I recently came across this post on the r/neoliberal subreddit:
Try to sell me on immigration(meaning give me a pro immigration pitch) if I'm a blue collar working class guy who's afraid of someone taking my job for lower pay or my wages going down
I like the format of this request and I’d like to suggest some EA ones in the same format:
Try to sell me on working with large food companies to improve animal welfare, if I’m a vegan abolitionist.
Try to sell me on donating millions of dollars made from crypto trading to the most effective causes, if I’m an environmentalist concerned with the CO2 generated by bitcoin mining.
Try to sell me on donating to the global poor if I live in the developed world and have a very strong sense of responsibility to my family and local community.
Try to sell me on the dangers of AGI if I’m interested in evidence-based ways to reduce global poverty, and think EA should be pumping all its money into bednets and cash transfers.
Try to sell me on the need for strong international governing bodies to reduce existential risk if I’m a libertarian skeptical of large government.
I like the format of these questions (ok they're not strictly questions, but they have an asker and answerer format) for a few reasons:
- They encourage the answerer to imagine a variety of viewpoints they don’t hold, which may change their views on certain issues.
- They encourage the answerer to consider how EA may appear to those outside the movement.
- They encourage the answerer to consider how people in EA or the causes EA is interested in may have very different opinions to one another. This is probably good for fostering positive disagreement within EA.
- They allow the asker to pose the question without seeming as if they hold the viewpoint described. The asker may have heard the concern raised by people with the viewpoints described, but don’t want to seem as if they hold that viewpoint themselves.
- They allow the answerer to address criticism of EA from a very safe, low pressure environment. The hypothetical nature of the questions makes them feel less like severe criticism. This is good practice, for when you do come into a debate with people who hold these views. The fact that you’ve considered the question beforehand, imagined some answers and actively extended your imagination to consider how the person your debating may think, should make the debate more constructive.
I think these kinds of questions could be run on the forum each month. Each month, the top voted question gets a cash prize, and each month, the top voted answer(s) get a cash prize. To think of this another way, we could ask the question "which ideas should we pitch to which kinds of people... and what are the best ways of doing that?"
If you like this idea, feel free to comment on this post with "Try to sell me... if I'm" pitches, or write answers someone else's, or the ones I asked in this post.