa: Positionality Data at Overcoming Bias
@Tim Tyler: "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence *if* some relevant tests have been performed" a bit of a mouthful." It's just not catchy enough, that's all. How about: "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Absence of looking for evidence is not."
Toggle Commented May 2, 2009 on Cloud Seeding Works at Overcoming Bias