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Politics

The Righteous Mind

I'm reading Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind, and it's helping me understand conservatives a lot better.

Haidt breaks down the five innate moral "taste receptors":

  1. care/harm
  2. fairness/cheating
  3. loyalty/betrayal
  4. authority/subversion
  5. sanctity/degradation

People on the left like to focus on victims, people who have suffered harm. They want to care for them. The right want to care for members of their own group who have shown loyalty, such as soldiers.

The left see fairness as...

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Quote: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln:

As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it 'all men are created equal, except negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.' When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of...

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Deplorables

A nation is a lot like a family. If there's someone in the family that starts behaving badly, you can't just cut them out of your family, ignore them, and pretend they're not there. You have to deal with them. A drunken father, a hateful brother, a mentally ill sister.

Yes, we can curb behavior. If you want to be at our house, you need to not be violent, you cannot yell at, harass, or threaten other people. But it's impossible to regulate beliefs.

And yes, we can cut off contact for a while,...

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What if everything that's wrong with politics is wrong with all of us?

It seems like people think that whatever's wrong with the world, or with politics, or government, is the others. It's Trump that's the problem, or the nazis, or the Republicans, or the globalists, or the Obama voters, or the hispanics. The problem with blaming "the other", is that, guess what, there's another "other" out there that blames you equally much.

The only way out of this mess is to abandon that notion all together. We all happen to live in this country, we have to admit that...

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We have to be willing to be proven wrong

We have to be willing to say “show me evidence of this, and I will change my mind”.

We have to be willing to, as a society, get researchers and scientists to set up experiments that inform these decisions.

And everything will be transparent, open source, in the public domain.

That's how I'd love to see democracy works. If you want to implement a new law, state your hypothesis for exactly how it will benefit people, and specifically, how it will do what you claim it will do, and...

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Politics is theater, is drama

I've long said that politics is theater, especially US politics, and it's the only rational way to look at it. It's all show. Of course, there are real-world consequences, but everything you see is a show. Like Dave Winer said: "Hey here's a free clue -- what you're seeing on TV is a TV show".

It was only recently that I realized how accurate that is, though. What you see is all about the drama triangle playing out: People are racing for the victim position, casting the other party as...

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Public infrastructure

Let's have the government create public infrastructure for an open web for the benefit of all the world, such as this.

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Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart

That's the title of a New York Times article, and it's hard to disagree with.

In the 1980, low and middle class saw the largest income growth. These days, they see almost no income growth, but the super-rich see tremendous income growth, both in absolute and relative terms.

It's not sustainable and it's not fair.

The bigger question is, if this is a democracy, why does the majority stand for it?

The answer, of course, is that the US is not a democracy. It's legal corruption. Those with money...

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Rethinking government

When you're developing a piece of software or starting a business or solving some business challenge, it's often times super helpful to go back to the start and rethink everything from a blank slate.

Instead of thinking about what you have to build on, what you have to live with, what the context is, start over. What would an ideal solution look like, if you could do anything you wanted?

You may not be able to implement it, but it's very likely to give you some valuable insights and ideas...

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How would you feel if the other side was doing it?

I'm currently obsessed with how to design a political system that actually works. I haven't experienced one in real life, but that shouldn't stop us from considering what one would look like.

A few minutes ago, I was watching an interview with Michael Moore where he talks about how Republicans are really secure in their seats, and Democrats only have control in 6 out of the 50 state capitals.

In it, he also brings up gerrymandering... the redrawing of districts to almost guarantee that your...

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