Sunday, April 17, 2016

Slavery is the New Bacon

“We can barely decide whether or not bacon will cause health problems year over year, let alone the more complicated issues like politics and race.”
Matthew T De Goes (screen capture).
“Some people just don’t want a bad person invited to a tech conference, even if their talk was picked by a blind committee, they are peaceful, they reject any type of violence, and they don’t pose a safety threat.”
Personal Thoughts on the LambdaConf Controversy.

The committee was  blind to any favour or discrimination. How can anyone object to our objectivity? The blindfold came off for a bit though and the LambdaConf committee found out some stuff:
“Are these views racist and sexist? Absolutely, since they don’t admit the possibility that, for example, an asian female with no background in computer science might do a better job at “governance” than any white male software engineer. Are these views endorsed by LambdaConf or held by any staff members? Hell, no!”
LambdaConf-Yarvin Controversy: Call for Feedback.

Having a blind submission process, getting people to sign up to a Code of Conduct and conducting a conference held purely on beliefs is a good ideal to aim at. It’s possible that this could’ve worked for LambdaConf.

In contrast though, the LambdaConf organisers went looking into the background of the speaker, emailed other speakers and held a vote and wrote a few blog posts. It shows a lack of confidence in that processes while undermining it at the same time. Maybe a more fully featured open review process would’ve been better.

Blind reviews do nothing for inclusion or diversity and reinforce existing discrimination: “Does double-blind review benefit female authors?” and “Understanding current causes of women’s underrepresentation in science”. It's like waving the checkered flag at the end of a Formula 1 wondering why only rich people are finishing.

The contradiction of LambdaConf is having a conference that touts its diversity and at the same time inviting someone who is against including certain groups of people. Is Yarvin really the best guy for the job — is he even trying? No.  He just doubled down and justified his views.

In that post, he makes it clear that Yarvin and Moldbug are the same person while saying the exact opposite. He’s saying, if you can’t tell the difference between the two, especially after thousands of words, it is you that has the problem not him. Don’t be confused, he’s blaming you — he’s not coming peacefully.

He says he’s not racist but Moldbug might be (and another). He talks about Carlyle, fascism (“no such thing as too much truth, too much justice, or too much order”), people as property (“we agree that he can sell himself into slavery”), and race is intelligence (“current results in human biodiversity”). It’s a regressive set of ideas — even in its own time:
“The alternative to markets was not socialism. There were socialist experiments, but there were no socialist economies. The alternative to market organization was slavery.”
150 Years and Still Dismal!

The purpose of conference is for networking and to learn. It’s a place where people are going to teach children, and single mothers, parents, and anyone else who comes a long. This will make a difference.

The situation is that attendees will be able to see right through his poor disguise. It makes him a terrible teacher and the conference a poorer place at which to learn. The existence of a speaker, publicised in such a way reduces attendees ability to perform — hurting who you’re trying to help.

Bacon is not good for you and there is no slippery slope. You pick who comes to your conference dependent on the size of the out-group you want to create. Racism and slavery is socially engineered injustice — you’re denying people’s humanity and in that way it reduces us all.