Israel

Discussion of current events
neverfail
Posts: 5828
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Israel

Post by neverfail » Tue Sep 15, 2020 2:29 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:

The most amusing definition of the State of Israel came to me recently from an unexpected internet source: It’s a shtetl with nuclear weapons. :lol:

Ellen
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Israel

Post by Ellen » Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:37 am

There is something we can agree on, Neverfail.

Now, we are a shtetl headed towards lockdown from Coronavirus.

neverfail
Posts: 5828
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Israel

Post by neverfail » Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:39 am

Ellen wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 3:37 am
There is something we can agree on, Neverfail.
At long last! :D
Now, we are a shtetl headed towards lockdown from Coronavirus.
Yes, and I have every sympathy for Israelis on that. Out here we have recently had an explosion of coronavirus infections and deaths in our second most populous state of Victoria - luckily confined to that state - prompting the state government down there to bring in a stage 5 lockdown. But as someone on TV current affairs pointed out: in the Victoria state 5 lockdown they still permitted people to move up to five kilometers from their home for authorised reasons such as seeking medical attention and shopping for provisions. But in the Israel lockdown they are confined to remaining within 500 meters of their home. How do they survive?

User avatar
Sertorio
Posts: 4020
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:12 am

Re: Israel

Post by Sertorio » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:46 am

Taken from a discussing group on the internet:
Humankind: A Hopeful History weaves together all this material from an extraordinarily wide range of resources: the book has 55 pages of notes. It sweeps from pre-history (Bregman suggests that modern humans should be called Homo puppy, whose evolutionary advantage was friendliness) to the Columbian peace process that ended conflict in 2016, about which this tireless optimist says, “Like all the best things in life, the more you give, the more you have. That’s true of trust and friendship, and it’s true of peace.”

And a review of the book:

Humankind: A Hopeful History, by Rutger Bregman
A study that argues our natures are far better than we have often been led to think

Releasing a book with the subtitle “a hopeful history” during a pandemic that has led to thousands of deaths, put millions out of work and threatens to undermine the global financial system, is a brave choice.

But Dutch historian Rutger Bregman’s latest work has enough research and anecdotes to make even Hobbesian cynics feel a little less jaded about humanity — even if they may not be fully convinced by every anecdote or example that he offers.

The central theses of Humankind are that “most people, deep down, are pretty decent”. Sociability is our superpower, says Bregman, who rejects the veneer theory of humanity: that beneath a thin layer of civilisation, we are little more evolved than our “savage” ancestors. The opposite is true, he says: the institutions we associate with progress, such as nation states and private property, have fundamentally allowed for corruption.

The lives of our prehistoric ancestors and tribal societies, says Bergman, were not the nasty, brutish and short affairs so often imagined. Instead, these communities were largely peaceable and self-regulating, using mockery to overturn those who would put on airs. Only with permanent settlements and the rise of personal possessions did social hierarchies, militaries and permanent rulers start to appear — and with them, he says, violence and inequality.

Bregman’s attacks on the consensus around our nature are often delivered with aplomb and evidence. His examination of Lord of the Flies, for example, points out William Golding’s deep psychological struggles and the probable impact on his writing. Still, more powerful is the retelling of the real marooning of seven boys on an uninhabited island. The captain who found them, discovered not internecine warfare but a functioning commune with a food garden, chicken pens, gym and a permanent fire.

Even when the stories covered are not novel, Bregman successfully ties them into an overarching narrative that, on balance, humanity is not so bad. He takes Philip Zimbardo to task, arguing that the infamous Stanford Prison experiment proved less about our innate brutality than about the failings of the scientific process. Later, Zimbardo appears again, this time for a study which inadvertently inspired the architects of “broken windows” policing — cracking down on visible minor offences to discourage serious crime — that has caused so much strife in the US.

The writing is not without fault. Bregman has a tendency to grandstanding, particularly in his introduction. Labelling his central thesis as a “mind-bending drug” feels more than a little unnecessary. His claim that “to stand up for human goodness is to take a stand against the powers that be” also feels unnecessary, not least at a time when conspiracy theories about globalist elites are rife.

But Humankind is engaging enough to overlook these moments. Certainly, it is hard not to feel a greater sense of hope after reading the statistics on how hard it is to make soldiers want to kill their opponents. A rather bleak discussion on how conditioning or drugs can overcome that innate human connection is countered by one on the 1914 Christmas truce.

Bregman’s argument in favour of offering employees greater autonomy, and minimising managerial surveillance, is also welcome. An overreliance on a target-driven business culture can lead to lowered goals and greater inefficiencies, he says. Such thinking is valuable at a time when employers may be tempted to use new and invasive tracking software to keep an eye on their workers, who are now stuck at home.

Humankind concludes with 10 rules to live by — an attempt to make actionable the rest of the book. These are largely good ideas, such as assuming the best of others and avoiding the kind of zero-sum thinking that underpins the politics of US President Donald Trump.

But in some ways these are redundant: the story of humanity woven into the book is sufficient to suggest a healthy way forward. Whether or not it is a truly “new realism” is a point for debate. But Bregman’s examples offer a more caring ideal for how to perceive the world, a concept that is only going to seem more relevant in years to come.

https://www.ft.com/content/63803e14-95d ... 9244625ac4
Maybe Ellen and some others could benefit from reading such a book...

Ellen
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Israel

Post by Ellen » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:53 am

People can go to the doctor, to work, or to the supermarket. The point of the closure is to reduce social contacts and celebrations like large weddings, religious gatherings and now schools.

At my company Jewish New Year gathering last night, our chief scientist told us something that has become increasingly obvious. That the virus will win out over any government policy except in unusual countries like Singapore and New Zealand, where you have a small island with a fairly homogenous population that has a strong sense of social solidarity and follows orders. Almost all the other larger and more diverse countries are now experiencing a surge in infections once the lockdowns are ended and people go back to the normal lifestyle.

Only 2 things, therefore, can stop this virus, given that it doesn't seem to be mutating to a less severe strain.

1. Uncontrolled spread of the infection throughout the population until herd immunity is reached, at which point it slowly dies

2. An effective vaccine that quickly creates herd immunity and quickly kills off the virus transmission.

While we are all waiting for the vaccine, in fact, herd immunity is proceeding at a slow pace in all countries. Much maligned Sweden seems to be the furthest ahead in this trend, but with 6000 deaths for the same size population as Israel, which only has 1100 deaths.

I am praying for a quick approval and distribution of effective vaccines, because the other alternative will take years to materialize and will wreak havoc on all societies.

neverfail
Posts: 5828
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Israel

Post by neverfail » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:11 am

Ellen wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:53 am
People can go to the doctor, to work, or to the supermarket. The point of the closure is to reduce social contacts and celebrations like large weddings, religious gatherings and now schools.

At my company Jewish New Year gathering last night, our chief scientist told us something that has become increasingly obvious. That the virus will win out over any government policy except in unusual countries like Singapore and New Zealand, where you have a small island with a fairly homogenous population that has a strong sense of social solidarity and follows orders. Almost all the other larger and more diverse countries are now experiencing a surge in infections once the lockdowns are ended and people go back to the normal lifestyle.

Only 2 things, therefore, can stop this virus, given that it doesn't seem to be mutating to a less severe strain.

1. Uncontrolled spread of the infection throughout the population until herd immunity is reached, at which point it slowly dies

2. An effective vaccine that quickly creates herd immunity and quickly kills off the virus transmission.

While we are all waiting for the vaccine, in fact, herd immunity is proceeding at a slow pace in all countries. Much maligned Sweden seems to be the furthest ahead in this trend, but with 6000 deaths for the same size population as Israel, which only has 1100 deaths.

I am praying for a quick approval and distribution of effective vaccines, because the other alternative will take years to materialize and will wreak havoc on all societies.
Ellen, I don't agree with your chief scientist.

The most successful country in containing the spread of COVID-19 so far seems to have been the one where it originated from - the Peoples Republic of China which is neither a small island nor notably homogenous.

Ellen
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Israel

Post by Ellen » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:35 am

Unfortunately, I don't agree with you Neverfail. The data that they publish is falsified. There is a lot of evidence that the death toll in Wuhan province was much higher than what they claimed. Most countries are under-testing or falsifying their data, so I would disregard the data from these countries altogether.

Only in countries with high testing and truthful governments (which rules out all dictatorships), can you really get an honest picture of what is going on.

User avatar
Milo
Posts: 2774
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:14 pm

Re: Israel

Post by Milo » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:19 am

Ellen wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:35 am
Unfortunately, I don't agree with you Neverfail. The data that they publish is falsified. There is a lot of evidence that the death toll in Wuhan province was much higher than what they claimed. Most countries are under-testing or falsifying their data, so I would disregard the data from these countries altogether.

Only in countries with high testing and truthful governments (which rules out all dictatorships), can you really get an honest picture of what is going on.
It's possible the PRC is being honest about their virus data but leave out the part about how many people they executed to get there!

neverfail
Posts: 5828
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Israel

Post by neverfail » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:54 pm

Ellen wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:35 am
Unfortunately, I don't agree with you Neverfail. The data that they publish is falsified. There is a lot of evidence that the death toll in Wuhan province was much higher than what they claimed. Most countries are under-testing or falsifying their data, so I would disregard the data from these countries altogether.

Only in countries with high testing and truthful governments (which rules out all dictatorships), can you really get an honest picture of what is going on.
Hi Ellen.

I am not relying on statistics provided by the PRC government but by alternative evidence - like the direct observations of foreign visitors to China in recent months or news smuggled out of the country clandestinely by dissident Chinese. Yes, the Wuhan epidemic came and went and there is no such evidence of a recurrence since. A month or two ago there was news of an unsurge of infections in former Manchuria allegedly transmitted across the border from Russia but, like in Wuhan, that one seems to have been well contained since.

Milo and Ellen; even is you disdain the authoritarian PRC structure of government (I am no advocate of it myself either) please abstain from going into a state of denial over their posative acheivements. It is not anti-American propaganda to point out that the track record of China, along with neighbouring countries of Confucian legacy like Taiwan and Vietnam, in coping with and containing the coronavirus challenge puts the floundering efforts of the majority of Western democracies to shame. Clearly these countries have something going for them that the two demographically largest Anglo democracies, the USA and Britain in particular, don't have. Both the USA and UK are currently led by irresponsible populist fools who initially dismissed the COVID-19 pandemic still raging out of control in both as being of little consequence (just like seasonal flu they alleged).

(If it looks to the reader as though I currently view government in both the USA and the UK with contempt then my readers' impression would be absolutely right. If the infection and death figures eminating from these two originated instead from some poor and backward country in Africa or south Asia then it would be understandable, possibly even excusable: but from countries like these two premier western "democracies" I believe that it would not be unreasonable to expect a higher standard of political and social discipline than recently demonstrated in response to the pandemic.)

Clearly the democracies have something to lean. So why wont they own up to it and learn the needed lessons and be wiser as a consequence?

(P.S. Your chief scientist's hypothising about COVID-19 reads to me like an excuse to explain away the irresponsibility of government inaction to curb the pandemic - like the woeful non-leadership of the Trump administration in America's asinine response. Is your chief scientist friend by any chance a Republican?)

Ellen
Posts: 26
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:02 pm

Re: Israel

Post by Ellen » Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:51 pm

I agree with everything you say neverfail. Regimented societies under dictatorial rule have produced better results. Confucian societies under democratic rule also. this speaks to their strengths over individualistic western societies where people prefer personal freedom over national responsibility. I won't dispute any of this. The 2 largest anglo societies have performed the worst.

Post Reply