— Robin Hanson (@robinhanson) August 11, 2020
Robin Hanson is one of the central people in this entire rationality/effective altruism network, along with Scott Alexander and Eliezer Yudkowsky.
For him to be canceled, by a vote of 6 vs. 1 out of eight at that, for a set of modestly controversial thought experiments – that is, the basis of all philosophy – conclusively relegate EA to yet another boring leftist idpol organization.
It’s interesting to recollect how quickly this worm turned. Back in summer 2016, I openly handed out brochures arguing against open borders on EA grounds citing data on national IQs and even posed in a MAGA hat at their summit in Berkeley, without being accosted.
I was at EA Global 2016 and my impression was that a good 90% of them supported Clinton over Trump; most of the rest were libertarians, neoreactionaries, Thiel’s boys, or some conjunction thereof. I made a temporary alliance with a libertarian proponent of seasteading to defend Trump at Alexander Kustov’s stand devoted to immigration, where we gathered a small throng at the same time curious and bewildered by our political unorthodoxy. The ensuing debate, however, was very civil and pleasant.
But as early as 2017, there were posts on LessWrong recommending charities that explicitly shifted focus from utilitarian considerations to racial justice, in contravention of EA’s entire raison d’être.
As I pointed out at around that time, when Peter Singer was canceled by SJWs at a TED talk on effective altruism:
Whereas EA supports many “social justice” ideals, perhaps naively – as I pointed out, they tend to be avid pronents of open borders, even though its very doubtful that #WelcomeRefugees is ideal even from a strictly utilitarian, anti-national position – at heart they are high IQ liberals who tend to understand nuance and respect freedom of speech, whereas SJWs are average IQ authoritarian leftists who have no time for “freeze peach” or the smallest acts of deviationism.
As such, further collisions – or coalescence – are inevitable.
Indeed, coalescence was the future.
As a friend wrote to me in an email at that time: “I think this is how movements like EA die – not with a bang, or with a whimper, but with a sloshing sound from all the cash and normie status being poured into the feeding trough. Still, it makes for entertaining reading.”
And so we come to 2020.
EA has no barriers to entry.
Unless, like, you're a world-famous professor and founding father of the rationalist movement who happens to have an accidental wrong opinion about barbecue food …
𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 there are barriers to entry. https://t.co/ZeA55p7G0u
— Roko.eth – hereticalupdate.substack.com (@RokoMijicUK) August 11, 2020
Look at me I’m the effective altruist now.
Incidentally, that guy is the inventor of the eponymous Basilisk. And yes, he’s been canceled from EA too, along with many of the more interesting and “powerful” personalities.