All of Matthew Yglesias's Comments + Replies

Yglesias on EA and politics

This is also just an example of how growing and diversifying the EA funding base can be useful even if EA is not on the whole funding constrained ... a longtermist superpac that raised $1 million each from 12 different rich guys who got rich in different ways would arguably be more credible than one with a single donor. 

2Richard Y Chappell1mo
Done, thanks!
How many people have heard of effective altruism?

Similarly, I’d heard of Peter Singer as a result of campus controversies over his (alleged) views on disability long before I heard anything else about him. But it was actually learning about that controversy that prompted me to go see him speak some time in 2001 or so and I was surprised by what I heard.

Should U.S. donors give to an EA-focused PAC like Guarding Against Pandemics instead of individual campaigns?

Candidates for office, by law, get a more favorable rate on TV ads than superpacs do.

So up to the legal limit, a direct donation to a candidate is more valuable.

My understand is that this is different (maybe a PAC rather than super PAC?) and that, the way it is setup, it actually donates directly to the candidates, but is limited to $5000 per candidate, and $5000 per person donating to GAP.
Most students who would agree with EA ideas haven't heard of EA yet (results of a large-scale survey)

The first obvious answer is that most students simply haven’t been reached yet. If true, we may need to massively boost (high-quality) student outreach, making sure that every student who could be sympathetic towards EA ideas finds out about EA.

This is my bias as a media guy, but to me this survey actually suggests the opposite of the need to "massively boost (high-quality) student outreach" — if there is a large bloc of students who are sympathetic to EA but have never heard of it, what's needed is really just greater prominence in mass media. If you just... (read more)

2Chris Leong2mo
I don't really know anyone who got into EA after reading a newspaper article and from what I've heard this matches other people's experience.
Some potential lessons from Carrick’s Congressional bid

This is an excellent post, one slightly subtle point about the political dynamics that I think it misses is the circumstances around BoldPAC's investment in Salinas. 

BoldPAC is the superpac for Hispanic House Democrats. It happens to be the case that in the 2022 election cycle there is a Hispanic state legislator (Andrea Salinas) living in a blue-leaning open US House of Representatives  seat. It also happens to be the case that given the ups and downs of the political cycle, this is the only viable opportunity to add a Hispanic Democrat to the c... (read more)

Where to even start here? Nearly every fact in this post is wrong, the interpretation of events is backwards, and the conclusion is contrarian, wrong and frankly fairly ugly.

It's not a heavily Hispanic area or anything

OR-6 contains the most populated areas of three counties in western OR with the highest Hispanic populations (map from wikipedia). It also contains towns like Woodburn, which is 57% Hispanic or Latino.

By the way, Rep. Salinas and Rep. Leon are actually both Latina, and I believe both are the children of immigrant farm workers. That's a su... (read more)

6N N2mo
This is a great comment, you may want to consider making it a top level post on the forum so more people will see it.
3Charles He2mo
Thoughts: 1. Your writing is really good! Wow! 2. Almost none of this seems like secret info or hard to find. It seems like EAs could have been informed about the potential collision of the seat value to the relevant Hispanic movement. It seems healthier to discuss this during the campaign (and still proceed relentlessly). By the way, I suspect some of the absence of discussion and problematic norms around the past campaign is the ultimate result of defective discourse—where criticism of low quality is normalized. EAs are aware of this defect and as a result, when it matters, EAs don’t trust discourse on actual things that matter. Even if this suspicion was partly true, that would be really bad once you stop to think about it. 3. You support many candidates because you point out idiosyncrasies specific to each contest are large, which makes sense. So, isn’t there about 3 other EA candidates running? Should we talk about those?
Sort forum posts by: Occlumency (Old & Upvoted)

I share this "outdated, rather than foundational" concern. I think it is possible that what is really called for here is human editorial attention rather than algorithms and sorting tools. Someone or someones to read through tons of old stuff and make some Best Of collections. 

Experimental fine-tuning might be in order. But even without it, Occlumency has a different set of problems to Magic (New & Upvoted), so the option value is probably good. As for outdated post, there could be an "outdated" tag that anyone can add to posts and vote down or up. And anyone who uses it should be encouraged to link to the reason the post is outdated in the comments. Do you have any posts in mind?
The biggest risk of free-spending EA is not optics or motivated cognition, but grift

The flip side is that grift can be an opportunity. Suppose a bunch of members of congress decide EA donors are easy marks and they can get a bunch of money in exchange for backing some weird pandemic prevention bill they don’t even slightly care about or believe in. Well then the bill passes and that’s a good outcome.

Since someone just commented privately to me with this confusion, I will state for the record that this commenter seems likely to be impersonating Matt Yglesias, who already has an EA Forum account with the username "Matthew Yglesias." (EDIT: apparently it actually is the same Matt with a different account!) (Object-level response: I endorse Larks' reply.)

That seems like a quite distinct case than what Ben is worrying about - more like a standard commercial interaction, 'buying' pandemic prevention. If I buy a pizza, it makes little difference to me if the cashier is deeply aligned with my dietary and health objectives - all I care about is that he got the toppings right. It is not from the benevolence of the pizza guy that we expect our dinner, but from his regard to his own interest. I think grift would be more like a politician writing a speech to cater to EA donors and then voting for exactly the same things they intended to anyway.

2Harrison Durland2mo
Glib grift can grease good gifts
If you had an hour with a political leader, what would you focus on?

Agree that the Guarding Against Pandemics prevention policies are probably the most constructive thing to push. If you're talking to a Republican who's disinclined to spend money, tell them they should pay for it by clawing-back unspent state Covid relief funds. 

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

I would just add to this that it’s worth taking a few minutes to really think if there is anyone you might possibly know who lives in the district — or even a second-degree connection like a friend’s sister who you’ve never met. “Relational” communications are much more high-impact than calling strangers if it’s at all possible to find someone you have any connection with.

If you're wondering who you might know in Oregon, you can search your Facebook friends by location:

Search for Oregon (or Salem) in the normal FB search bar, then go to People. You can also select to see "Friends of Friends".

I assume that will miss a few, so it's probably worth also actively thinking about your network, but this is probably a good low-effort first start.

Edit: Actually they need to live in district 6. The biggest city in that district is Salem as far as I can tell. Here's a map.

Why Helping the Flynn Campaign is especially useful right now

These days campaigns can use late money thanks to digital ad opportunities