[ExI] META: Overposting (psychology of morals)

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat Mar 5 16:29:52 UTC 2011

On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 9:41 PM, Damien Sullivan
<phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:

> Actually, libertarian originally *meant* socialist -- or rather,
> left-wing economic egalitarian anarchist.  Wikip claims this is the
> first libertarian:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_D%C3%A9jacque
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism#History
> They have dibs; it's US classical liberals who hijacked the term in
> modern discourse.

### Amazing - commies stole our name (liberal), forcing us to say we
are "classical" but then some yahoos stole a word from commies which
stuck to us!


>>  In the matter of "initiation of force", when do you "start the
>> clock"?   Can the native Americans go on the warpath and claim
> A very good question.  The inverse is: right-libertarianism has a lot to
> say about respecting private property rights and what one can do with
> them, but little about how they're allocated in the first place.  Which
> is a big gap, since you can make a 'libertarian' absolute monarch by
> declaring that the king owns all the land.

### It took me a long time to come my present position - a
concentration on the methodology of making choices, rather than the
particular choices themselves. I see property rights, or
"non-initiation of violence", as instrumental issues rather than
values on their own. What matters is desires. Desires are the
primitives of ethics, all else is their interpretation. Choices are
actions in furtherance of desires and frequently you can compute a
ranking order of choices expressed in terms of some metric of
satisfaction of desires (if you can't compute a ranking order, you can
flip coins or just leave it for later). Since I have low empathy, low
self-transcendence, low desire for signaling empathy (i.e. I am not a
hypocrite), low degree of envy, high degree of personal independence,
or disagreeableness (i.e. I don't like being pushed around), low
desire for belonging, my computation of desires tends to produce the
usual libertarian outcomes - somewhat cold, individualistic, bereft of
phony solicitude for the poor, economically inequitable, allowing
extreme flexibility and low level of external control, without any
tribal ("you are with us, or against us") trappings. Since I am
apparently a "Bayesian libertarian" (as I don't have the taboo
cognitions of Tetlock
I end up agitating for distributed decision making rather than the
comforting platitudes of democracy. My current god is efficiency,
including efficient construction of in-groups.

So, yes, this libertarian definition is a bit slippery but aren't all
political definitions this way?


PS Rational construction of in-groups - this is a really interesting
issue for somebody who doesn't naturally generate an in-group
definition. Since this social module is vestigial in me, I don't
meander towards human universalism, or dolphin love (a la James
Hughes) but then I also don't have a racist bone in my head (as per
the implicit association test https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/).
I try to calculate the in-group that rationally is most likely to
function efficiently for the task at hand (whether in real life or as
BS theorizing) rather than rely on intuition which in many people is
very powerful but sometimes may be miscalibrated. But that's a whole
different story.

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