The Quality of Mercy One More Time.

The fundamental issue deciding military action can never be the empathic response or lack of it on the part of a leader in a non autocracy.I do not believe that current POTUS has an empathy structured personality.The strike in my view is a pre designed action( designed by competent military advisers) utilized by Trump to get out from under the Russian puppet label and to enhance a strong man image.Russian withdrawal of the aircraft deterrent understanding increases the risk of escalation of the incident.Assaad will test us again but not for awhile.More serious is the rumor of Trump putting nuclear arms in South Korea.Potus has to have at least one time retaliatory capability,it should not be with nuclear arms.Congressional approval should be obtained(as Obama tried) beyond one response except under extraordinary circumstances only knowable by reliable intelligence sources.
We have no proxy wars going for us and no proxy armies.(some fighters)The pieces in the game of three dimensional chess are primarily U.S.men and women.It is painful to perceive that the power struggle over direction in the White House is between an anarchist without portfolio and a daughter and son in law with questionable experience and authority.The policy direction of this white house is more than unclear,it may be nonexistent.America First as a policy would have interdicted the Syrian strike.

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14 Comments

  1. Doing “good” vs feeling ” good” ?? What is ” good”? And what empirical,objective “facts” ( devoid of ideology) support the construct???

    1. Doing “Good” is doing anything that measurably plays out in time to the benefit of humankind. The fact that it must be measurable to that effect IS its empirical support. Measurements are facts devoid of ideology.
      “Feeling” good is a subjective state of mind which can exist independently of objective (measurable) realities. It may or may not correlate with doing “good” as defined above. A mind can embrace and cultivate beliefs that give it pleasure no matter that belief’s accuracy to objective (measurable) truths.
      My brother and Kathy with their political anguish demonstrated that powerful feelings can lead us down a false path. Logic provides another form of empirical support. Only for one could the emotions expressed be appropriate to the “doing good” reality, but both could be wrong to some degree. That is, if each has the same desire for events to play out to the benefit of mankind. It is possible that the primary goal for the Progressive belief is not an overall strength (maximum expansion and availability of needed resources) for the greatest number in the human race, but is instead an equality of resource distribution (fewer resources likely produced but those would be spread more equally among (selected?) groups. (This they call Social justice. For instance, for the Progressive, wage gaps and income gaps are discouraged in one way or another.)

      1. Your definition of doing good requires the ability either to accurately predict the future or the luxury of looking back in time from some unknowable point in a space time continuum.It would be simpler to acknowledge an ideology.

        1. “Doing “Good” is doing anything that measurably plays out in time to the benefit of humankind.”
          With this definition I have intentionally created an objective, good-for-all-times abstraction. Because it exists independently of what we think or feel it avoids subjective variables and focuses our attention to consequences and away from motivations. This way it becomes an objective yardstick against which we can measure the quality of our various guesses. It would not be what it is if it could be boxed into the framework of any specific “ideology”.
          Because this definition is designed to be a tool that focuses our attention to measure better what ACTUALLY works we can consider it to be within the philosophic (not ideological) realm of pragmatism.

  2. The possibilities are many. Basic and interesting is the process by which we make our best guesses as to which correlate best with reality. The nature and meanings of “empathy” need clarification if we are to truly know what Daedal2207 believes when he tells us that POTUS does not have an “empathy structured personality”. My observation through the years is that people are selective as to with what and with whom they choose to identify. Often if “others” do not demonstrate what “my group” or “personal values” deem to be appropriate identifications with or about _______, unlike “us” they are judged to be limited in their empathic capacity. Most likely we all have a great capacity for empathy – we just use it differently – to different effect. Effects are measurable thus with the right statistical methods we can judge which applications of empathy truly bear the healthiest fruit. (As a related aside: In the big-picture mechanistic sense, it could be argued that if all were known (includes a perfect identification with all others), all would be forgiven. For the imagined all-knower there would be no past or future. But we humans exist with incomplete knowledge – time exists – thus we must make guesses, CREATE appropriate deterrents and incentives in order to cause our activities in time to favor human survival.)
    For many of us the statement “America first” implies isolation (Syria is over there thus we would not get involved with their conflicts). But more broadly it can mean that we need to counter any activity in the world that would threaten this idea called America. Unavoidably the world is being shaped. If not by us for our values it will be shaped by others for theirs. Are America’s original promotions of respect for equal individual liberty as well as “the running argument” values that are worth preserving? If so, be it luck or skill, the policies of the current POTIS seem to be on track.

    1. Kathy,
      American democracy is being tested internally and externally as never before.Individual ambitions linked to power and money are soaring high worldwide.Our personal sense of powerlessness is indeed numbing and/ or depressing.We simply have to assume that we can buy enough time to make changes.

      1. What is so distressing is how quickly I have become inured. I was physically ill for more than 24 hours immediately following Trump’s election. I have never had a physical reaction to politics, like this, ever, before. Until the past 2 weeks, I have been unable to read his words or to listen to him or to read too much about him. I read just enough to know what was going on, but not enough to let the poison seep in. So, until your essay, I am made to understand that I am, already, becoming inured, in feeling.

        I HAVE begun regularly relaying my wishes, positions, and outcomes for votes to my Senator and Congress People, for the first time.

        At work, in that small group in their 20s with whom I speak or know, there is no sense of urgency or anything out of the norm. To them, Trump is a regular, though successful, guy, who represents what they believe, who says what they think. To them, Ivanka is a successful businesswoman and bold leader in women’s and family issues. Her brand marks her success, intelligence, and worthiness.

        Thank God this is not what my young nephews think!

        The common dynamic that runs through all of the players in recent, past events is a deficiency of empathy: mindlessness, aggression, and deficiency or lack of empathy. Trump is incapable of empathy. Senators and Congress are concerned about positive outcomes in upcoming elections; they are not motivated by empathy. Ego spurs support of human and social justice causes by many of the 1 percent benefactors, not empathy. Many voters showed that they are full of emotion, but completely devoid of empathy.

        If there were hope of vision, forethought, and empathy intermingled with practicality and pragmatism; if we had a true leader, like King Abdullah of Jordan or President Obama, instead of a mob boss, like Trump; if…

        Without empathy, our values are at great risk. Without vision, it is difficult to walk into the future. Forethought should not become forbearance.

        Imagining a world which is alive and conscious, imagining that I am one living entity in that world, I am reminded to stay awake, to remain sensitive, conscious and alive by the fruits of empathy.

        Collective change occurs and is often instigated at the level of the individual. There IS hope because Congress is finally taking its Constitutional role and pushing back, to whatever small degree, to defend each their own survival. That is where, in this moment, hope still exists.

        1. Recently he told me that “It was the worst day of my life!” He was serious. My very bright brother (Harvard, Stanford, USC, Rand Corp) had acquired 80 years of experience before having to deal with this most miserable day following Obama’s reelection. It appeared that his beloved USA would never again be the exceptional land of individual liberty originally intended. It appeared that the corruptions of social justice would prevail over justice. It appeared that a living-constitution justice system would join hands with a liberal congress in making and reinterpreting laws such that so many people are shunted into dependencies that this form of Democrat leadership would be assured to remain in power. It appeared that a continuing liberal foreign policy would allow enemies to expand their might such that increasingly likely future wars would also be disastrously costly.
          I would guess that “Kathy” is equally as well-meaning and good a person as is my brother. Yet each experienced extreme emotional distress when confronted by the electoral success of the other’s vision. What can we learn from this FACT?
          Only one of these points of view can be accurate to the objective reality. To some degree each might be inaccurate relative to the objective reality. No matter the power of emotional conviction, such feelings do not necessarily correlate well with the objective reality. At least one of these two people has wasted and possibly continues to waste their energies and their life’s potential (for actually doing good) by nursing beliefs that are not true. If we want to avoid doing harm to our future (personal and collective) it is not the power of our feelings that is most important, it is the power of their supporting evidence that is supreme. KNOWING why our emotions are appropriate to the objective realities is fundamental. That is: If we REALLY value more highly the acts of DOING GOOD over the easier to achieve sensations of FEELING GOOD!

      1. Entirely???
        It would be helpful to all of us if you would please read my comments more carefully and be more specific.
        If you actually wrote about and told the truth about your distress at Trump’s winning the Presidency that writing IS a fact that is supported. I know what my brother told me about Obama’s winning the Presidency therefore that is not an unsupported assumption. Logic SUPPORTS the conclusion that one of you has experienced inappropriate anguish if indeed the reality is that one party’s agendas will play out better for the future of humanity. (I do admit to making an assumption that you want that as a goal. Correct me if that is not correct.)

        The concerns my brother had about another four years of Democrat power are just a few of those we had discussed in the past. They all have a broad history of being analyzed not only in the writings and lectures of political and philosophic thinkers, but in many comments in this very blog. I recommend that all seek out those with ideas that are challenging. If one’s source of news is mostly from the media analyze both FOX NEWS and MSNBC. If the issue is “how to analyze” there are books on logic that may help.

        1. The either or experience of anguish,one being justified by facts and the other inappropriate,is not what clinicians encounter.Emotional distress is a human response that if not triggered by internal hormonal,genetic happenings is attributable to environmental change.( social and physical )impinging on our adaptive capability.The most that social-behavioral therapists can say is that those happenings are assessed by the historical developmental self in complex self interested judgments.Social philosophy can be added thereto ( not necessarily)as to whether or not that self interest is ” enlightened”(voltaire’s altruism) or not.

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