Tag: Robin Hanson

Quote for Discussion: The Evil Pleasure

We feel a deep pleasure from realizing that we believe something in common with our friends, and different from most people.  We feel an even deeper pleasure letting everyone know of this fact.  This feeling is EVIL.  Learn to see it in yourself, and then learn to be horrified by how thoroughly it can poison your mind.  Yes evidence may at times force you to disagree with a majority, and your friends may have correlated exposure to that evidence, but take no pleasure when you and your associates disagree with others; that is the road to rationality ruin. 

~Robin Hanson

Quote for Discussion: The Revolution is not about Revolting

Food isn’t about Nutrition

Clothes aren’t about Comfort

Bedrooms aren’t about Sleep

Marriage isn’t about Romance

Talk isn’t about Info

Laughter isn’t about Jokes

Charity isn’t about Helping

Church isn’t about God

Art isn’t about Insight

Medicine isn’t about Health

Consulting isn’t about Advice

School isn’t about Learning

Research isn’t about Progress

Politics isn’t about Policy

~Robin Hanson, Politics isn’t about Policy

Overcoming Bias

Here Dr. Washington was introduced by Judge W. S. Bullock, in an address that for sincerity and the highest praise can have no equal.

“Dr. Washington, you are engaged in a great work.  We sympathise with you in the delicate and arduous undertaking… My countrymen and my friends, I commend to you our distinguished guest on this occasion.  He comes upon a mission that we welcome.  He is the leader of the negro race in America… He is taking the benighted, vicious, ignorant and superstitious negro from their [his] condition and clothing him in the garments of industry, intelligence, and morality.  In short, he is qualifying the negro for citizenship.”

~From The Booker T. Washington Papers, Volume Eleven, page 484.  The above is a press release issued by the office of Dr. Washington

When reading the above, the most striking thing about it is how absolutely insulting it sounds, towards both Booker T. Washington, and to black Americans in general.  It would sound horrible if anyone today said this about the accomplishments of Dr. Washington.  It would be unforgivable if anyone said this about any contemporary person.  But at the time, he himself categorized it as the highest of praise.

What is the point of this example?  Well, for starters, that context is often everything.  We know all of the words, but they mean much different things to us today than they did to people then.  At the time, that was the height of progressivity about race in America, while today, it would be too insulting and antiquated a perspective to even voice public ally.