📰 Conflict vs. Mistake

Author: slatestarcodex.com

Full Title: Conflict vs. Mistake

URL: https://slatestarcodex.com/2018/01/24/conflict-vs-mistake/

Highlights from February 24th, 2021.

Mistake theorists treat politics as science, engineering, or medicine. The State is diseased. We’re all doctors, standing around arguing over the best diagnosis and cure.
Mistake theorists view debate as essential. We all bring different forms of expertise to the table, and once we all understand the whole situation, we can use wisdom-of-crowds to converge on the treatment plan that best fits the need of our mutual patient, the State. Who wins on any particular issue is less important creating an environment where truth can generally prevail over the long term.
Mistake theorists think you can save the world by increasing intelligence. You make technocrats smart enough to determine the best policy. You make politicians smart enough to choose the right technocrats and implement their advice effectively. And you make voters smart enough to recognize the smartest politicians and sweep them into office.
Mistake theorists think that free speech and open debate are vital, the most important things.
Mistake theorists think it’s silly to complain about George Soros, or the Koch brothers. The important thing is to evaluate the arguments; it doesn’t matter who developed them.
Mistake theorists think racism is a cognitive bias. White racists have mistakenly inferred that black people are dumber or more criminal.
When mistake theorists criticize democracy, it’s because it gives too much power to the average person – who isn’t very smart, and who tends to do things like vote against carbon taxes because they don’t believe in global warming. They fantasize about a technocracy in which informed experts can pursue policy insulated from the vagaries of the electorate.
people have previously noticed that this blog is good at attracting representation from all across the political spectrum except Marxists. Maybe that’s related to treating every position except theirs with respect, and appreciating conflict theory better would fix that. I don’t know. It could be worth a shot.
But overall I’m less sure of myself than before and think this deserves more treatment as a hard case that needs to be argued in more specific situations. Certainly “everyone in government is already a good person, and just has to be convinced of the right facts” is looking less plausible these days.