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Almost all arguments will ultimately rely on some form of appeal to authority. If rationalists are disappointed by the insubstantiality of their own appeals, perhaps they should consider a philosophy that vindicates appeals to authority more rigorously.
Whether it be due to excessively tight deadlines, poor-quality cadets, ideological echo chambers, or just plain-old laziness, there’s very little case to be made that The Discourse in the media accurately reflects reality in any real sense.
If we want to say “it is immoral to try and influence people’s preferences because [insert boringly stupid Rawlsian reason here]”, then we should just say that, not pretend that the problem is far harder to solve than it actually is because we’ve restricted ourselves to assuming that everyone’s preference relation is purely self-interested and we just have to fix incentives to counter that.
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