Rational Politics Project

post by Gleb_T · 2017-01-08T13:28:28.203Z · EA · GW · Legacy · 13 comments

Brief Summary: There have been a number of concerns expressed in the EA Forum following the recent election about the role of EA in politics, such as about fundamental research on politics and policy as an EA issue, as well as specific concerns about Trump's election, especially in terms of Trump as a Global Catastrophic Risk (though see this rebuttal). Recently, a number of EAs have joined with a number of people from outside the movement to form the Rational Politics (RAP) project, an explicitly non-partisan effort to gather thoughtful citizens of all political stripes devoted to spreading rational thinking and wise decision-making in the political arena, We see the lack of these practices as one of the worst problems for our global society in terms of how important, neglected, and tractable it is. To address this fundamental issue, we aim to use best practices in communicating and marketing to convey to the citizenry the vital role of evaluating reality accurately using research-based methods to help people make wise political decisions to improve our society.

 

Note that while this project is motivated by EA concerns for doing the most good to improve the world in a cost-effective way, it is NOT explicitly an EA project. We see significant dangers in tainting the EA movement in potentially politically biased activism. It so happens right now that conservatives are using lies and deceptions more than liberals. There is certainly no inherent reason why this needs to be so, but it is the current political reality. We thus anticipate that RAP will draw some heat from conservatives, and do not want to risk any backlash on the EA movement as a whole. Likewise, note that the organization that is mobilizing this project, Intentional Insights, has drawn some criticism in the EA movement and has publicly distanced itself from the EA movement, while still continuing to operate informed by EA concerns. For anyone interested in the project, a summary follows. I welcome anyone interested to get involved as individuals, remembering that this is not explicitly an EA project.

 

 

Brief Description

 

Why Is the Lack of Rational Thinking and Wise Decision-Making one of the Worst Problems?

 

 

 

 

A full description is available in this document. You can contact me at gleb [at] intentionalinsights [dot] org if you are interested in getting involved.

13 comments

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comment by Gregory_Lewis · 2017-01-09T16:14:21.763Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Likewise, note that the organization that is mobilizing this project, Intentional Insights, has drawn some criticism in the EA movement and has publicly distanced itself from the EA movement, while still continuing to operate informed by EA concerns.

Well done for linking to the post, but the EA movement has publicly distanced itself from Intentional Insights too:

Will MacAskill (on behalf of CEA)

As documented in the Open Letter, Intentional Insights have been systematically misleading in their public communications on many occasions, have astroturfed, and have engaged in morally dubious hiring practices. But what’s been most remarkable about this affair is how little Gleb has been willing to change his actions in light of this documentation. If I had been in his position, I’d have radically revised my activities, or quit my position long ago. Making mistakes is something we all do. But ploughing ahead with your plans despite extensive, deep and well-substantiated criticism of them by many thoughtful members of the EA community — who are telling you not just that your plans are misguided but that they are actively harmful — is not ok. It’s the opposite of what effective altruism stands for.

Because of this, we want to have no association with Intentional Insights. We do not consider them a representative of EA, we do not want to have any of CEA’s images or logos (including Giving What We Can) used in any of Intentional Insights’ promotional materials; we will not give them a platform at EAG or EAGx events; and we will encourage local group leaders not to have them speak.

Ben Henry (on behalf of the EA FB group moderators):

You may have read this post by Jeff Kaufman et al on a number of concerns with Intentional Insights' operations. In light of the activities it describes and the community's feelings about InIn's behavior, the moderators would like to announce that we are planning to not accept post submissions of InIn content to this group from now on. People working with/at InIn will remain able to comment, and we will consider non-InIn posts by InIn staff on a case-by-case basis.

My view on Intentional Insights remains unchanged from my comment on the open letter. This doesn't look like a good project, but this is in any case overdetermined by the impression InIn is a very bad organisation. I strongly recommend EAs not to get involved.

comment by PeterMcCluskey · 2017-01-08T19:32:58.225Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

You claim this is non-partisan, yet you make highly partisan claims, such as "conservatives have relied much more on lies" (you cite Trump's lies, but treating Trump as a conservative is objectionable to many conservatives).

comment by the_jaded_one · 2017-01-09T17:50:57.074Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

You claim this is non-partisan, yet you make highly partisan claims,

I made a similar point on the LW version of this post. I think it is going to be hard to fix politics and the links between the object level and the meta level, which are especially strong in politics, are close to the root cause of why politics is so hard to be rational about.

But I feel like it might be useful to poke around a bit at that link.

comment by Gleb_T · 2017-01-08T21:03:43.842Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Well, ok, are you really going to make this semantic argument with me? Trump is widely accepted by the Republican party as its leader. I'll be happy to agree on using the term "Republican" instead of "conservative" to address your concerns.

comment by Elizabeth · 2017-01-16T17:53:25.581Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

A list of ethical and practical concerns the EA movement has with Intentional Insights: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/12z/concerns_with_intentional_insights/ .

Gleb Tsipursky has also repeatedly said he will leave the EA movement.

comment by Gleb_T · 2017-01-17T16:03:59.422Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Gleb Tsipursky has also repeatedly said he will leave the EA movement.

This is simply false. See what I actually said here

comment by Sanjay · 2017-01-12T16:17:49.119Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

People who are interested in better political systems and policy-making may also be interested in this post: http://effective-altruism.com/ea/147/cause_better_political_systems_and_policy_making/

comment by kbog · 2017-01-08T19:16:05.402Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't really get what it will do? Is it supposed to be a broad social movement? Or a new organization? Is it just going to be a name over a bunch of articles?

We thus anticipate that RAP will draw some heat from conservatives, and do not want to risk any backlash on the EA movement as a whole.

You're probably going to get more from liberals when you advocate being rational about conservatives.

comment by Gleb_T · 2017-01-08T21:04:31.031Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Broad social movement. We're aiming to focus on social media organizing at first, and then spread to local grassroots organizing later. There will be a lot of marketing and PR associated with it as well.

comment by kbog · 2017-01-09T04:26:32.122Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I don't know if social movements ever start from concerted efforts like this. For instance, EA started because one or two organizations and philosophers got a lot of interest from a few people. Other social movements start spontaneously when people are triggered into protest and action by major events. It seems good to have an identifiable 'core' to any kind of movement, like the idea I had - "a formal or semi-formal structure to aggregate and compare evidence from both sides." If you leverage swarm intelligence, prediction markets, argument mapping or more basic online mechanisms then you can start to make something impressive that stands on its own. Though such a system would be more difficult to make successful if you tried to make it relevant for the broad population rather than just EAs. It's just one example.

comment by Gleb_T · 2017-01-09T04:55:57.578Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Yup, we're focusing on a core of people who are upset about lies and deceptions in the US election and the Brexit campaign, and aiming to provide them with means to address these deceptions in an effective manner. That's the goal!

comment by kbog · 2017-01-09T19:23:31.353Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I mean a core as in a fixed point of interest. E.g. a forum, a blog, a website, a college club, etc. Something to seed the initiative that can stand on its own without having thousands of active members. You can't gather interested people without having something valuable to attract them.

comment by Gleb_T · 2017-01-09T21:51:35.873Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

We have a number of collaborative venues, such as a Facebook group, blog, email lists, etc. for people who get involved.