Archives for category: Bounded rationality

2017

““How could you square that statement with legal abortion?” Durbin asked him. “Senator, as the book explains, the Supreme Court of the United States has held in Roe v. Wade that a fetus is not a person for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the book explains that,” Gorsuch replied.

“Do you accept that?” Durbin asked. “That’s the law of the land,” Gorsuch answered. “I accept the law of the land, senator, yes.””

2022

“In a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sen. Collins expressed her dismay that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh misrepresented their alleged respect for precedent and private conversations with her and in their confirmation hearings. “This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents,” she wrote.

Rolling Stone reported last month that Collins was deliberately manipulated by Trump officials into voting for Kavanaugh despite his judicial history indicating a liability to strike down Roe. The White House correctly predicted that as long as they “let the Susan Collins-es of the world think what they needed to think and hear what they needed to hear,” as one ex-official put it, the fence-sitters would fall in line and vote to confirm Trump’s nominee.”

2016

“My people are so smart — and you know what else they say about my people? The polls?” Trump asked a crowd at a Sioux Center, Iowa, rally Saturday. “I have the most loyal people — did you ever see that?”

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” he said, referring to the major street in New York City that cuts through Manhattan’s large commercial district. “It’s, like, incredible.”

2022

“In its first hearing, the Jan. 6 committee last week played a clip of former Attorney General Bill Barr testifying that he told former President Trump that claims the 2020 election was stolen were “bullshit.” In its second hearing, the committee on Monday played several additional minutes of Barr’s testimony, during which he described unsuccessful effort to convince Trump that the election was legitimate.”

“Barr met with Trump again on Dec. 14. “He went off on a monologue saying there was now definitive evidence of fraud through the Dominion machines,” Barr said of a Dec. 14 meeting with Trump, noting that he gave Barr a report he said proves that the election was stolen and that he would have a second term in office. Barr said the report looked “amateurish” with no real evidence to support its claims that voting machines were rigged. Barr said he was “demoralized” after looking at the report. “I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality,” Barr said.”

2022-06-24

“In voters, lack of expertise would be lamentable but perhaps not so worrisome if people had some sense of how imperfect their civic knowledge is. If they did, they could repair it. But the Dunning-Kruger Effect suggests something different. It suggests that some voters, especially those facing significant distress in their life, might like some of what they hear from Trump, but they do not know enough to hold him accountable for the serious gaffes he makes. They fail to recognize those gaffes as missteps.”

“Again, the key to the Dunning-Kruger Effect is not that unknowledgeable voters are uninformed; it is that they are often misinformed—their heads filled with false data, facts and theories that can lead to misguided conclusions held with tenacious confidence and extreme partisanship, perhaps some that make them nod in agreement with Trump at his rallies.”

“….. himself also exemplifies this exact pattern, showing how the Dunning-Kruger Effect can lead to what seems an indomitable sense of certainty. All it takes is not knowing the point at which the proper application of a sensible idea turns into malpractice.”

I have no way of knowing what the creator of the meme actually wanted to convey through it.
All I know is what I make of it.

The ‘Austrian’ will eventually fall. Not only that nobody can stay in the saddle for ever but the guy uses only one hand to steer his bike. And the fact that he doesn’t use a helmet is the second proof that he doesn’t care much for safety. For his safety… At his age, he should have known better!

Hard to argue with Mises – the quintessential Austrian economist, if I remember right.
Specially since I grew up under a communist regime. Where laissez faire was absent and where the government was inept and immoral. Which regime, like all other authoritarian/totalitarian regimes in history, had crumpled under it’s own weight.

But wait!
Countries which use laissez faire had long ago invented the necessary mitigation mechanisms.
The unlucky entrepreneurs can declare bankruptcy and start all over.
The fraudulent entrepreneurs – well, many of them, go to prison.
While the inept and immoral governments get booted. Democratically!

My point being that laissez faire works better if there’s a safety net in place.
And that people should trust their government. But also keep it on a very short leash!

These people no longer communicate.
As in no longer care to understand what the other has to say…
Mind you, not ‘agree with’, just understand. Just develop a ‘mere’ understanding of what the other feels/thinks/has to say about a subject.

The consequence?

Both sides have become so focused on contradicting each-other on no matter what subject that both of them have lost the ability/exercise to look for the real issue.

The Ukrainians have enough AK-47s. They don’t have any use for any AR-15s. What they need is howitzers. And HIMARSs!
As for the 2nd amendment…

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

Given the Ukrainian experience, should we read the 2nd Amendment in such a manner that ordinary people would be able to keep and bear howitzers? Or HIMARSs?

Or should we focus our attention on the notion of ‘a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State’…?
Meaning that without a well kept and well trained Army, the State, any state, would soon loose its sovereignty?

After all, the Ukrainians fight, together, against an invader. They cooperate in order to defend their State.
Meanwhile, many of those clamoring about the 2nd Amendment are more preoccupied about using their guns to defend their individual freedom against the State than about cooperating with their fellow citizens towards defending the State against any aggression.

Counter-protesters Kenya Stevens, left, of District Heights, Md., Steve Tidwell, of Arlington, Va., and a protester who asked not to be named, shout their support for gun rights across from a protest of gun control advocates next to Realco Gun Shop in District Heights, Md., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007. The protest of gun control advocates was part of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.’s National Day of Protest. The gun store, located very near the border with Washington, is a large source of guns used in crimes in the nation’s capital, according to District officials. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


In these circumstances, am I allowed to remind you that Putin – the guy who had initiated/ordered the invasion of Ukraine, is a “genius”?!? According to Trump…

Whence comes nihilism, the uncanniest of all quests?
by Lou Keep

Friedrich Nietzsche was most famously concerned with the problem of nihilism. All societies, in his view, rely on implicit value judgments. If the foundations of these are lost, he predicts terrible consequences: widespread apathy or violent, fanatical attempts to reclaim a sense of purpose, or perhaps both. We talk about values a lot, and we know they do something, but we have little idea how. Compounding this is uncertainty over their loss. Nihilism is not a choice or intellectual commitment, but a thing that comes upon you. As Nietzsche put it in 1885: ‘Nihilism stands at the door. Whence comes this uncanniest of all guests?’

Part of the answer comes from understanding how values connect to knowledge and action. In Seeing Like a State (1998), the political scientist James C Scott classifies knowledge in two ways: epistemic knowledge, which can be quantified, theorised and transmitted in abstract, and metis (from the classical Greek), which concerns knowledge gained from practical experience, such as personal relationships, traditions, habits and psychological states. Metis governs local experience: farming the family’s land, for example, rather than agronomic study. We all recognise it; it’s why we hire for experience. For instance, Jane and Martha have identical diplomas, but if Jane’s first shift was on Tuesday and Martha’s was in 1970, then Martha will have certain tricks and habits to expedite her work. Still, it’s not easy to quantify just what that is: Martha has metis, and metis can’t easily be reproduced. If it were trainable, it would have been in Jane’s training.

Scott’s genius is to compare metis to local traditions. Over a long enough time, habits and behaviours are selected for and passed down, just as evolution selects helpful traits. A successful group will institutionalise an irreducibly complex set of cultural tools that relate to its environment. Since these are metis, and not epistemic, they won’t always be obvious or quantifiable. Scott recounts dozens of examples of customs that might appear backwards, confused, unscientific – yet when they’re banned or discouraged, productivity collapses. He calls this the problem of ‘legibility’.

Epistemic theories rely on isolated, abstracted environments capable of taxonomy, but these are far removed from the dynamic, interconnected systems of nature and human culture. Metis, by contrast, develops within complex, ‘illegible’ environments, and thus works with them. But that also means its application is limited to a specific act, rather than a broader theory. Outsiders want to know why something works, but locals will explain it in a language unintelligible to them.

These practices and traditions are, of course, more than work experience. They’re used to efficiently solve political problems. In The Righteous Mind (2012), the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes Balinese rice farmers who needed to coordinate irrigation along a river. Since they were politically divided into small familial units – called subaks – they needed to rely on means older than governance to ensure cooperation:

The ingenious religious solution to this problem of social engineering was to place a small temple at every fork in the irrigation system. The god in each such temple united all the subaks that were downstream from it into a community that worshipped that god, thereby helping the subaks to resolve their disputes more amicably. This arrangement minimised the cheating and deception that would otherwise flourish in a zero-sum division of water. The system made it possible for thousands of farmers, spread over hundreds of square kilometres, to cooperate without the need for central government, inspectors and courts.

This still occurs. A 2017 paper by the economists Nathan Nunn of Harvard University and Raul Sanchez de la Sierra of the University of California, Berkeley mentions gri-gri, a magical powder that witchdoctors manufacture. In 2012, following a period of widespread banditry and state insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gri-gri came to a village elder in a dream. Applying this powder made the user bulletproof, and it worked so well that neighbouring communities swiftly adopted it. The reason was simple: groups fight better than individuals, and more people will dare to fight if they believe they are bulletproof. Hence, a village using gri-gri was more likely to survive.

Gri-gri and water temples are kinds of metis, but they require belief in larger structures: respectively, magic and gods. However these structures first developed, it’s critical that they rest on more than mere faith or tradition. Shared values provide conviction for greater actions, but those values are certified by the success of those actions. Gri-gri’s success is an empirical testament to magic, and its utility inclines one towards trusting more activities by witchdoctors. Nunn and Sanchez de la Sierra point out that

many of [the spells] appear to provide individuals with a greater sense of security and confidence, which could serve to … reduce their anxiety and thus improve their performance. For example, most of the spells provide protection, whether it be from drought, disease, attacks on the village or even to harm potential thieves – and thieves also believe in their efficacy, which acts as a deterrent.

In other words: these practices and institutions serve several different roles, all bound up in one another. This intermingling exacerbates the problem of legibility.

When we discuss changing values, we often think top-down: a new and persuasive ideology that took hold for intellectual reasons. What Scott and the adoption of gri-gri suggest is the opposite: the motive force of values requires a degree of certainty that is dependent on action. It was gri-gri’s empirical demonstration that allowed it spread it to neighbouring villages, not its poetry. The inverse to this is also important: we can improve on a specific task, but other roles need time to sediment and evolve. Trade the temples for a government, and you have zero-sum bickering. Explain the game theory behind gri-gri, and no one will fight with it. The utility of a cultural institution first allows adoption, but its maintenance allows metis ample time to tinker and perfect.

If we’ve lost faith in certain values, then I doubt this was because of academic debates. The 20th century profoundly changed labour, technology and social organisation in the Western world. It’s hard to imagine that this didn’t change metis, or render older forms of metis irrelevant. While the values of metis might still be desired – or even identified with – they lack the same certainty they once had. Nothing can prove them and thus justify the higher claims. ‘Faith without works is dead,’ as the Bible said, but faith without metis is unbelievable.

A top-down view of value implies that we can simply create new reasons for living, that the ideology itself is its own proof. But if values come bottom-up, then man’s quest for meaning cannot be separated from his labour. They are the same.

[object Object]

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

https://aeon.co/ideas/whence-comes-nihilism-the-uncanniest-of-all-guests

“legible” versus “illegilbe”…

After all, metis remains – for now, illegible simply because we haven’t yet found a way to ‘read’ it.

And to write it back in a teachable form!

Or, to put it in a more concise manner, we haven’t got, yet, to the bottom of it!

The key word here being we.
WE haven’t got to the…
It all boils down, again, to the limited nature of our consciousness!

The human head works like an organic computer.
It has a ‘hard’ component. Which is actually soft. The brain tissue.
And many levels of ‘software’.

You might want to skip this introductory part if you’re not familiar with/interested in how computers work
The ‘machine code’. The inner workings of the brain. The ‘things’ which continue to function when we’re not at all conscious. Breathing, coordination of the of various organs which keep us alive, etc.
‘Assembly language’. The level which works on ’emotions’/’feelings’. A not yet conscious baby suckles when hungry and cries when uncomfortable. A patient with dementia is not a ‘fully functional human being’ but can learn/retain many human functions.
‘High-level language’. Human conscience. While the ‘machine code’ and the ‘assembly language’ levels run in the ‘background’, human conscience constantly evaluates ‘what’s going on’ and decides ‘the next move’.

Humans, like computers, work a lot better when ‘put together’.
Each individual’s human conscience develops only ‘in concert’ with other people while the most powerful computer chip is ‘dead’ before the operating system has been installed. A (mature) individual human being might survive in isolation, but not for very long. A computer is completely useless if not ‘put to work’ by an ‘operator’. Alone or ‘inside’ a network.

Computers can ‘cooperate’ because we made them so.
Even if using various operating systems and communication protocols, we – humans, have developed them – computers, in such a way that we can communicate with them and they can communicate among themselves.

For humans to be able to communicate among themselves, they need a common language.

Computers do not need to coordinate among themselves. We’ve made them, instructed them, in such a manner that they (still) do what they are told.

For humans to be able to coordinate themselves – to act in a congruent manner, they need to use – or at least to acknowledge, the same referential system.

To think ‘alike’ or, at least, to acknowledge that ‘those who do not think like me/us might have a point’.

Historically speaking, humankind has achieved ‘coherence’ through the use of ‘religion’.

‘Reality’ – which was far more complex ‘before’ simply because the unknown is the place where fantasy is free to give birth to anything, had to be tamed. Translated into ‘operable’ things. Into generally accepted concepts. Into generally accepted ‘myths’.
And for as long as a given set of ‘foundational myths’ had maintained their ‘magic’, the religion which had been developed starting from those myths had continued to be ‘the coalescing factor’ for the community which believed those myths. Or, at least, behaved as if those myths were still ‘valid’.
Whenever those myths had failed – or were no longer enough, the corresponding religion had been quickly replaced. By another.
This was the heave-ho approach. Wholesale replacement of the referential system, which is both ‘wasteful’ and time-consuming.

In time, people have learned that it was far more ‘efficient’ to pay ‘lip service’ to each-other’s opinions
when the other side was too ‘strong’ for outright ‘coercion’. Read “conversion”.

When/where things had become ‘ripe’, some people had invented ‘science’.

Science, like religion, is a manner of thinking. A manner of translating reality into something which can be managed by the human brain.

Religion relies on a set of ‘axioms’. Which had been considered true – by those who had established any given religion, at the moment when that particular religion had been established. When freshly acquired knowledge diverges too far – and too convincingly, from the until then generally accepted ‘founding myths’, the religion which depends on those myths conserving their ‘allure’ is abandoned in totum.

Science, on the other hand, relies on a different set of ‘beliefs’.
Derived from the basic tenet of the Judaeo-Christian creed and no less axiomatic but still different.
The point being that instead of trying to fit any new information into the previously held set of ‘teachings’ science mandates the diligent use of the ‘scientific method’ whenever we attempt to evaluate any ‘piece of knowledge’:

Reproducibility: ‘do I find/learn the same thing each and every time I examine this phenomenon/class of objects using this particular procedure?

Peer review: Does everybody else who examines the same subject, using the same procedure, reach the same results? In earnest?

Falsifiability: Does the subject of our musing have a correspondent in reality? Are we concerned about something which has consequences? Can this particular ‘piece of knowledge’ be proven wrong? Or, at least, incomplete?

The three paragraphs above have described the scientific method yet I still have to mention the Judaeo-Christian belief without which science makes absolutely no sense.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it“.

According to the Old Testament, God had made man to “rule… over all the earth itself”. Which means that God was going to refrain himself from performing other miracles. The Earth being entrusted to the rule of man means that man was going to ‘see’ the same thing each and every time he was looking at the same thing. From that moment, ‘things’ were going to ‘happen’ in a ‘rigorous’ manner. No more ‘hanky-panky’, no more divine intrusion. From then on, things were going to happen according to the ‘law’. ‘Regularly’, hence ‘reproduciblely’. In a consistent manner!
Again according to the Old Testament, ‘God had made man in His image’. Hence all men – and women, had been created equal. In the same image, that is. And all men – and women, harbor something ‘special’. A spark of divinity! They have all been created in the image of God itself, hence they all should respect each-other. And each-others’ opinions! Hence ‘peer-review’.
All that remains to be ‘explained away’ is the small matter of falsifiability. Of science concerning itself only with verifiable subjects. Which brings us back what was the man supposed to rule over. ‘The earth itself’. The realm of reality. Man – men and women, were supposed to rule over ‘reality’, not over other people.
They were supposed to concern themselves with ‘evident’/measurable things found ‘on earth’, not with ‘fancy’ figments of ‘unaccountable imagination’.

Ooops!
If both religion – well, at least the Judaeo-Christian one, and science depend on the same axiom/fundamental myth, then where’s the difference?
As I mentioned before, whenever fresh knowledge contradicts ‘irreparably’ the before held religious convictions, the community who upholding those convictions reaches a ‘passage rite’. Has to either ‘close its eyes’ – actually denying reality, or change its religion. The very definition of the ‘heave-ho’ approach.
For those using the ‘scientific method’, things are a lot simpler. And smoother. For them, reality suffers a constant change. Piece-meal instead of wholesale. ‘Easy-does’ it instead of ‘gung ho’.

One other thing before I let you go.

“If you’re not a scientist, and disagree with scientists about science, that’s not disagreement! You’re just wrong!”

Well, this is the most unscientific thing I’ve read for a long time.
What comes next makes absolute sense. If you apply the scientific method to “Science is not truth. Science is finding the truth.” you determine that the message is consistent, agreed among the peers and falsifiable. Science can be misused and, potentially, the very meaning of the word can change in time. For now, the generally accepted meaning of ‘science’ is, indeed, ‘the path towards truth’. And, by definition, all scientific knowledge is considered to be ‘improvable’. Hence forever ‘not yet true’.
Coming back to the ‘disagreement’ part, this is an obvious ‘sleigh of hand’. For starters, ‘scientists’ do not concern themselves with ‘science’. Each of them controls an area of expertise. Which is not the entire science…
Furthermore, what does it mean ‘you’re not a scientist’?!? You don’t have a formal accreditation? Anybody who uses the scientific method when examining the reality is a scientist, regardless of their credentials.
I presume the author meant well. There are quite a few people out there who are in the ‘business’ of sowing doubt. Who contradict whatever ‘starts their ire’. Who very ‘skillfully’ spin apparently convincing words about subjects of utmost importance. But if we want to remain true to our words, if we want to remain on the straight and narrow path to truth, we must convince our audience with arguments. We must un-spin those ‘words’ in a rigorous manner.
Using the very same set of ‘spinning skills’ downgrades us to ‘their’ level.
As the saying goes, ‘Don’t allow your opponents to drag you to their level of expertise. Remain on yours. Any attempt to beat the other guy using their weapons will, more often than not, yield the undesired result. For the obvious reason that they have used those weapons for far longer than you’.

This is the first time that I’ve read anything written by Daniel Kowalski. Here’s what I learned, about Kowalski, while reading his his essay about Marx.

I’m not sure that Kowalski had actually read the communist manifesto. And I’m sure that he didn’t understand much of it.

The point being that Marx described society as being composed of the ruling class – those who owned things and gave orders, the ‘doers’ – the qualified/skilled workers, those we currently describe as ‘middle class’, and the ‘underdogs’ – the lumpen-proletariat.

And if Marx hated anybody more than he hated the rulers… those people were the lumpen-proletariat! Because the lumpen-proletariat were so poor that they did everything the rulers asked them to do.

Let’s get to the ‘visionary’ part. Read carefully, the manifesto is crystal clear. Communism was not supposed to ‘dawn’ while Marx was still alive. For communism to become viable, the middle-class had to became poor. To loose their perks. To be reduced to ‘lumpen’ status. But since the middle class already had ‘conscience’ – was aware of its ‘value’, they were supposed to understand what was happening to them. And to revolt against those who were benefiting from the process.

In Marx’s vision, the impoverished middle class was supposed to become aware of its predicament, and only then to let itself be led into the new era of ‘eternal bliss’ by the “the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.” Also known as ‘communists’.

I’ll end up my comment drawing your attention to the growing wave of anti-capitalist propaganda which is being ‘vented’ over the internet.

The fact that Marx’s remedy for what he saw as the scourge of capitalism – inequality, was an absolute idiocy – the “workers’ dictatorship”, doesn’t erase the fact that Marx the prophet was right after all. The middle class is being squeezed out.

The communism has failed. Because it was based on dictatorship.

The current flavor of capitalism – increasingly monopolistic, will soon follow suit. Not because its capitalist nature but because of its monopolistic – aka dictatorial, dimension.

In my book – I have experimented both communism and democratic(ish) capitalism, there’s no real difference between the communist ‘one ideology solves all problems’ and the ‘greed is good’ mantra.
In practice, all we have is a single, uni-dimensional, idea forcefully being imposed upon all the people who happen to live in a place at the given moment. ‘Money/capital is bad’, hence it has to be abolished, versus ‘money/capital is everything’, hence it has to be enshrined.
I’m not a christian but I’m fully aware that ‘you shall not make yourself an idol’ is a very wise teaching. Specially when that idol is golden.

If you really need to read the rest of the story, click on the picture above.

If you’re ready for the ‘next level’, consider this perspective:

We, the human species, have been ‘eating away’ the Earth, our home, ever since …
Now, that we’ve finally figured out we’re ‘trapped’ on a finite planet, we’re making analogies!
Conjuring the next generation to behave responsibly.

‘Most people confuse liberty and democracy. They are not the same.’

Liberty and democracy are not the same indeed.

Like my left hand is not the same with my right one.

But I need both in order to lead what I consider to be a normal life.

Most people – specially if they get help, can survive without a hand. Or without either liberty or democracy.

But without both… without both hands or without both liberty and democracy… I’d be at somebody else’s mercy!

‘What?!?
What kind of liberty is there under communist rule???’

You see, liberty has two ‘faces’. Two dimensions.
Three, actually, but I’ll be talking about only two of them in this post.

There is the ‘inner liberty’ and there is the ‘socially sanctioned liberty’.

Liberty itself is a human concept.
We have noticed something, wondered about it, named it and then attempted to understand it.
This was, and continues to be, a collective effort.

In some places ‘liberty’ had appeared ‘naturally’.
There was enough liberty naturally sloshing around, hence the circumstances were right for those who had happened to live there at the right time to notice it. Furthermore, the conditions had been right again for the entire community to be able to agree among themselves about the concept and about how to use it/put in practice their new intellectual achievement.

Other places have not been so lucky.
They had been close enough, geographically and socio-historically, to notice the ‘birth of liberty’ but their specific conditions were not ‘right enough’. Many people living there coveted liberty but the local conditions made it impossible for liberty to take hold.
In these places ‘inner liberty’ – individually assumed freedom, can be found a lo more easily than presumed by those unfamiliar with the local realities.

Yet other places had it even worse.
Initially on the path towards liberty – and democracy, they have somehow stumbled.
For whatever causes – internal and/or external, something went wrong. People became disappointed enough to give up not only democracy but also liberty. Including their own, individual inner freedom.

A somewhat intermediary situation constitutes the third abnormal quadrant.
The people involved have given up their liberty – partially, but those running the show continue to use (‘pretendingly’) democracy as a window dressing to hide their true intentions.

The last hundred years or so have been extremely relevant in this matter.
All communist regimes had fallen. Under their own weight.
Most fascist/nazi regimes are no longer with us. Had been so ‘arrogant’ – read self destructive, that their neighbors had to do something about them. Had created so much disruption around them that those whose very existence was endangered had been forced to spring into action.
‘Illiberal democracy’ is a rather new ‘development’. Would be fascist/nazi dictators don’t have all circumstances aligned to make their final move so they have to make do with what there is at their disposal. The local population is ‘despondent’ enough to pay attention to their arguments but not desperate enough to follow them into the ‘unknown’. Hence this oxymoronic abomination.

‘Illiberal democracy’…
On the other hand, the spin doctors promoting illiberal democracies hope to be able to reap the benefits of democracy – the population being ‘rather favorably disposed’ towards the government while having to pay less ‘lip service’ to individual human rights.
A balancing act, with no safety net, which is alluring to those reckless enough to attempt it but which will end up badly. Sooner rather than later.

But the most interesting ‘combination’ – for me, at least, is Anarchy.
In the sense that those who ‘swallow’ the lure are self delusional.
They have somehow convinced themselves that their, own, liberty somehow trumps the liberty of everybody else. They feel so strong, so immune to any outside influence, that they would willingly accept to live in a no rule environment. Without understanding that ‘no rule’ means ‘no holds barred’.
They actually don’t realize that unfettered liberty actually means ‘Each of us free against all others’.
This being the reason for which Anarchy, as a political arrangement, has never survived for long enough to be noticed. Except as a transitory phase.

‘On the face of it’, it makes perfect sense.

But why bother?

If I’m on the ‘right’ side, why would I make it easier for the other guy?
If on the ‘wrong’ side, why not just switch sides? Why would I bother to straighten the tree? Against the wishes of those who have a lot to lose in the process?

From the other side of the looking glass, things are a lot simpler.

‘Fiat justitia, ruat caelum’ is a warning, not a behest.

‘Make sure that justice is served, unless you want the heavens to fall on your shoulders’ is what any open minded reader of history makes of this ancient adage…

The fact that we concentrate our attention on what justice means for each of us is a measure of our individualism.
Of our nearsightedness…

Our respective individualities, each and everyone of them, have grown into what they are now in a social context.
None of us can exist for long, let alone protect and develop their individuality, in solitude.

We need the others.
We, each and everyone of us, need to belong. To a community.

To a functional community!
To a community where each individual is cherished.
Where each individual can develop its potential.

Where each individual has the opportunity and the tools to develop their potential.
For his own good, in concert with the main interest of entire community.

Survival.
Things remaining as they should be.

Us toiling here, on the surface of the Earth.
The heavens perched safely up there.

Justice must be served if things are to remain as we, each and all of us, need them to be.

After Putin ordered the Russian army to invade Ukraine, the rest of the world ‘took sides’.

Some sided with Putin, many extended a helping hand to Ukraine – for various reasons, and others felt their lives have been ‘disturbed’.

This morning I almost blew my top.
I was listening to the radio. A usually decent station. Usually decent and, like all of us, imperfect.

The news anchor was interviewing an ‘expert’. An Ivy League Professor of International Relations and other blah-blahs. I’m not giving their names because I want them forgotten, not even more famous than they already are.

‘Is there any chance for this conflict to end in a negotiated manner?’
‘Yes, if/when both sides will find a mutually acceptable solution.
For example, if the Ukrainian side would accept a referendum in Donbass – and in Crimea, and if the Russian side would accept UN inspectors to validate the process. This would be in line with the general accepted policy of self-determination and ….’

OK, and where’s the difference between what Putin keeps saying and what I’ve just heard?!?

Two non-Ukrainians telling Ukraine what to do…

I’m going to set aside, for now, what these two – wait, three! – people are saying.
That Ukraine, the Ukrainian People, should give up a piece of their land.
My immediate interest lies in ‘who these three guys think they are’?!?

OK, only those who don’t want to see haven’t yet found out that Putin is a dictator.
But for a renowned Ivy League Professor to elaborate a scenario according to which the UN would supervise a referendum where an occupied population would have the opportunity to vote whether they want ‘their’ aggressor to maintain its control over the already occupied territory….

Would that distinguished Professor be comfortable with a referendum – equally supervised by the UN, taking place in California? Which California had already been occupied by Mexico? For which referendum, the Californians were asked where they want to live? Whether Mexico should continue its occupation or should the Mexican army retreat behind the internationally recognized border?

No, I don’t think the Professor has been paid by Putin. Or ‘compensated’ in any other way by the ‘red Satan’.
I just consider he was not paying real attention to what he was saying.
He had just opened his mouth and verbalized what his mind was churning.
The current ‘events’ have disturbed his pleasant existence to such a degree that he really needs this ‘fly in the ointment’ to ‘fly away’.

He is so ‘driven’ by his ‘need’ that he is no longer ‘patient’. He just can’t ‘stop talking’ for long enough to realize how fast Putin’s propaganda machine will make ‘good’ use of his ‘verbalizations’…

‘See, the good Professor confirms what our Beloved Leader has already done.
It’s the Ukrainians who are not reasonable!
They should first change their leadership then come back into Mother Russia’s arms.’

When are we going to understand?

Don’t tell others what to do unless you are prepared to ‘take advice’ yourself…
And, for your own good, don’t trade your future freedom for your present comfort!

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