Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Two thoughts on July 4 - don't hand the revolution back. It's now.

However things go on July 4 - whether Donald Trump gets what he wants or fails to hijack our joy - I hope you'll share two important thoughts on America's birthday.

I'll start with denying the Trumpist their #1 desire, asking folks to bring flowers to the Mall in DC. I'll finish with a new way to look at one of the great speeches -- greatest three paragraphs -- in the English language, and I will ask you to imagine they are being said to you right now. 

==Handing America's enemies a gift, with a ribbon and a bow ==

Get word out. They want protestors at Trump's hijacking of the DC July 4th celebration! They want disruptions. They want lefties burning flags and spitting at veterans and service members, who have been drifting OUT of the Republican Party because of... well... facts. And Putin and treason and trumpist craziness. America's enemies want and need the fringe to do really stupid things. It's the one way to prevent losing every intelligent 'deep state' person and members of every fact-using profession. 

Alas, there are passionate 'antifas' who will happily oblige.

Oh, there are plenty of times/places for antifa! But choose to follow leaders with some brains, will you? Like Bernie or LIz or Julian or Obama. Alas, in contrast take the brave but oh-my Colin Kaepernick. Full of the praise he got for a kneeling protest that could have achieved so  much more with some nuance. Now he's commanding that no proper thinking person in America would ever display or respect the nation's revolutionary war flag ... and thus he and his reflex followers have handed to the mad, treasonous right yet another symbol of patriotism they get to (undeservedly) call their own.

When the symbols should be ours! That revolution mattered.

Yeah, yeah, that huge but imperfect/incomplete revolution against the royal oligarchy had to be corrected by an imperfect/incomplete Jacksonian revolt by small farmers... who were themselves oppressor bastards, requiring another imperfect/incomplete fight in which half a million brave folks in blue fought and died to end slavery... incompletely and imperfectly. And our imperfect/incomplete revolution had setbacks in the 1870s and 1920s phases of this ongoing civil war, when the stark-outright-evil confederacy grabbed a whole lot of symbols and made everyone kneel before their Ku Klux 'lost cause.' But then came the Roosevelts, and wonderful imperfect/incomplete things got done. Then MLK and more great imperfect/incomplete progress....

And yes, we're still shitty assholes compared to the Star Trek future! A future that only we ever started to bring about. That only we ever envisioned through science fiction and that you demand for our children.

What we aren't is shitty assholes compared to every nation and tribe that ever existed before us, or those trying now to bring us down. Compared to them, we are fucking saints who gave humanity its best 80 years, ever.

I want that future of Star Trekkian justice, diversity, tolerance, flattened authority and all those good things. I want it probably more than you do, so don't you dare accuse me of being a tepid moderate.

I am a goddamn militant moderate! And I will not stand by while our own side's ninnies hand over every symbol and patriotic feeling to be exploited against us by Hannity and Fox and the confederates who conspire with Putin's KGB and mafiosi and Saudi prices and casino moguls and Wall Street cheaters to bring us down.

Get out there and love the flag, for all the imperfect/incompletion of the imperfect/incomplete promise it hasn't yet kept! Demand the nation move ahead! But you'll defeat the enemies of that great project better under that flag than you will if you simply hand it over to its destroyers, to use as they will.

If you are heading into DC to protest, take armsful, bushels of flowers. Hand one to every veteran or soldier you meet. You will do more good than a thousand screams and shouts.

And now, a fey moment that will give you chills and gird you for the fight.

==He's talking to you ==

Something to try. Take a minute. Read Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - only envision he’s talking to you, right now.

About us, right now.

It’s shockingly pertinent. "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."

Amen. He’s talking to you, this very moment, about this very moment. And every word is true, right now. Every word, right now. We are struggling against real enemies of this great experiment, to ensure "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom." ...

Moreover, if you can feel the power of the Great Emancipator pouring through you, read it aloud to that teetering RASR (Residually Adult-Sane Republican) you know. It's brief, potent - so recite it on the 4th.

And tell your RASR that yes, this is how we feel. And he needs to choose which side he is on, in this potentially lethal phase of our endless Civil War.

Make no mistake. Our enemies’ aim is the same as always -- as Putin made clear when he laughed and told his puppet that the great "liberal experiment" was obsolete. He doesn't mince words. His axis of Kremlin-KGB agents, oligarchs, Saudi princes, casino moguls, carbon barons, mafiosi, Wall Street cheaters, communist despots, Fox liars and inheritance brats...

...they plan nothing less than to ensure that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall perish from the earth. 


Treebeard said...

I think Putin’s point was that liberalism had become an enemy of the people--that it was pushing elite liberal agendas against their will and interests. You seem to have a hard time making this distinction. Notice how many illiberal leaders are being democratically elected around the world. Is it all a vast conspiracy, or is it possible that the people don’t actually share your liberal values?

David Brin said...

Which people, twit? How do you measure their will, in a nation that's grinding under a boot heel of a Great Leader? When speaking results in death? It is only in liberal societies that dissent can be heard and measured. And where was your popular will when ALL the peoples of Eastern Europe rushed west and into liberal democracy as fast as they could? A rush that the recent right wing surges have reversed by maybe 5%?

You don't make sense even in your own context.

kiwi said...

You are the right mix of fact-based thinking Mr Brin and not being in a bubble. I urge you to go on Sean Carroll's podcast. Mindscape (Science). Maybe go sit and talk to Joe Rogan (Freedom) as well for 3 hours.

Other podcasts:
David Pakman Show (Politics)
Sam Harris (AI / Morality)

Ahcuah said...

The Colin Kaepernick controversy is not necessarily as simple as it looks, and many of the news stories that I've seen ignore some of the history in order to gin up outrage: Betsy Ross? Who could hate Betsy Ross?

From the sub-head in a Rolling stone article: "There's a pretty long history of the flag being used by extremist right-wing movements."

So there really is a more sophisticated underlying question on how to handle something like that. What do you do when, let's say, you like the old Pepe the Frog and 4chan co-opts it? Or, to hit the extreme, you are a peaceful spiritual Indian and the Nazis co-opt your swastika? I used to like the Gadsden flag, and own one that I used to fly. Now I keep it stashed away so that I don't look like an idiot. It's a clever psychological move by the right-wingers. If you object, you play into their hands, but if you don't, it looks like passive acceptance.

I guess the proper judo move is to re-redefine it for one's own purposes (kind of like the rainbow for LGBTQ). I've sometimes thought that black protesters should adopt the "Stars and Bars", but give it a whole new interpretation: the red is the blood of slaves, the X is their history being wiped out, the blue represents the chains, etc.. How long would white supremacists keep using it if it became the symbol of black protest? (And boy would that piss off the supremacists along the way!)

john fremont said...

@kiwi. Agreed. I can see why our host debates libertarians when a lot of liberals don't understand the point of doing so. There is some adult sane Americans found among them. As of today Rep. Justin Amash has declared his independence from the GOP.

When my dad was 16, America welcomed him as a Palestinian refugee. It wasn’t easy moving to a new country, but it was the greatest blessing of his life.

Throughout my childhood, my dad would remind my brothers and me of the challenges he faced before coming here and how fortunate we were to be Americans. In this country, he told us, everyone has an opportunity to succeed regardless of background.

Growing up, I thought a lot about the brilliance of America. Our country’s founders established a constitutional republic uniquely dedicated to securing the rights of the people. In fact, they designed a political system so ordered around liberty that, in succeeding generations, the Constitution itself would strike back against the biases and blind spots of its authors.

Justin Amash: Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP

A RAS libertarian and second generation American is leaving the GOP. Rep. Amash shows more thought than the own goal Colin Kapernick just kicked with the Betsy Ross issue.

scidata said...

For a two year speech rehab, I had to choose one passage to be read aloud to the therapists monthly to benchmark my progress. I glommed onto the Gettysburg Address, which was familiar and hopeful. I read it many dozens of times. It's one of those special passages that actually gathers power and meaning the more it's read.

Lincoln cribbed from one of the greats, a trick later used profusely by Asimov.
"The whole earth is the tomb of heroic men and their story is not given only on stone over their clay but abides everywhere without visible symbol woven into the stuff of other mens lives."
- Pericles

Christopher Hitchens, noting that both Lincoln and Darwin were born on the exact same day, said there was little doubt as to which was the greater emancipator. I miss Hitch.

gregory byshenk said...

I suppose it is great that people are "declaring" independence, but the real test is in what they do.

A quick check (at 538) suggests that Amash voted with Trump / his party 93% of the time during the 116th congress.

john fremont said...

@Gregory byshenk
Yes. Is he just headed for a life raft but plans to continue the agenda more subtly once the storm blows over?

David Brin said...

Wow you guys are on a roll! Thanks SF, Scidata, BN. . Kiwi, I am a fan of two of those. Have met one. I will go on, if invited.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

...they plan nothing less than to ensure that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall perish from the earth.

A few posts back--talking to Tim W, I believe--you mentioned the Gettysburg Address, and you quoted some other line from that speech. I was going to chide you for missing a lost opportunity to mention that more significant one. Then you did. I should have known better.

Larry Hart said...


I think Putin’s point was that liberalism had become an enemy of the people--that it was pushing elite liberal agendas against their will and interests

How exactly does liberalism "push its agendas" other than by having people vote for it.

Given the way the Electoral College and allocation of Senators (therefore the federal courts as well) skew toward a privileged minority, who is pushing their agenda on whom here? Seems to me that White Supremacism is pushing its agenda against the will and interests of the majority of voters. That's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing, from what you are saying.

TCB said...

Map of CPB camps and ICE detention facilities

David Brin said...

LH, the point is that we have won the meme war of basic values, so they attack the enlightenment in enlightenment terms. They Accuse scietists of betraying science (using anecdotes or magic incantations.) They accuse liberal democracies of 'betraying the will of the people) when they are the only places that protect minority viewpoints, do not crush dissent, change governments when a miniority becomes majority, and allow polling by dissidents who claim there's been cheating.

This is the homage that hypocitical vice pays to virtue.

Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin re: Existence

I just got to the part where Hamish Brookerman thinks back on his career and recalls how he dealt with critics by writing them into his next novel and punishing them severely in the plot.

I understand that the character was somewhat based upon a particular writer who isn't you, but I also get the feeling that that sort of thing is somewhat common among writers. With that in mind, I wonder if you've pulled that particular prank in novels of yours that I'm likely to have read.

I won't pry further, but if you'd care to elaborate...

scidata said...

The Orwellian big lie is tough to sell without pervasive control of a distributed and robust media. For example, an SUV ploughing into a bus stop in San Diego made the news in Toronto this morning, even through all the CA earthquake, July 4th buzz, and local/provincial/federal goings on. Blockchain and distributed computation will only amplify this effect. It may be too late for an easy 1917 type takeover.

Larry Hart said...

The NY Times tells us what we already know about the anti-American Republican Party. Bold emphasis is my own, denoting "Someone finally noticed!" :


But as troubled as I am by the Democrats, I’m terrified of the Republicans. In numerous surveys of a party that has adopted the worst pathologies of President Trump, Republicans have shown themselves to be explicitly anti-American. The Founders would gag. So would Abraham Lincoln.

Consider the Republicans’ view of the First Amendment, the most sacred of the freedoms embedded in this country’s governing blueprint. Just under half of Republicans now believe government should be able to shut down “biased or inaccurate media.” And close to half of Republicans have adopted Trump’s authoritarian view that the news media is “the enemy of the people.”

I don’t expect Republicans to know Thomas Jefferson’s words by heart — that if he were forced to choose between “a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” This from a man who was subject to a lifetime of biased and inaccurate press.

But what part of “Congress shall make no law” abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, do these citizens not understand?

Regarding the other foundational liberty in the First Amendment, restricting an “establishment of religion” by the state, the cult of Trump would throw that under a steamroller of bigotry as well.

A majority of Republicans think Christianity should be the established national religion. And half of all Southerners — the deepest, most anti-American part of Trump’s base, with the DNA of Civil War traitors still coursing through the region — believe the United States was founded as an “explicitly Christian” nation.


Larry Hart said...

The link for the above excerpted NY Times article:

While I'm "here", here's another piece of it:


Trump has compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, which is like comparing a noxious weed to a redwood tree. When the anti-immigrant Know Nothing party was at its height in the 1850s, Lincoln had this to say: “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be?” He continued, “As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it, ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics.’”


scidata said...

which is like comparing a noxious weed to a redwood tree

Not exactly. It's like a noxious weed comparing itself to a redwood tree.

locumranch said...

Since the European Enlightenment, Humanism, Fairness Doctrine, Egalitarianism & Progressivism all owe their origins and continued existence to the West's “explicitly Christian” ethics, it's tragically hilarious when progressives like Larry_H pretend that they can dispense with one & keep all the others.

Why not give Larry_H exactly what he asks for by abandoning Christian Ethics for a bit?

Then we could adopt the very same progressive double-standard that allows progressives everywhere to condemn (1) free speech as hate speech, (2) majority rule as a supremacy movement and (3) self-preservation as explicitly anti-American.

It's a Win-Win Positive Sum proposition, especially if certain progressives like Larry_H lead-by-example by (1) curbing their anti-majority hate speech, (2) supporting minority rule by random oligarchies and (3) eating a bullet like a REAL AMERICAN.


On second thought, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot already tried abandoning Christian Ethics once & it didn't go too well for human beings in general. Never Mind. Merry Independence Day y'all.

scidata said...
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scidata said...
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scidata said...

Just a tip. Propping up decrepit straw men and then shredding them is a wholly wasted effort here. These people are not moronic barflies.

David Brin said...
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Alfred Differ said...
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David Brin said...

Locum you are raving. Not a single assertion is remotely related to cogency or reality. Try actually reading Descartes, Spinoza, Hume, Locke, any of them. Many - not all - were Christian to varying degrees. But all despised the domineering smugness of clergy and the clergy's alliance with royals and oligarchy.

I just had the world expert on the Cambodian Holocaust in our home and my father attended the Eichmann Trial. Those impositions of ruthless oligarchic rule hunted down every trace of liberal free speech. They were your guys.

Your nuttery would be more interesting if it were even glancingly related to any knowledge. Any at all.

Alfred Differ said...


You might actually like the Stratfor folks. They are not ivory tower nincomboobs with no field experience in the countries they analyze. They point out the same demographics problem Russia is known to have by everyone while also considering the validity of the data that goes into the reports. They typically avoid why a certain person does things and focus on why a particular nation does things. Geopolitics, as their founder was taught and then re-taught, treats nations as organisms with their own needs and wants. Nations happen to be composed of people and those people act on what the nation needs, but the people need not be aware of the multi-layer nature of their motivations. For example, Stratfor often points out that the US will do X even though that violates a moral principle espoused by culture group Y. It happens most often when Presidents go back on what they promised in a campaign because of what they learn after on the job training.

Stratfor tends to grade itself each quarter. They make predictions on a quarterly, yearly, and decade level and then periodically test their predictions against reality. Some things they get right. Some things they miss. They are mostly right, but they accomplish that by avoiding making predictions about things they do not feel they know. For example, our host points out WHY Russia/Putin does certain things and ties it to oligarchs wanting a return to the pre-liberal world order. They might not disagree, but there are alternate explanations for Russia’s behaviors that produce the same set of predictions. If they cannot distinguish one theory from the other, they might decline to speak to any of them and stick instead to the predictable observation. WHAT IS instead of WHY IT IS. See?

Stratfor will also point out competing analysis groups and argue for where they are better and where they do not compete. Not all of companies in their niche work using the same approach, so security analysis consumers tend to buy from more than one of them. In this self-description, they are occasionally explicit in how they collect data. I recall a story involving the founder as he travelled around Eastern Europe. I forget whether he was in Romania or Moldova, but he spoke of noticing that some young women had unusually expensive shoes and none of the men nearby did. From that data and other pieces, he described a conclusion and how he got there. The conclusion was that ‘sex’ was the primary export in that region and it dovetailed with other economic data he could collect from public sources. The local government would never have admitted to it, but ground truth speaks to those who pay attention.

Your ‘liberalism is an enemy of the people’ is a common line offered by the intellectuals who started socialism as a competing theory to liberalism. It dates back to the failed revolutions in Europe in 1848-49. Many liberals were discouraged by the failures and sought a different course. Unfortunately, their ‘new’ course was the old course with a new varnish on it. Tens of millions of deaths since then can be laid at their feet… maybe 100 million. Liberalism is difficult and scary, but it works. It’s the only way known to lift humanity out of poverty, famine, and disease.

Alfred Differ said...


How exactly does liberalism "push its agendas" other than by having people vote for it.

Through economic and soft powers. Try to imagine yourself running a little dictatorship. Odds are you'll need a lot of money for security forces. Where do you get that? The liberal democracies are awash in money relative to your little fiefdom. Can you feel the pressure on you and the values you represent?

Even if you aren't running a banana republic and find yourself in a non-liberal social clade, the same pressures exist. How do you convince your children to copy your values when you don't appear as successful as the rich liberals? What happens to your local, socially conservative church or the values taught to you by your parents?

Liberals DO push agendas and sometimes we do it through illiberal behaviors. Even when we behave, though, there are pressures we apply simply by existing successfully. Social evolution is practiced through 'copying' success imperfectly. Love and be loved and the next generation changes.

Alfred Differ said...


Ha! Hume was a Christian? Pft. 8)

The ethics espoused by Christians predates them. By a lot. Read Aristotle.

It got updated by Aquinas to make room for the ethics of a certain clade of townspeople and to include 'graces' that effectively add three more virtues to Aristotle's original list of four.


Virtue Ethics is OLD... and useful... thus it is no surprise you'll find it near the core founding principles of our nation. It's not Aristotle's version, though. Not even Aquinas, though he gets closer. You have to look at what happened when the liberals adjusted the virtues a bit to include the obvious successes seen among the Dutch, English, Scots, and eventually among some of the French.

The Enlightenment can be viewed as a battle between two nearly identical ethics systems. Aquinas got the Catholic Church part way there, but they turned away in the 17th century and plunged all the Italian states into a ideological quagmire in which the northern, Protestant states were not as trapped. Those same states could not RULE their people as rigidly, so that's where liberalism grew.

No one can successfully abandon virtue ethics. It's part of what it means to be human. Since humans are human by definition, it is foolish to try. For thousands of years, it could even be said we couldn't change it, but apparently we can... if only just a bit. How? It turns out the definitions we use for 'virtues' are dependent on the stories we tell each other. Let upstart authors change the meaning of 'courage' a little bit and the role of the Nobility feels the pressure. Amazing!

scidata said...

So the Battle of Fort McHenry was faught during the War of Independence, and was won when patriots stormed and secured the airports. My study of American history is now complete. Thank you Mr. President.

David Brin said...

To the list of virtues should be added curiosity and willingness to skeptically re-examine assumptions. (Is there a one-word name for that?)

With those two, you can get science and consider paths out of delusion, which the other virtues can actually exacerbate.

The modern PC virtue is Inclusion. Which is likely included in Justice, but only if that's already there.

duncan cairncross said...

Re- the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

This is a perfect example of "Unintended Consequences"

The Intention was to ensure "Free Speech"

The actual EFFECT is to prevent the Government of the People from protecting the free speech of the actual citizens

"make no law" - so the very rich can drown out the ordinary person

As the above study shows the desires of the actual people are ignored

The "make no law" totally abdicates the duty of the Government to actively protect the citizens -
"Rights" do not come from some deity - they MUST come from Society - so the Government MUST be able to legislate to protect the right of free speech

The American First Amendment is why US Citizens have LESS "Free Speech" than other countries

It was a bloody good idea! - but it failed

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

so the Government MUST be able to legislate to protect the right of free speech

The American First Amendment is why US Citizens have LESS "Free Speech" than other countries

I'm not sure I see how. The First Amendment doesn't prohibit congress from making a law protecting free speech. Only abridging free speech, which is a different thing, in fact the opposite thing.

I sort of understand the notion that it would be nice if the government could shut down FOX News, but the fact is that they wouldn't. They would shut down CNN and MSNBC instead, since Benedict Donald is the arbiter of what constitutes "Fake News".

Larry Hart said...

Ok, I'm thinking of the scene in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where there's a room full of people relating their stories of encounters with aliens. And then one guy with a long beard goes, "I saw Bigfoot once, too." And the metaphorical air goes out of the room, because that guy just discredited the stories that everyone there is telling.

Colin Kaepernick just did the same thing to the Black Lives Matter movement.

And I wonder if he was tricked, bribed, or threatened into doing so.

scidata said...

Dr. Brin: willingness to skeptically re-examine assumptions

Jacob Bronowski used to talk a lot about this. Quite emotionally at times. I don't remember a single word for it, 'impertinence' maybe. He beseeched ideologs to even briefly consider that they might be wrong.

David Brin said...

The Unwanted Ivanka meme is so totally welcome. A series of historical photos proving that Ivanka Trump has been a central, credible figure helping America and righteousness to succeed at critical times in history. See also these examples:

BTW look again at the photo of the White House situation room during the take-down of Osama bib Laden. First, remember that no Trumpian macho bluster compares to it. And can you imagine old Two Scoops letting anyone else have the big, swivel chair?

duncan cairncross said...

Larry Hart

The problem is the old one about conflicting rights

Congress cannot make a law that "abridges" the "right" of the very rich to drown out the rest - or to use their "speech" to buy the legislature

David Brin said...

Just felt an earthquake here. About 5' ago. Checking....

Larry Hart said...


Dr. Brin: willingness to skeptically re-examine assumptions

Jacob Bronowski used to talk a lot about this. Quite emotionally at times. I don't remember a single word for it, 'impertinence' maybe.


Larry Hart said...

@Dr Brin,

You felt this:

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.9 has jolted Southern California, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake hit at 8:19 p.m. Friday and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest, where a magnitude 6.4 quake struck on Thursday. The agency initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.1.

The quake was felt downtown as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. It was felt as far away as Las Vegas, and the USGS says it also was felt in Mexico.

If the preliminary magnitude is correct, it would be the largest Southern California quake in 20 years.

scidata said...

"Considered accurate to within 3%, 19 times out of 20"
It's human nature to read that as "always certain". This is the monetization strategy for most research and polling firms. Of course, in that 20th time, we could get a gamma ray burst.

There was a only a 1 in 20 chance that Thursday's quake would be a fore-quake of an even larger one.

locumranch said...

I don't know who is wackier:

Scidata who thinks 'free speech' only applies to those individuals who believe as he does, or our fine host who argues that dedicated socialist Social Progressives like Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot are "my guys".

They're both typical lefty apologists who invoke the 'No True Progressive' fallacy when confronted by cognitive dissonance, but our friends here -- either liberal or conservative -- are just beginning to realise that redefinition won't save their respective movements from inherent contradictions.

It is as Pogo & then Putin have said: "We have met the enemy and he is us".

Liberals are their own worst enemy. And so are democratic party members, bureaucrats, scientists, labour unions, and conservatives. We all are.

We. Are. All. Our. Own. Worst. Enemy.


David Brin said...

Blah blah de blah blah. Stop telling us we are what you see in the mirror. We are not like you. We see colors and multiple dimensions and postive sums. Yes, flatlander, "up" is not a myth.

scidata said...

locumranch is wacky. He thinks that the moon is made of green cheese. This is a position that has been debunked by astronomy, dairy production capacity, and moon-walking astronauts. The cow farts alone would have filled near-Earth space with methane. Yet despite all this evidence, he continues to tout this high fat, young curds theory.

See? Straw men arguments are for dumb-heads. Please move on to real arguments; some of your positions are not untenable. Free speech, for example. For that you could gather some staunch allies in here.

locumranch said...

Displacement is a psychological defense mechanism in which negative feelings are transferred from the original source of the emotion to a less threatening person, object or substitute.

Trump Trump Trump!! Everything is Trump's fault!!

Illegal immigration is NOT invasion; NATO is NOT a joke; Liberalism is NOT dead & dying; Majority Rule is NOT democracy; Free Speech means never saying the N-word; and the US Democratic Party has ALWAYS been the political party of free trade, open borders, out-sourcing, non-union labour & demographic replacement.

Blah blah de blah blah. Stop telling us we are what you see in the mirror. We are not like you.

Did I mention that Trump is bad?


Jon S. said...

I don't keep up with the white nationalist types, but I'm told they've done to the original US flag what they did to the Gadsden flag - stolen it and reassigned its meaning in order to try to make everyone flying it into one of their supporters.

Kaepernik isn't entirely wrong here.

Of course, US Flag Code also prohibits the use of the flag for clothing, but the folks who scream about "disrespect" couldn't care less about that particular form of disrespect.

(The part that really annoys me about the whole kerfluffle is the uncritical repetition of the Betsy Ross myth. At least around Presidents Day reports usually note that the story about Washington and the cherry tree is apocryphal.)

Larry Hart said...

duncan cairncross:

Congress cannot make a law that "abridges" the "right" of the very rich to drown out the rest - or to use their "speech" to buy the legislature

The First Amendment protects us from being arrested or shot for ideas that the government would prefer not to have heard. It's not intended to protect us from the reactions of others to our speech.

The "money is speech" bit that you allude to, I'll agree is a travesty, but I don't see it as a failure of the First Amendment. Rather, it's a failure of the system that allows the supreme court to say the law is whatever they say it is, even if the words can't possibly mean that thing.

As to the rich drowning out everyone else's speech, I think that could be dealt with legislatively without violating the First Amendment, except that Congress is currently complicit, as is most of the news media who (after all) profit from massive campaign spending. As an example, I don't have the right to keep a street preacher from telling me I'm going to Hell, but if he's out on my residential street at 3:00am shouting with a bullhorn, I can have him arrested for disturbing the peace. That's not an abridgment of his right to speak his piece. It's an abridgment of his right to wake everyone up.

Previously, laws that regulated ownership of radio/tv stations and required news broadcasting as a condition of licensing did a somewhat good job of keeping a small cabal from drowning out everyone else. Again, the problem now isn't the Constitution, but the government's willing complicity in the crimes.

Alfred Differ said...

The seven listed virtues can be parsed differently, but them main point is the oldest of them address personal and social behavior expectations older than dirt while the newest address social to transcendent behavior expectations. Curiosity is a bit of both layers, so it is courage, hope, and maybe a bit of love. Self-skepticism can be cast as a mixture too.

Whether there are seven, ten, or fifty can be argued, but reducing to six or less probably can’t.

David Brin said...

Ah, the "no I'm not, YOU are!" rebuttal! Except of course for those brutally biased enemies of all zero-sum bozos. Facts.

scidata said...

These virtues are, of course, limited to homo double sap. I'll spare folks my usual rant about anthropomorphization.

In the short "The Intelligence Explosion"
AGI ethics are covered. They share Dr. Brin's penchant for meaningful character names. I see Hera and Lucy, and I'm guessing that Gunther is a Germanic Beowulf. Dennis eludes me, perhaps Mr. Margaret Thatcher?

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Larry Hart

I am comparing the situations in other countries - like here NZ - where we have strict limits of spending for political campaigns - and requirements about identifying where the funding has come from - and we have a ban on all political speech on polling day

These all make our political speech more equal - but are all legislation that "abridges" the rights of the very rich

OUR Government - the one we vote for - becomes our guardian to protect US - the people - from foreign enemies AND from those people with excessive POWER

Just as the Government is now (belatedly) doing as we ask and protecting us from mass murderers by outlawing guns that can fire more than five times without re-loading (with an exception for small calibers for pest control)

David Brin said...