• AMMDI is an open-notebook hypertext writing experiment, authored by Mike Travers aka @mtraven. It's a work in progress and some parts are more polished than others. Comments welcome! More.
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from "rationality" vs "rationalism"
  • This is entirely in keeping with their philosophy and style. They are anti-ideology, just as they are anti-political (see antipolitics). It sort of explains why they keep getting in political hot water; they refuse to acknowledge the political implications of their belief system (which they deny having).
from May Day
  • Opinions in my circles seem highly polarized; some people think it was obviously a good idea because political discussion can be toxic and interfere with productivity; others are equally convinced that work is part of life and can't be separated from the political and any effort to do so is an exertion of privilege (because ignoring politics is only an option for the privileged). I had both reactions! But it's about 80% for the latter and 20% for the former. I spend a lot of time defending the political (see antipolitics) but I'd also rather spend time thinking about technical problems than attend diversity training sessions. If it's not obvious, a lot of my arguments for the primacy of politics is an attempt to convince myself.
from Bruno Latour
  • On anti antipolitics
    • It takes something like courage to admit that we will never do better than a politician. We contrast his incompetence with the expertise of the well informed, the rigor of the scholar, the clairvoyance of the seer, the insight of the genius, the disinterest­edness of the professional, the skill of the craftsman, the taste of the artist, the sound common sense of the ordinary man in the street, the flair of the Indian, the deftness of the cowboy who fires more quickly than his shadow, the perspective and balance of the superior intellectual. Yet no one does any better than the politician. Those others simply have somewhere to hide when they make their mistakes. They can go back and try again. Only the politician is limited to a single shot and has to shoot in public. I challenge anyone to do any better than this, to think any more accurately, or to see any further than the most myopic congressman... What we despise as political "mediocrity" is simply the collection of compromises that we force politicians to make on our behalf. If we despise politics we should despise ourselves.
      • Irreductions
    • Everywhere we di­rect our best brains toward the extension of "science." It is with them that we lodge our greatest, indeed often our only, hopes. Nowhere more than in the evocation of this kingdom of knowledge do we create the impression that there is another transcendental world. It is only here that there is sanc­tuary. Politics has no rights here, and the laws that rule the other worlds are suspended. This extraterritorial status, available only to the "sciences," makes it possible for believers to dream, like the monks of Cluny, about recon­quering the barbarians. "Why not rebuild this chaotic, badly organized world of compromise in accordance with the laws of our world?"
from Rationalism
  • Connections (socially and intellectually) to unpleasant political movements like libertarianism, objectivism, and neoreaction, fueled by an antipolitics stance that is ultimately shallow.
Twin Pages


13 Jan 2021 07:50 - 01 Jan 2022 07:48

    • Rationalism features a prominent disdain for politics. There are many good reasons of course to hate politics, but disliking something does not make it thereby unimportant. And it doesn't excuse you from participation in the actual politics of the present day.
    • We're in a situation where neutrality is complicity, and I feel like an asshole for even saying that, but I think it reflects something real. Refusal to recognize this may be why rationalists like SlateStarCodex keep finding themselves in hot water and making lame or cute defenses for themselves.
    • Miscellaneous

      • Morozov https://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/the-internet-ideology-why-we-are-allowed-to-hate-silicon-valley-12658406.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_3
        • How do you spot “the digital debate”? Look for arguments that appeal to the essences of things – of technology, information, knowledge and, of course, the Internet itself. Thus, whenever you hear someone say “this law is bad because it will break the Internet” or “this new gadget is good because that’s what technology wants,” you know that you have left the realm of the political – where arguments are usually framed around the common good – and have entered the realm of bad metaphysics. In that realm, what you are being asked to defend is the well-being of phantom digital gods that function as convenient stand-ins for corporate interests. Why does anything that might “break the Internet” also risk breaking Google? This can’t be a coincidence, can it?
      • From LWMap/Naming the Nameless
        • There are a number of defensive strategies people (of varying political views) adopt against the cultural dominance of the left.
        • Respectability politics is a different tactic, and, in this context, usually takes the form of (not very credible) claims to be apolitical. Early forms of this include "Keep Your Identity Small" or "Politics is the Mind-Killer." By declaring the importance of not taking sides, you're already asserting that you're not wholly on one side; a progressive can reasonably infer that any avowedly "apolitical" person disagrees with them at least somewhere.
        • Claims of aloofness from politics have always, correctly, been identified as evidence of covert dissent from "good" politics: "formalism" was a political offense in Soviet Russia. There are many thinkpieces like this one observing (rightly) that Silicon Valley culture is nominally apolitical but implicitly capitalist.