Archives for category: freedom

Who is telling the mind? Am I not my mind?”

“Your mind is only a part of you. Like the driver is only a part of a car. Irreplaceable but…

Most of us believe it’s the driver who tells the car where to go…

Well, the driver has to follow the road, obey the rules, interact with the other drivers, take care of their own needs… fuel and maintain the car… only then they are ‘free’ to ‘pursue’ the destination.
Which destination is, more often than we care to admit, chosen by the heart rather than with the help of the mind.

So yes, it’s the mind who should tell itself what to believe. Only it needs to reach a certain serenity in order to make a proper decision.
To be able to choose by itself instead of accepting, indiscriminately, ‘suggestions’!”

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!

What if there’s no reason, per se?

What if there are only individual reasons for each of the experiences each of us passes through?

Many of those reasons belonging to the ‘experimenters’ themselves and all reasons – even if the individuals who provide the actual causes are not aware of all the consequences, belong to us. To us, humans.

I have no way of determining whether there is any ‘supreme being’ but what I understand of this world has led me to the conclusion that this ‘aspect’ is irrelevant. For us. For those of us who are currently alive.

That supreme being, if it exists, has done nothing more than to provide a set of opportunities.
The world in which our ancestors – some 1500 generations ago, have become conscious human beings. The rest is of our own doing.

Influenced a lot by the specific circumstances in which each culture has been developed – by those having to make do in those specific circumstances, but still ultimately ours.

This ‘conclusion’ is the sole solution I had been able to come up with to the conundrum which opposes the notions of ‘free will’ and karma/fate/you name it.

One definition of the French word étiquette is “ticket” or “label attached to something for identification.” In 16th-century Spain, the French word was borrowed (and altered to “etiqueta”) to refer to the written protocols describing orders of precedence and behavior demanded of those who appeared in court. Eventually, “etiqueta” came to be applied to the court ceremonies themselves as well as the documents which outlined the requirements for them. Interestingly, this then led to French speakers of the time attributing the second sense of “proper behavior” to their “étiquette,” and in the middle of the 18th century English speakers finally adopted both the word and the second meaning from the French.”

OK. So the Spanish needed a word for ‘what to do when dealing with things royal’ and borrowed the French word for ‘label’. Things worked, the French noticed and borrowed the new meaning back into their own vocabulary. In the end, when the English developed the formal side of their ‘royal life’, they looked no further. Why invent a new word when there already was one which worked?

But very soon the whole thing had grown out of proportion.
At first a ‘simple’ guide teaching the neophytes how to avoid the wrath of the initiates, it had ended as a straight jacket. Stifling everybody, including the star of the show, the king himself. The very guy whose wrath was supposed to be avoided by adhering to the etiquette…

“Madame de Pompadour, brave and gracious to the very last, died on the 15th of April 1764 in her apartment on the ground floor of Versailles. However, although etiquette had been ignored to an extent to allow her to die there, her body could not be permitted to remain and so it was almost immediately placed on to a stretcher and carried down the road to her own mansion nearby. The King was naturally inconsolable – Madame de Pompadour had been a huge part of his life for almost twenty years and he had grown not just to love her but also to depend immensely on her judgement and wisdom.
On the day of her funeral, unable to attend due to the usual court etiquette, he stood motionless and without hat or coat on his bedroom balcony overlooking the marble courtyard and watched as her black draped cortège proceeded slowly in the pouring spring rain down the Avenue de Paris. ‘The Marquise has bad weather for her journey,’ he remarked to his companions but nonetheless he remained rooted to the spot until the carriage bearing her coffin had vanished from sight. ‘This is the only tribute I can pay her,’ he finally said when he turned away, overcome with tears, to go back into the château.”

Politically correct: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated
As in ‘Speaking in such a manner as to avoid certain pitfalls. Expressions or behaviors which may make difficult to converse and/or cohabit with people who may have ‘special sensitivities’.’

For instance, using ‘they’ instead of either ‘he’ or ‘she’. Specially in writing and as a must when the gender identity isn’t clear.

At first a ‘simple’ guide teaching the neophytes how to avoid the wrath of the initiates, it had ended as a straight jacket…

Why am I not astonished?!?

There is a whole literature about PC having gone mad. Some for and some against the idea, of course. Some blame the ‘enthusiasts’ on one side, others the ‘manipulative’ on the other. Which ‘enthusiasts’ and ‘manipulative’ can be found on both sides…

The end result?

When I grew up, being polite mandated a man to hold the door open for women to pass. For perfect strangers as well as for a wife, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker. Do this today and you’ll certainly get some angry frowns…

Does it make any sense?

Being politically correct or dismissing it as an attack against freedom? Of speech in particular and of freedom in general?

Neither. Does it make any sense to transform everything into a weapon?
Both political correctness and freedom being included into ‘everything’!

Does it make any sense to frown upon somebody who holds the door for you, just because you are a woman?
Does it make any sense to frown upon somebody who tells you it’s counterproductive to tell somebody they are stupid? Simply because the more stupid they are, the less are they inclined to understand what you want to convey…

So.
We, people, have already managed to spoil two well intended ‘guides’.
Which have both started as tools to facilitate interaction and ended up a straight jacket and a subject for quarrel, respectively.

What’s going on here?
Am I the only one who believes this kind of behavior is self destructive?

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/etiquette
https://www.localers.com/travel-guide/paris/paris-history-guide/madame-de-pompadour-versailles
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politically%20correct

https://journals.scholarpublishing.org/index.php/ASSRJ/article/view/10250
https://au.reachout.com/articles/whats-the-deal-with-political-correctness
https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Political-Correctness-Gone-Mad/Jordan-B-Peterson/9781786076052

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I’m not OK with businesses refusing flowers/cakes for gay marriages but I can understand their owners’ point.
On the other hand, I also understand people who don’t want to wear masks. I’m not OK with it but I understand their quest.

What I don’t understand is the insistence with which some people want to ‘discriminate’ between these two situations.
Why should a business be able to refuse to serve a gay couple but not able to refuse to serve those who refuse to wear masks?!?

How can people discriminate between liberties? What makes a liberty more valuable than the other?
Specially when love between two people sharing a similar sex is still love while sharing viruses is potentially deadly…

And what’s so ‘progressive’ in calling other people ‘assholes’?!?

When are we going to cool down and start making some sense of what we’re living through?

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Bill Cosby was released from prison Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned his 2018 conviction for sexual assault,

Let’s recap the events, as described in the NY Times article.

2004 – Ms Constand was raped by Mr. Cosby.
According to the 2018 sentence!
Please note that the Pennsylvania High Court didn’t say the 2018 jurors had ‘seen things”. Only that the trial shouldn’t have taken place!

2005 – The district attorney prosecuting the case “announced in a news release at the time that after an investigation he had found “insufficient” evidence. He later testified that he had given Mr. Cosby the assurance to encourage him to testify in a subsequent civil case brought by Ms. Constand. (A civil suit she filed against Mr. Cosby was settled in 2006 for $3.38 million.)”
As he was convinced he didn’t have enough evidence to make a penal case against Mr. Cosby, the prosecutor promised the defendant he will not be further prosecuted if he testified (a.k.a. ‘told the truth’) in the civil suit.
“In that testimony, Mr. Cosby acknowledged giving quaaludes to women he was pursuing for sex.”

2006 – The civil case was settled for $3.38 million. As in Bill Cosby agreed to pay that amount of money for something the prosecution wasn’t sure that it was able to convince a jury that he had actually done it.

2015 – The next district attorney reopened the case. And got a conviction. Despite the fact that the ‘main’ evidence had been provided by the defendant himself. Given after he was promised he wasn’t incriminating himself in a penal way.

2018 – Mr. Cosby is convicted for something he had done 14 years ago.

2021 – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decides that Mr. Cosby had been practically duped into incriminating himself, found this to be unacceptable and released the former prisoner.

What are we, ordinary citizens, to make out of all these?

Be glad that our individual rights have been upheld?
It makes a lot of sense!
After all, upholding individual rights is what makes the difference between a free society and an authoritarian one.
Between people being free and finding themselves at the whims of the government.

Ask ourselves ‘what about the individual rights of the victim’?
That also makes sense.
But my experience of living under a dictatorship strongly suggests that letting some guilty people walk free is a small price to pay for making resonably sure that a government – any government, doesn’t accrue too much power over the individuals making up the people.

Ask ourselves ‘what happened to us’?
What drives so many of to use constitutional rights as loopholes?
Is this OK?

No legislation will ever be perfect!
That’s why verdicts are given by ‘peers’, judges are given so much ‘leeway’ and why, in general, the law is administered by highly trained responsible people and not by ‘machines’.

After all, how we use whatever we have at our disposal – legislation included, speaks more about ourselves than about the things we use and the circumstances in which we make our choices.

The whole thing raises a poignant question.
We have a business here.
The sporting tournaments live by selling advertising space. To do that, they need to grab our attention.
Given the insistence with which the organizers insist that the athletes have to attend the press conferences, which is the main attention grabber? The ‘athletic prowess’ itself or the ‘big talk’ that follows the actual ‘sports meeting’?

Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Get a vaccine, wear a mask…

“You can’t deprive others of their liberty without forfeiting your own. Liberty is lost with every person seeking to control others for their comfort and sentiment.”

Getting a vaccine and wearing a mask are sensible things to do, right?

Establishing a free environment, where all individuals might enjoy their liberties, is also a sensible thing!

For the simple reason that even a casual examination of history provides ample proof that freer societies fare far better than those which curtail individual freedoms.

Simpler said than done…
Mention the mandatory mask and the imperative advice to get vaccinated to those passionate about individual liberty and you have a hornets’ nest on your hands.

Or maybe this is an excellent occasion to discuss the ‘gap’ we constantly need to bridge between individual freedoms and a free society?

Can you have a free society composed of slaves?

The answer depends on who gives it to you.
I’d spent the first 30 years of my life under communist rule.
My country, Romania, was declared, by those who were ruling it at that time, as being free. Both domestically and internationally.
The only free individual was the ruler. Nicolae Ceausescu. He was the only guy who could do as he pleased. And only for a while… Until 25 December 1989…
In the end, the regime had crumbled and the only ‘free’ individual had met with the consequences of how he had chosen to use his freedom.

So no, you cannot have a free society when one individual, or a group of individuals, impose their will on everybody else.

‘Your liberty to swing your fist ends where my nose begins’

Otherwise put, if you refuse to get vaccinated/wear a mask you might be instrumental in getting me sick. Or dead.

‘Might’! It’s the ‘might’ part which troubles you!
Why should you shoulder a minimal risk/discomfort for my safety? Specially when you’re not convinced that my safety is in danger… Or, maybe, you’re thinking ‘let him take whatever precautionary measures he considers to be necessary!’

Because of India, that’s why!

Do you consider present day India to be a free society?
Do you consider that people currently living in India are truly enjoying their freedom? Today?!?

And no, I’m not going to contrast what’s going on in India with what the Chinese government had done.
First pretend nothing had happened then lock up the entire population.

No!
I’m going to contrast what’s going on in India with how the ‘other’ China had reacted to the Covid pandemic. Or with the South Korean response.

Different economic realities… Different cultures…
Maybe!
But also different levels of economic and social disruption!

Don’t tell me that what’s going on in today’s India won’t have repercussions!

You have to give this to the guy.

You really have to give it to him.
He was absolutelly right about his supporters being loyal.
‘No matter what’ kinda loyal…

“”Most Americans want neither inaction nor retribution,” McCarthy said, despite surveys showing a majority of the country in favor of impeaching and removing Trump from office. Most Republicans do not, however.
“They want durable, bipartisan justice. That path is still available, but is not the path we are on today. That doesn’t mean the president is free from fault. The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.
“These facts require immediate action from President Trump — accept his share of responsibility, quell the brewing unrest and ensure that President-Elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term. And the president’s immediate action also deserves congressional action, which is why I think a fact-finding commission and a censure resolution would be prudent. Unfortunately, that is not where we are today.””

““Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, according to lawmakers who were briefed on the call afterward by McCarthy.”

As for the fact finding mission… I wonder!
Given the amount of loyalty extended to Trump by Kevin McCarthy, how many years might pass before the facts will be ‘found’?

5?!? And who would be fingered for ‘starting the whole thing’?

Trump summoned supporters to “wild” protest, and told them to fight. They did

One of my high-school mates had emigrated to Canada. From Romania. He’s been living there for 25 years now. We keep in touch. A few years ago, he told me:

“We come from their future. I currently experience things which had already happened in Romania.”

His prophecy had been fulfilled, and then some, yesterday. The sixth of January, 2021.

1991, Romanian miners occupying the Romanian Parliament.

The differences between the two instances exist and they are not insignificant.

Both Trump and Iliescu – the Romanian president at that time, had been democratically elected. Both on populist platforms, even if the concept wasn’t as widely used in 1991 as it is now.

Only 1991 wasn’t the first time the miners had come to Bucharest.
In 1990 Ion Iliescu – the ‘cripto’ communist leader who had risen to power as a consequence of the 1989 uprising, had ‘thanked’ the miners for quelling a ‘festering’ anti neo-communist protest organized mainly by students.
In fact, this had been yet another precedent. ‘Occupy’ Piata Universitatii 1990 versus Occupy ‘Everything’ 2011.
In 1991, the miners had, again, ‘occupied’ Bucharest. Again, ‘supposedly’, under their own volition. The then prime minister, Petre Roman, had adopted some very stringent free market reforms. Which had fallen foul of both Iliescu and certain swaths of the population. Hence the miners had not been driven back to Valea Jiului until Petre Roman had been revoked from office.

And 1991 wasn’t the last time the miners had attempted to make themselves noticed…
As the old saying goes, it’s harder to quiet down a hornet’s nest than to stir it up!

We’ll see, as the blind man always says.

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