Below are some ideas that many people, including me, would at first glance consider ridiculous or evil. However, I think a strong argument could be made for all of them – and that at least some might be true. I’ve tried to give the strongest version of each position, so in some cases there are a lot of qualifications and nuances. However, I am not trying to give a detailed argument in support of any of these positions here – simply to list them.
I’ve deliberately attempted to come up with ideas that I personally find distasteful in some way and which are unpopular among people with similar options to mine. I hold a lot of opinions that are unpopular in the general population but basically par for the course in my particular social circles (e.g. open borders). If you’re trying to get an idea of what I’m like and whether I’m a good person, this is not what you should read.
By the way, I wrote this just before Paul Graham came out with an essay about “heresy,” which I didn’t read and don’t plan to. Paul Graham is a rich, pretentious asshole; if you’re trying to place me somewhere in your internal map of concept-space, I hope you’ll put me somewhere on the opposite side from him. It was not from him, but from Dynomight that I got the idea for this post.
Everything here is uncomfortable in some way, but I’ve put click-to-show content warnings on what I think are the most so, all of which are at the end.
While college should be free, fewer people should go – those who aren’t interested in schooling should go directly to what they want to do in life, and shouldn’t be at a disadvantage in employment etc. compared to those who went college. It should be illegal for employers to ask if and where you went to college. They should be able to ask about things you’ve done: projects you worked on, essays you wrote, books you read – which hopefully you’d have good answers to if you went to college – but they should not be allowed to ask about college directly.
Most people live lives that are worse than not existing at all.
Random people on the internet often have better information than is available in peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Most cool-looking sites on Neocities have little or no actual content, are unoriginal in design, and are not worth visiting, except perhaps to provide encouragement to newbies.
While free-verse poetry is a legitimate form of art, most free-verse poems today would be improved if they had a fixed structure.
Visual artists who grew up with photographs, anime, and YouTube produce much better art than artists of the past. The average student at a decent art school today is able to outdo the old masters – they aren’t more talented, but they make better art on account of the opportunities available to them.
Unix is a terrible design for a modern OS. Structured data is superior to text as interchange format, and the shell could be much better as a scripting language without sacrificing quality as an interface to the OS. The user-based permission system is totally inappropriate for a single-user system and hard to manage correctly even on a multi-user system. X11 is janky, and Wayland is unusable currently unless you like tiling window managers or Gnome.
Utilitarianism is true, but utilitarians are prone to developing extremely harmful opinions, so it’s better to think like a virtue ethicist or deontologist most of the time.
It is innate to humans to be prejudiced against those who are different. As we get rid of certain prejudices others will appear or become stronger. Catholics and Protestants don’t hate each other as much as they used to, but Democrats and Republicans hate each other a lot more than the once did.
The bluest states in the US are better for trans people than almost anywhere in Europe. They are, however, worse in every other respect.
A Trump victory in 2020 would have been preferable to Biden – it would not have been significantly worse than any other Republican administration, would not succeed in passing most of its legislative agenda, and would lead to almost certain Democratic victory in the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential elections. Meanwhile, Trump would have taken credit for the vaccine and gotten all of his idiot followers to take it, which, regardless of intentions, would have been more beneficial than anything Biden has done. Trump disgraced and de-legitimized the office of the presidency, but a second term would not make that much difference in that respect: we’ll still always be the country that elected Donald Trump.
The US is no more racist than other Western countries. This is not a complement to the US.
There is nothing wrong with global variables.
Imports should go at the bottom of a file
Testosterone causes aggressive behavior, including most violent crime. To reduce these behaviors, the majority of men should be put on T-blockers. We castrate male animals we live with because they’re too dangerous otherwise – it seems like a logical extension to apply this policy to members of our own species.
It should be easier for transfemmes to get estrogen than for transmascs to get testosterone. However, both should be much easier than they are now.
Sexual attraction or love for oneself as a woman is a real phenomenon that’s probably one minor factor among others leading to certain people’s transitions. It’s more common among trans wlw, but also occurs in straight trans women, cis men, and a small number of cis women and trans men.
Transfeminine people are effectively a separate gender in our society; i.e. we are in aggregate about as dissimilar to cis women and men as they are to each other. That is how most people see us on a precognitive level, regardless of their professed opinions about trans issues.
There’s a significant genetic component to who does well in school and who does poorly. Some people will not succeed in certain subjects regardless of how well they are taught. Society’s definition of “intelligence” is too narrow and arbitrarily excludes or undercounts things like artistic and social skills – but it is still meaningful and can be measured to some extent in various tests. It is not the most important attribute a person can have, a measure of their value to society, or the determiner of their right to live a good life. People who succeed in our capitalist system do so mainly because of privileges they received over the course of their life more than because of their intelligence – and it is not desirable in the first place for people to be rewarded for intelligence.
There might be racial/population-level differences in intelligence, but they almost certainly aren’t responsible for the inequality between racial groups in Western countries, and probably don’t correspond to our socially-constructed racial categories. If you define a race to include an entire continent worth of people, or all people with a certain skin color, it’s almost certainly going to be of middling intelligence. Probably the most intelligent groups would be weird sub-populations that interbred a lot and were frequently pressured into intellectual pursuits: e.g. Ashkenazi Jews. You’d also logically expect small, exceptionally intelligent populations to exist in the part of the world with the most genetic diversity: Africa. So if you want society to be ruled by a caste of wise, genetically-gifted Philosopher-Kings, you’ll want to put negroes and Jews in charge of everything.