Liberal Democrat

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Liberal Democracy

Monday, August 26, 2019

Skeptic Magazine: Michael Shermer- Interviewing Dr. Donald Hoffman: 'The Case Against Reality'

Source:Skeptic Magazine- Talking about Donald Hoffman's "Case Against Reality." Reality and reason.
Source:The New Democrat

"MONDAY, AUGUST 26, 2019

Skeptic Magazine: Michael Shermer- Interviewing Dr. Donald Hoffman: 'The Case Against Reality'

Source:Skeptic Magazine- Talking about Donald Hoffman's "Case Against Reality." Reality and reason.

"In his new book, The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth From Our Eyes, the U.C. Irvine cognitive scientist Dr. Donald Hoffman challenges the leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality. How can it be possible that the world we see is not objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they are not communicating the truth? Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. His evolutionary model contends that natural selection has favored perception that hides the truth and guides us toward useful action, shaping our senses to keep us alive and reproducing. We observe a speeding car and do not walk in front of it; we see mold growing on bread and do not eat it. These impressions, though, are not objective reality. Just like a file icon on a desktop screen is a useful symbol rather than a genuine representation of what a computer file looks like, the objects we see every day are merely icons, allowing us to navigate the world safely and with ease. The real-world implications for this discovery are huge, even dismantling the very notion that spacetime is objective reality. The Case Against Reality dares us to question everything we thought we knew about the world we see.

In this conversation, Hoffman and Shermer get deep into the weeds of:

• the nature of reality (ontology)

• how we know anything about reality (epistemology)

• the possibility that we’re living in a simulation

• the possibility that we’re just a brain in a vat

• the problem of other minds (that I’m the only sentient conscious being while everyone else is a zombie)

• the hard problem of consciousness

• what it means to ask “what’s it like to be a bat?”

• does the moon exist if there are no conscious sentient beings anywhere in the universe?

• is spacetime doomed?

• quantum physics and consciousness

• the microtubule theory of consciousness

• the global workspace theory of consciousness, and

• how Hoffman’s Interface Theory of Perception differs from Jordan Peterson’s Archetypal Theory of Truth (Shermer’s label for Peterson’s evolutionary theory of truth).

This dialogue was recorded on April 8, 2019 as part of the Science Salon Podcast series hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society, in California."

From Skeptic Magazine

I'm not a scientist ( obviously. What was your first clue? ) so I'm not qualified to get into one's brain as far as why they do certain things, especially when they're obviously wrong and go against their own personal interest, as well as the interests of the people around them. But I'm an observer of people and as a man myself I am qualified to speak for myself as far as why people do certain things,  including things that go against their own personal interests and why people even feel the need to try to escape reality and reason when making certain decisions.

I'm not an Atheist and I'm not a Randian ( term named after author Ayn Rand ) but as an Agnostic and I believe even as a Liberal I believe in reason and reality and don't believe in the faith for the most part. Perhaps the least romantic person you've ever met ( assuming you've never met Ayn Rand ) and I believe that you always should go with reason and reality, over how you want things and people to be. I also don't drink alcohol and or use any other narcotics, so I'm always forced to live in reality and see things they way they are, at least to my best ability, because I'm don't have that escape to take me away from the way things really are, for good and bad. I'm not going to have  a bad day and then hit a bar to get wasted to try to get that day or whatever happened that day out of my mind.

I'm not saying I'm an expert on anything and I'm the best at anything including personal decision-making. I'm just saying reality and reason are my approach to how I choose to look at the world and then try to make the best decisions that I can based on what I'm personally seeing and hearing in life. Based not on how I want people, things, or places to be, but how they are based on the best available facts and evidence.

But for too many Americans reality is not good enough for them to the point that they just don't try to change it for them, but start seeing and hearing things that simply aren't there to make themselves feel better. The example I gave about not going to the bar when I'm having a bad time to get wasted and escape from my negative reality, that's not what a lot of Americans do and perhaps is a reason for alcoholism that people need to get wasted and feel better when they're going through tough times and see alcohol as their personal escape, regardless of the negative consequences that come from abusing alcohol.

For intelligent, sober, responsible, sane people, reality is all we need to do well in life: "these are the facts on the ground ( for good and bad ) and this is what can be done about it. And this is how we can make the best of it." Is how these people look at the world to make the world the best that they can make it for themselves.

The alcoholic, the celebrity culture crazed person who might not even be popular or even well-known in their own neighborhood, let alone the rest of the country, for them reality is not good enough. So they see things that simply aren't there, think more of themselves than they deserve too, and perhaps especially the alcoholic make a lot of bad decisions that come with really bad consequences for them and people around them. Because the real-world is not good enough for them and have mentally escaped reality.

Monday, August 19, 2019

ATHENAISM: 'Why Is John F. Kennedy so Popular?'

Source:ATHENAISM- Depends on who you ask for JFK's popularity
Source:The New Democrat

"John F. Kennedy is one of the most popular US presidents. Was he as good as people remember him being? What exactly is it that makes him so popular?"

From ATHENAISM

Source:Caleb & Linda Pirtle- John F. Kennedy: I believe in 1960 when he was running for President. But I don't know for sure.
Why is John F. Kennedy so popular? It depends on who you ask and who you're talking about.

As a Classical Liberal ( a real Liberal ) myself I like JFK and consider him to be one of my political heroes, because of his politics and policies. You're talking about a Democrat who was not just an anti-Communist, but anti-authoritarian, and an anti-collectivist all together. Who actually believed in economic opportunity, individual freedom, personal responsibility, like all real Liberals that liberty is not just worth defending, but is something that has to be defended. He believed in equal rights, equal opportunity, fiscal responsibility, things that Democrats apparently don't believe in today ( for the most part ) with few exceptions. President Barack Obama, being one of the last of those Democrats. Despite his right-wing Tea Party stereotypes that President Obama was actually a Socialist.

But as I mentioned last week on this blog about JFK's rules for success, he wasn't just a brilliant man, but a man ( at least as far as how he spoke ) was full of such brilliant commonsense. Brilliant commonsense probably sounds like a great economy car: how great can an economy car be, otherwise it wouldn't be an economy car, but he's so quotable because he said things that sound brilliant at first, but then when you think about it they're really just commonsense that too many people had simply forgot about. His peace speech where he's talking about the shared human values between America and Russia and how it was in both superpowers best interests to cooperate for the good of the planet and our people's. He's someone that if you gave speeches for a living and tried to help people improve their own lives with your advice, would want to use JFK by quoting him.

So that's why I like him so much, but JFK's popularity of course is bipartisan and perhaps even nonpartisan, otherwise he wouldn't have an 83% approval rating or whatever the current figure is. Why do Conservatives like him? Why do Socialists ( who call themselves Progressives or Liberals ) like him? Why do even Libertarians like him? And finally, but certainly least: why is Hollywood if not in love with the man ( women and men ) why do they love him?

Conservatives like John F. Kennedy, because he was an anti-Communist, who really didn't like socialism in any form. He believed in economic freedom, as well as personal responsibility, which is why he pushed for what was certainly back in 1962 a very large across the board tax cut. He believed in a strong defense and that liberty was worth defending.

JFK, believed in things that today would look very conservative, especially with socialism being so popular at least with young Democrats today, but are actually very liberal ( both in a classic and real sense ) but look conservative, again compared with the modern Democratic Party. Back then Liberals were supposed to believe in these things and not sound and believe like Socialists. And Classical Liberals ( the real Liberals ) still believe in these things today.

Why do let's just call them what they are Socialists, who now see Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representative Alexandria O. Cortez, Che Guevara, and other leftists as their heroes: why do they admire JFK?

President John Kennedy, wanted to expand the safety net in America and create new social insurance programs for people who struggle to survive economically in America. Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, Federal Aide for Education, because he was a Progressive ( not Socialist ) who believed that government, including the Federal Government could be used to improve the lives of struggling Americans. But unlike let's say Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders he didn't think these programs should be universal and that the Federal Government should replace private employers as the source for how Americans get their what most of us call employee benefits: health insurance, paid leave, childcare, life insurance, pension, education, etc. And JFK also talked about the need for peace a lot.

Libertarians, similar to Conservatives like JFK for his beliefs in lower taxation and individual freedom all together. Jack Kennedy, didn't see the role of government especially the Federal Government to manage and run the lives of free Americans.

And finally, but certainly least why is Hollywood still in love with John F. Kennedy? If you're familiar with Hollywood, you know that it's not just the entertainment capital of America ( if not world ) but they're also the capital of pop culture and faddism. If it's considered cool, it's probably because some Hollywood celebrity either started it or got behind it. And because of their faddism and addiction to popularity and hipsterism, Hollywood always feels the need to be popular and cool. They don't love the man because of his policies for the most part, even though they will talk about his policy accomplishments.

Hollywood loves JFK because he was cool and see him as an honorary member of their Hollywood club. He had friends in Hollywood and they even planned his 45th birthday party in 1962. We're a big part of the production of his 1961 inauguration. Hollywood has this dying need to be seen with the in-crowd and be associated with anything that's cool in America. If fascism, Islamism, and Christian-Nationalism ever became popular in America, at least with young people, Hollywood would be promoting those philosophies with their movies and other productions.  Which is also why Socialists love JFK, because Socialists tend to be hipsters and follow the cool people as well. Which is why Hollywood claims to love Socialists and socialism as well, because socialism is popular with young people.

To have an 83% approval rating, you either have to be God in a very religious country where even young adults are very religious, or you have to be leading a country that's just been under attack and you're the one who successfully led the country through that crisis and came out stronger, like President Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor in 1941, or you have to be a politician who is so popular, because you're able to connect with so many people on so many different levels. Which is why John F. Kennedy is still so popular in America.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Evan Carmichael: 'John F. Kennedy's Top 10 Rules For Success'

Source:Evan Carmichael- From some of John F. Kennedy's greatest speeches
Source:The New Democrat

"John F. Kennedy's Top 10 Rules For Success:

In this video we're going to learn how to improve our lives by analyzing John F. Kennedy's rules

for success."

From Evan Carmichael

The brilliance of what John F. Kennedy talked about in life either as President of before his presidency, even though a lot of what he talked about had to do with public service and his own government service, can be translated into real life and how Americans live their own lives and should live their own lives. Not so much the decisions that they make in life, but how they go about making their own personal decisions.

Source:The Insider Tales- "The Insider Tales: inspirational quotes by John F. Kennedy
Move forward

People should not just appreciate what we have, but if anything be more focused on what we have, instead of what we don't have yet and perhaps will never achieve, but we should always strive to be the best that we can be. To always strive for perfection knowing that we'll never get there on that road of life, not so we chase our tales and just waste a lot of energy, but to be the best people that we can be. To be the best person, parent, uncle/aunt, sibling, friend, what we do professionally, our hobbies, etc. To be the best people that we can be in life that we possibly can.

Service

To go to President John F. Kennedy's inauguration: "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." Don't expect people to do for you, what you can't or are either not willing to do for yourself. You'll accomplish a lot more in life if instead of waiting around for things in life and for people to do give you things, because you're simply doing everything for yourself that you can and being the best and most successful person that you can possibly be. In this sense at least, JFK sounds like Ayn Rand here.

High standards

If you want the best out of life, you not only have to work for it, but you have to expect it as well. NFL teams don't win the Super Bowl by believing they're not even good enough to get to the Super Bowl. They know going into the playoffs, or at least late in the regular season that they have a really good team and perhaps even a great one and know they're good enough to win the whole thing. And then set out to do that and execute their goal here. And that's just one example with education being another one, where you can't have great schools, teachers, and students if you don't expect them to be great and hold them accountable when they're not as good as they can be, or even good enough and not even passing the grade.

Freedom for all

When race, ethnicity, complexion, gender, sexuality, religion become more important in America than the person themself, you have a real problem. And no, I'm not talking about not seeing the biological characteristics about people, because we would have to be blind to miss them, but instead see people as people first and more importantly as individuals and not as a member of any group. Judge people individually and you'll have a lot more friends, colleagues, mentors in life, then if you took the attitude you don't like that person's race, ethnicity, complexion, religion, etc.

Resolve differences?

Not sure I like this rule because not all differences can be resolved; hard to imagine how a Communist becomes a Libertarian and vice-versa. Or how a religious fundamentalist who perhaps even has their own definitions of what their religion is supposed to be that's not written in any religious text, gives all that up and decides that they're wrong and religion is actually garbage ( to keep it clean ) and all the sudden becomes an Atheist. Or how an Atheist who is so hardcore and militant with their Atheism to the point that they see anyone who is religious at all as either crazy or is a moron and perhaps even believes that religion should be outlawed, ( like a Communist ) all the sudden decides that they're not just religious, but a religious fundamentalist. Not all differences can be resolved simply because sometimes the two sides are just too far apart.

I guess my positive note here would be to learn to agree to disagree: instead of focusing on what divides you with someone or other people, how about focusing on what you do have in common ( if anything ) instead. And similar to judging people as individuals and as nothing else, you might find that you have some things in common with that person or people and pick up new friends. And if you're so far apart with someone or some people that what they stand for offends you, then maybe you should just move on and find new people to associate with. Which would also be better for your blood pressure with fewer intense arguments. Your heart would thank you for that.

Express your beliefs

You want people to know what you believe and who you are as a person, then speak up! Let people into your own world and bring them in to see what kind of person you are. You can't drive a car until you start it. And you won't make friends and obtain associates in life, if they don't know who you are and what skills you bring to the table and what kind of person you are, what you believe, and why you believe it.

Evan Carmichael's video is called John F. Kennedy's Top 10 Rules For Success: I gave you six because a lot of his rules actually overlap. Like moving forward, ask not what your country can do for you, and a couple others. And as I said before a lot what Jack Kennedy talked about in life he was doing as a public servant: first as a member of Congress and then as President, but what he talked about as a public servant can be translated into real life as well. Which is one thing that I believe makes him so popular that he was not only so intelligent, but he was readable and easy to listen to. His brain was like a great book of commonsense.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Foreign Affairs: Sebastian Mallaby- 'How Should a Liberal Be?'

Source:K-Top- Thomas Jefferson: one of the Founding Father's, Founding Liberals, and father's of American liberalism.
Source:The New Democrat

"In James Grant, it sometimes seems, the nineteenth century has been resuscitated. Towering, gaunt, bow-tied, and pinstriped, he writes with a sly wit that recalls the novels of William Thackeray. His signal achievement is a fortnightly cult publication bearing the antique title Grant’s Interest Rate Observer. He is a nostalgic believer in the nineteenth-century gold standard. He eyes modern banking innovations with stern, starch-collared suspicion, as though peering at them through a monocle. Even traditional financial instruments elicit a wry scorn. “To suppose that the value of a common stock is determined purely by a corporation’s earnings,” Grant once wrote, “is to forget that people have burned witches, gone to war on a whim, risen to the defense of Joseph Stalin and believed Orson Welles when he told them over the radio that the Martians had landed.”

Now, Grant has written a delightful biography of Walter Bagehot, the great nineteenth-century Englishman in whom Grant perhaps recognizes a grander version of himself: the would-be Victorian sage is paying tribute to the authentic one. From 1861 until his death in 1877, Bagehot served as the third and most famous editor of The Economist. He was a confidant of William Gladstone, the dominant liberal politician of the era, and his words exercised such sway over successive governments that he was regarded as an honorary cabinet minister. After Bagehot’s death, a contemporary remarked that he might have been the most fascinating conversationalist in London.

Like Grant, Bagehot was a vivid wordsmith and a cult figure. Unlike Grant, Bagehot was generally a modernizer, a believer in progress, and therefore an opponent of the gold standard. (Bagehot’s views on certain matters, such as gender and race, were far from enlightened.) In his slim 1873 volume, Lombard Street, Bagehot explained how central banks should quell financial panics by printing currency and lending it liberally—“to merchants, to minor bankers, to ‘this man and that man,’ whenever the security is good.” To Grant’s evident dismay, this formulation."

From Foreign Affairs

Source:CBS News: 'President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address'Our last Classical Liberal if not Liberal President
"On January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy was sworn into office and delivered one of the most famous inaugural addresses in U.S. history."

From Encyclopedia

"Liberal democracy is generally understood to be a system of government in which people consent to their rulers, and rulers, in turn, are constitutionally constrained to respect individual rights. However, widely divergent views exist regarding the meaning of consent and individual rights, of the particular forms of government that are best suited to the preservation of popular rule and the protection of rights, and of the types and effectiveness of constitutional constraints within particular forms of government. Nonetheless, liberal democracy is common throughout most of the developed world."

Before I get into how should a Liberal be, perhaps I should get into what Liberals aren't.

If you look at what stereotypical Liberals are, they represent almost nothing as far as what Liberals actually are and if anything if you look at what stereotypical Liberals are ( as some people call Modern Liberals ) and what real Liberals ( or Classical Liberals ) are supposed to be, they look almost as different as Communists and Ayn Randian Objectivist-Libertarians: with the so-called Liberals believing that government should try to do practically everything for everybody and that free choice and private ownership should be as limited as possible, if permitted at all. With Randian-Libertarians thinking that government should do practically nothing for people, if anything at all.

If you look at the so-called Liberals going back to the late 1960s and all through the 1970s, you would think that Liberals are nothing but rebellious leftist-hipsters who believe everything that America represents is immoral and bigoted and that they want to tear down the system ( or as they would say, the man ) and replace it with a socialist state.

Radical leftist groups from the late 1960s and early 1970s like Students For a Democratic Society and The Weather Underground and other militant socialist groups, didn't even call themselves Liberals. It was the so-called mainstream media that did that. They were people who literally believed that liberal democracy is bad and communism is good. And today you see groups like that on the Far-Left in America that are supposed to be the Liberals of today, but who aren't militant: groups like The Left Forum, Democratic Socialists of America, ( who call themselves Democratic Socialists, not Liberals ) the Occupy Wall Street movement from early in this decade just after the Great Recession, and other left-wing, socially and politically active political organizations in America.

That if you're a Liberal, you're supposed to be a rebellious hippie ( either from the 1960s or today ) who believes that everything that America stands for and even our form of government is immoral and that it's your job to tear that down ( either through democratic means or otherwise ) and replace it with some type of Scandinavian socialist state. You're supposed to believe that the socialist dictators of the world like in Cuba, Venezuela, Syria, and other places are actually decent moral people and if there's anything wrong with them at all, it's America's fault and that we forced them on those countries. And that it's America who are the real authoritarians and terrorists in the world.

The so-called Modern Liberal is supposed to believe that capitalism is racist and bigoted, that personal freedom is dangerous, people are stupid and therefor you need big government to babysit people and manage their lives for them. That free speech is supposedly bigoted and therefore has to be regulated so that no one is offended. Well, anyone who isn't a member of some minority group ( except for Jews ) in the country. But free speech for anyone who has something to say about any member of a majority group. And free speech for anyone who has something negative to say about anyone on the Right ( including the Center-Left, who look Right compared with the Far-Left ) or any member of a majority group.

So-called Liberals are supposed to believe that anyone who sets out to get a good education and become financially independent in life and them accomplishes those objectives, even if they donate part of their wealth to charity, is somehow immoral and bigoted. The so-called Liberals from back in the day and today are people who not just question capitalism and private ownership, but are looking for alternatives to replace those actual liberal values. We're seeing that with young Democratic voters in the Democratic presidential race right now.

So I just laid out what Liberals aren't, even if the so-called mainstream media is too clueless or brainless to get that. And I'll tell you what it means to be a Liberal, at least to me.

If you look at the word liberal and liberty, they're very similar because liberal comes from liberty. ( Not big government, socialist, communist, collectivist, welfare state ) If you look at the words liberation, liberalize, liberalized, they're all not just very similar to liberal because they're the same things.

When countries liberalize their economies, their societies, their government's, they're opening them up and expanding individual freedom. Not expanding the government and taking away free choice and free ownership. We're seeing that in Cuba today with is more liberal today than they were even 15 years ago with Cubans now being able to own and start their own businesses and own their homes. When they were a pure communist state under Fidel Castro, they were less liberal than they are today.

To put it simply: a Liberal is someone who believes in liberty, not big government. Liberals, believe in liberal democracy and the liberal values that it represents: like individual rights like free speech, personal freedom, property rights, limited government, decentralization of power, ( both governmental and private ) checks and balances, free, fair, and open elections, quality of opportunity, equal rights, equal justice, pluralism, diversity, a race, ethnic, gender, and religious-blind society where individuals are judged exactly as that, not as members of any group. Liberals are not Anarchists or Communists: we want government to defend all of our rights for every one us, not to do nothing, or try to run our lives for us. These are the liberal values of liberalism, not collectivism.