I noticed recently that I usually don’t think of thoughts which I’m not going to be able to say for political correctness reasons. Occasionally when I talk to people who don’t care about offending progressives, they say really insightful things which I would never have thought of on my own, because my brain just blocks those thoughts out before I can think them.

This is annoying, because I’d rather think of things like that and not say them publicly than not think of them at all.

I think the main cause of this is that I do a lot of my thinking while talking to people about things, and if certain kinds of discussion are stifled, I don’t get practice thinking about them.

This has a few implications. Firstly, it means that efforts to stifle offensive thoughts concern me somewhat more than they did previously, because I am more concerned that restricting speech restricts thoughts. Secondly, it makes me think more that private spaces for conversations are important. Third, it makes me really glad for circle-jerking EAs who are privately enjoy biting bullets and saying purposefully controversial things—I’d previously thought of that as harmless fun, but now I think that it might have the important function of countering the natural push towards orthodoxy.

view comments on Facebook