Between Fact and Belief…

Since I have lived the largest part of my life as a scientist I have thoroughly come to believe that when facts clash seriously with beliefs then beliefs need to be modified. I know the current Oval Office occupant doesn’t believe in facts, to him everything he doubts must be fake news and sadly his loyal base blindly accepts that line.  That is one of the scariest things for me about these times. But that is not the main point of this post.  Here are some words to ponder:

They are facts. Nothing more and nothing less. Just facts. It is a fact that people are happier in social democracies. It is a fact that people are richer, wealthier, closer, live longer, saner, better lives, in nearly every regard. There is nothing subjective or unknown about that statement, and so it is not a belief in any way whatsoever. Do you see the difference here — between fact and belief? You might think that I’m splitting hairs — but I think that both the future and the greatest lesson in human history that you probably don’t know lie right here.

https://eand.co/the-greatest-lesson-from-history-you-probably-never-learned-e73c861b9682

I really don’t understand how socialism has gotten such a bad connotation in the US.  I guess it has something to do with Soviet-style communism which was really in no way socialism.  It was just a tyrant trying to take control of a country by selling the populace a defective scheme. Much like Hitler and some during our current times are doing.

Social democracies are quite a different thing and those are the versions of socialism that are around today in much of the world. But, social democracies almost always implies an opposition to the unregulated workings of a capitalist State. Most of the countries referred to by the quote above are Scandinavian or western European.  Poll after poll shows them to have happier, saner and longer lives than we do.

I think we have a thing or two to learn from them.

Thomas Jefferson, American Hero

I want to kick off this re-formatted “Seeking Wisdom” category here on RJsCorner with Thomas Jefferson.  He is one of my primary sources of wisdom. He was an idealistic rebel of his times. Even by his compatriots, he was considered a writer for the ages.  He was a young man when he was drafted to write the Declaration of Independence. Some believed him to be just too much of an idealist and too inexperienced to write it, but looking back that is exactly the type of person needed for the job then and maybe even more so now. 

He was a theoretical philosopher when many of his time didn’t really understand what that meant. Here is a little more about him from one of my favorite sources of his quotes:

Jefferson’s skill as a writer has accentuated many of his accomplishments. Partly because of his preference for style over a rigid adherence to rules of grammar, he was perhaps the most eloquent of all American writers…

Abraham Lincoln heavily drew upon Jefferson. The words, phrases, and philosophy of the Declaration of Independence have inspired those seeking equality for minorities and women, and most recently for oppressed Europeans seeking to shake off their Communist shackles.

From the introduction to the book: The Quotable Jefferson collected and edited by Jhon P. Kaminski 2006

When I am seeking wisdom, Thomas Jefferson is one of my primary sources.

My Essence Statement – Who I Am

In a recent post, I declared myself as living a joyous life of a nuanced skeptic. This post will flesh out that description as to make you even more confused. 🙂 

Now in my old age, I am convinced that it takes almost a lifetime to determine just what your personal essence is.  We can all describe ourselves at various points in our lives but to find the essence of you is much more difficult. Maybe the difficult part is to do it in just a few words. I have been playing with the words above for several weeks now. Ever since I read a related post over at my friend Bob’s blog at Satisfying Retirement I have been struggling to find just the right words to describe my life.  I think this description pretty much sums it up for me.

Let’s go through my self-description word by word. As Bob pointed out there is a difference between happiness and joy. If I remember it right he proclaimed that happiness is a short temporary thing whereas joy is a state of being.  If you are really joyous it will get you through the darker periods that crush happiness.  I kinda like that definition so it heads up my essence statement.  The term“Essence Statement” is kind of provocative; I think I will use it often going forward. 🙃

Nuanced is a word that might not be familiar to all of you.  I had to look it up just to make sure it is precisely what I wanted. As you can see it is about shades of grey. That is looking at the small things to make a difference in the big things.  Unlike some of my more conservative friends, I am definitely not a black/white person. To me, everything is shades of grey.

Now on to the last word which is a skeptic. To me, being skeptical means that I question almost everything and try to think for myself in most situations that I encounter in life.  Many of those areas are when science and folklore/tradition collide. That kind of skepticism which is very natural to me, got me thrown out of a Luthern church because I didn’t believe what I was “supposed” to. But in most other areas of life skepticism, at least my version of it has made my life fuller.  I don’t criticize to tear things down, I criticize to make them better.

I lead a joyous life of a nuanced skeptic.

How about you; what is your essence statement?

Snippet – Canadian Countryside @ MyView…

With this post, I am instituting a new post category called Snippet.  This is where I send you a short note about what I have been doing.  With this snippet, I wanted to tell you I just added a new gallery over at MyViewOfTheWorld Photo site. I think you just might like it. It is from my 2011 month long trip up the St. Lawrence Seaway. There is some absolutely beautify scenery up there. 

St. Lawrence Seaway

Studebaker…

I know a good portion of my readership are seniors like me. So, I imagine that they know what the title is all about.  But for my younger readers, Studebaker was one of the few carriage makers who successfully transformed into an automobile maker in the early 1900s.  It seemed that most of them just wanted to throw an engine on the carriages in place of horses. 😎

Studebaker was located in the rather small town of South Bend Indiana from 1852 until 1967.  Many of their cars have become fashionable icons since those days.  Even in the 1960s when they weren’t popular I thought the Studebaker Avanti was about the coolest car around. 

To celebrate their history I give you another rather extended review of the museum still located in South Bend. For all you folks with SLOOW Internet speeds please forgive me as to how long this post will take to load. 

Oh, by the way, if you don’t know it South Bend is also home of the fighting Irish, otherwise known as Notre Dame.  So don’t try to visit the museum on a football weekend.

Progressives Have A Lot To Learn From The Radical Right

I have written several posts here at RJsCorner about needing another option for a political party in the US.  I have not been timid about my feeling that neither of the current parties represents what I believe America should be about.  After the recent mid-term elections I have come to see that a 3rd party option is just not a solution to our problems, at least not in the near or mid-term.  Here’s why.

Over my 50 years of following politics, there have been a few to differing degrees successful 3rd party runs for various offices. But for the most part, each one of them eventually drew its support from only one of the two political parties. The result of that was often the exact opposite of what those who changed his vote intended.  Given our current very divided populace it seems the only way for a third party to have any level of success would be if something catastrophic were to happen to our country. Lord forbid that happening!

The only way real change will likely have to happen is within one of the two existing parties. One thing about the current Republican party that I admire in a weird sort of way is that they have radically changed in the last decade to meet their current base’s attitudes and beliefs.  Or what is left of their base anyway. They are no longer the party of fiscal responsibility and limited government that I once admired. Instead, they have become a party primarily based on fear.

  • Fear of those who they see as invading our country 
  • Fear of losing their control of the wheels of power
  • Fear of anyone who believes things differently than them
  • Fear of those of different skin colors and different religions

In addition to fear they have morphed into the party of “Money Over Morals”. They are anti-abortion but not pro-life.

Progressives have a lot to learn from the Radical Right in morphing into a different philosophy.  But let’s not make the same horrible mistakes they did…

To sum things up, I am now convinced that if we want change in this country we must provoke change within the current Democratic party.  The Tea Party wing of the GOP managed to move that party to the right fringe of the political spectrum. Progressives need to form a wing in the Democratic party that concentrates on progress, empathy, and the common good and if it becomes the dominant wing then things will change.