X-Message-Number: 21867
Subject: Sympathy and Compassion / Michael Riskin
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2003 09:53:16 -0700

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This correspondence represents solely my personal opinion, and is not meant to 
represent an official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. 

Michael Riskin


Government supported charity / welfare exists because we live in a democratic 
society. Many people who prefer democratically based systems, do so because they
feel, and in fact often are, insufficiently prepared to fully understand or 
rationally manage the totality of their own lives, let alone deal with issues 
such as extended life and unfettered capitalism, without the advice, guidance, 
and decision making of other. 

Whether the insufficiency is due to nature, nurture, or something else, it seems
to exist. How else does one explain mysticism, organized religion, and 
socialism? They are all concepts meant to insure against future potential losses
arising from a perceived insufficiency of personal resources in the face of 
difficult challanges.

Humanity, as it now exists, is possibly the missing link between the mystical, 
survival, old brain, flight or flight based life of our ancestors and the 
possibly rational, visionary, new brain, long term functioning of future 
humanity. The current state of human development has lead to the empowerment of 
governments that makes decisions and that collects and spends funds, all 
supposedly on the collective behalf, while also allowing the individual a sense 
of voice in their own fate through free speech and the vote.

Many humans do not yet believe they possess the necessary intellect, vision, 
confidence, facts, or personal resources to fully organize their own lives, let 
alone that of a society, beyond the sole immediacy of short term physical 
survival, and even that is problematic. Instead, they delegate that effort and 
power, by majority vote, to elected and appointed officials. Those elected, do 
little if anything, to dissuade the electorate that their feelings of personal 
inadequacy are wrong.  

Those who argue in this forum against democracy as an ethical or moral system, 
want the so-called thieves, their enforcers, and their beneficiaries, to agree 
with the assessment that a purely capitalistic, libertarian system would produce
superior results for them personally. It is presented in a righteous, 
aggressive, this is a "no brainer" manner, as if anyone who disagrees is an 
idiot. Not usually a good strategy. It doesn't tend to foster trust or belief 
that genuinely care is part of the equation. It mobilizes resistance rather than
support. What may be more effective is sympathy for the shared human plight, 
the as of yet inability of any of us, to guarantee our survival. And then lay 
out, in small incremental steps, how one might effectively get from point A to 
point B while minimizing the much feared consequences of change. 

You may want others to abandon their empowerment of government, to choose in its
stead, alternate practices based on an unproven system presented in an elitist 
manner.. while asking them to abandon their current entitlements and other 
resources that apparently support their life survival needs. That's not easy. 

You want them to believe you on what appears to them to be faith and / or 
idealistic theory, that your way is better and that you are more trust-worthy 
than their other intellectual leaders.. L

Let's see.no more state supported hospital emergency rooms for your children. 
Instead, count on the benevolence of your neighbor and your own ability to save 
and fund and create such activities. Trust, me...this is good for you.

That is likely well beyond the risk tolerance of 95% plus of our societies 
individuals and accounts for the fact that there are perhaps just 1,000 people 
signed up for cryonics, amongst the hundreds of millions candidates that will 
not likely live to see the end of aging and biological death. It probably 
accounts for the small number of vocal, registered libertarians as well.

Living and staying alive is difficult business. It is also difficult to hasten 
the evolutionary process. Those who advocate change, need to exercise patience 
and allocate resources, based on a business and action plan, that includes 
intermediate steps to demonstrate its' effectivity to the majority, and thus 
earn their support in an orderly manner. Anything less is likely unrealistic and
ignoring the realities of the world we live we. It is one of the reasons that 
cryonics is quite so unpopular. Cryonicists and libertarians are seen, and 
occasionally act and talk, as if no one's life mattered but their own. Even 
worse, cryonicists and libertarians sometimes imply that a non-believer is an 
irrational being, barely worthy of talking to. This scares people. It makes us 
appear callous, cold, un-neighborly, and untrustworthy. As far as they know, we 
will eat their children if hungry enough. Little do they know that we are just 
as frightened as they are, and perhaps more.

Most of all, be thankful that you have been given the intellect, resources, and 
personal confidence, to comprehend and tolerate the challenges that face 
humanity, and have the ability to appreciate the inherent beauty and value of a 
sentient, self determining life.

What may prove more effective in the long run, is a dose of sympathy and 
compassion. We need to educate others, in a rational, effective manner..not try 
to lecture them into submission. If we are failing in that regard, there is only
one direction to look in for the correct answers and the better solutions.and 
that is in the mirror. 

Sometimes it is the teacher's fault that the student fails to learn or even 
refuses to listen. Libertarian ideas and they way they are presented are not 
new. I have heard them for forty-five years. In fact, they seem a bit worn thin,
not by virtue of their logic, but by virtue of the sameness of the method of 
delivery and the equality of the consistent failure to convince significant 
numbers of others. 

Finally, I say to whomever wants Mr. Swayze to condemn the system that provides 
for the necessities of his life, let me hear you vehemently and sincerely 
protest to the 911 rescue team, as they breathe life into your body, that as an 
absolute, the system stinks. 







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