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True Blue Door

True Blue Door's Journal
True Blue Door's Journal
December 1, 2014

Too early to advocate for Presidential primary candidates: Instead, say what you need from them.

I've noticed some threads that are clearly advocating for specific presidential primary candidates. It's too early for that. Stop it.

Hold back and instead tell the potentials what you need to see from them.

For my part, I need to see at least one of the following:

1. A piece of legislation opposed by most Republicans passed in one federal legislative body, even if it doesn't pass the other.
2. A major Republican leader sunk to well-deserved disgrace due to the prospect's efforts.
3. A significant Obama nominee passed by the Senate despite Republican obstruction due to the prospect's efforts.

This is not a comprehensive list of possible things a candidate could do, but in the absence of any, we lack either basis or confidence.

If you would be President, fly your flag over a major accomplishment or the wreckage of a Republican's political career. Make your bones, not just your arguments. This is real, not a high school debate class.

December 1, 2014

"Wanderers": A beautiful short film set to a Carl Sagan monologue


From what I know of the various worlds of our solar system, the conceptual views in the short are completely realistic - and some of them are directly based on actual probe photographs.

This isn't fantasy, folks. Your descendents will live in these places, know them as home, fight for them against each other, discover others as refuges and new opportunities, as resorts and prisons, as job sites and places of exile, cities and suburbs (and backwaters). They will arbitrarily decide that some areas in these places are holy and others cursed. They will pillage and mar the faces of their worlds, then regret it and try to restore them in limited preserves. They will bring light to the dark, water to the desert, air to the void, and the whole life of Earth will give birth to world-children in kaleidoscopic fragments across the solar system...and beyond.
November 21, 2014

I can't help it, I'm a beer snob. Anyone else have this problem?

It started innocently enough - trying a nice craft beer here and there - but I could still easily hang with tap stuff, Guinness etc.

But then I ran into a brew so damn good it ruined me. I just can't drink normal beer now. It tastes like piss now. So now I'm doomed to only being able to stomach beer that costs twice as much as normal beer.

Anyone else have this particular First World Problem?

November 21, 2014

Overview of President Obama's historic accomplishments.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, even of the most historic achievements:

First black President of the United States.

Averted total Soviet-style economic collapse due to 2008 mortgage-backed securities failure.

Saved the American auto industry from total annihilation.

Largest expansion in healthcare access in half a century.

Largest nationwide reconstruction program since Roosevelt administration.

Largest investments in green technology in US history.

Got Osama Bin Laden.

Diplomacy with Iran.

Reversed Bush tax cuts for the rich.

First US administration to regulate CO2 emissions.

Opened the military to gays.

Ended the Iraq War.

Reduced the federal budget deficit year after year.

Increased the minimum wage for federal contractors.

Created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Created ARPA-E (the Energy Department equivalent of DARPA to pursue green energy)

Rebuilt America's relationship with Europe.

"New START" nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, signed and ratified.

Helped the Libyan people end the rule of Moammar Gaddafi.

Appointed most diverse Cabinets in history.

Yielded marijuana regulation authority to the states.

And we will see what comes of the recent climate change deal with China, and the immigration order potentially affecting the fate of millions.


Anyone who denies this President is a Great President, a Great American, a liberal, a progressive, and a Democrat among Democrats, is either a liar or a fool. Or both.

November 21, 2014

The Three Dimensions of Liberalism, and the Three Dementias of Conservatism

Given the vast number of liberal ideas, and the wide range of opinions among us, it's kind of surprising to realize that basically all of it can be boiled down to three independent and coequal values: Liberty, Equality, and Opportunity.

Another word for Liberty in a liberal context is autonomy: The practical ability of individuals to make free choices with all forms of coercion (legal, social, economic, etc.) minimized.

Equality can also be stated as fairness, and refers to systemic guarantees that nobody's exercise of Liberty is permitted to limit anyone else's, and especially not across generations. In other words, you do not have the freedom to enslave someone - that is not a free choice on your part that can be permitted, because it violates the independent value of Equality. Nor do you have the right to create rigid social classes perpetuated by inheritance: People don't choose their parents, so public services are a matter of both Liberty and Equality, as well as Opportunity.

Opportunity is the "progressive" in liberalism - not merely the neutral permission of science, philosophy, free thought, social diversity, and political experimentation, but boldly pursuing them as ends in themselves and collectively committing to that pursuit. Not to seek advantage over others, and not to serve the vanity of an identity group, but as a fundamental expression of life and consciousness. Not to escape anything, but to forever seek the new and open new roads to those who follow.

Not only are these values fundamental to liberal thought, but the presence and interconnectedness of all three distinguish liberalism from other moral systems.

For instance, libertarianism rejects Equality entirely and sees Opportunity as a dependent variable on Liberty (defined by libertarians as lack of government involvement - a preposterous corruption of the value), rather than being an independent political dimension. In other words, they only acknowledge one of the three as a fundamental value, and corrupt the meaning of that one to suit irrelevant fetishes.

Conservatism rejects all three and serves a totally separate pseudo-moral system whose only values are Power, Primacy, and Proximity. I refer to these as the Three Dementias of Conservatism, since they result from developmental failure rather than from philosophical or moral reflection.

Power just means "might makes right" - 'I have the right to do something because I have the power to do it and you don't have the power to stop me', and they're totally satisfied with such justifications (at least of their own behavior), so long as there's not much conflict with the other two conservative values. They can respect the power of liberals when we hold it, but they see our having it as a profanation because we don't worship the power we hold as they do, so we're "unworthy" of it.

Primacy means that things which come before and are already established are inherently preferable to new ideas, ergo their belief in a fantasy Golden Age that the present has degenerated from, and their love of imposing authoritarian cultural orthodoxies. They can respect the primacy and orthodoxy of liberal ideas they inherit as established, but they again see them as profane because those ideas are inherently anti-dogmatic. So they try their best to ignore them while whittling away at the philosophical foundations that maintain them.

Proximity means how closely someone or something resembles them or flatters their vanity. This is why they're racist, xenophobic, sexist, and religious bigots, despite the damage it does to their prospects for Power and the level of deviation from Primacy that might be involved. The reflection in the mirror is their North Star for moral perfection.

November 20, 2014

How to instantly prove conservatives are liars about economics.

Conservative: I stand for people earning their way through hard work, not handouts!

Liberal: So, how do you feel about inheritance taxes?

Conservative: Shut up.

November 15, 2014

If you were writing Dante's Inferno, who are the three people in the center of the 9th circle?

Dante put Brutus, Cassius, and Judas Iscariot in the most horrific depths of hell, gnawed forever by Satan.

While Satan is obviously a fictional character and hell an allegory for living psychological states, it's a morally enlightening exercise to think about who you regard as the three most absolute evil human beings of all time.

It would be a trivial answer to just pick the three biggest murderers and say Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. But if you look deeper at the nature of their horrors, you find that's not necessarily an intelligent answer.

Stalin and Mao killed people mainly via the chaos and paranoia they recklessly unleashed, magnifying their minutest impulse into a political imperative. They were akin to catalysts of a riot, rather than architects, and then acted desperately to stay in power against both real and imagined conspiracies to overthrow them like vast numbers of other tyrants in history. What distinguished them was not their crimes, but merely the scale of the states they ruled.

Dante reserves the 9th Circle for betrayers, and in my book the three betrayers in the lowest frozen depths who are eaten perpetually by Satan's three heads, are the betrayers of democracy - those who inherit its gifts, and throw them away as if they're nothing.

#3 Richard Nixon

Nixon grew up in the bosom of American democracy, privileged and nourished by it, and still could find nothing in his heart but contempt for everything it stood for. After a long series of some of the greatest leaders the world has ever known, he bullied and lied his way into power, and then used that power mostly to fuck everyone over and try to make himself into some kind of monarch. He had even tried to make a ridiculous special Secret Service uniform that looked like some pompous Praetorian Guard costume, but nobody else was interested. Dick Cheney in later decades was merely a degenerated clone of Herr Nixon - all the bloodthirst and hate with none of the political competence. But Nixon deserves the blame for Cheney's crimes too, since so much of what he did led directly to them, as well as the crimes of the Reagan administration between the two.

#2 Adolf Hitler

We tend to think of Adolf Hitler as the worst person who ever lived, mostly for aesthetic reasons. Mao probably killed more people, but it was the way Hitler killed them that gets to people - the rationalization along aesthetic lines, as if mass murder were a genre of art. It was as if an entire nation adopted the viewpoint of a serial killer.

But it's also the radical contrast between those crimes and the circumstances preceding them that makes us think of him as the absolute worst. Adolf Hitler rose to power democratically, arguing his way into a significant minority share of legislative authority in the Weimar German government before politicking himself into the Chancellorship. Only from that position did he declare himself dictator and embark on his career of Satanic madness.

Ruination that took a thousand years to unfold in the Roman Empire, unfolded for Germany in a generation: Monarchy, to democracy, to tyranny, to ruin. And he brought down an entire continent with him, and sowed the seeds of the Cold War that nearly ended the species. The narcissistic rat preferred to see his people reduced to ashes than to see them move beyond him. But Hitler lived in a time when there was a Bulwark of Freedom to fight him and refute his ideology. Not so the vilest human who ever lived...

#1 Julius Caesar

It's hard to understand the Roman Republic and early Empire today. They were utterly alone on Earth, standing like a mile-high column in an absolutely flat plain. There were military competitors - the Persians/Parthians for instance. And the distant Empire of China was very orderly and technologically advanced. But these were just elaborate kingdoms - more developed versions of ancient Egypt. Rome was something else. Not a rigorous democracy like Athens had been, but the most liberal and progressive large-scale society on Earth for centuries. They claimed to be "the world," and they were not wrong. Their philosophers stood upon the open plain and saw immortal truths, and the freedom to choose their path.

But for all the problems that came along afterwards - the conspiracies, the civil wars, etc. - Rome still believed in the open plain, in the freedom of people (as they defined "people" - Roman men, of course) to choose. And then some charismatic, ambitious general decided that the freedom to choose was the problem, and stabbed it in the heart as surely as he himself was a decade later. He swept in from his Gallic conquests with an army of soldiers who had known only a life of obedience rather than the freedom of Rome, and turned the entire "world" the Romans knew into a macrocosm of his camp in Gaul.

No one in all of history is as diabolical as Caesar. His own unfeigned words in De Bello Gallico are those of an unfeeling bastard who ordered the total extermination of entire peoples who resisted him, bragging about horrors even his contemporaries found somewhat shocking. The machine they had unleashed centuries earlier had come home to roost, and there was cruel justice in that, but the man who directed it against Rome herself was the singular author of two millennia of ever-diminishing freedom and ever-waning light. A man who had known all the blessings of a free republic, come home to murder it in its hour of weakness, and unleashing 1500 years of tyrants, madmen, and selfish hereditary monarchs on people reduced to universal slavery.

He caused vast numbers of slaves to be freed, only to enslave everyone else as subjects to the tyrant. He fed the poor, only to guarantee an unending future of poverty and misery. He feigned respect for institutions he destroyed, and created himself the founder of what Rome hated most: Monarchy.

Who knows what might have been possible if Caesar had been something other than he was? Nothing inherently stood in the way of industrialization and growth into modern republic. It could have happened 2,000 years before it did. Instead, an endless series of miscellaneous and boring history of feudal tyrants, military dictators, useless Fortunate Sons inheriting the slavery of millions for a hundred generations, callous religious cults rising in the darkness where the light of philosophy had died under tyranny, and chaos.

The five centuries of Rome as a charnel house of oppression belong to Caesar. The thousand years of "Rome" as a degenerate Eastern autocracy belong to Caesar. The medieval chaos in the ruins of Rome belongs to Caesar. The deplorable ignorance and fanaticism of medieval Christianity belong to Caesar, since it grew in the soil he had sown. The millennia of kings and tyrants throughout Europe who ruled in his name, or inspired by his example, right up to 1917, belong to Caesar. The Kaisers and the Czars belong to Caesar. Napoleon belongs to Caesar. The Holy Roman Emperors and the French Kings belong to Caesar.

He stood upon the Open Plain, and decided to dig a hole 2,000 years deep. Fuck you, Julius Caesar.

What do you think?

November 11, 2014

Dizzying new photo from China's lunar probe.

This was taken yesterday by the Chinese space probe Chang'e 5:


The Moon is probably in front of the Earth judging by the fact that Chang'e 5 is a lunar probe that recently swung by the Moon, but you can't really tell based on lighting - the Moon is naturally much darker than Earth.

I actually had a bit of vertigo when I first saw this image. That's how you know a space image is great - when you get dizzy the moment you realize it faithfully represents what your own eyes would see out a window. What we're seeing right there in this image is a secret - something human brains did not evolve to process. That's why it's slightly terrifying, and infinitely amazing.

I'm glad that China's space program (along with India's) is new enough at the space probe game that they still bother to take images like this instead of resigning their probes to abstruse scientific work and writing off such images as worthless PR stunts.


November 9, 2014

I have no patience for people more concerned with obsessing on their enemies

than on coming up with a strategy to accomplish something.

Make two lists:

1. Everything you want to accomplish.
2. Everyone and everything standing in your way.

If #2 is longer and more elaborately-written than #1, you have a fucked up and self-destructive attitude, and you won't accomplish shit until you throw List 2 in the garbage and stop wasting your time.

I don't want to hear about "Third Way". I don't want to hear about it from its advocates, and I don't want to hear about it from its opponents either. I want to hear what a single person is doing to accomplish their goals, or not.

Let this be the motto of my politics: That which does not matter, gets no play.

November 8, 2014

Free up time for Presidents to do important work by creating "United States Master of Ceremonies."

Or MC USA. Presidents of the United States spend too much time doing ceremonial and diplomatic functions, attending dinners, luncheons, and receiving ambassadors, etc. Some countries take care of this by having their political and ceremonial leaders separate, often by having ceremonial monarchs or else some other position. We could do it with an "MC USA." They could even be an elected position with no actual authorities - just the country's favorite entertainer.

Admittedly it could get rather buffoonish, given some of the people we would likely have elected MC in the past, but that would actually be geopolitically smart - our leaders could be as boring and intelligent as necessary, while our MC would put on the shows to distract the idiots among us and among others. Moreover, the MC position would likely be much easier to integrate racially and sexually than the Presidency, which will always resist women and minorities even after the firsts are taken care of.

Profile Information

Name: Brian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Southern California
Member since: Mon Oct 28, 2013, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 2,969

About True Blue Door

Primary issue interests: Science, technology, history, infrastructure, restoring the public sector, and promoting a fair, honorable, optimistic, and inquisitive society. Personal interests: Science fiction (mainly literature, but also films and TV), pop culture, and humor.

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