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I watched it in full and, oh boy, we may have actually found the worst criticism of EA out there.[1] Honestly, my reaction to watching (or listening while I was doing some house cleaning) was this [spoilers for The Last Jedi ]

I mean, it's honestly laughable of someone to talk about the logic of qualys being used to murder people while they have a print of Mao Zedong hanging behind them almost certainly unironically.

All of this video rests on accepting Marxist historical materialism as correct (I actually think material conditions vs ideas as a driving force of history is an interesting crux here, and I'm more and more convinced of the latter)[2], along with all sorts of unsopported claims and unjustified assumptions. To anyone else thinking about watching it, I honestly believe it's only useful as a case of opposition research, but you won't find anything good faith here that'll be informative or helpful. 

Final remarks:

  1. I'm proud this person is our enemy. If this is the calibre of opponent that EA is getting, we're doing something right, and I maintain we need to be less passive in responding to these kind of criticisms.
  2. The tl;dr of both the video and my comment could be this. How to actually improve the world right now? Well, I think a consensus EA position would say donate to the Against Malaria Foundation, but at the end of his video John says and I quote verbatim "just, I don't know, become a communist already Jesus Christ." I leave which of these options is actually going to make this world better as an exercise for the reader.
  1. ^

    In comparison, I thought Philosophy Tube's video on EA was much better, not just because it was less harsh in tone, but it was just a more accurate treatment of the subject matter

  2. ^

    In the case of Moral Abolition I don't think MacAskill is making original arguments, he's mostly deferring to the work of Christopher Leslie Brown. For more, see here: 

'I mean, it's honestly laughable of someone to talk about the logic of qualys being used to murder people while they have a print of Mao Zedong hanging behind them almost certainly unironically.'

Hypocrisy is not relevant to the validity of a criticism, right? 

From the perspective of cognitive decoupling, then yes - this point in the video is unrelated to the specific claim referenced here.[1]

However, I think some contextualising norms ought to be applied here - I could honestly have picked many different parts of the video to contrast against idolising Mao. I think this paying attention to this context shows that the critique comes from the frame of a worldview that has done - and if it gains influence again will do - immense harms to the world. Thus, I think it is fair to view the video as a whole from a sceptical perspective, rather than an assumption of good faith.

Sometimes the right response to critique isn't a polite research project of separating the good points from the poor ones. While I agree that it's a good ideal to try to rise above conflict theory and argue on the object level, sometimes your interlocutor just wants conflict, and this is one of those cases.

  1. ^

    None of the claims made in that section - which are: 1) QALYs were used to deny disabled people healthcare in the context of COVID-19, 2) This is morally equivalent to murder, 3) The healthcare rationing choice is made because the lives of disabled people (it's not clear whether this is implied to be some or all) is lower than some economic value (it's not made clear whether this is the economic value of giving an alternative person treatment, or a specific threshold), and 4) that this 'murder' is done in the name of cost effectiveness - are evidenced or referenced either in the video or in the bibliography shared on Twitter

If those are the doors, well, I feel like we're pretty doomed. Perhaps there are one or more doors that fix the criticisms both straw people apply to each other.

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