Red or Blue

On August 13, a viral and divisive poll was made on Twitter:

Many intellectuals took the red side; some were dismayed or even disillusioned with humanity because so many people chose “the wrong color,” blue.

Arguments for red’s side seemed to range from “If everybody picked red, everybody would live” to “Red is the correct choice according to game theory” to “It’s not worth risking my life to save those who were too stupid to save themselves.”

To me, the obvious choice was blue. I wrote up a tweet thread explaining my position, and, me being the genius that I am, it elegantly captured the essence of the “blue” phenomenon while exposing the fundamental weaknesses of “red’s” various rationales. Here’s the contents of the thread:

Here’s my thread on why picking blue is right and picking red is wrong (or at least less right).

I’m not convinced that picking blue is in any way an imperfect decision. You know that a lot of people will pick blue (for whatever reasons), and you don’t want them to die (whether their decisions were imperfect or not), so you (altruistically) pick blue at your own risk to help increase the chances of saving everyone. Is that imperfect? No, it’s conscientiously inclusive. What about all the people who picked blue that you’re trying to save? Did they pick it imperfectly? Not necessarily, most of them probably picked it for the exact same reason you did, which we’ve just established wasn’t imperfect! So, even if you argue that it’s imperfect to try to save people who are too imperfect to save themselves (which is obviously debatable; everyone’s imperfect in some way after all, and tolerance/acceptance/forgiveness/grace and and accommodation are virtuous things and make for a better society), it doesn’t apply because they weren’t imperfect to begin with! In fact, they’re more perfect than the red pillers because they’re less selfish.

It’s true that this logic implies the whole “problem” of many people picking blue is circular/self-created, but so what? It still makes perfect sense from the *individual’s* standpoint, as argued above, and it’s only individuals who are making the decision! And the whole ouroboric phenomenon is a beautiful expression of human compassion AND mutual trust, particularly trust in each other’s compassion!

As for the arguments for red I haven’t already covered, it doesn’t matter that it’s not the correct choice according to game theory, as that’s only because most game theory models assume all agents are 100% selfish. And there’s no reason to bring game theory into it anyway. The logistics of the game and the consequences of choosing are immanently obvious. The only questions are ones of the nature of the average human mind (i.e., what are the chances >50% of people will vote blue?). It’s kind of like playing the stock market in that respect, in that everyone who’s playing (or at least, everyone who would consider voting blue) is betting on what everyone else who’s playing would likely do.

The other argument I tend to see is that “if everybody voted red, everybody would live,” but that’s wholly irrelevant because most people know damn well that many people won’t pick red. (You could argue that this means the people who picked blue are mistaken, and it’s not worth saving people who mistakenly wouldn’t save themselves, but that’s not true either as I’ve already shown why they’re not mistaken. Not everybody picked red because people know that some people will pick blue because they know that some people will pick blue because they know that some people will pick blue, etc. etc. It simply is what it is. (See the earlier comment regarding the beauty of the ouroboros).

For whatever it’s worth.

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