This post is meant to ask the question, "Where is the Voice of EA?"
The phrase "non-conforming conformist" was first used by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in his 1887 book, Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche argued that such people are those who think for themselves and are not afraid to challenge the status quo. He believed that those who reject the desires and beliefs of the majority can be powerful forces for progress and social change.
Furthermore, Nietzsche believed that non-conforming conformists were not only beneficial to society, but also necessary for the development of individual growth and freedom. He argued that a society that only accepted conformity would be oppressive and stagnant, while a society that embraced the freedom to think and act outside of the mainstream would be a vibrant and dynamic one.
Effective Altruism (EA) was originally a non-conforming conformism due to its dedication to pursuing the most effective solutions to global problems. By challenging existing beliefs and conventions, EA sought to find the best solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, regardless of whether they line up with popular opinion or not. By encouraging individuals to think for themselves and challenge the status quo, EA is able to promote progress and bring about real change in the world.
However, the recent events following Bostroms email show that EA individuals lack the personal effort and urgency to respond to pressing issues. For instance, this problem is clearly a long-termism problem, ie. will Black people in the long-term future be harmed by reading the statements by Sir Bostrom. I see a lot of bias in explaining away the emails, the lack of pushback and voice on the issue. For context, the tweet by Anders has 2.1M views, most of the engagement coming from people outside EA. The question is, where are all the EAs, to defend or reflect on the issue. This happened with FTX as well. I wonder what is causing the silence in this situations.
Recently, EA has seemingly become more conformist as it has grown in popularity. As EA has become more mainstream, it has become easier for people to conform to the existing beliefs and practices of the movement. Is it the fear of being scape-goats, people would rather keep their strong beliefs to themselves. I see sometimes why no one might want to challenge some of these strong held beliefs as they are backed by the best experts, for example I have seen many times where I asked bio-security experts about the natural double-sided sword of permafrosts, and it was either never thought about or dismissed (this obviously has both bio-engineered diseases problem and the climate existential side). Permafrosts account for 4x more CO2 emissions that the whole human industrial complex but also previously caused Anthrax. What surprised me was the surprise on people's face whenever a challenge to cause-prioritisation is mentioned.
Voice, Loyalty and Exit
Voice refers to the ability to express dissent from existing beliefs and to challenge the status quo. Exit, on the other hand, is the ability to leave a situation or organization if one disagrees with its beliefs and practices. Loyalty is the willingness to stay and work to change the system from within. Non-conforming conformists have the ability to exercise all three of these options, depending on the situation. But I see that EA is filled more with Loyal servants that can look to change the system from within, look the other way un-armoured to leave or voice their opinions.
The Forums Dilemma
I describe The Forums Dilemma as a phenomenon that occurs when a community is formed by a certain group-think, and tends to condone certain ideals while rejecting or ignoring others. This can lead to a situation in which dissenting opinions and alternative perspectives are suppressed, and members of the community are discouraged from challenging the status quo. This can lead to an atmosphere of conformity, in which it is difficult for individuals to express their own ideas and beliefs.
This effect might be also due to the forum bias, comments on EA forum are unlikely to be from an outsider of the EA movement. This means that posting anything varied will likely get downvoted by who knows who. This is similar to The Forums Dilemma on Hackernews : quality posts get upvoted, YC related posts are likely to be on the main page, friends of HN are likely to have front page privileges as well.