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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Religion in Latin America 2014 on: August 20, 2014, 06:44:47 pm
Protestants are almost a plurality in Guatemala and Honduras? Now I knew that the Evangelicals were big there, but....

Interesting that the Protestant population is still so low for Mexico in comparison.


Mexico is uneven. In Chiapas the Catholics are, I believe, under 60% by now. In Guanajuato they are well over 90%. So, it is not that the border is sharp. Then, again, evangelicals are the biggest among the native and the poor. The wealthy and educated classes tend to stay Catholic (if nominally).

In northern Mexico and parts of central Mexico there are non-negligible numbers of Protestants that converted in the late 19th and early 20th century. This demographic is very middle class and was liberal/revolutionary in the early 20th century but now tends to support the PAN.

In response to Snowstalker:
Presbyterianism is the most prominent Protestant denomination in Mexico, even in Chiapas. Many "mainstream" Protestant churches have a very significant presence throughout Central America. These Protestant churches tend to win converts based on their message of Christian univeralism and their superior provision of education/various social services. I can't say that the same is true for Evangelical churches in Central America but this is hardly a manifestation of the "far-right". If anything, the spiritual message of Protestantism succeeds in Central America because of its spiritual egalitarianism and is reflection of leftist values/aspirations.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: In new book, Paul Ryan urges GOP to stop 'preaching to the choir' on: August 20, 2014, 12:48:13 pm
Paul Ryan is positioning himself for 2016.
3  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone II - Less Boring, More Whoring on: August 20, 2014, 12:42:27 pm
I am in Mexico City.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Just moved to Moscow, Idaho on: August 20, 2014, 12:39:33 pm
Get out while you still can.
5  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Religion in Latin America 2014 on: August 20, 2014, 11:48:40 am
I'd discount the 79% figure in Mexico. Mexico is overwhelmingly Catholic but the Catholic church has an increasingly tenuous hold on its followers. Mexico would have likely gone down the same path as Guatemala if aggressive anti-clerical reforms weren't instituted and the Virgin of Guadalupe wasn't vigorously promoted as a national symbol. Because Catholicism isn't tarnished with right-wing politics and oppression in Mexico, it has escaped the rapid decline experienced in other Latin American countries. Nevertheless, Catholicism is very weak among the indigenous and is becoming a more nominal faith outside of the Bajío. Census statistics and surveys can't capture this because lapsed Catholics (there are many of them) are still recorded as Catholics. Mexico is similar to Ireland in this regard.

There's a reason why Mexican-Americans are quickly becoming unchurched in the United States.
6  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Electoral Geographic splits in countries on: August 08, 2014, 11:53:50 pm
In Bolivia, the wealthier white/mestizo east is more conservative than the Andean west and is very opposed to Evo Morales to the point that there was a separatist movement that gained traction in the late 2000s.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Citing Israel, GOP eyes Jewish vote on: August 08, 2014, 07:07:45 pm
The Democratic Party is so dominant among Jews that even Orthodox Jews supported Obama by a fairly large margin in 2012. Outside of New York and a few urban areas, casual anti-semitism is common and it's generally exhibited by Republicans. With this in mind, there's no way that Republicans will ever make serious in-roads among Jewish voters.

Republicans who support converting Jews to Christianity offend Jewish sensibilities far more than Democrats who are anti-Zionist.
8  General Politics / Economics / Re: Opinion of the Austrian School on: August 05, 2014, 07:23:36 pm
Not sure why austrian econ is bad because of no math.

The Austrian's School rejection of empiricism and its general rejection of mathematics doesn't make it "bad". It just means it has it's not Economics, which is a social scientific discipline.
9  General Politics / Economics / Re: Opinion of the Austrian School on: August 05, 2014, 07:20:27 pm
People who argue that the Austrian School is just sociology are all basing their remarks on the lack of econometrics in Austrian economics. Math does not accurately predict the future or provide consistent economic forecasting.

Lack of math does not make economic theory something other than economics.

Econometrics is not primarily used as a forecasting device; it's primarily used to observe the relationships between various economic variables, to verify the veracity of theory and to formulate new theories. Every economics department in country requires students to have a proficient understanding of econometric tools, methods and uses. Econometrics is nothing more than applying statistical tools to the study of economics. Without empirical methodology underpinned by data, social science ceases to a science.
10  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Capitalism dying? on: August 02, 2014, 11:57:48 pm
People being poor is obviously a flaw. You could argue that it's a flaw that would exist in any other system as well and perhaps even be worse or that it's a flaw that's in some way balanced out by benefits that necessitate it as a side-effect, but saying that it's not a flaw at all makes you sound like you care more about their markets as their own abstracted entities than about the actual people who have to live in and use them. Which is a horrible, disgusting way to think.

In fairness, there's a legitimate philosophical position that would make poor members of society a feature instead of a flaw. If one holds that an underclass serves the purpose of motivating people to achieve more and thereby either escape from or avoid entering that underclass, then having some poor people in a society becomes a necessity to the economic system.

That's hardly a legitimate philosophical position, unless you believe that human life only has true meaning if there is struggle, sacrifice and bloodshed or that "progress" is inherently good. If you have an instrumental view of economic growth or technological innovation, there can be no justification for the continued presence of poverty in modern society because there is no clearly demonstrable link between economic efficiency and the redistribution of wealth and increased economic output is only desirable in so far as it satisfies need, thus increasing "utility".

We have the means to eliminate poverty as it is defined in western nations and as it is defined in the developing world. Eliminating poverty would not place a constraint on economic growth or technological progress and the only argument against the objective of poverty reduction lies within philosophy that is completely divorced from the language of social scientists and policy analysts. So, unless you believe that tremendous inequality sets the stage for a glorious morality play in which the strong may be separated from the weak and then rewarded accordingly, there is no justification for the existence of poverty. The philosophical thinking described previously cannot be considered a "legitimate philosophy" under any circumstances because this line of thinking justifies barbarism and devalues human life. It's certainly a philosophy but it's a monstrous one and it should not be legitimized.

I think you did not take my meaning clearly. First of all I'm not speaking of my views, but recognizing what I see as a cogent position, even though it need not be shared by others. Second when I speak of a feature I don't mean that it's a goal to maintain a class of poor people, but a recognition that a system that promotes social and economic mobility must perforce have individuals who are better off than others. Hence it's a feature.

Even those who would seek to help the poor may at the same time believe that nature will not treat all equally. In that case the best efforts of man will still leave a measure of inequality since those efforts by man will be reactive. Is it barbaric in that case to believe that there will always be poor in the world with one's duty to help the poor, knowing that our help will not eliminate the poor?

I used the second person as a rhetorical device, which was pretty unclear of me. I certainly understand that line of reasoning but it's always struck me as a facetious argument. There's no real political opposition to a limited level of inequality in which doctors have higher living standards than the unemployed but many believe that it's desirable for millions of Americans to be reduced to privation so long as the labor market remains flexible and economic growth is increased.

I reject the premise that "nature" plays a major role in the existence of inequality but I understand your point.
11  General Politics / Economics / Re: Opinion of the Austrian School on: August 02, 2014, 11:44:25 pm
HS, insofar as its adherents cling to archaic, classical liberal interpretations of individual freedom and human rights.
Austrian economics has nothing to do with either of those. It's possible to adhere to the Austrian School and support a central bank, for example. You just need to believe that boom/bust cycles are a good thing.

"Creative destruction" isn't a tenet of Austrian economic thought.
12  General Politics / Economics / Re: Opinion of the Austrian School on: August 02, 2014, 11:40:35 pm
The Austrian School of Economics bears no relation to academic economics or social science. It also resembles a cult more than it resembles a school of thought.
>Has no idea what he/she is talking about^

I'm actually quite certain of this. I'm not a scholar of Austrian economics but it's my understanding that Austrian economics rejects empiricism and relies only theories that it derives from logical axioms. This bears no relation to academic economics or social science, both of which rely upon rigorous empirical methodologies designed to test various social scientific theories. Inductive reasoning plays an important role in academic economics and Austrian "economists" reject this approach on the grounds that data is "subjective". That isn't an assertion accepted by any social scientific scholars, who believe that rigorous methodology and natural experiments provide sufficient grounds for revising, rejecting and proposing theory.

Even in its primitive years, economics was a data driven and empirical discipline. Scholars of political economy might have used rudimentary methods but they firmly believed in relying upon observation to make assertions about economics. Rejecting empiricism is effectively rejecting economics. Austrian economics isn't economics, it's shoddy philosophy. It resembles a cult or a religion because there are no grounds for disagreement among Austrian "economists". If I say that counter-cyclical fiscal policy has a demonstrable effect on output, Austrian "economists" would say that fiscal policy creates recessions and I'd reply that there are many instances in which price fluctuations exist without the presence of any state and reference the findings of behaviorists. Austrians would have no response: I'd be wrong because I rejected the internal logic of their cult. This hypothetical is no different than a Biologist attempting to have a conservation with an Evangelical Christian.
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama: 'We tortured some folks' on: August 02, 2014, 11:08:53 pm
"We tortured some folks" shows so much lack of regard and caring, it makes me feel gross inside.

The President clearly cared enough to end the practice and condemn it.
14  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What would be your ideal solution to the Israel/Palestine issue? on: August 02, 2014, 11:02:31 pm
My ideal solution is to create a secular Palestinian state.
15  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the phrase "That's just your opinion!" on: August 02, 2014, 10:29:49 pm
In the vast majority of cases, it's quite possibly the worst phrase ever uttered by man.
16  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Capitalism dying? on: August 02, 2014, 10:24:22 pm
People being poor is obviously a flaw. You could argue that it's a flaw that would exist in any other system as well and perhaps even be worse or that it's a flaw that's in some way balanced out by benefits that necessitate it as a side-effect, but saying that it's not a flaw at all makes you sound like you care more about their markets as their own abstracted entities than about the actual people who have to live in and use them. Which is a horrible, disgusting way to think.

In fairness, there's a legitimate philosophical position that would make poor members of society a feature instead of a flaw. If one holds that an underclass serves the purpose of motivating people to achieve more and thereby either escape from or avoid entering that underclass, then having some poor people in a society becomes a necessity to the economic system.

That's hardly a legitimate philosophical position, unless you believe that human life only has true meaning if there is struggle, sacrifice and bloodshed or that "progress" is inherently good. If you have an instrumental view of economic growth or technological innovation, there can be no justification for the continued presence of poverty in modern society because there is no clearly demonstrable link between economic efficiency and the redistribution of wealth and increased economic output is only desirable in so far as it satisfies need, thus increasing "utility".

We have the means to eliminate poverty as it is defined in western nations and as it is defined in the developing world. Eliminating poverty would not place a constraint on economic growth or technological progress and the only argument against the objective of poverty reduction lies within philosophy that is completely divorced from the language of social scientists and policy analysts. So, unless you believe that tremendous inequality sets the stage for a glorious morality play in which the strong may be separated from the weak and then rewarded accordingly, there is no justification for the existence of poverty. The philosophical thinking described previously cannot be considered a "legitimate philosophy" under any circumstances because this line of thinking justifies barbarism and devalues human life. It's certainly a philosophy but it's a monstrous one and it should not be legitimized.
17  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 2012 Presidential Election on: August 02, 2014, 09:59:37 pm
I enthusiastically voted for Obama in 2012 and would enthusiastically vote for him today.
18  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Most characteristically Democratic state on: August 02, 2014, 09:41:12 pm
California is the contemporary avatar of the Democratic Party.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pelosi chases Tom Marino (R-PA) across House floor on: August 01, 2014, 09:01:54 pm
Pelosi is a true American hero and a freedom fighter.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is President Obama's approval so low? on: August 01, 2014, 06:57:45 pm
There's a real sense that Obama is an impotent President that is unable to deal with the challenges that face America. Republican intransigence has successfully destroyed Obama's image as an avatar of change and reform and he seems increasingly irrelevant as his promises and advocacy bears no relation to reality.
21  General Politics / Economics / Re: Opinion of the Austrian School on: August 01, 2014, 06:52:25 pm
The Austrian School of Economics bears no relation to academic economics or social science. It also resembles a cult more than it resembles a school of thought.
22  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece’s Credit Rating Raised by Moody’s on Fiscal Outlook on: August 01, 2014, 06:50:13 pm
As usual, there is no correlation between credit ratings and reality.
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which state legislator is most like the preceding poster? on: August 01, 2014, 06:45:49 pm
Eugene Dabs
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: 2014 Selfie Creepfest/Post a picture of yourself thread on: August 01, 2014, 06:44:16 pm


#tbt
25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Should people who oppose gay marriage be banned from this forum? on: July 31, 2014, 06:18:58 pm
Only annoying trolls should be banned. Most of them also happen to oppose gay marriage.
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