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What is true is already so

What is true is already so.

I often hear that I ascribe evil motives to the people that I disagree with. People who believe in nonsense are just stupid people who are not thinking enough, they tell me. I never found this convincing. I think much of what I say is obvious, and known to everyone. Everyone knows this deep inside. Much of elementary social science is obvious. People are living a lie.

What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away.
And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with.
Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived.
People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.
—Eugene Gendlin

Don’t believe me?

“She claimed that sex had been irrelevant to the act, that the man had been motivated by desires to control and dominate her, that a patriarchal culture had given the man these desires through childhood socialization, that rape was a means by which all men controlled the lives of all women in order to maintain the patriarchal culture, and that her appearance was not a factor in her chances of being raped again—were based on the social science explanation, and they seemed to fail to account for several things. Why, if he had not been sexually motivated, had the man used tender compliments in his attempts to initiate sexual acts throughout the evening? Why, after the rape, had he apologized for having resorted to physical restraint and to threats of further force? Why, if her appearance was not relevant to her chances of being raped again, was she now reluctant to dress as attractively as she had in the past? Young (more fertile) women were found to be more fearful of assault while in or outside their homes than older women, and young women’s fear was found to be more focused on sexual assault whereas that of older women was more focused on burglary. Also, the amount of a young woman’s fear corresponded to the likelihood of actual police-recorded rapes across different sections of the city.”-A Natural History of Rape, Randy Thornhill And Craig T. Palmer

Seven years ago, a non-fiction book titled “Freakonomics” is said to have melded pop-culture with Economics. The book had many striking claims. One among them was that some studies “prove” that spanked children are not prone to low test scores, because the parents who admit to engaging in this unenlightened practice are congenitally honest. They have to sit knee to knee with a government researcher and admit to spanking his child. It meant that deep down, other parents knew that they were doing wrong, all claims and pretensions to the contrary notwithstanding. “For your own good” is a clever rationalization. The book hadn’t mentioned it.-Me, The Mind And The Conscience

I just got back from another vacation in Los Angeles. As they say, it’s a “city of contrasts,” but the most interesting contrast is rarely mentioned. On the one hand, even pretty ordinary Angelenos – especially the elderly – reside in homes worth about a million dollars. On the other hand, the people of L.A. – and its self-absorbed local media – never stop complaining about how bad they’ve got it. Any resident I talked to for more than five minutes starting ranting about crime, gangs, natural disasters, health care, and, above all, “illegals.” And these same issues dominate every newscast and the front page of every newspaper. If things were as bad as Angenelos keep telling me, they wouldn’t have attractive exit options. Their homes would be worth peanuts. They couldn’t afford to sell their homes and move somewhere good. My argument, rather, is: “The fact that you stay, despite your enormous real estate values, shows that you do like it in L.A. Most people in this country would be happy to trade places with you. So stop complaining and appreciate what you have.”-Bryan Caplan, Econlog

“It is conventional among economists to be polite, to assume that economic fallacy is solely the result of intellectual error. But there are times when decorousness is seriously misleading, or, as Oscar Wilde once wrote, “when speaking one’s mind becomes more than a duty; it becomes a positive pleasure.” For if proponents of the higher minimum wage were simply wrongheaded people of good will, they would not stop at $3 or $4 an hour, but indeed would pursue their dimwit logic into the stratosphere. The fact is that they have always been shrewd enough to stop their minimum wage demands at the point where only marginal workers are affected, and where there is no danger of disemploying, for example, white adult male workers with union seniority. When we see that the most ardent advocates of the minimum wage law have been the AFL-CIO, and that the concrete effect of the minimum wage laws has been to cripple the low-wage competition of the marginal workers as against higher-wage workers with union seniority, the true motivation of the agitation for the minimum wage becomes apparent.”-Murray Rothbard, Making Economic Sense

Nathaniel and Barbara Braden were Ayn Rand’s closest followers.  Nathaniel began an affair with Rand, and Barbara consented, even though Barbara hated the idea from the start and Nathaniel quickly lost interest in his aging mistress. Rand and Nathaniel had to pretend that Nathaniel was attracted to Rand.  Their spouses had to pretend that they weren’t jealous.  Rand and Nathaniel had to pretend that they believed that their spouses weren’t jealous.  The more they tried to talk themselves into having feelings contrary to human nature, the worse they felt.  Nathaniel coped not by admitting error, but by finding a mistress and lying to cover it up.  Since Rand had already ruled out the obvious explanation for Nathaniel’s behavior, she went on a wild goose chase to find the “real” explanation. It’s a story of scary contrasts between theory and reality.  The most striking: Rand and her closest followers were supposed to be amazingly happy because of their uniquely rational philosophy, but in practice they were openly angry and secretly miserable.-Bryan Caplan, Econlog

If people really could stop caring about other people’s opinions, Rand’s counter-culture never would have gotten off the ground.   Within five minutes, prospective members would have adamantly disagreed with Rand about something or other, and she would have purged them.  Her counter-culture took root precisely because even avowed individualists will feign agreement in order to fit in.Bryan Caplan, Econlog

Upshot: The power of real deception – outright lies – is easy for even us nerds to understand.Eliezer Yudkowsky, Lesswrong

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