Tag archives: Robert Bernstein

Trust to Thrive?
By Robert Bernstein   |   November 22, 2022

Do you want to be rich? To live really well? Then you will want to live in a society with high trust. Our World in Data detailed this in an article “Trust” by Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser. Much of the data comes from the World Value Survey. The World Value Survey plotted per capita […]

What is Freedom?
By Robert Bernstein   |   November 15, 2022

President Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) delivered his famous “Four Freedoms” speech 11 months before Pearl Harbor took us into WWII. These four freedoms?  Freedom of speech; Freedom of worship;Freedom from want;Freedom from fear. This mural of the Four Freedoms (pictured) used to be on the County Human Resources Department. Note that the first two are negative […]

A Lesson From the Eighth Continent?
By Robert Bernstein   |   October 18, 2022

Over 20 years ago I attended a talk on Madagascar at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. It was one long rant about how the ecosystems of Madagascar had been almost totally destroyed. How there were no indigenous organizations for outside conservation groups to work with. And how the Pope had gone there to […]

Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?
By Robert Bernstein   |   August 30, 2022

It is well known that most industrialized countries have universal healthcare, good public transit, and free public college education. Why doesn’t the U.S. have these things? A hundred years ago socialism was seen positively in much of the world as a way to share in the productivity of modern industrialization. President Franklin Roosevelt and his […]

Independent Commissions to Solve Climate Crisis and More?
By Robert Bernstein   |   July 26, 2022

Our system of government was deliberately set up to make change and action very difficult. Unfortunately, reality does not care about our inability to govern. Notably, the Climate Crisis marches on, with action urgently needed to avert unprecedented disaster on a global scale. The President, House of Representatives, and Senate are rarely in alignment. And, […]

Policy Makers Don’t Care About You?
By Robert Bernstein   |   June 7, 2022

“When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” This was the conclusion of a Princeton University study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: […]

Life Purpose?
By Robert Bernstein   |   May 24, 2022

Normalizing Atheism is an active Facebook page I recently joined. It is a surprisingly respectful forum for atheists to “come out” and for religious people to ask questions of atheists. On April 13, someone named Brian C. made this post: “I’ve been pondering something lately: Is it possible to live without meaning or purpose? If […]

Are People Basically Good or Evil? Pt.2
By Robert Bernstein   |   May 10, 2022

I want to continue my review of the book Humankind, which I started in my previous article. Author Rutger Bregman showed that many of the best and worst aspects of human behavior stem from a common desire to be “helpful.” Just as wolves domesticated themselves to be able to live among humans, humans domesticated themselves […]

Are People Basically Good or Evil? Pt. 1
By Robert Bernstein   |   May 3, 2022

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is the latest situation that might lead us to think that people under the surface are evil and only a thin veneer of civilization protects us. My college lady friend recently introduced me to the book Humankind that takes this on. Many issues are raised, and this will be the first […]

Can We Trust Eyewitness Testimony?
By Robert Bernstein   |   April 12, 2022

“Who are you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes?” Variations of this quote date back to Chico Marx in Duck Soup and earlier. Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has testified in criminal trials that eyewitness testimony is not as trustworthy as it seems. Loftus has shown that it is easy to implant false memories of […]

Reservoir Becomes Empty
By Montecito Journal   |   March 22, 2022

On Thursday morning (March 10, 2022) the reservoir on upper Hot Springs Road was empty so no water was going to the estates below. This was because the main pipe had been disconnected for days on end, and the hot springs water that normally flowed into the reservoir poured onto Hot Springs Trail.  Will the […]

Giving Thanks
By Montecito Journal   |   November 30, 2021

This past year has been really tough (COVID-19, inflation, supply chain problems, etc.). However, when things get tough, it is exactly when we need to give thanks. Our Founding Fathers and great leaders understood that giving thanks and expressing gratitude matters in the face of adversity. It gives us hope, emotionally. Giving thanks for what […]

Remembering John McCain
By Montecito Journal   |   September 6, 2018

My first job after college was in the Arizona House of Representatives as the House reader: the guy who sits just below the Speaker of the House on the floor and reads the bills, tabulates the votes using a computer, runs the microphones, that kind of stuff. It was a front-row seat in the debate […]