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If I Were President...

If I were president I'd cancel most of the meetings, travel, etc, etc, and make some forums which are publicly readable.

There'd be a forum where all the countries have an account with write access. And one where all US politicians have write access. And one with a lot of media and intellectuals.

I think forum discussions are actually the best thing the US president could do.

Imagine if all the politicians, media personalities, etc., with bad ideas had to actually write about them on the record on a daily basis? Imagine if you just kept following up on discussions. What would they do? What most people do currently with me is just stop responding to things, which they can get away with socially because I have low prestige. But just refusing to answer forever wouldn't be a viable answer to the president's forum, and arguments/questions from the president and his staff. That'd look really bad to the world: Nancy Pelosi has been asked the same question for 5 days in a row and just won't answer at all.

But if they did answer they'd get pinned down.

They'd have to do evasive tactics: missing the point, playing dumb, trying to create confusion, saying unclear things, trying to make the discussion go in circles, etc. All that stuff can be called out, pointed out, and basically made to look as foolish as it is. People get away with that stuff in verbal formats with little followup, and behind closed doors, but not against the best debaters over a period of weeks with every word of it in the record. None of the bad guys have any method of dealing with that level of intellectual scrutiny.

They can lie, but the lies can be documented and the canonical links documenting lies can be repetitively posted every single time a lie is repeated. Staff can be hired to do that. That would cost a hell of a lot less than a wide variety of current, unimportant government departments. It's very easy by government standards.

And how do you deal with media questions? Press briefings are so incomplete that it's hard for people to see who's right and why. What if all the bullshit the press kept bugging Trump about was on a forum where some staff members replied with canonical links over and over so everything was getting answered? How would the media continue to ignore the main points, which they currently ignore, if it was being linked in reply to them every time they talked?


Elliot Temple on October 19, 2017

Comments (35)

closing down the welfare system is more important than creating forums!

Anonymous at 10:02 AM on October 20, 2017 | #9188
you're comparing an objective to a method.

it's kinda like saying that scoring touchdowns is more important than throwing passes. passes are a way to score touchdowns. you can do both at the same time.

Anonymous at 10:08 AM on October 20, 2017 | #9189
I like it. Although, I would caution about making such a change too quickly. You might destroy knowledge in the existing norms/traditions.

I don't know much about this stuff but possible example would be: face-to-face, private convos with other countries as part of diplomacy. I wonder if this way of doing things is necessary due to existing cultures.

> What if all the bullshit the press kept bugging Trump about

What's an example of this?

Anon69 at 11:48 AM on October 24, 2017 | #9192
if i were electable with this plan, then it'd be ok to do it. it's like if you run on draining the swamp hardcore, then it's ok to start draining the swamp hardcore when u get elected instead of doing it all careful and gradual. i wouldn't get rid of *all* private conversations.

curi at 11:52 AM on October 24, 2017 | #9193
> if i were electable with this plan, then it'd be ok to do it. it's like if you run on draining the swamp hardcore, then it's ok to start draining the swamp hardcore when u get elected instead of doing it all careful and gradual.

In this example, are you saying it's ok to start draining the swamp hardcore regardless of whether it's a good idea or not?

I know there are probably times to be careful/gradual and times to be sudden, but not sure I understand why electability on the idea is central to when/why. Can you elaborate?

Anon69 at 12:05 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9194
if you persuaded half the country already, you've done tons of steps already. the knowledge to support the actions already exists.

Anonymous at 12:25 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9195
> if you persuaded half the country already, you've done tons of steps already. the knowledge to support the actions already exists

Maybe, but I wouldn't assume that. History is full of politicians who were elected to implement bad ideas and fast.

Anon69 at 12:55 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9196
so what? people make mistakes. you don't have a clear point. you lost track of what you're arguing. there is no method which avoids all mistakes

Anonymous at 1:15 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9197
> so what? people make mistakes. you don't have a clear point.

I agree people make mistakes, and I don't think I'm suggesting some approach which somehow avoids all mistakes. Where do you see that I did that?

> you lost track of what you're arguing

What argument did you think I was making, that I lost track of?

Anon69 at 1:50 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9198
you tell us what your argument is.

Anonymous at 1:56 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9199
Elliot says he would "cancel most of the meetings, travel, etc, etc, and make some forums which are publicly readable".

He added in the comments that he "wouldn't get rid of *all* private conversations"

For the initial implementation of this, there's some mix of keeping existing meetings / private conversations, etc vs cancelling and replacing with forums.

Saying "cancel most" leaves open a big range: 51% of 99.99%? My initial comment was to be cautious about this. If you go too far too quick, you might make mistakes and destroy knowledge in the existing norms/traditions. How would "being cautious" work in practice? I'm not sure. Maybe spending more time investigating how things currently work and brainstorming ways that the forum approach will help or hurt. Maybe having a period of time where you ask people to give their thoughts on problems created by switching from meetings etc to forums.

Elliot responded with "if i were electable with this plan, then it'd be ok to do it".

Anonymous provided a reason for why if you are elected with this plan, you should proceed: "if you persuaded half the country already, you've done tons of steps already. the knowledge to support the actions already exists"

I criticized this as a good reason because people get elected all the time, to do bad things, without a good plan / knowledge to support their plan. And they blaze ahead and do a lot of damage.

Anon69 at 2:20 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9200
> Maybe spending more time investigating how things currently work and brainstorming ways that the forum approach will help or hurt. Maybe having a period of time where you ask people to give their thoughts on problems created by switching from meetings etc to forums.

that would happen before being elected.

and forums are a change that's really easy to undo.

none of your concerns make any sense. it's just generic "omg what if something goes wrong?" and you seem to assume that literally no steps are taken that aren't explicitly stated in the post, which is ridiculous. after being told there'd be a an election campaign persuading half the country, you expressed the concern that maybe no one had thought about any of it before doing it and there had been no period of time for anyone to reply.

> I criticized this as a good reason because people get elected all the time, to do bad things,

you changed the subject from gradualism and respect for tradition to people make mistakes.

you made multiple grammar mistakes in your try-hard summary, which is a bad sign.

Anonymous at 2:48 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9201
> you made multiple grammar mistakes in your try-hard summary, which is a bad sign.

What does try-hard summary mean?

Bad sign of what?

Anon69 at 2:53 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9202
> none of your concerns make any sense. it's just generic "omg what if something goes wrong?" and you seem to assume that literally no steps are taken that aren't explicitly stated in the post, which is ridiculous.

I wasn't assuming no steps. My guess was that some steps would be taken. But enough steps? How does Elliot apply ideas I've read from him and others about gradualism, tradition etc in this case? I thought it would be good (not ridiculous) to express my initial concerns and learn about the details.

You seem angry...is that accurate or am I misreading?

Anon69 at 3:07 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9204
you're misreading about anger. but you don't have anything productive to say.

why are you here? do you want to learn philosophy?

Anonymous at 3:29 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9206
> you don't have anything productive to say.

My goal was share some thoughts, get criticism, learn. I didn't expect to say anything novel...I'm not that knowledgeable. Is there something you'd suggest I do differently?

> why are you here?

To learn / make progress in my life.

> do you want to learn philosophy?

Yes. Learning to think better could help with problems in my life.

Anon69 at 3:56 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9207
do you have a plan?

do you want to talk about your life and get advice on a plan?

what are your resources, options, current problems, etc?

Anonymous at 3:57 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9208
Current problems (in no particular order):

-Not having a good list of current problems :) I made this list off the cuff, I'm probably communicating things poorly, missing some things, etc.

-Emotional problems. Emotions like fear, shame, anger that get in the way of considering criticism, spending time on learning.

-Lying to myself and others

-Anxiety issues. I had a bad illness for a few years and developed some issues from that

-Scheduling/prioritizing

-Getting old, developing health problems, dying

-Financial independence. Saving/investing $X so that working for money no longer needed. E.g. Keeping annual expenses low and reaching savings of ~25x annual expenses so that you can perpetually live off investments.

-What to do to make money? I’ve been a programmer for awhile, not sure it’s what I want keep doing. Looking for something to more money for less time/effort.

-Disagree with things Elliott says, would like to resolve those disagreements, e.g. expose my ideas and his ideas to criticism, learn more

-Relationship issues, particularly difficulty resolving disagreements w/ partner

What I’m currently doing:

-Read FI email list for a few minutes each day

-Read FI newsletter each week, and some of the links within.

-Read FI website essays

-Occasionally discuss things on curi blog w/ anonymous username

-For the anxiety issue, practicing stuff I learned from a couple of books on the subject.

-For emotional problems, practicing stuff I learned in a few books

-Listening to Elliott’s podcasts

-For the financial independence goal, saving money from my job but also making investments to grow money (including some high risk ones)

Things I’ve tried but stuck / not making much progress:

-More deeply studying FI stuff and apply further in my life

-Participating in FI discussion, e.g. on FI email list, curi blog, or wherever

-Prioritizing on reading recommended books, E.g. Ayn Rand books

Resources:

-I have 2-4 hours per day I can dedicate to whatever I’d like (given current commitments, work situation, etc)

-I have plenty of money to, e.g. buy books, tech stuff, etc.

-I currently own an iPhone and MacBook Pro

Anon69 at 6:05 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9209
> -Financial independence. Saving/investing $X so that working for money no longer needed. E.g. Keeping annual expenses low and reaching savings of ~25x annual expenses so that you can perpetually live off investments.

Why do you want to perpetually live off your investments? Why not just aim to run out of money at age 125 (should be enough margin for error)?

It's also bad to front load all your work and then stop working. Why earn tons of money early and retire? Is it because you hate your job? Maybe you should try to figure out a good way to make money instead of a way to quit producing.

> -Disagree with things Elliott says, would like to resolve those disagreements, e.g. expose my ideas and his ideas to criticism, learn more

well, quote one and argue your point? preferably on FI list.

you won't get far if you're being imprecise enough to spell ET's name wrong, tho.

> -Relationship issues, particularly difficulty resolving disagreements w/ partner

do you want to talk about it?

> -For the anxiety issue, practicing stuff I learned from a couple of books on the subject.

what kinda stuff? is it focused on avoiding problems or becoming stronger so ur less vulnerable to problems?

> -For emotional problems, practicing stuff I learned in a few books

do you want criticism of those books?

> -More deeply studying FI stuff and apply further in my life

*why* are you stuck? what are the problem(s)?

Anonymous at 7:23 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9210
> > -Financial independence. Saving/investing $X so that working for money no longer needed. E.g. Keeping annual expenses low and reaching savings of ~25x annual expenses so that you can perpetually live off investments.

> Why do you want to perpetually live off your investments? Why not just aim to run out of money at age 125 (should be enough margin for error)?

Targeting 125 sounds like a decent idea as well.

> It's also bad to front load all your work and then stop working. Why earn tons of money early and retire? Is it because you hate your job? Maybe you should try to figure out a good way to make money instead of a way to quit producing.

Agree.

I guess the idea is more like this: I can think of various projects I like to work on, such as ones highly focused on learning or self improvement, or risky projects (e.g. startup) where making money on them is unknown or delayed perhaps by years. And then there are projects unlikely to ever make any money but would be valuable to me otherwise. If I'm financially independent, I would be free to spend any amount of time on any project, take bigger risks, e.g. pursue a project for years without contending with money problems.

I suspect that in practice, I'd probably still continue to make money / producing stuff after financial independence happens. Perhaps even more so than before, due to freedom to take bigger risks, more flexibility with time, working more deeply on long term projects and such.

Anon69 at 7:44 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9211
it's better to do some money making and some other projects, instead of putting all the other stuff off for years.

failing that, it's better to make money for a few years, then do other stuff for a few years, then go back to making money. rather than wait until you retire to do other stuff.

learning and self-improvement should be scheduled ASAP. it'll open up new and better options in your life and make you better at everything you do.

Anonymous at 7:49 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9212
2-4 hours a day is a LOT to do some projects if it's mentally alert/energetic time. you can get a lot of reading done, write a lot, whatever.

Anonymous at 7:51 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9213
> it's better to do some money making and some other projects, instead of putting all the other stuff off for years.

I agree and I'd like to do that.

> it's better to make money for a few years, then do other stuff for a few years, then go back to making money. rather than wait until you retire to do other stuff.

Agree. Maybe I should remove financial independence from my list of problems here. I guess I see it as a nice milestone that I hope/expect to happen, in say 10 years, based on current projections. There are some details surrounding that which are open problems, such as which investments to pursue etc, but not a major problem, compared to other things on the list.

> 2-4 hours a day is a LOT to do some projects if it's mentally alert/energetic time. you can get a lot of reading done, write a lot, whatever.

Agree. I'm excited about the idea of putting it to better use.

Anon69 at 8:23 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9214
> > -Disagree with things Elliott says, would like to resolve those disagreements, e.g. expose my ideas and his ideas to criticism, learn more

> well, quote one and argue your point? preferably on FI list.
> you won't get far if you're being imprecise enough to spell ET's name wrong, tho.

Oops -- I know someone else named Elliott (two t's) and I'm in the habit of spelling it that way.

A few thoughts/issues:

1) The emotional issues I mentioned have stifled my interest in FI-style public discussion. So, I'm prioritizing on those first.

2) I guess when I think more about the random things I disagree with Elliot about...none of them are major things I'm focused on. Random example: politics. It seems better to focus on learning other things.

Anon69 at 8:30 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9215
why do you think reading some unnamed books will solve the problems? in general, pre-FI activities to lead up to FI don't work. when has anyone ever had much success with that? plus i think most books on those kinds of topics are bad.

politics is *implied* by philosophy. if you start talking about it you'll end up working backwards to philosophy anyway. disagreeing with ET about politics means ignorance and/or disagreement about philosophy, which are typically better to address directly.

Anonymous at 8:47 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9216
why don't you state your actual problem with FI? can you quote something you don't like and say why you don't like it? or do you think such a request is unreasonable? or what?

Anonymous at 8:47 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9217
in general when ppl have negative emotions about statements, it's not just an emotional issue. they also misunderstand something about the statement or about relevant philosophy. (or there is some flaw in the statement.)

Anonymous at 8:48 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9218
> -For the anxiety issue, practicing stuff I learned from a couple of books on the subject.

> what kinda stuff?

The two books that helped:

1) DARE: https://www.amazon.com/Dare-Anxiety-Stop-Panic-Attacks/dp/0956596258

2) The Worry Trick: https://www.amazon.com/Worry-Trick-Brain-Tricks-Expecting/dp/1626253188

The Worry Trick author made a PDF with a overview: https://adaa.org/sites/default/files/Carbonell_107.pdf

> is it focused on avoiding problems or becoming stronger so ur less vulnerable to problems?

More like the later. Basically, avoiding things that you think cause anxiety is a big part of what perpetuates it.

Anon69 at 8:54 PM on October 24, 2017 | #9219
> why don't you state your actual problem with FI?

In short, a low-grade persistent fear.

Fear of what? I’m not 100% sure. Part of it is that its a public forum, so everything will be in the public record forever. The world is full of bad/mean people, so working through major issues in my life in public makes me fearful of how it might be used against me in an unfair way. I realize that I do not need to share personal details, and that I could post anonymously, but that doesn’t seem to alleviate the fear.

Another part of it is that FI is a firehose of criticism which triggers deep seeded feelings of shame common in our culture (i.e. you should feel bad about making mistakes). Have others been able to navigate this issue successfully? Any suggestions?

Finally, I guess it's also fear that Elliot will hurt me...not intentionally, but because he is so different and operates on a different level, that he, to no fault of his own, can't relate to my issues. Something like that. Kinda like stepping into a boxing ring for some friendly sparring with someone who doesn't know their own strength.

Anon69 at 8:42 AM on October 25, 2017 | #9220
> > -For emotional problems, practicing stuff I learned in a few books

> do you want criticism of those books?

Sure. Thinking about this some more, I guess the ideas I have come from a lot of different places (not just books), including FI. There are a few special-case books that stand out, such as ideas in the two anxiety related books I mentioned above. On the topic of shame, there's a book called Radical Acceptance that I thought had some good ideas.

Here's a quick brain dump of thoughts I have about dealing with emotions.

- In general, emotions are caused by our ideas, and those ideas can be mistaken.

- Introspection can help uncover the ideas often hidden behind emotions. You should expose those ideas to criticism and improve them.

- You don’t always have control your thoughts/feelings but they don’t control you.

- Feelings and thoughts will come up that you don’t have control over and you don’t like. This is common / should be expected. It’s best to approach this situation with compassion and acceptance.

- The more you oppose or fight with your thoughts/feelings, the more you will have of them.

- There's a time for introspection but there's are also cases when you should reduce focus on your emotions, not take them too seriously.

Anon69 at 8:49 AM on October 25, 2017 | #9221
@emotions you aren't talking about:

http://fallibleideas.com/emotions

or

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EVMK0H0/

or BoI static meme stuff.

Anonymous at 10:21 AM on October 25, 2017 | #9222
have you tried posting simple stuff where you *don't* overreach and *don't* make a ton of mistakes? then criticism can't be a firehose due to lack of targets.

@ET have u tried making *requests* regarding things u do or don't want? you make it sound kinda like the problem is ET doesn't know what you want, what works for you. but i think the unstated and larger problem is *you don't know either*, and therefore you can't tell him. so i think your perspective on the problem is incorrect.

Anonymous at 10:26 AM on October 25, 2017 | #9223
>@emotions you aren't talking about:
>
>http://fallibleideas.com/emotions

I like this article although have some questions / criticisms. Will try to return to it sometime.

>
>or
>
>https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EVMK0H0/

Will check this out, thanks.

>
>or BoI static meme stuff.

I've read the first 4 chapters of BoI, but haven't gotten to the static meme part. I tried searching for "static meme"...seems like DD uses the term anti-rational memes instead.

I came across: http://curi.us/1824-static-memes-and-irrationality which helps introduce the concept.

I can imagine how static ideas stick around by preventing criticism. But I'm wondering: what's interesting about memes and how those ideas are transmitted between people?

I guess the thing I found most relevant to me was the static idea aspect and less the meme part, but interested to learn more. I'll go read the relevant chapter in BoI.

Anon69 at 4:14 PM on October 25, 2017 | #9224
> I tried searching for "static meme"...seems like DD uses the term anti-rational memes instead.

they're equivalent.

> But I'm wondering: what's interesting about memes and how those ideas are transmitted between people?

well, to begin with, all of your emotional problems involve memes. cultural memes teach you things like what to fear, loathe, be happy about, be frustrated by, be excited about, etc

Anonymous at 4:20 PM on October 25, 2017 | #9225
Yo guys, check out the FI posts about this discussion:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/conversations/topics/24361

curi at 7:36 PM on October 25, 2017 | #9226

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)