Wallace Baine, Baine Street: Are thin...

Wallace Baine, Baine Street: Are things actually getting better?

There are 11 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Jun 6, 2010, titled Wallace Baine, Baine Street: Are things actually getting better?. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

There's an episode of the great 1970s sitcom "All in the Family" called "Everybody Tells the Truth" -- it's there on YouTube; check it out -- that remains one of the most brilliantly right-on depictions of our cartoonishly extreme political culture today.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.

HUH

Pittsburgh, PA

#1 Jun 6, 2010
Your rambling article dances around the issue that modern country of America is not a united America. Only through unified courses of action can great things be achieved. The outcomes may be in doubt, and may even be painfully bad but nothing of greatness comes from division and cross purposes. Unity through diversity is, and always has been an Orwellian lie.

Optimistic and pessimistic viewpoints about the future have nothing to do with defining the way forward. Apathy and division are the greatest detriment to positive outcomes.
just sayin

Daly City, CA

#2 Jun 6, 2010
I disagree with you, HUH. The writer's comment about self-fulfilling prophecy was right on. In my experience growing up in this modern world, it's been my observation that people by and large find what they expect to find. If you expect people to dislike you, they usually do. If you think you're going to be able to solve that problem that's been bothering you, you probably will. If you go to a job interview thinking you don't have much of a chance, you don't.

People, while interacting with each other every day, take in subtle clues from those around them, even if they aren't spoken aloud. And while it doesn't force a particular outcome, it does point to one. If the majority of them are thinking things will only get worse, they're probably right.

Confident people (or optimists if you like), tend to succeed. Those without confidence tend to fail more. Anecdotal perhaps, but a true, driving force of humanity. I for one will go with optimism, thank you. I like the way it looks better.
optimsit

Concord, CA

#3 Jun 6, 2010
The glass may be half-full, but the real question should be what the heck is wrong with this water?
getaclue

Santa Cruz, CA

#4 Jun 6, 2010
Sorry, but your love for the local anarchists has not been forgotten. Selling books is a little capitalistic isn't it?
Laura

Santa Cruz, CA

#5 Jun 6, 2010
just sayin wrote:
I disagree with you, HUH. The writer's comment about self-fulfilling prophecy was right on. In my experience growing up in this modern world, it's been my observation that people by and large find what they expect to find. If you expect people to dislike you, they usually do. If you think you're going to be able to solve that problem that's been bothering you, you probably will. If you go to a job interview thinking you don't have much of a chance, you don't.
People, while interacting with each other every day, take in subtle clues from those around them, even if they aren't spoken aloud. And while it doesn't force a particular outcome, it does point to one. If the majority of them are thinking things will only get worse, they're probably right.
Confident people (or optimists if you like), tend to succeed. Those without confidence tend to fail more. Anecdotal perhaps, but a true, driving force of humanity. I for one will go with optimism, thank you. I like the way it looks better.
It's actually not just anecdotal - it's backed up by science. There's a little of it in the book The Luck Factor.
James Anderson Merritt

El Sobrante, CA

#6 Jun 6, 2010
optimsit wrote:
The glass may be half-full, but the real question should be what the heck is wrong with this water?
Well, right there we see the problem: What's in the glass is KOOL-AID, not water!
James Anderson Merritt

El Sobrante, CA

#7 Jun 6, 2010
I love the "Archie does Rashomon" episode, too. This program may have marked the first time I saw the fellow who eventually played "Book" on Firefly/Serenity, Ron Glass (who was skinny like the young Obama, but otherwise didn't resemble him very much).

Let's not forget that "Meathead" became the propagandist and political puppeteer (puller of strings), Rob Reiner. Even when you're laughing (ESPECIALLY when you're laughing?), keep your hand on your wallet!

Planning/engineering for the worst is a worthwhile human survival trait. But it is not good to live in such a dark and ugly world. Cliche though it may be, "plan for the worst but hope for the best" is sage advice.

"Global warming alone could abruptly throw human progress in reverse in ways too gruesome for us to even imagine." Actually, human progress is the only way we will be able to adapt to and survive climate change. Many, if not most or even all, of the catastrophes we fear from a warming climate -- take, for example, increased incidence of malaria -- are things that might be addressed by preventing warming but can definitely be solved by promoting PROSPERITY. As societies become wealthier, they have access to the means to prevent or at least combat the problems that bedevil those in poverty.

Which is easier and less expensive? Which increases human standards of living and well-being? Keeping a lid on climate change, or making people more generally wealthy so that they are more resilient against whatever life throws their way? If, historically speaking, humanity is riding the crest of a wave of progress and prosperity at the moment, I think it is because we have tended, rightly, to chose the LATTER approach.
HUH

Pittsburgh, PA

#9 Jun 6, 2010
The author of the article was using the plural "we" and not discussing the plight of the individual. A person can be both depending upon the situation encountered. An entirely optimistic or pessimistic is nothing more than a foolish person, and to attempt to classify an entire society as such is a fool's errand as well.

A large societies confidence in the future certainly is dependent upon the multitude of individuals thoughts, hopes, and fears and not just "pessimism" and "optimism". The way forward is always to focus those multitudes into a defined way forward for good or ill. A leader that can't sway the pessimist is just as impotent as the leader that fails to fill the expectations of the optimist. A leader that tries to sway the masses in such simplistic terms is doomed to fail. In my opinion that's why most modern leaders are failed leaders.

It's no wonder that the song "Happy Days are Here Again" is the most ironic song ever recorded. A wonderful ditty that appeals to the optimist and pessimist alike!
Frank Robinson

Albany, NY

#10 Jun 6, 2010
Mr. Baine's commentary doesn't say that's actually READ the book. In fact, if you look objectively at the world's reality across a broad range of issues, optimism is not at all crazy. It's totally rational. What's really crazy is the kind of pessimism that is so ingrained it's impervious to rational argument, impervious to reality. It's way too common, and actually doesn't help us tackle the problems the pessimists are always harping on.
Those interested in Ridley's very good book might also wish to know about my own book, THE CASE FOR RATIONAL OPTIMISM (Transaction Books, Rutgers University, 2009), which makes quite similar points and arguments, but develops the case for optimism over a rather broader range of subject areas. See http://www.fsrcoin.com/k.htm
Frankie

Richmond, CA

#11 Jun 6, 2010
HUH wrote:
Your rambling article dances around the issue that modern country of America is not a united America. Only through unified courses of action can great things be achieved. The outcomes may be in doubt, and may even be painfully bad but nothing of greatness comes from division and cross purposes. Unity through diversity is, and always has been an Orwellian lie.
Optimistic and pessimistic viewpoints about the future have nothing to do with defining the way forward. Apathy and division are the greatest detriment to positive outcomes.
Or to put it another way ...

A man who thinks "we" live in "our society" must have a t-urd in his pocket.

There is no longer any legitimate "us" at any social level. When enough people cast off their brainwashing and notice this, that's when times get really interesting.
Not a Pod

Richmond, CA

#12 Jun 6, 2010
Here's a gift for those seeking a spot in the optimism.

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/4449

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