First, there's the Wilkinson-Caplan smackdown, with Ozimek kibbitzing. This is an awfully good discussion, with me falling largely on the side of Wilkinson, sympathetic a bit to Caplan, and not much convinced by Ozimek at all, though he has some very good insights. Key Wilkinson quote:
"So I am resisting a strong sense of ideological identity. If pressed, I'll say I'm an inscrutably idiosyncratic liberal. This has been paying dividends! How do I know? Because I feel very confused. That is, to put it in Mason-speak, the probabilities of truth I assign many of my politically relevant beliefs seem to be drifting downward into the neighborhood just north of .5, which is about where they ought to be."This is good epistemology. Not shocking...Will was an Objectivist back when I was an Objectivist, and played ABD with philosophy. He knows how to think, and far better than I do, how to express that thought. I still assert that Cowen's Maxim is universally true.
Further, Steve Sailer steps into the associationist fray with this perfect one-liner:
As Ronald Reagan pointed out to the UN in 1987, “I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world.” (Libertarians would wait to see if the Martian invaders were free marketeers.)Of course, Steve talks about Liberals in a standard good/evil model that is great for marketing and groupmaking, and horrid for truth finding...and so loses many IQ points to the approach...but his line about libertarians is spot on and funny. Principle >> group. Except, as Wilkinson points out, doctrinaire libertarians, not so much.
Another (to me) very interesting line came up in the comments here when discussing the Non-Neurotypical term that was coined by the Autistic/Aspie- community to point out that some folks brains don't work the same way. See this post (and the less wrong post quoted) by Bryan Caplan to emphasize the point:
Here's my line about universalism, edited a bit:
It's also the source of the extremely common superbright feeling: "I'm an alien." When your thought processes don't map in any credible fashion onto what other people say (read: appear to be thinking)...at some point you start to wonder if there's a category difference between yourself and people...and your capability to empathize with others who are deeply *not like you* in the ways you think are important (how you think, duh!) starts to drop off. It's like trying to empathize with a dolphin...sure, you think they're thinking something, but damned if it makes sense to you. I think I've almost completely avoided this mistake, mostly based on watching other superbright folks make the mistake, and observing the costs of said opinion in me...but I avoided the error via an cognitive attention hack at age 15, not via the normal human experience of "like me". Also probably goes a long way towards explaining my universalism (and that of other optimist high-sigmas like Caplan). We don't naturally feel similar to anyone (+/- some folks above the 4th Sigma) ... but have actively altered our priorities to emphasize our commonality with all people... But the commonality we have focused on is human commonality, not commonality with our race/neighbor/co-nationalist/co-religionist. We are connecting on basic humanity, because we have a hard time connecting on any other aspect. And if basic humanity is the connection...the particularist stuff is all violence against humans, and morally abhorrent. As such, our circles go:As I've said before...Do you want to chase truth? Or do you want to be on a team? Pick *at most* one.
When folks try to push using political violence to privilege one group above another group...I experience it directly as vicious and immoral. Blacks over whites, whites over blacks, men over women...whatever. All the same to me. All evil.
- Family & close friends (probably not groups, but rather individuals)
- Acquaintances we personally interact with (like blogfriends)
- All other human beings.
The choice is easy for me: I couldn't be part of a team if I wanted to...and I've been an epistemologist/educator for >20 years...where methods of truthiness are the epitome of my search.