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comment by JesseClifton · 2016-11-10T00:20:39.858Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thank you for opening this discussion.

It’s not clear to me that animal advocacy in general gets downweighted:

-For the short term, wild and farmed animal welfare dominates human concerns. I'd be interested to hear a case that animals are better served by some EAs switching to progressive politics more generally. I'm doubtful that EA contributions to politics would indirectly benefit welfare reform and wild animal suffering efforts. Welfare reform in the United States is taking place largely through corporate reform. The impact of progressive vs conservative (or Trumpian) policy on WAS is unclear, and it’s not implausible that the latter will be net helpful to wild animals due to anti-environmentalist policies. And plenty of progressives will be galvanized to work on (human-centered) progressive politics; so it’s not clear to me that the marginal value of the EA community getting involved is high.

Animal liberation, however, looks (on the face of it) worse as a cause. The election makes any kind of legal status for animals, factory farming ban, etc. in the next few decades seem even less likely.

-Looking at the farther future…I am personally skeptical about the value of any efforts to affect the long-term development of human civilization, political or otherwise. But even conditional on one thinking that trying to influence the far-future is a good idea, it’s not obvious to me that marginal anti-speciesism efforts are less valuable than marginal progressive political efforts, esp. since the latter is fairly crowded.

That said, I imagine there are many variables I haven’t considered and I think this is a great time to deepen the conversation about the extent to which progress for animals depends on the broader political circumstances.

Finally, I am wary of major belief revisions being made due to System 1 reactions. Right now I want to join the Rebel Alliance as much as the next guy, but we have to keep in mind that the consequences of Trump's election for all sentient beings are highly complex and uncertain.