What are Your Political Views?

I thought it would be fun to write up some poll questions and see the answers. These answers reflect what I hear all the time. They aren’t strawmen because I’ve heard people who sincerely espouse them all.

There are no points or score of anything like that, because this is too complex to fit on a linear scale. Just write down your answers, list them in the comments, and waste a bunch of time arguing about them.

Here we go.

1) The military is…

A) Necessary to defend our country, but much larger than it needs to be. Its funding should be cut by 10-30% to help fund health care, infrastructure, and programs for the needy.

B)  Essential. The world is a dangerous place, and we need a large military to assert our interests globally. Funding should be kept roughly where it is, though it would be nice if there were less waste and more efficiency. Maybe the military should even be a little larger than it is now.

C) An overblown military-industrial complex perpetuated by bloodthirsty hawks, killer of …

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Lawrence Lessig Abandons Transparency Fundamentalism, Finally

Oh my god… unlimited transparency, openness, and “democratization” are not automatically good things? That’s the conclusion that Lawrence Lessig seems to have finally come to, years and years late, in a recent article at The New Republic. Here’s a quote:

How could anyone be against transparency? Its virtues and its utilities seem so crushingly obvious. But I have increasingly come to worry that there is an error at the core of this unquestioned goodness. We are not thinking critically enough about where and when transparency works, and where and when it may lead to confusion, or to worse. And I fear that the inevitable success of this movement –“- if pursued alone, without any sensitivity to the full complexity of the idea of perfect openness“ — will inspire not reform, but disgust. The “naked transparency movement,” as I will call it here, is not going to inspire change. It will simply push any faith in our political system over the cliff.

You have “come to worry”, only now? At the end of 2009? Not years ago, when the …

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Politics Without Technology or Philosophical Subtlety is an Endless Cycle of Arguing and Moral Realist Fixations

The discussion about politics has created an astonishingly tense and uncomfortable atmosphere in this corner of the blogosphere. And how could it not? Human beings are political animals that have evolved for millions of years in environments where tribal politics could determine whether you had 10 children or were murdered before ever getting laid. We are slaves to our own political instincts.

When I say I want to move beyond politics, I should specify in more detail what I mean. I believe that modern day political issues have such strong moral valence that they are often opaque hurricanes of cognitive biases. What is most troublesome is the lack of distinction between facts and values along with moral realism. Facts about the world are objective and constant, while values are subjective and fickle. Because 99.9% of people take a moral realist stance, but moral values legitimately differ, there is an endless cycle of combat and retrenching, where everyone thinks they are right and little progress occurs. To quote Joshua Greene’s Ph.D thesis:

In this essay …

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Peter Thiel’s Follow-up to the Reaction to His Cato Essay

Carl Shulman pointed me to a follow-up that Peter Thiel posted three months ago about the reaction to his Cato essay. Here it is, titled “Your suffrage isn’t in danger. Your other rights are.”:

I had hoped my essay on the limits of politics would provoke reactions, and I was not disappointed. But the most intense response has been aimed not at cyberspace, seasteading, or libertarian politics, but at a commonplace statistical observation about voting patterns that is often called the gender gap.

It would be absurd to suggest that women’s votes will be taken away or that this would solve the political problems that vex us. While I don’t think any class of people should be disenfranchised, I have little hope that voting will make things better.

Voting is not under siege in America, but many other rights are. In America, people are imprisoned for using even very mild drugs, tortured by our own government, and forced to bail out reckless financial companies.

I believe that politics is way too intense. That’s why I’m a …

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Publicity Explosion due to Political Tussling, Answering Bruce Sterling

Wow, maybe we should debate about politics more often. The recent bickering over politics between me, Mike Treder, and Phil Bowermaster has been making the rounds on h+ magazine, Next Big Future, and Bruce Sterling’s Beyond the Beyond blog at Wired. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit also responded to Mike Treder.

At Beyond the Beyond, Bruce Sterling asks, “Why aren’t these advanced conceptualists arguing about suffrage for Artificial Intelligences?” My personal reason is that I don’t think it will be a grey area. “Human-equivalent” AI will be inherently semi-godlike, due to such advantages as the ability to expand its own processing power, optimize its own intelligence at every level, code new cognitive modules to deal with specific tasks, split its mind into autonomic and deliberative threads, duplicate itself, learn very quickly and effectively, integrate directly with information technology, and the most mundane reason, the fact that smartness is what gives humans a fundamental advantage over every other animal (it certainly isn’t brute strength, chimps have up to five times greater upper body strength …

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Global Transparency, Cooperation, and Accountability

In more thoughtful discussion prompted by the global government post, Paul Raven at Futurismic weighs in:

I’d go with global government being plausible, but I’m not entirely sure it’s the most likely scenario. Personally, I tend to think that governance will become radically decentralised as the nation-state concept finally dissolves; molecular manufacturing would accelerate the erosion of geography that communications technology has already begun. Much as in the original comic books version of Watchmen, I think the only thing that could unite the planet into a single body would be an external existential threat on an equivalent scale to an alien invasion – and I don’t consider one of those to be very likely at all!

I tend to think that governance will have to become more general to compensate for the erosion of local powers. For instance, in the 60s, when a lot more people began to drive and the interstates were recently built, there were a spike in traveling serial killers who would get off at a stop, kill some woman (or …

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