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An interesting sub-discussion emerged in this thread, but apparently the thread owner got ticked off at the other person involved (Dan'l Higgins) and blocked him. He approached me privately offering to explain his view in more detail, and has agreed that doing so in public is okay. So here we are.

I'm not sure I can accurately summarize the argument, so I'll transcribe it from where it picked up. I had just explained that the mathematics of our voting system means that voting for a third party is basically pointless. He replies:

DH: The “mathematics” are in no way relevant to right and wrong.

me: Umm... yes, they are absolutely crucial in many moral calculations, including this one.

If you're dropping a bomb, and you're trying to hit target B while missing innocents at locations A and C, and your mathematical ballistics calculations tell you that at your current location you cannot hit B reliably and are more likely to hit A and C, then it would be immoral to make a decision about whether to drop the bomb without taking the results of that mathematical calculation into account.

(There's probably a much better example out there that I'm just not thinking of; someone help me out here...)

This is much the same. Here's the logic:
1. The mathematics say A or B are going to win; neither C nor D have any substantial chance.
2. We know A is not great, but B is absolutely fucking terrible.
3. (Conclusion) If you don't vote for A*, then you are passively complicit in the event that B wins. (More precisely: if you prefer A to B even slightly, then a vote for C or D is equivalent to a half-vote for B and a half-vote for A, or in other words no vote at all as far as the outcome goes. You might as well stay home.)

* excluding voters in "safe states"

DH: I'll point out that utilitarianism makes moral philosophers gag only in passing. Your opening example is instructive only insofar as it illuminates your habits of thought. You're equally culpable either way because you're a murderer -- how about not dropping the bomb?

The rest is irrelevant. You have no business caring about how anyone else is going to vote. You vote on merit, and if you vote for someone other than the candidate whom you believe to the best person for the office, you're acting wrongly.

In the hypothetical universe in which a Trump presidency were a real threat (it's not, and that has nothing to do with polling data), the people responsible for that would be 1) generations of 'lesser-evil' voters who've ensured that the large-party candidates are always evil 2) the reprehensible DNC, who appointed a completely unacceptable candidate (as they so routinely do) and 3) democrats generally, for lazily declining ever to get up off their asses and demand a decent candidate. I assume that includes you. The thing you seem to be afraid of, if it were to happen, would be Mrs Clinton's fault and yours.

me: "if you vote for someone other than the candidate whom you believe to the best person for the office, you're acting wrongly."

You seem to be arguing that the morality of an action is determined not by its expected outcome but by whether the action demonstrates allegiance towards a group or philosophy you have deemed as "moral". In other words, appearance matters more than results.

Is that what you intended to say?

DH: The word you're groping for is "principle." It's all right if you don't understand what that is. Almost nobody does any longer.

me: Acting on principle does not necessarily mean you're acting morally. Almost any principle is immoral if misapplied.

DH: Sophistry, of the kind used to rationalize abandoning principle when it's become inconvenient.

The basic argument for lesser-evil voting has always been that small-party voting "steals" votes from the less-evil of the two leading candidates. This is utter nonsense, as it presupposes that (in this case) my vote in some sense "belongs" to Mrs Clinton by default. That view is highly offensive, on grounds of both logic and morals, to those of us who are already offended by everything about her and the democratic party.

me: I'm not abandoning any principle; it's just that my principles say that the outcome is what matters.

DH: You can call anything a principle. For a lot of Mr Trump’s admirers, for instance, hatred of Muslims is matter of principle. I’m saying that your principles are misguided, just as I would say theirs are.

But in fact, mine do lead to the better outcome. Your course results in increasingly more evil candidates for the larger parties over time. Mine, if followed by enough people, results in the possibility of a not-evil candidate arising in time. I consider it very selfish to pursue what looks like a more-convenient outcome for your lifetime and disregard what it means for future generations.

me: Yes, exactly. It's important to choose your principles wisely.

You seem to have a principle of "I'll vote for the candidate I like best, regardless of how that affects the election outcome", is that correct? If not, how would you phrase the principle upon which you are operating here?


Apparently this was the point at which he got blocked and was unable to respond further.

I'll also note that to be fair I was responding in a hurry and may have missed some of the details of his comments. Hopefully, breaking this discussion out into its own thread will make it easier to not lose those details.

So let's see where this goes...

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Apparently even John Oliver missed the fact that the "home server" Hillary used was a government-provided secure server -- and in fact proved to be more secure than the State Department server she was officially supposed to use.

Also, item #5 on this list doesn't mention the fact that she asked for more money for security at the Benghazi embassy -- and was denied that funding by (wait for it) Republicans.
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And they do cite sources.

I'm experimentally reviving this community with a slightly different focus.

Just within the past couple of months, I've been approached privately but respectfully by two different people I'd been tempted to dismiss as trollish or hopelessly ideological.

The first of those resulted in some interesting private discussions which I'd like to make public, and will do so (here) if I can.

The second one seemed willing to have the discussion in public -- but I didn't want to start another runaway trollfest (as several of my recent public posts have done), so I thought a multi-moderator environment would be the way to go.

I will probably be inviting a few other people to moderate.

I'll begin shortly (I hope) with a reshare of the post that inspired the second interaction mentioned above.

(edit) For now, I'll leave membership open (no permission required), but I think I can change that if trolls become a problem. Posts are publicly readable (can't be changed).

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Feel free to explain how Hillary is worse.
The Men Behind Trump’s Attacks On Clinton Marriage Have A History Of Sexual Harassment, Spousal Abuse, And Marital Infidelity

Would any of the 4 other people in this Community be bothered by 9/11-related discussions, if they were to take place here? I could start another Community to host them, but I've already got too many and I was hoping I could multi-purpose this one instead.

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The conversation started like this:

Apr 16 15:32:10 <C***> The BLM says it will "continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,"
Apr 16 15:32:11 <C***> heh
Apr 16 15:32:18 <C***> but not peacefully, lawfully, or respectfully
Apr 16 15:32:40 <C***> just, we will administer a ruling and pay judges to produce orders
Apr 16 15:32:51 <C***> im with the bundys
Apr 16 15:32:56 <C***> fuck the BLM
Apr 16 18:18:43 <TehWuzyl> C***: the land is owned by the federal government. What happened to property rights?
Apr 16 23:28:02 <C***> read the back story
Apr 16 23:28:09 <C***> it was taken by them
Apr 16 23:28:21 <C***> it may be "legal" but its not lawful

The rest of the dialogue (quite long) is posted on Issuepedia...

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From the Tea Party Nation:

When white supremacy tried to make a mark in American history it was viciously attacked quickly put down by the people of our nation.

But Gay Supremacy is becoming a monster that carries greater evils than white supremacy ever did. White Supremacy was focused on how a group of people felt about another group of people. They created various barriers for those they hated and their views about their superiority to others provided the frame work for the citizens of this nation to search their hearts and understand that God has created every person in His image. However Gay Supremacy’s hate reaches much farther than a specific group of people.

Their is no common ground that can be reached. Their is no searching of the heart or consideration of God’s principles. Their hate is generated only by self centeredness and hate for anyone who disagrees with them.

This is why I can't take the Tea Party seriously. (Well... reason #3355873 why.)

via +Ed Brayton .

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+Woozle Hypertwin here goes. I believe there was some interesting discussion in the original comments. Haven't checked as I'm on my phone and on my way to bed.
Let's talk about sex education.

I have a fascination with understanding how people think about things. I don't believe anyone intentionally behaves irrationally. There must be a reason that two groups of people can hold views which are diametrically opposed even though the issue appears to be factually provable.

Views on sex education fall into this divide. Here's my take, I look forward to comments.

If you believe that teen sex is a moral failing, then you accept that some people will have moral failings (and perhaps can learn from them), but your primary goal is improving morals, not reducing pregnancy or STIs. In this light, teaching kids how to safely have sex is literally evil. It's teaching them how to be immoral. It's like bringing the devil in to teach Sunday school…his effectiveness isn't the issue, his immorality is.

If you believe that teen sex is a knowledge failing; a failing of the brain to overcome hormones, then your primary goal is the prevention of teen sex because of the emotional and physical dangers involved. In that case, if teaching kids how to have safe sex not only helps them to avoid the dangers, but also reduces the incidence of teen sex, that's great! There's always room for improvement, but that's consistent with the learning process.

This is why people on the morality side of the question don't care how many statistics show that their kids have more teen pregnancies and more STIs than people on the knowledge side. Their kids may have gotten pregnant, but they know they did so because of a moral failing…and those that didn't fail, did so without resorting to immoral teachings, making their accomplishment that much more admirable. Either way, you have taught the morals that were important. There is always room for improvement, but that's consistent with the constant struggle against temptation.

From a "teen sex is immoral" viewpoint, the ends simply don't justify the means…no matter how effective the means. Those on the knowledge side look at this in disbelief, but it might help to put it in context. What if a study clearly and unambiguously showed that kids would have significantly less teen sex, pregnancies, and STIs, if they were taught to be (insert religion here) Scientologists? Would they convert their kids, or take their chances? Both sides have ethical lines they won't cross.


Please, no "religion is bad" comments. The goal here is to understand people's thoughts given their assumptions. Religion is an assumption for some people; I'm not interested in debating whether it's a good belief, I'm interested in discussing the reality we live in. I am interested in finding solutions which could serve both camps, or at least encouraging understanding of both camps. Demonizing your opponent does nothing but entrench their opinion and discourage their attempts to understand.

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I'll repeat my question to +Mary Ritenour from

I'd be interested in seeing your examples of those on the Left* ignoring evidence. I might agree with you that they're full of it. I'm only a "Leftie" because that's how my positions are generally categorized; I take the positions I take because they are where the facts lead me, and because I believe egalitarianism leads to a happier society than hierarchy and rigid institutionalism can. I identify politically as a compassionate rationalist.

* Note: don't confuse Democrats with the Left; the Democratic Party is kind of center-to-Right these days.
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