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Cynical types view all politicians as power-hungry morally bankrupt two-faced sociopaths, while more optimistic types see them as generally good people who try their best in difficult jobs. Partisans often believe the best about their own party and the worst about the other. Others try to sidestep the question by suggesting that politicians be judged purely on their results, while others believe that good leadership requires good character. Others blame the system rather than the people.
It's common to believe one can and should "change the world", and certainly leaders commonly espouse such an attitude, reminding us of how "each little drop counts". However, some pragmatists argue such idealism is futile, and that blind optimism only makes life more difficult for oneself. The pragmatists tend to view the matter quantitatively, reasoning that the negative effect on oneself far outweighs the positive effect on others, if indeed one is having a positive effect at all.
Anders Breivik is responsible for the 2011 Norway Attacks, killing 76 people. The knee-jerk assessment of his personality is that he's insane, but is this actually the case? Is evil possible without insanity?
Hypnosis is a psychological procedure for entering an altered state of consciousness, most notably one that is unusually open to suggestion. Hypnotherapy is used for psychotherapy or performance enhancement, while stage hypnosis is used for entertainment. The theatrical nature of stage hypnosis - whereby a member of an audience will believe and do anything - such as walking around clucking like a chicken - has caused some skeptics to doubt whether hypnosis is a real phenomenon at all.
Critics of feminism suggest that the movement that once gave birth to positive changes such as emancipation has since soured. The goal of equal rights has allegedly now become simply a desire to dominate men, often under the guise of victimhood. Many feminists vehemently deny such allegations, often citing evidence of the continued suppression of women, such as inequality in wages.
Presumably those who plan to have children believe the huge sacrifice to their time and energy will make them happy. However, some argue that this belief is an illusion.
Some countries and states have outlawed corporal punishment in schools, and others have even outlawed it in homes. The rationale underlying the laws are ultimately based on whether the long term effect on children is considered positive or negative.
Marriage is a certainly an idealized legal institute, with few entering the relationship expecting divorce statistics will one day apply to them. Of course this is not to say that there aren't long and happy marriages, but on the whole, does the evidence suggest that marriage is, at the risk of sounding wholly unromantic, rational?
The more idealistic we are with our principles, the more vulnerable we are to hypocrisy. Should we be less idealistic to avoid being hypocrites, or should we hold onto our ideals, even if we can't always live up to them?
Many societies enforce laws that favor monogamous relationships, such as marriage; laws partly predicated on the assumption that monogamous relationships are natural. However, looking at different cultures and even different species prompts the question as to whether monogamy is so natural after all.
Michio Kaku
Is free will an illusion? Mostly Disagree
... Einstein was wrong. God does play dice. Every time we look at an electron it moves. There is uncertainty with regards to the position of the electron. So what does that mean for free will? It means in some sense we do have some kind of free will. No one can determine your future events given your past history. There is always the wildcard. There is always the possibility of uncertainty in whatever we do.
Modern feminists... never wanted gender equality; they want power for the female left
Robin Hanson
A meta-analysis of SSRI anti-depressant medication, published in Feb '08, found almost no effect. ... And [it] doesn't take any account of leaky placebo effects, whereby drug side-effects convince people they have the real drug. Given their severe side-effects, I'm not sure I'd advise anti-depressants _even when_ other treatments have been ineffective.
Robin Hanson
People care what others think about them. In fact they usually care _a lot_, more than they care to admit. Since caring less is considered admirable ... people often say and signal ... that they care less than others[.] It seems ... that while people do vary ... this variation is ... more about _which_ others they care about. "Conformists" tend to care about ... a usual mix of people weighted by a standard status. "Non-conformists", in contrast ... car[e] about non-standard status audiences.
Steve Jobs
The time we grew up in was a magical time. And it was also a very, you know, spiritual time in my life. Definitely taking LSD was one of the most important things in my life and not the most important. But right up there.
Robin Hanson
[W]hat’s so great about truth? [Folks] commonly presume I've made a strong claim, such as that it is always better to believe and say the truth, no matter what the cost or topic. I make no such claim. ...A great many people give lip service to the truth [as] their highest allegiance. Far fewer folks, perhaps none, are actually this way. But since folks vary, there will be a furthest tail of this distribution, and those most-truth-seeking folks might appreciate relevant things to read.
Steven Barnett
We do not live in a corrupt country, we are not ruled by money-grabbing, power-hungry autocrats. And yet the notion that politicians are honest, honourable individuals doing their damnedest to make their country a better place does seem faintly odd in today's media environment. ... The corrosive effect of this continuous drip of cynicism... ...why should anyone be motivated [to be a politician] when they see only vitriol, scorn and derision as the reward for a political career?
David Simon
Oh, to be a state or local official in America over the next 10 to 15 years, before somebody figures out the business model... To gambol freely across the wastelands of an American city, as a local politician! It's got to be one of the great dreams in the history of American corruption.
Tyler Cowen
Many people — especially those who become politicians — really do want fame and power and it is amazing what they will talk themselves into to get there and to stay there. They don't even want fame in the sense of being recognized, in the longer run, for having done the right thing. They want more personal influence and power now.

New Comments

0 Points       enawatson       04 Oct 2018     Is trying to "change the world" foolish? General Comment



0 Points       dionisos       23 Aug 2016     Are women misleading when expressing what they want from a man? Mostly Agree
People fall in love, when they are in love, they often love almost the person as a whole, and not a particular part.
After they can try to use induction on the sample of person they fall in love with, but there are too much properties and the sample is very small.

It is better if you replace "love" by "attracted by", but it is still not very good.
It is also easier to know the general rules if you fall in love easily or are attracted by a lot of people.(because the sample is then bigger, and the rules are simpler)

Introspection work, but only partially, and there are social and self-image problems which reduce the efficiency of introspection.

Add potential lies and communication problems to that.

But only empirical studies, with good protocols, and without ideological agenda, can really answer to this.

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is trying to "change the world" foolish? Disagree
If you have goals which doesn’t only concern yourself (any consequentialist ethics), then it is logical to try to change the world.
(In fact any goal is about changing the world, but here i assume you are speaking about changing a lot of the world, not just very local things)

0 Points       dionisos       22 Aug 2016     Is free will an illusion? Mostly Agree
The problem of the concept of free-will come down to the problem of the concept of possibility.
We make choices : A choice is the act to select one possibility between many. (it could easily be extended, but it is the main idea)

The problem is that a possibility is relative to knowledge : That something is a "possibility" only mean that we don’t know if this thing is true or false. (it is not a physical problem, the universe could be deterministic or not, it doesn’t change that, it is purely conceptual)

Some will not see the relativity of some possibilities, for them it will feel like the possibility is intrinsic, independent of their own knowledge.
So when they make a choice, it feel like they have selected a intrinsic possibility, so it is like a pure act of creation, something with at least a part which is "absolutely free".
So they have to create the concept of free-will to designate this very thing.

The compatibilists are only redefining the concept of free-will by removing what is fundamental in this concept.

0 Points       Side Effect       08 May 2015     Does money make you happy? (specifically: absolute spending power) General Comment

0 Points       Nashhinton       21 Apr 2013     Does relative wealth make us happier than absolute wealth? Agree
Studies tend to show that relative wealth leads to excessive happiness because it behaves like a point system. That's why we shouldn't simply redistribute wealth through taxation to establish unwarranted egalitarianism, but we should rather provide basic services and opportunities to citizens to increase their motivations to succeed. We need universal college education, job training, universal healthcare (healthy citizens are happy) etc., or any other type of mechanism to encourage citizens to work to eventually accumulate wealth on their own and stimulate the economy. We must ensure that citizens can easily move to the top of the ladder without obstacles, fairly, and without wide disparities of difficulty levels. It may lead to happiness, but it's immoral to accumulate and safeguard vast quantities of wealth in a vault somewhere without using it to stimulate future economic growth. I'm an ethical socialist who promotes a free competitive market and a large work ethic.

0 Points       Nashhinton       20 Apr 2013     Do we work unnecessarily long hours? Mostly Disagree
People should work their asses off. That's what stimulates the economy.

0 Points       Nashhinton       20 Apr 2013     Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable? Agree
Yes, it is desirable.

0 Points       TheLobsterMan       15 Apr 2013     Do pickup artist strategies encourage guys to be fake and shallow? Agree
PUA strategies are focused on deceptive behavior for shallow ends.

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Is hypocrisy acceptable? Disagree
Hypocrisy is inherently a bad thing.

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Do we work unnecessarily long hours? Agree
Yes. We need less full‐time work, more part‐time work, more jobshares, resulting in more places available for new employees, and less unemployment.

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Does life have a meaning? Disagree
To believe life has a meaning is an inherently religious belief. Once you understand that the universe itself has no purpose; life, as a part of the universe, also has no inherent purpose.

Psychology Question Index

Is free will an illusion?
Is the Myers-Briggs personality test meaningful?
Is it worthwhile to die for your beliefs?
Has feminism gone too far?
Is hypnosis real?
Are antidepressants overprescribed?
Is it important to fit in with your peer group?
Can hallucinogens enrich one's life?
Is trying to "change the world" foolish?
Can we handle the truth?
Are politicians generally good people?
Does a crying man necessarily convey emotional weakness?
Is Anders Breivik insane?
Are double standards acceptable in dating?
Do children make you happy?
Is spanking children acceptable?
Is marriage a good thing?
Is self-deception a fault?
Does life have a meaning?
Is living forever or having a greatly extended lifespan desirable?
Is hypocrisy acceptable?
Is creativity overrated?
Is revenge OK?
Is monogamy natural for humans?
Do we work unnecessarily long hours?
Does money make you happy? (specifically: absolute spending power)
Were divorce rates in the 1950s lower because marriages were happier?
Are women misleading when expressing what they want from a man?
Is the model of human nature used by pickup artists accurate?
Should pickup artist strategies be considered good education?
Is status seeking a good explanation for much of our behavior?
Do pickup artist strategies encourage guys to be fake and shallow?
Do pickup artists underestimate the diversity of women's personalities?
Are pickup artist strategies effective?
Does the media distort our perception of beauty?
Does relative wealth make us happier than absolute wealth?
Is optimism rational?
Are people who reject theories as unscientific closed minded?
Are our enemies innately evil?
Are people getting stupider?
Is hope good?
Do breast implants make a woman happier?
Are Americans on average stupider than non-Americans?
Does the Scared Straight program deter criminal behavior?
Are polygraphs reliable?