From The Censored Pile

The Philosophy Stack Exchange features aggressive, arbitrary moderation and is hostile to discussion. The below is some of my deleted content. (One good thing about the site is at least you can still access your own writing after they delete it):

Utilitarianism doesn't make sense. What Utilitarians should do is change their mind.

They want to promote the greatest good to the greatest number, or something like that. But how do you calculate how much good any given thing is in order to make decisions? Utilitarianism doesn't offer a viable way to calculate this, so utilitarianism doesn't actually give any clear indication about which actions to take or not take.

Instead the way utilitarianism works is people want to take some action (first) and then (second) make vague appeals to it being good for lots of people.

Also, people aren't all equal. The programmers who worked on the iPhone matter more than some guy serving burgers. They make a bigger difference in the world and help way more people. They are better at thinking and learning and problem solving. They're more logical and rational. They're on average more moral people who'd be easier to cooperate productively with. Take your pick of criteria and iPhone programmers will tend to beat burger servers.

(There are many breeds of Utilitarianism. If you pick one and ask a question providing some detailed claims about how it works, then I could comment on those specific claims. I think you'd want to submit this as a new question on the site. If I don't see it you can email me with a link to it.)

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (30)

The Bachelor Discussion

This point contains some spoilers for The Bachelor, season 14, from 2010.

i am watching the bachelor
cuz i like the show unreal
which is a scripted show about making a (fake made up) reality tv show like the bachelor
it has some interesting info about how much ppl suck and in what ways
shows lots of lies
this season one of the girls fucked a cameraman or other staff dude
he got fired and she got kicked off
well idk if fucked. mb just made out. they were vague
on bachelor or unreal?
the convo where she got kicked off was really awkward cuz of his communication style (the host dude did it)
he wouldn't just directly say stuff
it was all such defensive indirect language
stuff like we don't see how you can continue
and we take this very seriously
something interesting was
they were driving to some date and he was saying in vocieover how he really wanted to get to know her better and can't wait
he could just stop the car and talk to her now. or talk while driving
they put way more effort into things like doing activities, going places, than into actually talking
this is intentional
dating would be way cheaper if ppl just like talked to each other
and easier in like practical way
but then they’d have to like talk to each other
the show format
the rose ceremony
he names girls
but he doesn't give reasons
and he doesn't name rejects. only keepers
the rejects are just implied
the lack of reasons lets audience have more fantasies
make up what's going on
how they like it
he's on date with a divorcee right now
she said lots of ppl don't realize they have expectations about marriage
i think that's true
they just figure they will get married and it will be like how marriage is
and they want and expect all kinds of stuff
but they don't realize they are expecting stuff. they just assume it's the default
but u can take 2 conventional normal ppl and their defaults still won't match up that well
he said one of his expectations in marriage is his wife has his back 100%. like, even if he's wrong, i take it.
they drink a lot of wine
it's expected, not rly optional. would be costly not to
a girl just said she may not act or seem insecure, but she's prolly the most insecure girl there
yet somehow most of the audience didn't hear her say "i am a liar", and she doesn't think of herself as asying that
now a girl basically said her idea of what marriage should be like is the fun and excitement and energy of courtship and just don't have that die down
that's so like predictable – and predictably doesn't work
ppl plan that then don't
@ giving reasons - also they often don’t have good reasons, or wouldn’t want to admit their reasons
yeah it's way easier to pick ppl by race, age and beauty when u aren't expected to explain anything
the notes they get about dates are cryptic and always very short
“i saw ur boobs, and they have stretch marks”
overall there isn't much communication
ali is like gushing about how great jake is cuz they were walking down street and passed flower shop and he bought her flowers
they are fucking thrilled with everything he does for them
it's required. if she didn't like the flowers it pretty much signals pick a different girl
u listen to taylor swift
not much
one of her songs had lyrics about pretending to be the kind of girl he likes in the beginning of the relationship
i get music on ppl's streams i don't pick
>Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month
the whole verse is:

Cherry lips, crystal skies
I could show you incredible things
Stolen kisses, pretty lies
You're the king baby I'm your Queen
Find out what you want
Be that girl for a month
Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storm
I can make all the tables turn
Rose gardens filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like
"Oh my God, who is she?"
I get drunk on jealousy
But you'll come back each time you leave
'Cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream
the guy is trying to reassure every girl and tell them he's into them
to keep his options open
there was a single mom iwth a 7yo
he went on a solo date with her and met her kid and acted super nice
and kept her at that time. then got rid of her a little later
pretty transparent IMO. but ppl don't look at it that way. they see that he was like totally cool with the kid and nice to her, but then it just didn't work out later for some other unnamed reason
she also said don't kiss her until she wins show, no other girls left.
such a play for attention
and he bends over backwards to say he respects that and pretend it's about values
oh hey they got [person] as a guest script writer
talking about REALLY knowing someone
instead of any substance u just throw in superlatives
i'm completely into gia "right now" while on solo date with her
he loves the fact that she's smiling
gia's family is grilling him with tough questions like how he'll treat her as wife – answer: always have her back. family pleased! good answer!
mom takes him aside
u fallen for 4 girls?
but gia is so amazing and so different
mom agrees: she really is!
gia to mom: he does the same stuff with the other girls that he does with me
mom: ur a special person
i think he loves u
ali's mom was super duper impressed with jake cuz he said that inner beauty is mostimportant (tho obv physical beauty is important too)
such a cliche bromide
omg he said one of the things our culture demands everyone say
what a great guy!!
tenley is so relived, and it means so much to her, that jake is totally different than her ex husband cuz he makes his own decisions and wants to be a team (note those 2 things kinda contradict)
(in addition to being so cliche that i bet she thot her first husband wanted to be a team too)
so literally not a idfference
tenley did a dance for him.
1) dance part of courtship
was like a ballet-y kinda thing with some choreography
not sure what to call it. not like club. at actual dance room kinda thing
and the voice overs are saying like
how she felt confident and adored and good about the dance specifically b/c of his facial expressions while she danced
and that what facial expressions he had during dance dominated her experience and opinion of it
tenley's dad taskes jake aside to their den (big emphasis on setting and setup b4 any talking)
and asks if he's a good guy or not
and jake says he was raised to do the right thing
and he said tenley would bring a lot of joy into their home
and that was about it
falllling in love with vienna is scrary cuz it's "so real"

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (7)

How To Get Unstuck

i wrote this for an FI email. it's important and will apply to pretty much anyone reading this, not just the person i was speaking to:

how do you get started when you don't want to think/learn, and you're bad at thinking/learning? both of those get in the way of learning to want to think or learning to think better.

so what's the solution?

it depends on your situation.

you have to find some good things in your personal circumstances and use them. there's no generic solution. there has to be something good in your life to use as a starting point to build on. you have to find some things in your life to use as leverage.

hypothetically, let's say you really truly valued freedom. then you could find some things you like which contradict freedom and use the genuine really high valuing of freedom to drop the stuff that you find contradicts it. if you valued freedom enough, maybe it could inspire some intellectual honesty to allow for dropping (instead of rationalizing) some anti-freedom ideas.

i expect any real things that would work for you would involve some more parochial details of your life, and some more concrete and simple stuff, not an abstract philosophy theme. and it'd be a bunch of little things instead of one big one.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (87)

Interests in Problems or Topics

people wanting to get back to the "main" topic they're interested in is a really common mistake i've noticed.

people are interested in X. X leads to Y which leads to Z. people are much less interested in Z than X, even though pursuing Z is the way to pursue X.

this is really broken. it gets in the way of making progress. it gets in the way of truth-seeking wherever it leads. it gets in the way of interdisciplinary learning. it means people want to learn only as long as the learning stays within certain boundaries.

here's one of my explanations of what's going on:

people want to work in particular fields rather than solve particular problems.

if your focus is purely on solving a problem (X), you'd be interested in whatever helps accomplish that goal.

but suppose instead your focus is on "i like woodworking. i want to work with wood". then you won't be interested in philosophy related to learning which could help with woodworking. cuz you want to do woodworking, not philosophy.

if your focus was on solving a really hard woodworking problem, then it'd lead you to philosophy and you'd be interested in philosophy because it helps with your problem.

i think a lot of people care more about what kind of activity they are doing – e.g. woodworking not philosophy – than they care about problem solving.

people have interests in topics (e.g. woodworking, dance, psychology, literature, architecture, programming, chemistry, politics) rather than having problem-directed interests.

another reason people lose interest is:

the more steps there are, and the more complicated the project gets, and the more tangents it follows ... then the more it's a big, longterm project. and they don't expect to successfully complete big, longterm projects. so what's the point?

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Dancing Sucks

our culture puts a huge amount of effort into teaching kids to dance. it's part of some static memes. dancing is related to sex and courtship. dancing is also related to emotions. and dancing is related to having "fun" and being unserious (and thoughtless).

dancing is all over TV. it's taught to kids at very young ages. it's also officially part of school curriculums.

for preschool in california there's a bunch of goals for what they want kids to do like:
1.1 Move in a variety of directed ways.
1.2 Imitate the movements shown.

this one stood out to me:
2.3 Respond spontaneously to different types of music and rhythms.
this whole thing is planned, and the kid is required to learn to do it in a way his teachers approve of. it's not spontaneous, it's controlled by teachers. the people writing this document are lying scum.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (59)

Good People

Where are all the smart, rational people interested in intellectual discussion?

Can anyone find some somewhere besides FI?

Or is the world just kinda full of fools?

Reply in the comments below.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (99)

Simple Communication

i was watching McIntyre playing heroes of the storm with Wiz. (i've linked to the relevant timestamp.) Wiz is Korean and has limited English fluency. McIntyre answered a question from chat about how he talks with Wiz. McIntyre explained roughly:

wiz can understand certain important words well. but if i use full sentences, then wiz has a hard time with the words in between the key words. so it's easier for him if i just say more like bullet points or key words, not proper sentences.

this is wise :)

mcintyre gave an example. he says the sentence "hey wiz, can you come help me do top?" is hard for Wiz to understand. but if he just says "help top" then wiz understands.

after that i listened to him playing and talking a bit. so not intentional examples to answer the question, just talking.
one of McIntyre's sentences was "clone clone clone clone clone". this was much clearer than if he'd said, "hey wiz please clone me now so we can fight them".

another thing McIntyre said was, "care for boss". not, "hey please scout out the boss to make sure they don't do it cuz that would be bad for us"

this one may seem strange b/c "care for boss" is not normal english and would confuse a non-gamer b/c of the way the word "care" is used. it's gamer lingo that wiz would know but some native speakers might not. ppl say "care" to mean "be careful" and similar. Wiz understands it's a warning about a danger. and the danger is boss. and he knows what "boss" means – the threat of the enemy team doing the boss (an in-game concept).

i like this. it's good, simple communication. people should do this more when talking with native speakers, too. especially if they want to discuss philosophy (which is hard to communicate about)!

if people would pretend their discussion partners are non-native speakers with limited English vocabulary, i think a lot of intellectual discussions would go better. try it out!

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (9)

Mac Mail Bug

Today I found a bug in Apple's Mail program for Mac.

Select an email. Flag it with the yellow flag. Then give it an orange flag to change the flag color. Then click another email to unselect it.

The flag will display with a green color for about half a second. It fixes itself quickly.

I wonder if it's somehow using two colors at once and they mix to get green, or what. And I wonder why it fixes itself after that amount of time. Seems pretty strange. Software is hard!

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Alex Epstein's Pinnacle

Alex Epstein sent out a Center for Industrial Progress newsletter today. Unfortunately there's no web version of the newsletter to link to. When trying to spread ideas online and market them, it's important to have links people can share. I consider this careless and/or incompetent.

One reason this sucks is I can't quote part of the newsletter and give a link for anyone who wants to read the rest. If I just quote the important parts, most of my audience won't have access to the rest.

Epstein says, in full:

I’m testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday at 9:30 am ET. You can view it live here.

Here’s more info about the hearing, which is called Examining the Role of Environmental Policies on Access to Energy and Economic Opportunity.

I will have five minutes to speak, followed by questions from Senators. Note that several of the Senators expected to be present, including Senators Whitehouse and Markey, are not only anti-fossil fuel but anti-free speech, calling for the criminal prosecution of those who challenge climate catastrophism.

I can promise you I will bring a case for energy freedom, including fossil fuel freedom, that has never been heard in a Congressional hearing. I very much hope that the Senators do their best--or their worst--to see how it holds up to scrutiny.

Please spread the word. And if you watch it, let me know what you think.

The anti-free speech link goes to an article which does not mention Whitehouse or Markey by name (it does name and discuss lots of other people). That's really bad and unreasonable of Epstein. He's making a major accusation, and giving a source, except the source doesn't say anything about the accused.

Big picture, Epstein is happy and sharing his success with his newsletter audience. He's reached a pinnacle. This is a high point for him. He wants to be influential. He wants to do activities like testify to the senate. No doubt he hopes in retrospect this will look small, and that he'll surpass it, but today it's big for him. He's achieving his goals!

And Epstein is, for those who don't know, an Objectivist. He used to work for the Ayn Rand Institute. Objectivist organizations write puff pieces for Epstein.

So: Epstein's big achievement consists of the privilege of speaking for five minutes to people who think he should be in jail for speaking his message.

(Or at least Epstein believes the jail thing. I didn't research it beyond seeing that his source was bogus.)

I think Ayn Rand would have mocked Epstein for this. Epstein is proud to participate in (what he himself believes is) a farce where anti-free speech people pretend to discuss and think. He's helping them pretend to be rational while knowing they aren't really listening (and, worse, they'll sit there wanting to use force against him, rather than merely tuning him out).

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (6)

Cold Hands

A question was posted to FI about having unpleasantly cold hands when walking to the car in the morning to go to work. Here are some thoughts about how to think about problem solving in a TCS way. With approaches like these, all problems are soluble and no one need ever suffer.

people bothered by cold hands imagine alternatives like warm hands. they have had warm hands. they know of summer and gloves and heaters.

if the laws of physics didn't allow for other temperatures, most people wouldn't be sad about their cold hands. they couldn't imagine any different, so they wouldn't see a problem.

suppose they were somehow bothered by cold hands that were IMPOSSIBLE to change. a rational person would then go "well i can't change my hand temperature, but i can change my attitude to it." they'd focus their problem solving on their interpretation so the cold feels neutral or good to them.

suppose i had an issue with cold hands in the real world. i don't wanna go to my car to go to work b/c my hands will be too cold. i don't own any gloves or hand warmers. ( )

i also don't want to miss work.

i had bad foresight.

what do i do?

i come up with a plan for how to proceed from here that sounds good to me. it will involve getting gloves (maybe 2 pairs to layer) and HotHands, and perhaps some other things (like a warmer jacket, or a car with a stronger heater, or a portable heater that can be used in a car).

if i really don't wanna have cold hands, i'll call in sick, get the solutions, and go to work tomorrow.

or maybe i'll decide i don't wanna miss work and i can deal with cold hands one more time, given that i'll make sure it doesn't happen again.

i won't want the impossible like that i had better foresight in the past. i'll focus on productive ways forward and come up with a plan that i have no criticisms of. my poor foresight in the past isn't a criticism of my plan since no plan can change it. the poor past foresight could be used to criticize plans that don't correct it. repeating that mistake would be bad. but plans which deal with stuff well going forward won't necessarily have any criticism of them.

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Heroes of the Storm Beginner Hero Recommendations

heroes of the storm is a free to play 5v5 team hero brawler game. fairly similar to league of legends and dota.

i like it and would play some games with blog readers if they are interested and will play on the North America server. (you're allowed to play on NA from elsewhere, but you could lag). if you play with me you could get some insight into how i think about things, and get some criticism on a topic where you might find it easier to listen to than philosophy criticism.

i have some hero recommendations for new players and some reasoning.

i think it's important to pick a small number of heroes to get good with, rather than just playing everyone.

in order to play in hero league you need to be able to play every role: damage dealer, tank, and healer. there's a hero pick system where you won't always get what you want and may have to play the role your team needs.

and a hero can only be picked once, so someone else could take your hero first. they are also adding bans to remove some heroes during the hero choosing process.

so you need more than one hero for each role, in case you can't get your first choice.

the more popular the heroes you pick are, the less chance of getting them. my favorite hero right now is Li-Ming. but she's the most popular hero in the game. she's one of the 10 heroes played in around 85% of games. there's around 50 heroes and the next most popular hero sees 50% usage, and it drops a lot from there since the average popularity of heroes has to be around 20%. see

so if you play Li-Ming, it pretty much increases the number of heroes you need to be comfortable with, since getting to use her is really unreliable. in order to have a damage dealer you play available, you need just about as many with or without Li-Ming.

heroes of the storm is also a hard game, so i recommend starting with easier heroes. many people overreach and say "i'll learn it" but they'd have a better time, and learn more, if they started with something more approachable. (similar to people trying to start with Fox in SSBM, then quitting before getting any good. that's dumb. they should have started with a hero they could get halfway decent with faster.)

the hardest heroes to play are the melee damage dealers, abathur, and the lost vikings.

my recommendations:


1) lili (22.3% popularity). she's one of the easier heroes to use effectively.

2) malfurion (25.3% popularity) can be your backup if lili is taken. his healing is somewhat similar to lili (big aoe team heal as his ultimate, and you can stay in back).


1) leoric (9.8% popularity). if you die, he comes back to life faster than regular heroes. that makes mistakes less punishing. he clears lanes well.

2) chen (8.4% popularity) can be your backup. he's hard to kill and doesn't have to worry about running out of mana. he's a good laner.


1) raynor (34.7% popularity). he has extra range and a low amount of button pressing. one of the easier heroes to control. he's fragile and doesn't have great area of effect damage.

2) kaelthas (23.9% popularity). chainbomb can do a ton of damage to the other team, especially at lower player skill levels, without much effort. lots of area of effect damage. fragile but you can stay in back.

3) nazeebo (11.4% popularity). another fragile ranged damage dealer. a typical team has 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 damage dealers, so that's why we're doing another backup damage dealer. nazeebo's attacks are reasonably easy to use while staying to the back, and he's unpopular.

with these 7 heroes, you'd have a pretty good chance of being able to play whatever role is needed. this would let you learn some of the easier heroes to be effective with, not learn too many at once, and get off to a good start.

(you need 10 heroes minimum unlocked to play hero league currently. this will be raised to 14 soon when they add 2 bans per side. however, being ready to play only these 7 will usually be fine.)

heroes of the storm receives frequent patches which improve some heroes and weaken others. at the time of writing, all of the heroes i suggested are pretty good. not necessarily the best, but plenty good enough. some heroes are actually bad enough to be a problem, so i avoided them.

i'd also recommend you pick two roles to focus on more, and one less, in order to better concentrate your learning on fewer heroes. if you prioritize two of the roles over the other one, you'll usually be able to play one of those two.

extra ideas:

- Gall. Gall is one head of a two-headed ogre, Cho'Gall. you have to play him with a friend. what's good about Gall is you don't have to do movement. you just shoot stuff while your friend controls moving around. so he's probably the easiest hero in the game. but you can't play him by yourself.

- Murky. places an egg where he can respawn in a few seconds if you die. not being punished much for deaths is really nice when you're new. he has an unusual playstyle.

- if you like a particular hero, you could ask about him/her. some of the heroes are a bad idea to start with, but a lot would be fine.

this list is very different from McIntyre's:

he's a pro player. his list revolves around heroes that can win games even if your team is bad, assuming you play really well.

when you play a hero, don't just pick random talents. google a guide or use hotslogs by clicking on the hero, e.g.:

at the bottom you can see which talent builds people actually use and get the best win percentage with. those are a great place to get started. you can adjust your talent choices more after you know what you're doing.

Edit: Kaelthas was nerfed in a patch. You could get Valla instead. See the comments.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (7)

AIPAC Helps Evil

This is a reply to a tweet. I needed more than 140 characters. DD finds it worrying that Bernie Sanders skipped AIPAC. Lulie defended his vague, bad comments with the bizarre suggestion that self-destructive Jews are a new, notable thing that's particularly worthy of being worried about:
@curi42 @DavidDeutschOxf @RutiRegan B/c it's self-destructive for a Jew not to be in favour of Israel, and sad for US that B sucks so much?
You know what's way sadder for the US? That Hillary and Obama want to destroy Israel. They're way more important.

AIPAC betrayed Israel on the Iran deal. AIPAC continues to work to help the left, not Israel. And they still get snubbed by Bernie anyway.

You know what's really worrying? That a supposedly pro-Israel group won't call out and condemn Bernie, Hillary or Obama. What's worrying is AIPAC being thought by most people to actually be pro-Israel. With "friends" like AIPAC and ADL, we're in big trouble.

What's worrying is the Democrat who is actually going to win the nomination is extremely anti-semitic – and merely going and giving a speech at AIPAC has DD off her back and focusing on the wrong issue.

Reality: Obama, Hillary and Bernie all want to destroy Israel. Everyone willing to know this kind of thing has known it since, say, 2009. Bernie skipping AIPAC is a minor non-event that makes no difference to the overall dynamics.

You know what's more worrying that Bernie skipping? Type AIPAC in google and the top hit right now for me is: "AIPAC condemns Trump attack on Obama".

That's a much bigger problem than Bernie. But everyone should have already known AIPAC is part of the problem.

You know what actually kinda worries me? That not even Cruz, who is by FAR the best on Israel of the candidates (including all the ones who dropped out already), would boycott AIPAC for its treachery. When the best politicians we have won't stand up to AIPAC, that's kinda scary. (When the worst won't stand up to AIPAC for the OPPOSITE REASONS... who cares?)

DD and Woty think it's worrying that an anti-semite skipped a lefty event for not being far enough to the left. They are painting a false picture of reality in which AIPAC isn't lefty. They are part of the problem. What AIPAC does is give cover to bad people. Yet DD and Woty are pressuring AIPAC to appease the left even more – to somehow be more inclusive – when AIPAC ought to go the other direction and start having some standards. DD and Woty are missing or denying the reality that AIPAC has already gone waaaaaaay too far left – well into the territory of routinely aiding evil.

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Don't Trust Trump, He's Not a Conservative

How Not To Fight Our Enemies by David Horowitz:

The mob that came to disrupt the Trump rally in Chicago was neither spontaneous nor innocent, nor new. It was a mob that has been forming ever since the Seattle riots against the World Trade Organization in 1999, whose target was global capitalism. The Seattle rioters repeated their outrages for the next two years and then transformed itself into the so-called “anti-war” movement to save the Saddam dictatorship in Iraq. Same leaders, funders and troops. The enemy was always America and its Republican defenders. When Obama invaded countries and blew up families in Muslim countries, there was no anti-war movement because Obama was one of them, and they didn’t want to divide their support. In 2012 the so-called “anti-war” movement reformed as “Occupy Wall Street.” They went on a rampage creating cross-country riots to protesting the One Percent and provided a whipping boy for Obama’s re-election campaign. Same leaders, same funders and troops. In 2015 the same leftwing forces created and funded Black Lives Matter and lynch mobs in Ferguson and Baltimore who targeted “white supremacists” and police.

Behind all the mobs was the organized left –, the public sector unions run by Sixties leftovers, and the cabal of anti-American billionaires led by George Soros. The mobs themselves were composed of the hate-filled foot soldiers of the political left. [...] The plan is defeat Republicans in November so that the destructive forces they have set in motion in the Democratic Party can finish the wrecking job that Obama started.


And what has been the reaction of the presidential candidates, particularly those who propose to save the country? It is to blame Trump as though he and not the left had instigated the riot. If you play with matches like Trump did, opined Hillary Clinton, you’re likely to start a fire. [...]

According to the proudly positive John Kasich, it was Trump who created the “toxic environment” that led to the riot – not the fascist movement that has been metastasizing in our universities and streets for more than a decade.

Great stuff. I agree.

Cruz and Rubio also said bad stuff about this like Kasich.

He is often guilty of over-reach – “punch him in the nose” directed at one disrupter, but this is hardly the sin his detractors suggest in comparing him to Mussolini. That is a much great violence to the man who is its target. Aside from Trump’s compulsive over-reach what is wrong with anger in the current political context?

An aside: it's not a compulsion. It's bad ideas. Those bad ideas have consequences. It's not an isolated mental illness to treat as a singular quirk and ignore. It matters. It doesn't matter that much relative to a lot of the other election issues. But one should argue that Trump is mistaken rather than dehumanize him as sick (a human being that is, in this aspect, broken) because he thinks differently than you do.

as someone who until very recently held high opinions of Rubio and Cruz

But why have a high opinion of Rubio? Rubio has been such a lying amnesty-pusher for years. Cruz went to the senate and actually stood up for good ideas. Rubio, like most politicians, isn't willing to fight for good ideas and actually get things done. Instead, he betrayed his campaign promises and worked with the Democrats to advance their agenda.

And as to Cruz, yes he's getting the mob "protestors" issue wrong. But he's still the best candidate by far. Trump has said much worse, as Horowitz must know. See:


Trump: I'm All For Free Speech, But Anti-Islam Cartoon Contest Was 'DUMB!'

Geller works with Horowitz, so he's definitely familiar with this.

Geller wrote a new piece about this yesterday, making the connection between Trump's attack on her free speech and then complaining about having his own speech at a rally shut down:

Trump Decries Attack on His Free Speech – What About Garland, Donald?

Flashback: Donald Trump said, “I watched Pam earlier, and it really looks like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing drawing Muhammad? I mean it’s disgusting. Isn’t there something else they could be doing? Drawing Muhammad?…They can’t do something else? They have to be in the middle of Texas doing something on Muhammad and insulting everybody? What is she doing? Why is she doing it? It’s probably very risky for her — I don’t know, maybe she likes risk? But what the hell is she doing?”

Cruz got Garland right. Trump got it horribly wrong. Trump's mistake on Garland is worse than Cruz's current mistake. Yet Horowitz is writing like Cruz is somehow now not as good as Trump. None of the candidates are perfect – not even close – but Cruz is much better overall.

Trump isn’t the enemy. Like you he is opposed to the Iran deal, supports a secure border, recognizes the Islamist threat, wants to reduce taxes and make the country solvent, and is greatly expanding the Republican base.

This is the most interesting part of Horowitz's article to me, because it gets to the heart of Trump. If only Trump was actually like this I'd be pretty happy with him as a second choice. If Trump actually was like the people voting for him believe, he'd be a pretty good candidate.

The problem is he's not.

Trump is squishy on the Iran deal, as Cruz revealed at the last debate. Trump won't rip it to shreds immediately, like Cruz. Instead, Trump plans to try to renegotiate a better deal. As if Iran could be a negotiation partner. Iran doesn't want a deal and doesn't want peace, they want to kill us – the "Great Satan" – as they frequently say in public.

Trump doesn't recognize the Islamist threat correctly, as revealed with his Garland comments and his "neutral" position on Israel and the Palestinians. Cruz is a great friend of Israel. Trump absolutely isn't. Trump thinks that the Palestinians, like the Iranians, can be partners in peace to negotiate with.

Is a guy who dislikes Israel, and dislikes Pamela Geller, going to be all that good on Muslim issues generally? That doesn't make sense.

Trump has made it clear he can change his mind to whatever he wants. He's malleable. Will he really go through with the moratorium on Muslim immigration? I doubt it. Trump reportedly told the New York Times, off the record, that he doesn't mean all of what he's been saying about immigration. And then he told Ben Carson that he doesn't believe all the outlandish stuff he's been saying.

The problem with Trump is he's a leftist at heart and if he's President we're going to get little if any of the hard-right policy-making we want. Trump will make deals, make compromises, and actively pursue a variety of leftwing agendas from funding Planned Parenthood with taxpayer dollars to having the taxpayer take care of everyone's healthcare to preventing any cuts to entitlements to generally refusing to cut down the government at all. Trump only wants to remove waste, fraud and abuse, not actually have a smaller government. Trump wants the government to be better run and make better deals, but he doesn't want to fundamentally change it much. That won't make our country solvent.

And Trump easily caves in to pressure and whims – and lifelong New York values – because he lacks strong classical liberal principles. Hence he called Scalia a racist. And Trump was in favor of letting in Syrian refugees before he was against it.

Will Trump be good on capitalism? No, he's a protectionist. Will Trump even be good on immigration? He gave two pro-amnesty CPAC speeches. One of the few areas Trump might actually be good – which no one is talking about – is energy.

Trump funded and praised the likes of Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid. And he praised Obama in 2009. Is this a guy who is really going to reverse Obama's policies and fight for Republican ideas?

Trump has spent a lifetime being a leftist participating in crony capitalism. He doesn't know how to confront and flush out the administrative state. He's going to get to DC and be surrounded by the fourth branch of government – unelected leftists who run everything – and he's going to start making deals and getting along with everyone instead of fighting them and burning it down. He won't take no prisoners.

Ted Cruz has a track record of standing up to the establishment Washington Cartel. Trump has no credibility that he will do that, and actually has repeatedly said he won't. Trump says he'll get along with people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and even the Democrats who Trump mistakenly believes are reasonable people that you can work with.

Trump fundamentally doesn't understand our adversaries. You can't make a deal without common ground and some shared values. You can only work together when you share some goals. Either Trump shares a lot of values with the left, or he's naive and misunderstand how thoroughly evil the left is. Or, I think, both. As Daniel Horowitz put it:

Trump keeps saying we need to make deals just like Reagan did with Tip O’Neill. What he needs to understand is that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the entire modern Democrat Party are nothing like O’Neill. You can’t work with them and he needs to learn that.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (14)

Excellence Takes Effort

Someone posted this to FI list today:
pretty sure being great at playing games comes naturally for elliot
You're totally wrong about me.

Studying hundreds of chess diagrams is not natural talent.

See the cover picture? The entire book is filled with diagrams like those, each one a puzzle to solve. And that's it. No badges, no congratulations, no praise, no funny stories, no fluff, just diagram after diagram after diagram. You do one. Then you do another. And, eventually, you turn the page. And after you study hundreds of them, you get faster at it and you find more similar stuff in your own games. Chess skills like looking ahead and visualizing positions are a skill you develop.

Reading books and taking tons of lessons is not natural talent.

Going over your games with others to find mistakes and get tips is not automatic. It doesn't just happen. It's not natural.

These are the kinds of things I did large amounts of, intentionally, to improve at chess. For years and years.

(The people who fail at FI and give up and leave usually never put in 1% the work I put into chess. Literally. And FI is harder than chess.)

I've been bad at a wide variety of other games, too. All of them...

I did not start out good at RPGs. I worked at it. I read tons of guides, forum discussion, etc. I watched video of how others play. I thought about how to do better. I practiced. I took action to improve over the course of well over 10 years.

I was not a natural at Hearthstone. First I played Magic the Gathering. I started out terrible. I read tons about it, looked into how pros played, practiced, etc. I got OK, not that good. That laid some groundwork for Hearthstone which is a similar kind of game. Regardless, I started out bad at Hearthstone. When I was trying to be good at Hearthstone, I put lots of time and effort into it. And not just messing around and playing naturally. I studied stuff. I did math. I recruited good players to collaborate with. I wrote articles with my ideas. I tested strategies in a methodical way. I tried to figure out what skills and knowledge I needed to win and focussed on getting that. Rather than playing whatever I found most natural to my personal style (typically mages across many games, and typically somewhat defensive longterm play), I played whatever I thought was good and would help me do well (like a lot of aggressive Warlock). I make an effort not to have a personal style when it matters. Play to win. Learn to be flexible and learn how to play every style. This isn't automatic but it's doable.

I was not a natural at Duet or Infinity Blade. I practiced the dexterity. I am no natural at Super Smash Brothers Melee. That takes a learning process:

Do you think I'm a natural at Exile? That speed run involved rather non-natural steps such as downloading and reading source code in C, and finding info from dead forums with

It's always like that – being good takes intentional effort applied strategically. And after you get good at dozens of things, yes you can learn faster. There's some carryover. You can re-use some skills from some previous games on a new game. And you can re-use the methods of learning themselves on new games.

And it's not just new games that require learning. McIntyre, a top Heroes of the Storm players, struggled with Greymane, a new hero. He was already good at the game but had to put in a bunch of thought and practice to figure out how to play Greymane well. And it wasn't love at first sight. His initial impression of Greymane was negative.

There's a common misconception among bad players that games are easy for good players, that good players have (natural) "talent", etc. And there is a common belief by many good players that it didn't come automatically to them at all, they sucked at first and put in tons of work. The good players frequently actually remember sucking and struggling to get better. They're right.

It is possible to practice wrong. Some people put a lot of time into something and still suck. You can spend time on a game without learning much. But no one gets really good without working at it. Effort is necessary but not sufficient. It takes rationally-directed effort to get good. LOTS of it. Tons of bad players just massively underestimate how much effort being good is, and kinda give up early and don't really play to win and learn even if they do keep playing. And tons of people think if they play a lot they will get good automatically, whereas good players often did some more organized forms of practice and did more thinking about the game instead of just playing. And people who get good more often make spreadsheets, do math, do in-game experiments to test things, etc, etc. Top players usually put effort into learning the game, rather than just playing a bunch and hoping they'll naturally get better somehow.

Elliot Temple | Permalink | Comments (34)