Non-Tribalist Politics Megathread

I haven’t researched how accurate this is.

he said that:


using Vpns to bypass banned apps such as tiktok is made a criminal act under this bill and the penalty it’s a minimum imprisonment of 20 years and a minimum fine of $250,000 or one million dollars depending if you knowingly did so to access banned content

but the parts he highlighted use the phrase “not more than”. they don’t mention minimums, and they don’t say: not less than, which could be a way the law would be written that means a minimum punishment.

copy paste of texts in the bill with bold italic added:

(1) *A fine of not more than $250,000 or an amount that is twice the value of the transaction that is the basis of the violation with respect to which the penalty is imposed, whichever is greater.

(1) IN GENERAL.—A person who willfully commits, willfully attempts to commit, or willfully conspires to commit, or aids or abets in the commission of an unlawful act described in subsection (a) shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $1,000,000, or if a natural person, may be imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.

i don’t think this bill actually bans anything yet

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That’s a big difference between what he said and accurate information.

I think it’s notable that I post lots of stuff without research, but I intuitively knew to add an explicit comment on this specific one. I don’t know specifically what about the tiktok made me extra suspicious.

I have seen very little current information about the border wall. I didn’t know what if any of it had been completed or to what extent. That was kind of a shocking introduction to the reality at the US border. It sounds awful, especially the injuries and assualts by the border patrol. I have no idea what a better solution would be when there’s that much desparation for access to America. I saw footage of people trying to hang onto the outside of planes leaving Afganistan when the US left, so I’m not sure a higher, more dangerous wall would have a deterrence effect that prevents injuries. The alternative seems like a much lower wall which people can cross relatively easily with low risk of injury. My guess is that a lower wall would be better at preventing death and injury than a higher wall. I guess that a lower wall would encourage more illegal immigration but I have no idea what the magnitude of the difference would be between a low wall, medium wall, or high wall.

I have waffled between thinking open border was a good idea to thinking no immigration might be a good idea. I think I’m just unsure and it seems like another super complicated issue to figure out.

Based on that video, TikTok’s algorithm is biased toward bad news. Maybe it’s related to Chinese propaganda against the west. Or, it could just be that bad news get higher engagement.

I’m not very engaged in social media besides YouTube. I’ve never had the Instagram app or TikTok app. Most of the TikTok videos I’ve seen are from the CF forum.

Watch the video. Sounds kind of right wing, yeah? Now read the hashtags:

Many posts on r/antiwork have evidence about many companies being awful. Also, the idea of not wanting to work for bad companies is one of the main themes of Atlas Shrugged. But despite agreeing on a lot of points, I think r/antiwork posters broadly dislike Objectivism and Objectivists broadly dislike r/antiwork posters. I think that’s because both groups are tribalist and the tribal lines are drawn in bad ways.

This article The Myth of White Genocide, by James Pogue

disagrees with

Quote from article:

And international media, which have amplified the idea that so-called farm murders are a major concern, has been oblivious to a key fact: last year, in a country where almost twenty thousand people were slain, most of them black, there were only sixty-two farm murders, according to government statistics. Sixty-two. According to one of the country’s largest agricultural associations, murders of farmers are at a twenty-year low.

I haven’t researched this to figure out what’s true but I wanted to note that Southern might be wrong or lying because I think I linked to her Farmlands video positively in the past.

While writing this post, I saw that Southern made a followup video this year claiming she was right about Farmlands: I skimmed this video and it seems to be saying South Africa has major problems without specifically focusing on white farmers being racistly murdered, so it looks like Southern is moving the goalposts.

I liked how this video is explicitly non-tribalist.

I’m going to watch the older documentary he recommended, which is on Netflix: Kiss the Ground. I also set up email notifications on Just Watch to find out when Common Ground is available to stream.

DD taught me to be pro-Israel. He was pushy about it and emphasized it (in retrospect I wish he’d focused a lot more on philosophy and a lot less on anything political). Four of the big arguments he used were:

  1. Anti-Israel people apply double standards.
  2. The media keeps lying about Israel.
  3. Palestinians have been caught lying about atrocities, including intentionally staging fake scenes to film them.
  4. You can debate anti-Israel people online and win.

I still think those points are true.

One of the implications was: if they are using bad arguments like these, it’s because there are no good arguments available to them.

I don’t think DD ever stated that explicitly but I think it’s really important to his position. And I now think it’s false. I think it’s widespread that people use bad arguments when good ones are available. I now find it plausible that the media would lie to accuse Israel of stuff it didn’t do while ignoring many true stories they could have run instead.

I don’t think you can infer from people making a bunch of bad arguments for a position that there are no known or currently available good arguments for that position.

One of the things you should do if you actually want to know – which is a lot easier now than it used to be – is listen to people with relevant experiences, e.g. listen to Palestinians telling their stories. TikTok is good for this.

In general, I find a lot of people on TikTok saying things the media doesn’t tell me, which relate to either their personal experience or personal expertise (some topic they studied a bunch, with or without official credentials), which I think are mostly true. If they aren’t popular, and what they’re saying is congruent and I see no red flags, and they don’t seem to be ignoring something that contradicts them without addressing it, and I don’t spot an error, then I often conclude that what they’re saying is probably true. Like, it won’t be true every time – people will sometimes make mistakes or lie in ways that are hard for me to catch with generic methods but no domain expertise – but maybe 9 out of 10 will be true.

I’m not really following the current Israel/Hamas war and don’t want to pour my energy into that. But I did want to mention that I have more doubts than I used to. I now think knowing 1, 2, 3 and 4 above (and some other stuff too) isn’t actually enough to reach a good conclusion. I’ve changed my mind to a more neutral viewpoint.

One reason I don’t want to spend energy on this is because it’s not philosophy. But that isn’t the only reason. I’m also concerned that it’s a local optima. Here’s one example of something potentially more important: We – at least maybe – live in a crumbling empire (USA but similar points apply in many countries) that has a power grid designed to last 50 years, which is now nearly 100 years old, and our politicians never want to prioritize improving it (and meanwhile they want it to also support a new fleet of electric cars and they are racking up trillions of dollars of debt on other stuff they prioritize over the power grid). And I’ve heard we lost the manufacturing capacity to even replace some parts of the grid. And I’ve heard that the military has estimated over 50% of Americans will die if certain things break (or are destroyed by terrorists who noticed that the power grid is poorly defended). And this seems pretty concerning but the media and most people don’t seem very interested and I’m not very sure about it because there isn’t even much information about it (or at least I haven’t found much, although I haven’t looked very much because I do prioritize philosophy). BTW there are also a lot of beliefs people have about different sorts of crumbling, some of which are false or less important, and some of which have been correctly countered by pointing out various types of genuine progress.

Or I’ve heard that California is having a big drought because they didn’t build new water infrastructure for decades. Or I’ve heard of egregious water mismanagement in the US Southwest by politicians. These things seem like maybe they should be getting more attention, and have gotten really bad over time because people instead keep focusing on short term stuff to get outraged about (local optima).

Another thing that’s potentially more important than the latest foreign war is why the US hasn’t had a good president for decades. In general our political leadership has been awful as far back as my detailed knowledge of history extends. Something seems really broken there.