Ideas for Orthogonal Politics

Towards the development of a science-guided Orthagonal Party Platform

Orthogonal Politics: pulling the tug-o’-war rope in a third direction, aiming to avoid directions where anyone is currently pulling exactly opposite you.


(note: please taboo all extant political parties/figures/platforms and discuss only specific issues and their merits. The point is to develop well-founded empirical evidence-based opinions on under-discussed issues.)


Priorities – largely Fun theory based re: Eliezer Yudkowsky               

( )


  1. Survival of sapient society – reduction of extinction risk
    1. Generally speaking, I prefer a universe with sapient minds in it to one without, even if this entails more sapient suffering than would occur in a universe without.
  2. Alleviation/prevention of sapient suffering
    1. Good lives > poor lives.
    2. Effective Altruism, planning and working to avoid dystopian situations )
    3. Avoiding Repugnant Conclusion from following only Priority 1 (many sapient minds with lives only barely worth living)
  3. Scientific Progress / Exploration
    1. seeking knowledge and satisfying curiosity as a fundamental moral goal, as part of living good lives.
  4. Sustainability / Sustainable Growth
    1. Growth supports 1 & 3, and doing it wisely supports 2, but can also be considered a goal in and of itself.  I prefer a future with a mostly populated galaxy/galactic cluster to a mostly unpopulated one. More minds living good lives > fewer minds living good lives.
    2. transition to longer term, less polluting power sources: first fission, later fusion
    3. try to avoid growing at too fast a rate, past capacity to develop physical/social/political infrastructure to support the growth
  1.  Application / Realization
  1. Some sort of minimal framework overarching government/agreement/contract with these principles as outlined by Scott Alexander?
  2. unwarranted force prevention / penalization



  1. Is this too much for the most basic overarching framework? Not enough?
  2. What sort of enforcement? Taxation? How to deal with violations? How to define violations?


Plank 1: More public funding for fission research.

-Focusing on reducing externalities (cost of structures, risks, danger and quantity of waste produced, cost of storing/disposing of waste, inefficiency of delivery)

Premise: Although it is theoretically possible to substantially redesign fission reactors to have decreased externalities and possibly to harness fuels like thorium, relatively little public research has been done on this issue.

Premise: Fossil fuels are limited and have many pollution issues (esp. air pollution leading to lung cancer downwind, and global warming contributions), and have better uses to which they can be put (e.g. synthesizing plastic)

Premise: much funding and scientific effort has gone into Fusion research with no pay off so far, making it seem like a dead-end for at least the near future (until some significant breakthrough in physics, or development of large expensive space-based facilities).

Premise: Wind and solar have drawbacks and do not seem to offer a sufficient supply of power for humanity given costs of production, rare elements required that are in limited supply, etc. and given the assumption of substantially growing power-needs in a well-developed future world (e.g. all nations being 1st world nations).


Plank 2: Pre-registration of all publicly funded scientific studies

Premise: The scientific benefits would be huge: p-hacking is currently a really problematic issue in the life sciences (biology/neuroscience/psychology) and can most effectively be addressed by requiring scientists to preregister planned experiments (with and report their findings whether positive or negative instead of only when positive. Negative reports could be shorter in length, and need not be published in a specific journal, but must be publically available, precisely describe methods used, and be web-searchable so that meta-analyses may use them.

Premise: The additional costs of this policy would be small, as would the additional burden on scientists.


Plank 3: More public funding (direct support and medical research emphasis) for early-development humans (pre-conception to age 4 or 5).

Premise: Average IQ and average mental health are very important factors for the well-being / success of a society.

Hive Mind: How Your Nation’s IQ Matters So Much More Than Your Own

by Garett Jones  Link:

Premise: Based on the current scientific understanding of human brain development, factors such as the health of the originating eggs and sperm, the womb environment, and the social/physical environment early developmental years are vastly disproportionately important for the eventual maximization of IQ and mental health potential of the resulting human (within the potentials/limitations of their genes).

Premise: Funding for improvement of health/intelligence/well-being of people in society should be distributed where it can be expected to have maximal effect, and thus the bulk of the research and monetary focus should be on at-risk fetuses and infants rather than elementary-school-age children, teenagers, or adults.


Plank 4: All political debates should have politically-neutral subtitles describing argumentative fallacies and fact-checking all factual statements (expressed or implied). For example: Clearer thinking’s subtitling of the debates.!the-2016-presidential-debates–subtitled/wt7g0


Plank 5: Build Lunar colony, then asteroid colony and mars colony


Plank 6: Effective altruism advancement


Comments copied from SSC

Vaniver says:

November 25, 2015 at 11:55 am

Plank 1: More public funding for fission research.

Fission research? What we really need is the moral / legal authority to incentivize fission plants correctly relative to coal plants (i.e. tax coal plants correctly for their exhaust, and I’m not talking about the carbon component). Right now fission’s externalities are correctly priced but other power production isn’t (and thus is implicitly subsidized).

That is, yes, we could have even nicer fission plants. But we could also have even nicer coal plants. We need to cut at the root of the problem and correct distortions that make coal look better than fission, at which point research into superior fission will happen naturally.

Plank 4: All political debates should have politically-neutral subtitles describing argumentative fallacies and fact-checking all factual statements (expressed or implied).

This does not seem safe to trust the government to do.

  • science says:
  • November 25, 2015 at 1:02 pm
  • The situation around insurance for fission plants makes me quibble with your externalities are priced correctly point. Ditto for waste disposal and decommissioning generally.
  • Agreed though that the situation with coal is far worse.
  • Neurno says:
  • November 25, 2015 at 3:03 pm
  • I’m in agreement that changing the unfair coal/gas incentives to make nuclear be less unequally persecuted would also be a good solution. I just thought that that would be harder to get past the fossil fuel private interest groups. I figured public funding for fission research would be less controversial because it lowers barriers to nuclear development (i.e. the research has been done to reduce the externalities) without triggering the NIMBY backlash that has been such a problem for nuclear power (because nonspecific to location) or triggering significant opposition from the fossil fuel lobby.
  • As to plank 4: good point. Still, it might be possible to have some different branch of government oversee it?

Mark Atwood says:

November 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Plank 5: all issuance of financial instruments (stock IPOs, bond issues, treasury sales, etc) will be done via a public reverse dutch auction, open to everyone who can scratch together the cash to cover their advance bid, managed by a TTP who gets paid a flat fee for doing it.

Plank 6: all corporations/501cXs must publish their full cash accounting, and every complete tax return in every jurisdiction they file in, in addition to current pile of lies they currently publish as GAAP/SarbOx/etc/crap.

Plank 6a: the only legal records retention policy for a corporations/501cXs is “all records must be retained. forever.” Storage is cheap.

Plank 7: all law, rulemaking, court filing, decree, judgement, regulation must be published as a push to a DVCS with hash based integrity chains, with full actual human authorship attribution (e.g. which clerk or lobbyist actually wrote the words, and who they worked for at the time) attached to every single line of text.

Plank 8: there shall be a private right of action for perjury, which will not be tried in the same court that the perjury is alleged to have occurred.

Plank 8a: “Qualified Immunity” is gone. It has no original basis. It was something made up from scratch by friend-of-cop prosecutors, and then upheld by judges who used to be those prosecutors.

Plank 9: “Orphan works” shall enter the public domain. Copyright can only be maintained by someone other than the original creator only by paying an annual filing fee, which increases by 50% each year.

Plank 9a: improperly filing a DMCA takedown will be punished with a *mandatory* fine equal to the three times maximum penalty for the copyright infringement claimed, and the fine is split three ways between the poster of the content that was taken down, the service provider that was hosting it, and the court that ruled on it.

Plank 10: If a device has a connector, plug, socket, interface, or API, or modulates, transmits, receives, or stores any analog signal or binary bitstream over any medium, it may not be sold unless the complete specification of such interfaces or signals is made publicly and freely available.

Yes, I know that all of these are politically impossible, and I know why they are. And I firmly believe that the people who would oppose this, and both their stated and their actual reasons for opposing it, are at least 3/4s of what is wrong with everything.


  • Neurno says:
  • November 25, 2015 at 3:14 pm
  • Thanks for contributing! I think in a throwing-around-ideas context like this there’s no reason to censor oneself based on imagined political feasibility of good ideas. I’m now going to research the concepts you’ve referenced that I don’t understand yet to see if I agree.
  • Planks 6,6a,9: I’ve had similar thoughts and I’m in agreement!
  • Plank 9a: nice addition to 9! Hadn’t occurred to me before, but I like it. And seems a fitting general principle for dealing with assumably-deliberate false accusations of fine-worthy crimes.

Deiseach says:

November 25, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Plank 6a: the only legal records retention policy for a corporations/501cXs is “all records must be retained. forever.” Storage is cheap.

Not when it’s “typed out on a manual typewriter and carbon copy with actual carbon paper” from thirty-forty years ago, it isn’t. Our council archivist is currently tearing out her hair because of all the files shoved into boxes and landed in to her for archiving after the amalgamation and musical chairs type change of departments and bodies in the council.

We have a lot of stuff on paper in physical files and if by “storage is cheap”, you mean something like “everything digitised and in the cloud” then some poor bugger is going to have to sit down and digitise forty years’ worth of records, which is not going to be fast, cheap or easy.

Even today not everything is done online, though that will change in future (even a dinosaur like myself can recognise that).

A new startup that is only in existence six months? Yeah, everything is digital.

A long-established law firm, bank or other entity? Decades’ worth of paper that you can’t just dump because there’s deeds, wills, contracts, etc. there.

Plank 9: “Orphan works” shall enter the public domain. Copyright can only be maintained by someone other than the original creator only by paying an annual filing fee, which increases by 50% each year.

What about if the original creator wants to sign over one of their works to another party for charitable purposes, like J.M. Barry did with Peter Pan and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital?

Under Plank 9, I could see all the profits being eaten up by filing fees instead of going to charitable purposes.

And of course, that would mean no barrier to making “Tinkerbell Does Neverland” type movies and books (though that probably isn’t a barrier now either)

    • The Nybbler says:
    • November 25, 2015 at 3:58 pm
    • To plank 6a: Storage is cheap. Lawsuits aren’t. Someone — an actual person or persons — is going to have to go through all those records to see if they are relevant during the discovery phase of every lawsuit. That gets real expensive real fast, and is one of the reasons for retention policies.
      • Mark Atwood says:
      • November 25, 2015 at 4:36 pm
      • one of the reasons for retention policies
      • Bullcrap. Discovery orders do not have to go back to the beginning of time, just back to the beginning of the action being litigated.
      • My own personal and lived experience watching retention policies get newly mandated into organizations, or watching existing retention policies get tightened down, is they *always* come after someone got caught redhanded via their own records, and so decide to avoid having that ever happen again by preemptively committing “destruction of evidence”.
    • Chalid says:
    • November 25, 2015 at 5:37 pm
    • 6 would mean disclosing all kinds of proprietary/competitive data and would put any such corporation at a big disadvantage.
    • Haltingthoughts says:
    • November 25, 2015 at 11:08 pm ~new~
    • Excellent proposals.
    • There was a PDF from a retired judge had a very good treatment of issues with criminal justice, not sure where it went.
    • Plank 8b: in lieu of a improper prosecution suit or a lack of one there is a private right of criminal charges.
    • Plank 8c: experts providing instruction relevant to interpretation of evidence shall be permitted. (Oftentimes calling experts on Bayesian reasoning for evidence are not allowed)
    • Plank 8d: what can be done about sovereign immunity?
    • Plank 8e: relax standing requirements for at least constitutional challenges if not more.
    • Plank 8f: require discovery of all evidence and prosecute those not adhering to it.
    • Plank 8g: require courts to decide all required questions. (It is crazy that sexual orientation has not been clearly defined as a suspect class yet).
    • Murphy says:
    • November 26, 2015 at 7:57 am ~new~
    • Hmm. My problem with 6a is that it get’s more and more expensive over time and storage is only cheap on the small scale. Your little 4 TB drive is cheap. A multi-petabyte array in a datacentre is not cheap at all.
    • There are companies that are hundreds of years old. They get put at a significant competitive disadvantage.
    • What about file formats and readers? There’s archive material from the 70’s which is incredibly hard to read nowadays because the machines to read it are mostly gone. Does a company have to spend a fortune every 15 years on copying all their backup tapes to newer formats?
    • What about backups? If a company has 2 copies of tapes from 70 years ago archived in separate locations and one burns down do they then have to spend a fortune reading and copying all that old archive data to make a new second backup location.
    • I agree that the current 7 years or similar is far too short for many things but I’m not sure “forever” is practical either.
      • Neurno says:
      • November 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm ~new~
      • Hmm, but if the data is properly compressed/simplified (i.e. text files not PDFs), then storage of data of the same scope as pre-digital data shouldn’t be a problem. I mean, there’s room for entire libraries worth of compressed text data on the little 8gb flash memory chip I carry on my keychain…. I think you may be getting thrown off by the fact that digital data has allowed companies to store far more total information than they ever did on dead tree media.
  • Chalid says:
  • November 25, 2015 at 11:43 pm ~new~
  • Most of the standard boring good-government checklist ought to apply here. Tax reform and simplification, more high-skill immigration, reform social programs to minimize disincentives, reduce corporate/agricultural subsidies including tax expenditures, roll back the drug war’s worst excesses, patent reform, etc.
  • More rationality-oriented additions might be issuing prizes instead of patents, encouragement of predictions markets, and increased funding for basic research.
    • Neurno says:
    • November 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm ~new~
    • Yes, those seem like worthy but boring additions. I guiltily confess I was hoping for more new/weird/exciting ideas.
    • I like the prizes instead of parents idea. I’d heard of it in context of chasing specific scientific or engineering goals, but not yet heard of it suggested as a complete replacement for the faulty patent system.
    • I had also wanted to say something about encouragement of prediction markets and/or their incorporation into political governance, but found myself stumbling over the details every time I tried to imagine the specifics.
      • Psmith says:
      • November 27, 2015 at 3:14 pm ~new~
      • “I guiltily confess I was hoping for more new/weird/exciting ideas.”
      • Vote on values, bet on beliefs!



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