How Much Philosophy?

I'm a philosopher. It's my #1 favorite thing. I'm happy to learn all kinds of stuff about philosophy. (BTW I didn't just naturally grow up that way, or anything like that. I changed. I chose philosophy over various other interests I already had, and many other options I could have had if I wanted.)

Some people don't want to be philosophers.

But everyone needs philosophy. If you have NO philosophy, you're fucked. You'll make tons of mistakes, suck at solving problems, suck at noticing problems, and generally be a fuck up.

Some people want philosophy for a practical purpose – learn some philosophy to be a better parent.

Learn some philosophy to stop fighting with spouse.

Learn some philosophy to understand political debates better, like liberalism vs socialism.

Those are a bit narrow. One also needs some philosophy just to have a better life in general – it helps with everything.

Why does philosophy help with everything? Because that's the name of the field which includes topics like:

- how to think well, in general, about everything

- how to learn

- generic methods of solving problems

- generic methods of identifying and understanding problems

- generic methods of truth seeking, question answering, and idea understanding

So of course you need a bunch of that, no matter what sort of life you want.

It is acceptable not to have philosophy as your #1 interest. But it needs to be an interest.

I do philosophy that is not strictly required, because I like it. Other people like it less. Partly their preferences should be improved, but partly it's OK to have different interests.

So there's a question: how much philosophy do you need? How much is enough? When can you stop?

(Another distinction worth considering: do you want to make progress in philosophy, or just learn what others already know?)

The current situation looks something like this:

- Philosophy is a pretty small field with a limited amount of productive work ever done in it, despite dating back over 2000 years. It's possible, and helpful, to be loosely familiar with most philosophy.

- Some topics, like Objectivism, liberalism, Critical Rationalism and Fallible Ideas require detailed study. This is not at all optional. If you don't do that, you're missing out, hugely.

- If you're not one of the top 100 philosophers in the world, you're not even close to good enough. Virtually everyone is super super bad at philosophy, way below the basic amount you'd want to not fuck up your life.

- Philosophy courses (and professors) at universities are very bad.

This doesn't tell you the exact answer. But it gives enough of an indication to start with: you're not there yet.

There's no need to try to understand at what point you could stop learning philosophy until you're already most of the way there. Then you'd have a lot more skill to use for figuring it out. Trying to understand it right away would basically be the general, common mistake of trying to do stuff before having skill at philosophy (aka skill at thinking).

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Major Jewish Groups Betray Jews

Stop Donating to Jewish Establishment Organizations


Establishment Jewish organizations like ADL, AIPAC, UJA, JDC do not love Israel or Zionism, did nothing about the holocaust, sent piles of money to Russia, now fund BDS and won't do anything effective about Obama's deal to give nuclear weapons, ICBMs and $700B to Iran (the world's leading sponsor of terrorism). They wouldn't seriously stand up to FDR, won't seriously stand up to Obama now. Then they rewrite history and fundraise off their failures which "ended in dust, ashes and death", then spend the money on progressive causes. They only started being pro-Israel after Israel succeeded, and still just in name only, not seriously.

You must read the full article:

Stop Donating to Jewish Establishment Organizations

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Hacker News Hiding News About Apple

Hacker News pretends to be a social news site where the users decide which news stories reach the front page with their votes. This is a lie.

Today, Apple had its quarterly earnings call. This is interesting news, and there were a bunch of articles about it. What did I find on the Hacker News front page about it? Nothing. So I clicked through and found Apple's press release at story #95:

You can see the amount of votes, and the age, of the other stories near Apple's earnings. Apple's story was heavily penalized so that far fewer people would see it. Hacker News moderators have the attitude that penalizing stories isn't censorship, and is not that big a deal, even though it makes a large difference in what links most readers see. (Most people only ever see the top 30 stories.)

For a comparison, at the same time, here is the #10 story which had fewer up votes than Apple's earnings report, while also being older. The Apple story should have easily been in the top 10, not #95 (and if it had been on the front page longer, it'd have gotten a lot more up votes). Meanwhile all the other articles about Apple's earnings were blocked from the site (or penalized out of the top 120 that I checked).

I don't think most Hacker News readers have any idea how much the stories they see are controlled behind the scenes, rather than controlled by user voting.

(Yes, I'm aware this could have been done by a behind the scenes algorithm, rather than personally done by a human moderator. The human moderators are not shy about doing this kind of thing, but they do also have algorithms which do unexpected things such as penalize stories with a lot of discussion in comments (the rationale is to reduce debate/argument, in hopes of raising quality). And Hacker News uses flags as stealth down votes with extra weight.)

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Front Page Magazine Sampler

Once in the Senate, Kerry flew to support the Sandinista Marxist killers in Nicaragua. Just as Iran’s leader calling for “Death to America” didn’t slow down Kerry, neither did the Sandinista cries of “Here or There, Yankees Will Die Everywhere.”
it really is this clear. Iran's president literally was at a "Death to America" (and "Death to Israel") rally a few days ago.
Obama isn’t Chamberlain. He doesn’t mean well. Kerry isn’t making honest mistakes. They negotiated ineptly with Iran because they are throwing the game. They meant for America to lose all along.
this is really hard for people to stomach, but that doesn't prevent it from being true.
Iran is also pursuing ICBMs that can strike at Europe and America. Obama’s decision to phase out the ballistic missile sanctions on Iran will make it easier for Iran to build weapons that can destroy major American cities.
the high degree of evil here – which some may find shocking and hard to conceive of – does not prevent this from being the plain truth.
Obama and Kerry have not made this deal as representatives of the United States, but as representatives of a toxic ideology that views America as the cause of all that is wrong in the world. This is not an agreement that strengthens us and keeps us safe, but an agreement that weakens us and endangers us negotiated by men who believe that a strong Iran is better than a strong America.

Their ideology is that of the screaming anti-war protester denouncing American forces and foreign policy anywhere and everywhere, whose worldview has changed little since crying, “Ho! Ho! Ho Chi Minh. NLF is going to win” in the streets. The only difference is that he now wears an expensive suit.

Their ideology is not America. It is not American. It is the same poisonous left-wing hatred which led Kerry to the Viet Cong, to the Sandinistas and to Assad. It is the same resentment of America that Obama carried to Cairo, Havana and Tehran. We have met the enemy and he is in the White House.
how did we come to this? poor critical thinking skills by most people is a big part of the underlying issue. people need better philosophy.


negotiations on the bad Iran deal may be finished. but every time inspectors want to visit a nuclear site, that's requires another negotiation with Iran. the article provides this quote showing how the agreement is nothing like the "anytime, anywhere" inspections that were the absolutely lowest bar the US should have considered agreeing to:
If the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA cannot be verified after the implementation of the alternative arrangements agreed by Iran and the IAEA, or if the two sides are unable to reach satisfactory arrangements to verify the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities or activities inconsistent with the JCPOA at the specified locations within 14 days of the IAEA’s original request for access, Iran, in consultation with the members of the Joint Commission, would resolve the IAEA’s concerns through necessary means agreed between Iran and the IAEA. In the absence of an agreement, the members of the Joint Commission, by consensus or by a vote of 5 or more of its 8 members, would advise on the necessary means to resolve the IAEA's concerns. The process of consultation with, and any action by, the members of the Joint Commission would not exceed 7 days, and Iran would implement the necessary means within 3 additional days.
what a mess. and Iran itself has one of the votes...

While most normal countries maintain national holidays that celebrate freedom, independence and sacrifice, the mullahs [of Iran] invented a holiday that revels in an orgy of death, violence and depravity.
sacrifice, huh? sure not an Objectivist writer! :(

this article is otherwise good. it contains important details about Iran deal that I hadn't read before. the bullet point summary of Obama's Iran deal is terrible. the fine details are even worse.


how was the Iran deal reached so suddenly? how were the disagreements resolved? the best available theory is that Obama ordered the US negotiators to cave on everything. that's why the deal is so bad for us on every issue. and it explains the removal of the regular arms embargo on Iran:
Seeing the desperation of President Obama, the shrewd Iranian leaders even brought the issue of the UN arms embargo against Iran to the negotiating table in the eleventh hour. Russia and China support the Islamic Republic because they are the major actors selling arms and sophisticated weapons to the Islamic Republic.

The UN arms embargo on the Islamic Republic did not have anything to do with the nuclear talks. It was imposed on Iran by the United Nations Security Council members due to Tehran’s terrorist activities and due to the concerns brought up by many other countries with regard to Iran’s regional aggression and military activities, as well as the nation's regional hegemonic ambitions. The embargo was due to Iran’s support for militias and proxies causing instability in the region as well.

But, the ruling clerics (with the Russians and Chinese on their side) thought that they could get any concessions from the US, particularly from the weak US president. Iranian, Russian and Chinese leaders know that President Obama will do anything to avoid the collapse of the talks even if his objective and goal might lead to one of the greatest threats and mistakes in international diplomacy and deals.


obama and the left have been destroying the US military. massive damage already done, more scheduled soon. seriously. read this one and see the specifics for yourself. how the US military can no longer handle two wars at once like it's supposed to be able to. due to budget cuts, the army doesn't have enough men, the Navy doesn't have enough ships, and a lot of outdated equipment is still in use. and the budget cuts are a continuing process. some important areas now have zero aircraft carrier presence part of the time.

We must remember that Obama pointedly ran on the promise to “reinvigorate” American diplomacy. This trope was in fact a way to run against George Bush, whom the Dems and the media had caricatured as a “cowboy” with an itchy trigger finger, a gunslinger scornful of diplomacy and multilateralism. That charge was a lie––Bush wasted several months on diplomacy in an unsuccessful attempt to get the U.N.’s sanction for the war, even though the U.S. Congress had approved it, Hussein was in gross violation of the first Gulf War cease-fire agreement, and the U.N. already has passed 17 Security Council resolutions, all of which Hussein had violated.
Yeah! People really try to twist history around. I also remember that the Dems were in favor of the Iraq war until months after it started.
But as much as Obama is personally to blame for what will turn out to be a disastrous foreign policy mistake, the larger problem is the very notion that rational discussion, negotiation, and dickering with our enemies and rivals can replace force, rather than being an adjunct to a credible threat of force. It is based on the arrogant assumption that the enemy is a “rational actor,” as Obama’s flacks have been asserting about the mullahs, and respects life, coexistence, and peace as much as we. That this administration can believe this delusion––when the Iranians regularly chant “Death to America” and have practiced what they preach by killing Americans for 36 years––is as mystifyingly blind as the British were to Hitler’s threatening rants at the Nuremburg Party Rally a few weeks before the Munich conference, when the Fuhrer called Czechoslovakia an “irreconcilable” enemy.
When they repeatedly say they want to kill you, it's a pretty big hint they don't respect life the same way civilized Americans do. But many Americans won't listen to them or acknowledge their cultural differences.
Plato, of course, expressed the truth of interstate relations 24 centuries earlier, when he said, “In reality, every state is in a natural state of war with every other,” and “peace is only a name.”
I don't agree at all. Peace is possible. There are multiple civilized countries which now have some pretty good records of peace between themselves. Who actually thinks that USA and Australia should naturally be at war, and their peaceful relations are just a name?

Thorton then quotes Charles de Gaulle saying that "passion and self-interest" are the "root cause of armed conflict in men and nations". This is extremely anti-Objectivist and anti-(classical)-liberal.

Rational men don't have to have conflicts of interest. If they understand the right ways to interact – trade, tolerance for different ideas, voluntary non-violent interaction requiring mutual consent – then they can mutually benefit from interactions and otherwise leave each other alone.

Today, many of civilization's defenders don't understand the philosophical ideas and values that got us here. No, it wasn't Plato's idea mutual antagonism and war that created our peaceful, prosperous Western world.

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AIPAC = Squishy Failure


ok so far.

FYI i quote the entire article.
AIPAC had said the day before that it needed time to study the details of the 159-page Iran nuclear agreement.
jfc. follow cruz and bibi on twitter. they explained this stuff in the morning
Until now, AIPAC has avoided confrontations with the Obama administration. The group’s initial strategy when President Barack Obama took office was to cultivate personal ties with him–for example, by electing a Chicagoan to lead the group. It refrained from opposing former Sen. Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense in 2013, despite his poor record on Israel, and in 2014 it backed away from new sanctions on Iran.

Now, however, faced with an agreement that could allow the Iranian regime to become a nuclear power by cheating or merely waiting several years until the deal expires, AIPAC has decided to lobby Congress vigorously to vote against the deal and to override an expected veto by President Obama. AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr told the conference call: “This is the moment for which AIPAC was built.”
so after a series of betrayals, they think they built up the brownie points for obama to listen? it doesn't work that way. it's only harder now. (paraphrasing The Virtue of Selfishness)
To that effect, AIPAC plans meetings in Washington later this month, and will be lobbying pro-Israel members of Congress–mostly on the Democratic side, since Republicans are expected to unite against the deal. Critics note that AIPAC missed earlier opportunities to oppose Obama’s policies on Iran, but AIPAC’s leadership carefully avoided burning political bridges so that it could reach out at a crucial time.
it doesn't work that way, idiots. read Ayn Rand and get some integrity. learn Gail Wynand's story.

they conceive of integrity as bridge-burning. they conceive of integrity-destroying enemy-sanctioning compromise as bridge-preserving. that is super fukt.

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Terrible Iran Deal

Ted Cruz's statement:
“Today, the international community led by the United States has agreed to not only legitimize and perpetuate the Iranian nuclear program, but also to further arm and enrich the brutal theocratic regime that has oppressed the Iranian people for more than thirty years – a regime that is wrongfully holding United States citizens captive, that is sponsoring radical Islamic terrorism across the globe, and that regularly promotes the destruction of both Israel and America throughout its streets.

“Despite these facts, it seems President Obama would concede almost anything to get any deal – even a terrible deal – from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Under the terms of this deal, Iran will retain all of its centrifuges, one-third of which will continue to spin. Rather than the most intrusive inspections regime in history that we were promised, IAEA inspectors must petition the mullahs to visit sensitive sites, and wait for two weeks for their permission. In a final, shocking concession, the United States will support lifting of the United Nations arms embargos that restrict the Iranian ballistic missile program and arms trafficking. And in return, billions of dollars of economic relief will flow to Tehran.

“Yet, in his remarks this morning, the President glossed over the truth about Iran’s world-leading state-sponsorship of terrorism that is violently destabilizing the region, and would grow more deadly should the Iranians get a nuclear bomb. He failed to mention American citizens, Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, who continue to languish in Iranian prisons or Robert Levinson, who is still unaccounted for. For them, today is no ‘opportunity to move in a new direction’ as the President claimed. We owe it to our fellow Americans to elevate, not ignore, their plight, to demand their swift and unconditional release by the implacably hostile regime that holds them.

“Even by the low standards of the Joint Plan of Action, this is a staggeringly bad deal. It is a fundamental betrayal of the security of the United States and of our closest allies, first and foremost Israel.

“But thankfully, it is not a done deal. We still have an opportunity to tell the truth about what Prime Minister Netanyahu called today a ‘bad mistake of historic proportion.’

“Congress will have 60 days to review it, and the American people will have 60 days to tell their elected representatives just what they think of it. I urge all my fellow citizens to speak out and let their elected leaders know that even if President Obama won’t see it, we know the leaders of the Islamic Republic who lead crowds in chants of ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ are not our partners in peace, and must not be put on the path to a nuclear bomb.”
This is very dangerous and scary. Today is a bad day.

After Israel is nuked, USA will be second.

Iran is not powerful. It could not do this alone. If we stood up to evil, we would win. Evil is inherently weak, because it contradicts reality. What lets evil thrive is a leader of the free world who sides with evil, and over 100,000,000 gullible fools and traitors in the USA alone.

Scott Walker, when announcing his candidacy for President, said the #1 threat to future generations is not climate change (ala Obama), it's radical Islamic terrorism. That's an OK answer, but it's not the best answer. Islamic killers wouldn't get very far without any allies within Western civilization. They have millions of apologists, advocates, sympathizers and other helpers.

We must get our own house in order. We must persuade our fellow Americans to stand firm against militant Islam, anti-semitism, and other evils. No compromise! If we stood united and proud, with clarity of purpose, we would win easily.

Edit: More info:

Statement by PM Netanyahu
While the negotiators were closing the deal in Vienna, Iran's supposedly moderate President chose to go to a rally in Tehran and at this rally, a frenzied mob burned American and Israeli flags and chanted 'Death to America, Death to Israel!'
The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly what Iran's President Rouhani said today: 'The international community is removing the sanctions and Iran is keeping its nuclear program.'
Behind the Headlines: Agreement between Iran and P5+1

Israeli ambassador: The four major problems with the Iran deal

U.S. will help Iran stop Israeli threats to its nuclear program

Edit 2:

Additional problems I found out about later:

1) Obama's deal lets Iran make ballistic missiles immediately. It immediately changes the UN restriction on Iran's ballistic missiles from binding to non-binding, meaning Iran can ignore it. Today, there is a binding UN resolution saying Iran can't make these missiles, but Obama's deal edits that so Iran can ignore it.

2) Iran says they will keep supplying weapons to their allies including terrorists. They said this during negotiations, Obama made a deal anyway without prohibiting it.

3) Iran is actually getting $700 billion (I thought it was $150B before). The source on $700B seems to be Israel, which basically says Obama administration is lying. Well, easy call to tentatively take Israel's word for it.

Edit 3:
The agreement’s treatment of a supposed 300 kg. limit of highly enriched uranium known as UF6 suggests that Iran can import its way to the bomb. The text of the agreement clearly states that UF6 from Russia or “other sources” will not be counted against the 300 kg limit. In plain English this means that Iran may already have more than 300 kg of UF6 and that in the future it may import even more, perhaps from Russia or China, North Korea or Pakistan. The agreement indicates that the exporting country and Iran — not the United States and the IAEAA — will certify the acceptability of these imports.
And watch this Caroline Glick speech which is really good. One point it raises, which I didn't know before, is amazing: Iran can cancel the deal at any time with only 5 weeks notice. What's the point of a 10 year deal when they get a fortune at the start and, if they don't want to obey their side of it (as little as that means), they can just cancel it whenever they want to?

Since this is such a big deal, here is another source which links to a pdf of the actual deal text and tells you which part to read (page 19, paragraph 36). Read it. It basically says if party decides to claim the other side of the deal isn't following the deal, then there's a process to try to salvage matters, but they can get out of the deal in 35 days if they still arbitrarily assert the other side isn't following the agreement properly.

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Easier to Read or Write?

When I'm tired, I sometimes find writing easier than reading. I don't want to read anything long or difficult, but I can still write a bunch.

Most people seem to find reading much easier than writing. They'll read lots of emails, books, articles or blogs, but rarely write replies. They think writing is a big burden.

The reason reading when tired can be hard for me is because I have to remember a bunch of different things they say, figure out what they mean, and put them together to understand the bigger picture. That requires loading a bunch of foreign stuff into my memory. It requires translation work to get from their ideas to ideas that make sense to me.

When I'm tired, I can read short things one at a time. I can read individual paragraphs and reply to them fine as long as they are independent and standalone. But following themes across many paragraphs is harder. It's still possible even if tired, but it's not always worth the effort (since I could just do something else now and then read it later).

When writing, it's less effort to follow themes across multiple paragraphs. Because I understand my own themes better, and I can remember my own ideas more easily – they are more suited for cheap usage by myself than other people's ideas are.

When writing, I typically focus on ideas that make sense to me and fit with my worldview. I stay mostly in my frame, my sense of life, and my world. Like I'll take someone's prompt or question, then give some of my thinking about that topic. I don't always write this way, but it's the most common.

If your mind is organized well, dealing with it should be easier than dealing with someone else's that you're less familiar with, disagree with some of the organization of, don't understand some of the organization of, and only have very limited access to. You only see little bits and pieces of other people's minds, but you can consciously interact with more of your own mind.

Why do people struggle to write? One reason is they have nothing to say – they don't have ideas. This is, largely, a lie. They have lots of ideas they suppress as not good enough, dumb, socially unacceptable, or various other reasons. Some people don't know much, but they could at least discuss what ideas they do have, and improve.

Some people are second-handed, other-people-oriented and attuned to thinking about and dealing with others. They don't see much burden there. And they are bad at dealing with themselves, alone, so they do see a burden there. These people are frequently also bad at dealing with reality.

People make mistakes, so they contain contradictions. The rest of reality doesn't. This makes people harder to deal with in a fundamental way – especially other people who come off as contradictory to you (others have a lot of contradictions that you don't share, which can be confusing to deal with).

Another issue is passivity. Reading is a more passive activity than writing. When you read, you can misunderstand everything and never notice. If you write incoherently, as part of a discussion, people will criticize – or even just ask you questions to try to make sense of it, which you would struggle to answer. It's possible to read actively with good critical thinking and error correction, but most people don't do that very well. If you're going to do something passively and fool yourself into thinking you did it well, reading works better than writing.

Big picture, if you find reading a lot easier than writing, it's a warning sign that you have a large moral flaw.

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Paths Forward Summary

trying to summarize Paths Forward: there should always be a way that if you’re mistaken, and someone else knows, you can find out. if no one knows a mistake, it’s hard to blame you too much, let’s not worry about that case right now. but it’d be really sad if someone does know, and they are willing to share the info, but you keep making the mistake anyway. that’s such an avoidable mistake.

this is important because of fallibility – people do make lots of mistakes (often without realizing it – any of your ideas could be mistaken and you don’t know which. none of them are safe ideas that couldn’t be mistakes, which would be infallible). so because people make mistakes a lot, a main issue in epistemology is how to find and correct mistakes. being able to be told what other people already know is a really useful way.

but there is a problem because you can’t read everything or debate with everyone or debate with every idea.

people don’t know how to deal with that. so they end up ignoring people with low social status, and ignoring ideas that sound “crazy” to them. and ignoring things they regard as off-topic. that’s a very very bad way to handle it. it blocks off learning about any BIG mistakes – because they mostly talk to similar people and talk about ideas with only limited differences from their own.

the way to deal with ALL ideas that disagree with you is you either 1) write a refutation or, most of the time, 2) refer to a refutation already written by someone else or you. (you must take responsibility for it. if it’s wrong you don’t just blame the author, if you used it and it’s wrong, then you were wrong).

it's also necessary to write down your positions (or refer to writing by someone else). otherwise people don't know what you think and can't point out mistakes they know. making your ideas public lets people check if they disagree (and lets them learn from you). if your ideas are hidden, no one is going to tell you criticism in the first place.

each rival, disagreeing idea only needs to be answered once by one guy, if it's written down in public. so people can work together to address all the ideas arguing with their view, instead of just ignore lots.

then there’s a path forward: someone can point out a mistake in what’s written down.

and also a path forward for the people who disagree with you: they can read your answer and learn why you’re right.

if there is an idea that disagrees with your thinking, that NO ONE has answered (in writing, in public) ... why not? someone ought to answer it and actually deal with the details of it, and give the opportunity for counter-arguments. if no one has done that, how do you know it’s wrong? you shouldn’t be ignoring ideas that no one refuted thoroughly, correctly, seriously.

if your ideas are unpopular so not many people help argue them, that’s not a good excuse for ignoring lots of arguments against your position. if you want to have unpopular ideas, it will take more time to check them for errors, because other people help less. you should put in that time. unpopular ideas are more risky in that way.

if your ideas are popular and something “everyone knows”, then someone really ought to have addressed every known criticism, since you have so many people to do it. if you have so many people and not a single one of them will answer an argument adequately, that’s a big problem there! if a new criticism is thought of, and you don't want to answer it, and you can't get anyone else to deal with it either, then apparently your entire large popular group of people is irrational, so having a big group doesn't really count for anything in that case (and don't even try to claim all 20 million of you are too busy).

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Supreme Court Going HAM

3 days ago, Supreme Court upholds a key tool fighting discrimination in the housing market
In the 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that the 1968 Fair Housing Act prevents more than just intentional discrimination in the housing market. The court said the law can also prohibit seemingly race-neutral policies that have the effect of disproportionately harming minorities and other protected groups, even if there is no overt evidence of bias behind them.
similar to the abercrombie case.

fucking supreme court. so many fails in a row, all at once. it’s like a blitzkrieg, man. (also the obamacare and marriage "equality" rulings)
In his dissent, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. warned that the court “makes a serious mistake” in giving meaning to the Fair Housing Act that Congress never intended when it passed the law.
In his rebuttal, Thomas wrote that racial imbalances don't always disfavor minorities, pointing to instances in which minorities have dominated certain industries.

"And in our own country, for roughly a quarter-century now, over 70 percent of National Basketball Association players have been black," Thomas wrote. "To presume that these and all other measurable disparities are products of racial discrimination is to ignore the complexities of human existence."
true, though not the best thing to say. what about FREEDOM? since when am i obligated to help everyone equally? i should build housing, or whatever, to help MYSELF – and whoever else i feel like. if i’m paying, if i own it, then it’s up to me...

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First Date Opener

Edit: (sept 2015) due to complaints and confusion, I want clarify some things:

I think dating is bad.

I have low opinions of alcohol, dancing, clubs, partying, lots of sexual promiscuity for "fun".

I think the way society treats women (and men too) is bad. I think both gender roles have lots of huge flaws.

I think PUA is the messenger – it's not to blame for how this stuff works, but gets blamed a lot for telling the truth about social dynamics, contrary to society's pretty lies. I appreciate PUA's knowledge of how society works and truth-telling on the matter. I appreciate standing up to pretty lies.

I do have PUA-type views on some issues. For example, I think the campus rape epidemic is bullshit and the affirmative consent standard is bullshit. I have many large disagreements with feminists and social justice warriors. And I do not think men in particular are to blame for gender roles, dating conventions, etc, I think so much of this stuff is mutual.

Statements like, below, "her value is more in her face, her body" are talking about how society works, what the social rules are. They are not an endorsement of those rules. I am not recommending that you value women in that way.

I consider it hard to find women who are of much value in good ways. But I also think the same thing about men. I think the female gender role is a bit worse overall, but both are terrible. Some key problems with the female gender role are it's more passive and less compatible with being intellectual. I do not think you should take the attitude, "women suck, so I'll just put up with some dumb bitch to get sex". I don't think you should give up on a better life. I also don't think you should find some slightly less dumb bitch and lie to yourself that she's smart.

These problems are caused by underlying factors such as static memes and coercive parenting. These things are cultural defaults that are very hard to get away from. These topics get into deep, complex ideas. People could be much better than they are. These are soluble problems.

I advise people to become serious philosophers and reject many of society's customs.

The purpose of this post is to explore ideas, and think about PUA, dating and social dynamics. If you think it's not pretty, consider becoming unconventional – but only in a serious way involving deep study of philosophy.

Note: flakey, unthoughtful deviations from convention generally don't work very well. And whatever you currently think is seriously intellectual, is, I'd guess, not nearly good enough.

Sorry there's no simple way to even know where the line is for what's good enough to be rational reform instead of reckless destruction. You have to learn tons of philosophy to even have a quality view on that issue.

The original post is below, unedited:

what to say at the start of a first date:

(speak slowly)

hi. look i know people get really nervous on first dates. i don't like for people to suffer and it's really unnecessary. so i hope you can relax and we can talk honestly. but i know that's a cliche, and just saying that doesn't work. so i'm going to do most of the talking until you get more comfortable. i'll go first and share who i am, so it's easier for you. i won't ask too many questions, i don't want to put you on the spot. speak up more when you want to. and don't worry about saying "yeah" or "me too" every 5 seconds to keep my confidence up, i'll be fine. and please don't worry about silences either – sometimes i need to stop to think, it's no big deal.

another problem is people form all these expectations about the other person, and about what you do on dates. people have this fantasy of what they want from the other person before they even know them. for now, we're just talking. no big deal. no pressure or obligations.

now what i want you to do to get started is listen. thanks. and if you don't like something, i want you to tell me. point it out. because if you tell me, i can deal with it. but if i don't know there's a problem, then i might not be able to. can you do that for me? is that fair?

(if she's receptive, this is a good point to touch her for emphasis. you can tell her to look at and touch her to turn her towards you more, in order to get stronger attention when you ask the questions. and it communicate seriousness, it adds gravity.)

[she says ok]

Great. Now to start with, I'm a philosopher. That's the most important thing to me. You don't know what I mean. There's different ideas about philosophy floating around, and I strongly disagree with most of them. I'm a specific type of philosopher. To me, philosophy is about...

If you're not a philosopher, you'll have to replace that part with whatever you really care about, that really matters to you, that you will be able to talk about a bunch, confidently, without needing constant reassurance from her.

If you don't have anything like that, get something. You need to have your own life, have a "you" that really solidly exists and means something. That's so much more important than girls.

BTW, you should consider becoming a philosopher. Ideas are the most important thing in the world. A philosopher is a person who deals with ideas. It was philosophy knowledge that let me write this post. It's through philosophy that I learned people don't have to suffer, and that all the cliche talk about open, honest communication doesn't actually solve the problem.

there's a bunch of reasons for opening this way. it's partly like explained: to try to help her past her nervousness and make it easier for her. it's partly because the man leads. it's partly because it's better to talk about your own passion than hers. it's what you're about, your major values, that should be the focal point. if she's not compatible with you, it doesn't matter what her interests were anyway. and it's your value, the good stuff about you that you care about, which will draw her to you. she wants to know what you're about, and you want to know if she likes what you're about, so start there. her value is more in her face, her body, her compliance with your stuff, not her interests. girls are more malleable – it's your job to draw her into your world and, if it's nice, she can be a kind of person that's helpful to you.

if she's one of the few girls who doesn't follow traditional gender roles – and i mean really, thoroughly doesn't follow them (which is under 1% of the girls who claim they want equality) – then no harm will be done. she'll understand why you approached it this way and she'll take some initiative to say, e.g., that she isn't nervous, that she has a lot to say too, that she wants to share her passion with you, etc. if she doesn't have the confidence and initiative to say that and change the style of discussion, then she is a normal, passive girl after all, so the original style is best.

this isn't the only way you can approach a new girl. lots of ways are ok. but this is good. there are a lot of common problems with dates. ignoring them won't make them go away. you'll have to be very skillful and charming to deal with all the problems really well in a subtle way. if you're more of the nerdy, intellectual type who would actually read my blog, then addressing the bad things about dating directly and honestly is a good way to do it.

but keep in mind you can't just copy my words. if you start with my words, then switch to your own words afterwards, she'll notice. you'll sound like one person, and then a different person. it'll be confusing. you have to say things you're comfortable with, which are natural to you. PUAs call this congruence.

i think it's good to be the kind of person who naturally would say things like my example. if you're not, maybe you can see some of the appeal and learn something. and maybe you can even be inspired to want to learn more about philosophy.

PS if your date is not officially a "date", or you aren't sure if it is, you can say pretty much the same thing with a few adjustments not to mention dating. if it kinda might be a date, people still get nervous and get expectations, so the issues still come up.

don't try to push the "date" label on her if it's unclear – you're only doing that to create social approval to pursue her, because you lack confidence (if it's a "date" that allows you to touch her, try to sleep with her, etc – that's a bad mindset).

PPS if you're interested in PUA, try to point out some of the techniques used in the comments! you'll learn more.

Edit: (sept 2015) Disclaimer: this is a post about PUA. If you want to do or understand PUA, you can learn something. This is not advice. My recommendation for your lifestyle is: learn philosophy instead of getting involved in stereotyped relationships.

Also, this is a thought experiment, not a recommendation to say these lines (which would not be congruent for you, and also in real life you need to make lots of adjustments on the fly depending what she says).

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (2)

Getting Caught Using PUA

Many guys worry about getting caught using PUA (Pick Up Artist, aka Game, aka RSD) tricks. They worry the girl will notice a canned line, or any other technique, and call them on it.

A standard answer is that if the girl is having a good time, even if she knows you're gaming her, she'll go along with it. So it doesn't matter and would generally come up with girls you weren't going to get anyway. I agree. (It's a bit like magicians doing magic tricks with audience assistants – usually the assistant will try to be helpful, not disrupt the act, even if he or she catches something the magician did.)

You can also just treat it as any other shit test and pass it. No big deal. This isn't the sort of thing that guys worry about if they're great PUAs.

I have another answer which I haven't seen. It won't work for everyone, but it will work for many people who ask this question. It works best for intellectuals and the kind of people who don't like game tricks and feel a little bad about using them (who are the same guys worrying about being caught).

So think about it this way. You used a game trick, e.g. a canned line. You didn't feel quite right about it. You weren't thrilled with it. You sorta wish the world was different and it was easier to get girls without learning PUA. If you feel that way, you may also worry: what if she recognizes it's a canned line? What if she calls me on it?

Well, if she calls you out on using the thing you had mixed feelings about, she is exactly the kind of girl you were looking for. She's smart, or she's honest, or reads PUA, or she's bold, or some other good traits. You should be fucking thrilled. Smile. Grin. Confess, happily. Tell her you're so glad she noticed, and now you really like her. Praise her for being logical, noticing details, being knowledgeable, or whatever fits the specific situation. Tell her how hard it is to find a girl like her. Say you were always hoping someone would call you on it instead of falling for the line. Tell her you now believe the two of you will get along great.

If you don't like something, and she doesn't like it, that's great. You have something in common. You see through a lot of social games, and so does she – perfect! You're the more honest type, and so is she – compatibility! (To be clear, a lot of PUA isn't any kind of trick and there's nothing wrong with it. And especially skillful PUAs don't need training wheels like canned openers. It's possible to do PUA honestly.)

This is a very powerful reframing of the situation. It turns a negative into a positive. And it's true, isn't it? OK not for all guys, but something like this is true for a lot of the guys who had this worry.

If you frame the situation as two people who prefer honesty finding each other, as this wonderful, rare meeting, then the part where you got caught is this tiny little detail to be forgotten. It just doesn't matter anymore and doesn't get in the way of the exciting new possibilities you have together.

PUA teaches – correctly – to find something you like about a girl other than her sex appeal and clearly communicate that you appreciate that about her. It's a major concept called 'qualifying'. You get her to express some trait or value she has, and then you are able to give her actual reasons that you like her which she'll be happy with. (Some PUAs lie and say you like whatever her qualities are, but it's better for everyone if you find someone you're more compatible with. And if you have an abundance mentality where you know you can get someone else who fits you better, you'll do better with girls anyway.)

And yes you still have to calibrate. If she doesn't start smiling back, you can't gush quite that much. But something like that can be your natural, congruent reaction to being caught. If you mean it, you can draw her in to that frame, that narrative, that perspective. It's the default starting place, and then you calibrate a bit from there, as always.

(Calibration is not a dirty trick, it just consists of noticing if you and she aren't on the same page. If you're not on the same page, you adjust and try to fix it, or decide you're incompatible and part ways, but you don't just keep talking past her. That's logical. The main hard part of calibration is that some of her signals are nonverbal, so you might misread them and calibrate wrong. There's nothing dishonest about improving at understanding nonverbal communication.)

PS If you're perfectly happy to lie for sex, and get caught using PUA tricks, just lie that you were looking for a smart girl who sees through those tricks. Just do the above as an act if you want. Shrug.

Update: Disclaimer: this is a post about PUA. If you want to do or understand PUA, you can learn something. This is not advice. My recommendation for your lifestyle is: learn philosophy instead of getting involved in stereotyped relationships.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0) bans "rude words" does not allow "rude words", "trolling", being "mean", being "upset[ing]", or "to provoke or antagonize people". also nothing "shocking", and no advocacy of anything illegal (drugs, torrents, etc)

fucking wow man.

they don’t enforce this consistently or objectively at all. people constantly use rude words and troll on

so everyone is guilty and the site admins actually follow some other, hidden policy which they refuse to state in public.

i looked this up cuz i got asked a question about incest, answered it, then saw it was deleted. and the question wasn’t even anonymous, so i asked the submitter, and he said he didn’t delete it.

i received no notification of any kind about it being deleted, and i don’t have a record of what i wrote. (contrast with youtube where, in my experience, if your video is taken down, it becomes private so you still have it, just no one else. and of course youtube notifies you and gives a reason, and has a system for you to challenge the takedown)
When using the Services, you must not post or send anything which:

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We reserve the right, at any time and without prior notice, to remove or disable access to any content that we, for any reason or no reason, consider to be objectionable, in violation of the TOU or otherwise harmful to the Services or our users.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)

[Videos] How To Write Philosophy Emails

I've made 4 (and counting) screencasts. These are videos in which I write Fallible Ideas emails and explain some of my thoughts. Now you can see what writing philosophy emails looks like.

Click to watch the videos!

Compare my process to what you've been doing (if anything), ask questions, etc. Learn something or, if you think that won't work, make a suggestion.


"These videos are great. I highly recommend watching them." – Kristen Ely

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)

Correlation Example

Suppose, hypothetically, that most (say, 66%) therapists on TV shows are female. That's a correlation: being a TV show therapist is postively correlated with being female.

I don't know if this is true, but I think it's realistic enough to make a plausible example.

Many people would conclude sexism, gender roles, something like that. That's the fallacy of mixing up correlation and causation.

People ought to think harder about possible alternative explanations. Is there any other reason most TV show therapists might be female?

Here's one: it could be that most main character are male, and most therapists are the opposite gender of the main character.

In that case, the choice of the main character might be sexist (I won't get into debating that here), but the choice of the therapist would not be sexist in the normal way. The therapists would be chosen because, in some ways and some settings, people find male-female conversations more interesting than male-male or female-female. There may or may not be something wrong with people's preferences about that, but it's not an example of the standard, typical sexism and gender role stuff which someone might have initially assumed.

If most therapists really are female (maybe, I don't know), is this alternative explanation true? Again, I don't know. What I do know is most therapists being female would not rule out this non-sexism explanation!

This is a practical example of how correlation doesn't imply the first causation you think of, and you need to look for alternatives.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (0)