The Rules of Society – Rules, Part 1 – Extra Politics – #4

The Rules of Society – Rules, Part 1 – Extra Politics – #4


This is a
no parking sign and it
is broadcasting a rule you might think that that rule
is pretty straightforward You can’t park here? But as any game designer
can tell you that’s not the rule this signs
actually signaling the actual rule
being broadcast is if you park here there is a chance
your car will be towed. You want to know what a real
no parking rule looks like this I mean you can try parking
your car on that, but good luck ! Over the next few episodes
of this show we are going
to talk about rules the building blocks of both gaming
and political systems So,
what are rules ? Well, first of all rules
define terms and conditions the rules
of chess Say that chess is played
on an 8×8 board and that you win by putting
the enemy king in checkmate rules Also tell a player
what they must do and what
they can do a chess player must move a piece
on their turn and the player gets to choose
the piece and decide where it moves to and perhaps most importantly when considering
this in parallel with modern politics is that rules exist
under the assumption of otherwise
normal behavior this idea of otherwise normal behavior as being
an implied part of a games rules is critical For example, there is no explicit rule in chess saying
that you are not allowed to punch your opponent But there is an implied rule Now, if a game requires you
to do something against normal behavior Then that will get
an explicit rule when playing
hide and seek There is an explicit rule that says
that the player counting while everybody hides has to keep their eyes closed and there is not
an explicit rule in chess that says
you are allowed to have your eyes open because having your eyes open
is otherwise normal behavior. When a player
breaks some explicitly written
rule in a game that’s pretty easy
to adjudicate. But when a player breaks
the implied normal behavior part of the rules that can be a little bit trickier to resolve. After all, who gets the final word
on what is normal? Typically a games implied normal behavior rules
are regulated and penalized by society through social penalties. You can’t punch people in chess Fred.
What’s the matter with you? But, this is a much more
complicated issue in politics What happens when
a meaningful portion of society decides that it’s
in their best interest to overlook
social norm violations when that happens functionally it means that this portion
of society is attempting to rewrite the rules and if they succeed before, you know it, punching is allowed in chess. When the norms change, rules change. Now society’s perception
normal behavior is bound to change over time that just naturally happens but when that perception
of normal behavior gets upended mid-game that is bound to cause chaos. If during play one team
is rewriting a rulebook that the other side never sees
until it’s too late It eliminates their ability
to create an effective counter strategy. This very thing has been happening
in our politics for some time. It happened little by little at first,
but that process has accelerated quickly. Let’s look
at the Clinton impeachment, prior to this event the societal norm
was that impeachment was reserved
for presidential behavior which threatened our democracy. Everyone
just understood. That was
the rule. You could not impeach
a president for any other reason. It just was
not done. Until,
it was. and half the country was ok
with changing this norm because I mean in the moment it did help
their political team. That impeachment event, to many observers, marks a point of accelerated change
in the social norms rules of our political system fast forward
to today and it’s now normal to threaten a default on our nation’s debts or to deny hearings for Supreme Court appointees or to openly take steps
to limit voter participation, a behavior that used to only
happen behind closed doors. Now naturally when ideas
of normalized behavior are eroded, it feels really unfair to
the side not doing the eroding It starts to breed resentment and resentment breeds intractability. The side that feels abused can no longer trust the side
that’s moving the goal posts on societal norms. And the side that’s
moving the norms will insist that It’s just keeping up
with the times. So both sides dig in. And the whole idea
of societal norms as unwritten rules just breaks down. Which sets the stage for a takeover
by whomever is willing to violate Societal and political norms
for their advantage which is where
the real problems start. That is unless society acts as a referee and penalizes
the side attempting to change those norms. There’s value to consistent
social norms in a chess match. They allow players
to improve over time with practice and study without having to relearn basic assumptions on the fly and the same is true in politics maintaining a consistent set of expectations
and social norms leads to stability maintains the ability
to compromise serves as a safeguard
against extremism, and most importantly, preserves
the designers intent: a political system where
the best ideas win out. But if we allow the pursuit of short-term advantages
to outweigh longer-term perspectives, we can easily
get ourselves stuck in a vicious cycle
of system sabotage and the only way out from there
is to admit that we ran roughshod over many of those norms for our own political gain, and that’s really hard to do. So, how do
we recover from this ? One possible path is to take our implicit rules and make them explicit to create hard and fast rules
that specifically state if you are running
for president you must hand over
your tax returns and the president
of the United States must put all of their assets
in a blind trust when they take office. Of course the biggest obstacle
in the way of that happening is that the people
with the power to make these rules explicit often
personally benefit from not doing so, plus there are
a lot of social norm rules. It would take a very long time
to codify them all there are
other options though: for example, we can penalize
those who break these norms even if it means
a short-term loss for our team if our preferred candidate say bodyslams a reporter or limits access to voting
in regions which favor their opponent or if our preferred political party’s apparatus seems to be secretly putting their finger
on the scales for one candidate We cannot just look
the other way even if it hurts
our political team We have to draw a line
and act like the referees we are before we go I got a quick story back in 2003 a quarterback named Nate Hey sis set the central state 8
conference record for career yards passed in the final play
of the last game of the season. But after the game he discovered that both teams
head coaches had coordinated to ensure that Nate
would set the record that night Those coaches had tried to change the societal norms for the game of football. So Nate took the matter into
his own hands and wrote to the conference demanding that those yards
be removed from his stats and so they were Didn’t want to let those coaches
change the future social norms for football and he sacrificed something personally important to do it. Our political system is supposed
to be a contest of ideas freely expressed and if breaking social norms has become
a more effective strategy for the players than having
winning ideas It’s up to us to follow Nate’s lead
to save the system. We’ll see you next time.

Comments

  1. Post
    Author
    Extra Credits

    Rules define terms and conditions. They also only work when we have a baseline for what is considered "normal behavior."
    Also, hey, apparently we still have that glitch where none of the comments are showing up right away, thanks for your patience!

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    Being Cool Is For Nerds

    I would argue that the Parties have been upsetting the "Normalcy" of a free, open, and transparent democracy for a long time now. I don't begrudge those who would want to upset the current rules since they're already skewed in favor of establishment. We need to upset rules when the rules are broken in the first place. Chess isn't inherently broken, but our political system is.

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    Lon Johnson

    Maybe before we get too worked up over following unwritten rules, let's see if we can follow the rules we already have.

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    Yitzhak Kornbluth

    On the flip side, there is a major problem that often occurs with unwritten rules that strongly suggests the "make them explicit" approach (or even removing them if that is not feasible): Unwritten rules are rarely clearly defined to the extent necessary for all "players" to be able to easily know what they are, and that creates a highly problematic uneven playing field (favoring those who somehow learn said rules). Now, this isn't such a problem in the case of rules that people would be following anyway due to them being explicit rules of a larger system (e.g. no punching your opponent in a chess game), but if the only reason not to do something is an unwritten rule, that means said rule needs to be made explicit or removed, especially if it's part of a competitive game.

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    Zyraun Ollidan

    You guys are brilliant. This video is the best of the series, and probably one of the best on your channel. Congrats on it

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    alexnobody1

    As always, my response is "So what am I supposed to do?" I'm not a star quarterback. I can't uphold the rules of football. I'm not even sure the entirety of us all acting together can do that. Apparently, we don't even have the power to deny candidates our votes, because they still get elected even if we don't vote for them.

  8. Post
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    John Doe

    Here’s my problem with this video:

    If you’re playing chess, and your opponent punches you in the face… Punch back.

    Edit: Not all social norms are good, many of them when it comes to our democracy are fucking abhorrent, and when you see one side moving the fucking goalposts towards fascism, I think you have a moral obligation to move the goalposts in the opposite direction.

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    QT Baphomet

    Any system in which a small governing body makes policy decisions over an entire population is never a system where the best ideas flourish

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    Carewolf

    Easy enforcement: Don't vote for sociopaths.

    Of course many places that would require changing the entire electorial map, so multiple candidates from the same party can run. I think having two seats in each district would do it, and the second seat could be proportional based on the wasted state votes distributed using Jefferson's method.

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    Christopher Cook

    What a great video! I loved the chess club analogy complete with somewhat terrifying illustrations.

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    Cedi Fonei

    One big concern I have with this episode that never gets addressed. If one side is breaking implicit rules for personal gain, yes, I agree it's extremely important for us to be the referees and punish them for it, even if it's our own side. But how do we react if BOTH sides are breaking the rules? I'd naturally think "don't vote" or "vote third party", but I feel that moreso removes us from their equations than actively punish either of them.

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    twiexcursori

    But we're not referees. Most of us are to a greater or lesser extent invested in a team, or in our own self-interest, or in _something_, at least. Very few of us are invested in the unwritten rules of politics, assumign we're even aware of their intricacies at all. On the whole, the people on the ground are a lot more interested in their side winning. :v

  24. Post
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    hawkseyes4444

    Two minutes to midnight, easy rule for the electoral college no choosing a
    candidate that will cause Global Thermal Nuclear War, to bad we did not have that rule for the electoral college years ago.

  25. Post
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    Richard Zuberecz

    Codifying rules does not help. This type of codifying led to the start of high-frequency trading, a form of financial arbitrage. Basically a regulation was put into place where multiple stock exchanges had to be created and compete with one another. Surprise surprise, people realized that they can exploit the speed of internet connections and race investors to their orders, buy their order before them and sell it at a higher price.

    Explicit rule-wiritng has downsides. This was an example of an unintended consequence, however, the problem is that this made those high-frequency traders very rich and able to exert their influence through lobbying, buying up stock exchanges and so on, consolidating these new rules. In short, explicit rules can also explicitly make some groups less competitive.

    The advantage of the winners can then be increased, even if it's not at all desirable.

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    Micha Siscov

    This video seems to me a video about protecting american's politics and social norms but what if the norms are flawed for example racism or sexism breaking social norms to me isnt a problem one must use common sence in all cases

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    Vaylon Kenadell

    Hah, no. The problems in the United States will end in violence. There is no other way to deal with evil people — not when they've captured and upended the legal apparatus. Also, the "both sides are bad" shtick is wearing pretty thin when one side is LITERALLY STEALING CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENTS AND HOLDING THEM FOR RANSOM.

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    Dennis Troyer

    Little dissapointed that the extra history guys got this "fact" so wrong. Impeachement up until Clinton: it was only for behaviour that threatened our democracy. 1. It was used against Andrew Johnson for daring to fire his secretary of war, a member of his own cabinet. 2. Clinton was impeached over thirty two counts of federal grand purjury. Each count is a class B felony normally carying the sentence of ten years behind bars. What changed societal norms was the Democrats continuing to support him. Nixon, faced with far fewer felonies, resigned because he knew that there was no way his own party would continue to support him in the face of such serious crimes.

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    tommy karrick

    I don’t like this idea that develops in the second half of this episode that things that are modern social norms should be placed into law, because as anyone with any historical background knows, (lookin at you James), once the government gets their fingers into something even at all, they have a place to start picking away until they can achieve complete control of that thing. Though undefined rules for social conduct can have negative consequences (it becoming socially acceptable for the media to lie about politicians they don’t like, just as a random example) it shouldn’t be stated as a law that the news must necessarily state facts, because that effectively gives future government leaders a foot in the door on the first amendment and the ability to choose what they think should and shouldn’t be considered a fact, also known as a state controlled media

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    Gecko o

    I don't know, making explcit rules sounds like trying to break a code by brute force, you need to check for any combination and even after you do that, you may have left some exploit somewhere that can be used.

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    Bryan Jean Ramirez

    at last see this video, the guy eating the rule book with a title over him called "Normal Behaviour" on a shirt would be a nice merchandise to sell, think about it, EC

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    Ricardo PenaMcKnight

    Omg! Did you just put out a political video I can whole-heartedly agree with? Advocating consistent principles over reactionary short-term opportunism, I love it.

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    1973Washu

    The Democrats stealing the primary from Bernie will not soon be forgotten , they put their finger on the scales so that Hillary would win by using the super delegates.

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    Melvin

    Day 7304 as a lazy English learner: adjudicate.

    1. act as a judge in a competition.

    2. pronounce or declare judicially.

    Sample sentence: When a player breaks some explicitly written rule in a game, that's pretty easy to adjudicate.

    Man, you guys even teach me new English while I don't wanna 👏

  46. Post
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    Eric Taylor

    I was differently not a supporter of Clinton, but I personally found his impeachment distasteful. I thought it was way out of line.

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    Chandler Gloyd

    I’m not sure if your impeachment point on bill clinton is correct unless there have been presidents who had worse evidence against them and got off.

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    AbyssalManta

    That's a harsh lesson that the left is in dire need of hearing. For as long as they continue to impose draconian speech policing on their opponents while ignoring similar or worse transgressions from people who toe the party line, for as long as they decide on the fly that physical violence is now an acceptable course of action against people that they have decided carry this or that label (whose meaning is completely eroded and discredited at this point), their credibility is going to keep plummeting.

    People need to start calling out transgressors regardless of who they are, to call an end to double standards, and to standards invented on the fly for political expediency. To not do so is the definition of hypocrisy.

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    SuperMagnificent_1

    I absolutely LOVE the drawings and facial features! Several shots had me laughing out loud! Thank you! Your drawings made me happy today!!!

  54. Post
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    Steven Neiman

    1:30 sportsmanship rules. Also, chess uses a subsystem of rules enforced along with the laws of wherever you're playing, so you could also argue that in that way assault and battery doesn't need to be against the rules of chess because it's already going to be against other rules anywhere you go. I don't actually know how boxing gets around that, but they specifically do and chess doesn't. Admittedly, it's a good way of explaining how absurd things can get and how much they can deviate from the designer's intent if we break unwritten rules.
    6:00 the other problem is that most implicit rules are too vague to legally define. Sure, anyone looking at the Clinton impeachment can tell that marital infidelity is not a threat to the American democracy, but I'll give $100 to anyone who can write a system of explicit rules where real abuses worthy of impeachment can be punished but which cannot be used as a weapon against a president who doesn't need impeached.
    6:54 The problem there is that football is primarily a contest of who is best at football, which mostly comes down to natural talent and the personal discipline to develop that talent. Personal discipline is a short step away from honor, so it makes sense that a football player is decently likely to do something like refusing an honor that was unfairly bestowed on them. Disturbingly often though, politics is a contest of who has the least honor. Yes, a mindset of keeping our own politicians honest would help, but we'd need to dig a lot deeper to fix the system to a usable degree.

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    Brian OConnor

    You "lied" about Impeachment. Andrew Johnson was Impeached for firing a Cabinet member. No one thought it was a threat to the Republic. However perjury does undermine our rule of law. Clinton was Impeached for purjury.

  59. Post
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    Dezmond Rogers

    I’m surprised, there aren’t people giving Extra Credits flack on the political refrences which are shown. I appreciate that. Also if anyone who says some changes in social norms are good I agree with what they say at 3:00

  60. Post
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    sicktoaster

    Ironically, your argument is pretty much the foundational argument for conservative political philosophy. BUT in the US today we have self-described "conservatives" trying to uproot social norms.

    Although to be fair this is one of the points that anti-Trump conservatives like to make for why Trump is not a real conservative.

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    Ryan Bartels

    i kind of wish they didn't use red and blue why not use colors like pink and green … i just feel like someone could take offence from some thing the say even if it is not true, or a example

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    Conner Fields

    I want to know if the conservative strict parent model of government would enable conservatives to chastise their own candidate for breaking social norms while running for office.

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    Warp Drive Fueled by Insomnia

    I really can't explain why, but the animations of the player eating the chess pieces made me laugh. Good job, EC!

  68. Post
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    Lukedoc321 (Luke Dougherty)

    Crazy to think how many "rules" are technically "implied" because of our societal norms. Digital games inherently limit most "implied" rules because digital systems only allow what is capable of the program.

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    Grex Jr

    Yknow… it’s interesting. This fits a bit with CGP Grey’s video on rules for rulers. It’s given me a lot of clarity on these ideasz

  72. Post
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    Kenji Shiratsuki

    The problem with this is that I see more and more of society acting like pampered, entitled children and less like responsible, self-sacrificing adults. When you have children playing a game, you need explicit rules, lots of them, especially if you can't assign an impartial, 3rd-party referee to make them play by the implicit rules. This is why we need campaign spending limits, we need to actively punish giving backroom funding and maybe even need to nix lobbyists so the public opinion matters more. There's a huge difference between having informed, knowledgeable people giving a better understanding of a topic to candidates or policymakers who can't afford the time to learn about it themselves but still need to make an informed decision, and allowing interest groups to use the position of being the informants on a complex topic policymakers can't spend the time learning about first-hand to influence those people to making decisions that benefit the industry the informant represents. At the same time, this is a veeeery thin line and easy to cross.

  73. Post
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    Ian Moore

    Like you guys said republics don't survive swapping the letter of the law with its spirit. Tiberius technically was allowed to veto all of the Senate's resolutions. The constitution doesn't specifically bar trump from pardoning himself

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    Matthew Crist

    There has never been a social norm that we don't impeach presidents unless they're threatening the country. There was no change with Clinton; I'm really puzzled by that.

    There are several weird assumptions you made in this video.

    Also, the intent of the founders was not to create a political system where the best ideas win out. It was to pit greed against greed so that the most greedy were busy with a mostly irrelevant system: Government.

    That way, the rest of us could live mostly free lives.

    The problem is that government has become too powerful.

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    abdo m

    While I am sad to say this….but…you guys are way too optimistic in believing that people would sacrifice their benefit to save the system….look at history…in both internal affairs and foreign policy it has been the norm to violate norms not the other way around….to me the real effective solution is the rules being very very explicit to the point it needs a portion of society dedicated to it ….both in internal affairs and foreign policy…it's what religious figures served in the past -although not very well-but I think we can do better in our modern times

  80. Post
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    Fun to 11

    For all of those who asked for it – the tabletop game based on this series is now on Kickstarter. Check it out! http://kck.st/2wbtCQY

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    Sycamorph

    Isn't banning people like Alex Jones on Twitter because of his political views, which a lot of people want to do, the same as breaking social rules to fight opinions you don't like? I think banning him now would allow people to ban anyone they want if they don't agree with their political opinions (and companies would definitely want that, it would benefit them after all. Like if a CEO of Twitter was Republican and started blocking Democrats for example). If you say something like that on Twitter, you'll be instantly swarmed by people calling you a nazi, so I can't say anything about it there, but what do people here think? If anyone even sees my comment.

  83. Post
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    jahenders

    A few things:
    1) I don't think the Clinton impeachment is a reasonable item to focus on as a single tipping point in the erosion of normal political behavior. You could just as easily choose any number of events — Johnson (Kennedy's VP) quickly validating the deeply flawed election in TX to give Kennedy (and himself) the win, the dissent in the 70s, etc.
    2) For some of the items you mention, more likely pivotal events are clear. If one wonders why party A would consider delaying supreme court nominee hearings, one need only look at when party B viciously and unfairly undermined a nominee from party A, and can also factor in many times that party B party leaders suggested delaying nominees if within X days of an election.
    3) Intentionally limiting voter participation is somewhat dubious and 'in the eye of the beholder." However, one could easily look to various voting shenanigans of the past (from either party) as the cause, not the Clinton impeachment.
    4) BTW, if one WERE to consider the Clinton impeachment a watershed event in this sense, one should look at both sides. That is, aside from party A bringing charges, one should also consider that party B refused to impeach even though Clinton had VERY CLEARLY violated the law and lied to the American people. That kind of thing can certainly erode political norms as well.

  84. Post
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    Antonio Luković

    Wait, the introduction does not make sense.
    firstly, the rule is no parking allowed. If parked, then the responsible party will get a fine. It is mixing up legal rules with computer rules.
    secondly, you can use the same logic in the second example. If parked, there is X% chance your car will fall and break down.

  85. Post
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    Antonio Luković

    "There is no expressed rule in chess that says you cannot punch your opponent"

    Cracks knuckles

    Hey Dan, fancy a game of chess?

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    James Carmody

    On impeachment, note that the first ever impeachment in U.S. history was against Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's vice president who only gained power after Lincoln was assassinated. Johnson veteoed many bills to enfranchise freed slaves, culminating in Republicans impeaching him for appointing a cabinet member improperly. Like Clinton, this impeachment in the 1860s was purely political; in fact, one could consider political impeachment the older tradition.

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    emPtysp4ce

    Thing is, when you say that we have to admit that we fucked over the rules, that also means everyone has to admit that's a bad thing. If one side says "Yeah, we absolutely shredded the norms that have governed the country effectively for the past 200 years and that let us win so I'm damn glad we did it and I'd do it again in a heartbeat" then nothing's gonna change. Only way to fix it then is to beat them at that game and changing it yourself.
    If one team won't penalize their side no matter how low they sink because they're on the same side, then the other side penalizing their team serves to do nothing but roll over and let them do whatever the fuck they want.

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    * *

    Thank you for the unbiased and multi-perspective approach to this. Seriously, somehow in the past decade it has become a small act of bravery to be objective.

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    habeb nabi

    idk y but the image of the chess girl saying "mind if i just…" with her eyes open freakishly wide killed me

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    Abhrajyoti Pal

    They say it's the game of kings. That chess teaches one to think strategically. What a load of rubbish! Both sides have identical pieces, the rules stay invariably the same. How does this mirror real life?

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    willy reeves

    a large part of the problem is that many people support their 'team' instead of issues. if we had issue based voters we would have a lot less division as most issues have a clear majority on one side, but if your team is on the same side as you in say 7 out of 10 issues you end up supporting the wrong side (from your perspective) of the other 3 just to support your team

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