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Appearance is never worth sacrificing one's integrity for.

Date: 2020-07-15

background: Flux is a political movement aiming to introduce new ideas to politics and use those ideas to build better democracies.

Appearance is never worth sacrificing one’s integrity for.

Appearance matters because it is taken as an honest indicator. Animals use honest indicators to signal the quality of their genes. This works well for non-human animals because looking good is hard to fake. To some extent this is true for humans too, but people are creative and know how to fake it.

The best thinkers know appearance can be misleading, and they have more skill judging ideas than other people. When judging ideas, one important factor is judging an idea’s content above its source or appearance.

Democracy is an old idea, and the stable systems of democracy that exist today have traditions and knowledge which enable their stability and persistence. Many thinkers over the past few centuries have failed to come up with significantly better ideas about how to do democracy. For us (Flux) to claim that Flux and IBDD are better than the stable systems of today requires us to also claim we have made a breakthrough where many others have failed. That means we must have some exceptionally high quality ideas.

Lots of Flux’s ideas don’t have to be exceptionally high quality, like our ideas about how to do social media well. In fact, most of our ideas, like what to say in this newsletter, or how to try pitching the party in the next interview; those ideas don’t need to be exceptionally high quality all the time. However, when we catch the eye of an exceptional thinker, they will look for substance. It’s better for us if they think we have good ideas, so we need to be ready for those moments.

Integrity is a much better honest indicator than appearance. Appearance can be changed by ideas that aren’t deeply connected to one’s goals, but our principles must be deeply connected to our goals. For us, as a party, to have integrity means we must be principled and be honest to those principles. Good principles don’t need to be compromised, ever. If we compromise our principles we’re acknowledging that they aren’t good enough. Our principles, goals, and ideas about democracy are deeply connected, so to compromise our principles is to admit our ideas are not of exceptional quality.

We (Flux: the party, the movement, the people) claim to bring a serious alternative to representative democracy in the form of ideas. Some people will be able to judge these ideas already. Other people won’t, so they need some short-cut like an honest indicator. If we prioritise an indicator like appearance over integrity we risk compromising our principles. If we do that, some people might think better of us, but the best thinkers will see we’ve compromised our integrity.

To put our appearance above our integrity is to put short-term reward above long-term honesty. If we claim our ideas are enduring, then our integrity must be enduring. Our honesty must be enduring. And that is why our integrity should never be sacrificed for the sake of our appearance.

Some future post topics:

  • principles of Flux
  • initial limits on IBDD: criminal code (sans single-party crimes), electoral law
  • electoral cycles reward the dishonest because they are carrots on short sticks, but good democracy needs bigger carrots on longer sticks.

notes from tutorial #15 (2020-07-17)

  • appearance is ambiguous
  • animals and evolution introduced, but why and not connected to topic
  • decent number of dishonest indicators
    • peacocks tail, waste of resources
  • so paragraph 1 is unclear, what was better to say?
  • indicator for what?
    • social skill dishonest indicator of financial success
    • indicators can be honest/dishonest based on perspective
  • appearance is data - need explanation about person - so it is part of judging part of ideas, esp depending on goal of the judging; “above” sounds like weighting factors
    • theory laden; explanation must say why it’s relevant
  • contradictory to later
  • claiming exceptional - proof of work ; something easier to start with, 12:57pm
  • prior to politics: political philosophy

  • integrity means more than principles
  • controversial or unclear idea for ppl generally so should talk about principles more explicitly even tho they’re mentioned in the definition of integrity
  • clash between both not explained, why would we sacrifice one to the other
    • unexplained appearance (1:04pm)

seemed incomplete, unstructured, exploratory, not good at communicating core idea

next time:

  • for every para I write, make a tree for paragraph (after an editing pass)
    • satisfy by normal methods
    • use tree to look for issues / opportunities
  • what rule about good writing am i violating and how to fix, did I succeed
  • write out 2+ ways in case of intuition, can compare, then do I have explicit crits at that stage?

  • leave alone if there isn’t a clear problem
    • fast and loose, don’t sweat details
  • more structured writing has more explicit goals so easier to know if it meets goals / violates goals

  • why not getting attention for the things we do want to say (1:17pm)

maybe audience has bigger problems - no one paying attention

  • isn’t this like life and EC in general?
  • more of a role for political commentators etc?
    • their goal is social climbing or similar things, EC not appealing
  • better EC in govt against interest of ppl in power

  • less relevant who’s in power – better systems do this; less arbitrary control; better ideas win on their own as opposed to needing political support
    • ppl lose motivation to become the leader
  • no specific goal -> intuition based writing -> based on generic audience -> harder to optimise because goals aren’t explicit

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