19 October 2019 ~ 41 Comentarios

The 10 common characteristics of populist rulers from left or right

By Carlos Alberto Montaner*

Is your president a “populist”? Calling a politician or an official “populist” is a quick and safe way to disqualify him. But what makes these characters “populist”? The recent and much more extended reading of this decalogue inspired by the short essay What is Populism, by Jan-Werner Müller, caused many of those attending my talk in Mexico, in the Caminos de la Libertad Award ceremony, to think that I was talking about López Obrador. It was not my intention, but if the cap fits, wear it. In my opinion, the interesting thing about the term is that it applies to the right and left of the term.

FirstThe caudillismo. Generally, populism begins with the admission of a leader or caudillo who is attributed all the virtues and is considered, in fact, to be the great interpreter of the popular will. Someone who transcends institutions and whose word becomes the sacred dogma of the homeland. Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Perón, Fidel Castro, Juan Velasco Alvarado, Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro, each in their own way, are examples of Caudillos.

SecondThe exclusivism. Only “we” are the true representatives of the people. The “others” are the enemies of the people. The “others”, therefore, are marginal beings who are not subjects of law and deserve our greatest contempt. Chávez called his opponents “majunches,” a Venezuelan regionalism that means “dumb or useless.”

ThirdThe Adamism. History begins with them. Hence the name Adamism, for Adam, the first man. The past is a succession of failures, disagreements and pure betrayals. The history of the homeland begins with the populist movement that has come to power to vindicate the poor and dispossessed after centuries of submissive governments, sometimes sold out to the local bourgeoisie and sometimes to foreign imperialists.

FourthNationalism. Nationalism is a belief generally linked to a supposed national identity. It is usually exclusive and leads to racism or other forms of social exclusion. In the economic field it leads to protectionism or two seemingly contrary reactions––isolationism, in order not to mix ourselves with the impure, or interventionism, to spread our superior system of organizing ourselves. In our day, that nationalism is transformed into “anti-globalism.”

FifthStatism. Populists are almost always statists. They believe that the action planned by the state will meet the needs of the “beloved people.” They tend not to believe in the spontaneous and free growth of society. Populist rulers expect the total submission of wealth creators. They try to convert them, many times successfully, in “rent seekers.”

SixthPork barrel politics. Populist rulers have no supporters, but clients who owe them things. They love “subsidy hunters.” They understand that politics is intended to generate millions of grateful stomachs that owe everything to the ruler who feeds them, and they end up forming their support base.

SeventhThe centralization of all powers. The leader controls the judicial and legislative system or tries to do so. The separation of powers and the so-called checks and balances are ignored. In Venezuela, when “the enemies of the people” win elections, the populist rulers create a parallel body and transfer the budgets and functions to that body.

EighthThe officials are not at the service of society, but of the populists. They control and manipulate the economic agents, starting with the national bank or bank of issue, that becomes a machine for printing bills following the presidency’s orders.

NinthDouble-talk. Semantics is transformed into a battlefield and the words acquire a different meaning. “Freedom” becomes obedience, and “loyalty” becomes submission. Homeland, nation and leader are mingled in the same word, and any discrepancy is called “treason.”

TenthThe disappearance of any vestige of civic cordiality. A hate language that preludes aggression is used. The enemy is always a worm, a betrayer of the homeland, a person dedicated to the worst interests. That is the antecedent of the destruction of the other. Before crushing him, any vestige of his humanity must be eliminated.

I insist, is your president a populist? He doesn’t need to embrace the ten characteristics. Five of them are enough.

41 Responses to “The 10 common characteristics of populist rulers from left or right”

  1. Víctor López 19 October 2019 at 10:34 pm Permalink

    Es más de lo mismo, el hombre simple no diferencia al estado del caudillo o el jefe. Se guía por la coerción primigenia de la horda cazadora. Sigue al macho alfa y se somete totalmente a este, es algo ancestral relacionado en parte con el síndrome de Estocolmo (hasta en este blog “liberal” se nota).

    El decálogo que reproduce don Carlos Alberto, puede compararse con los diez mandatarios del judaísmo y el cristianismo. Cumplido el segundo mandamiento “amarás al prójimo como a ti mismo”, los demás mandamientos vienen sobrando, excepto el primero que no tiene más razón que emparentar al etéreo señor Dios, con el caudillo (el primigenio macho alfa).

    El porcentaje de personas que puede (o podemos) sustraerse a estos instintos primarios, que como homínidos compartimos con los demás monos sin cola, es muy pequeño. Dependiendo del tipo racial y el desarrollo cultural, va desde un 0 por ciento en los grupos más primitivos, hasta un 30 en los más desarrollados (aproximadamente). También es indirectamente proporcional la vulnerabilidad a estas pasiones populistas, al IQ del grupo de muestra.

    Sin ánimo de incordiar .

  2. Manuel 20 October 2019 at 7:00 am Permalink

    .dissembled disdain.

    The person stops being poor when he gets tired of burning the money, all the money that falls into his hands;

    A government ceases to be poor when its decisions seek prosperity for its nation, and apply all that is necessary for it. Without fear, without the sentimentality of AMLO and its armed men who submit to blackmailing criminals; without Lenin’s sentimentality that gives backs to his measures, because other criminals take to the streets: but like the Founding Fathers who created the molds with steel where all must pass under penalty of being a country condemned to be poor and, therefore, devoured.

    A people ceases to be poor when they get tired of their poor government, throw it out and go out with their fists to put government with a rich mind, to favor the freedom and entrepreneurship of their citizens with the rich mentality, producers of wealth for ALL and for the world, to develop the country and, therefore, preventing it from ever be devoured. A country founded on Jose Marti creed, invincible.

    A country is invincible when it has left poverty behind. If you are poor, you are already defeated, it is not necessary for anyone to take anything away from you, you yourself have already taken everything required to prosperarte, consequently you DO NOT need to be defeated and only inspire pity and contempt on those who have already climbed and left behind the mentality of the poor and are on another evolutionary level and they look at you as if they saw an indecipherable brute, or masochistic creature, to whom you have to study ways to get her out of such a terrible shithole. Happily living such state, gaily undeveloped and permanently pursuing to stay that way. All looking elsewhere, and avoiding the main issues to abandon those crazy paths. They think they get comprensión but they mostly get disdain, dissembled disdain.

  3. Manuel 20 October 2019 at 8:39 am Permalink

    Feds did do it well done since 30 months ago:

    In recent weeks, a number of stories have been written about the Trump administration’s excessively rosy projections for economic growth in coming years. And three weeks ago, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen testified before Congress about the likely path of monetary policy over the next year. The Trump administration forecasts and Fed decisions are deeply intertwined. While the Trump administration’s precise forecasts are clearly unrealistic in the long-run, we should be clear in noting that the next couple of years could easily see a substantial pickup in economic growth. If this happens, however, we will have Janet Yellen and her colleagues at the Fed to thank, not Donald Trump.

    The reason is straightforward: 2017 is the year when the Fed will finally decide whether or not to guarantee genuine full employment by giving the economy “room to run” by not raising rates aggressively. While Fed policy largely sputters when trying to spur growth with lower short-term interest rates, raising rates does reliably slow growth. So for all the chatter about the importance of Fed policy in recent years, their attempts to spur growth with low short-term rates were often futile. But once they firmly decide to start reining in growth with higher rates their policy choices will have real bite.

    The metaphor used to describe the problem with using low rates to boost growth was that you can’t “push on a string”. Essentially, the Fed can lower rates to try to induce businesses and households (and even governments) to borrow and spend more, but they cannot force this spending to actually happen. If governments ignore low rates and indulge in spending austerity for ideological reasons, or if households do not respond to low rates because their housing wealth had been torpedoed and hence home refinancing is impossible, or if businesses do not take advantage of low rates to build new factories because they do not have customers for what their current factories are producing, then the Fed cannot do much about any of this.

    But while the Fed has trouble spurring more rapid growth with low rates, they can reliably slow growth with higher rates; “pulling on a string” works just fine. As 2017 begins, the Fed has raised rates twice in two years, and many policymakers have declared that a more rapid pace of string-pulling should begin. The claim is that the economy has reached full employment, and that any further acceleration of spending by households, businesses, and governments (or aggregate demand) should be met by Fed rate increases to keep it from sparking inflation in wages and prices. This reasoning is presumably what lay behind the Fed decisions to raise rates at the end of 2015 and 2016.

    But this reasoning is clearly premature. There is no evidence in the data that the U.S. economy is at genuine full employment. The headline unemployment rate remains significantly higher than it reached in 1999 and 2000, when we saw 4.1 percent unemployment and lower for a full two years without accelerating inflation. The share of adults between the ages of 25 and 54 with a job hasn’t even recovered to pre-Great Recession levels, which were, in turn, far below the peaks reached in the late 1990s. And, most importantly, no durable and significant acceleration of wage growth to healthy levels has happened yet. There is, in short, no reason to believe that aggregate demand is growing too fast rather than not fast enough.

    The source of this too-slow aggregate demand growth is, in turn, easy to diagnose: historically austere spending by federal, state, and local governments. But there are some reasons to believe that fiscal policy may shift from restraining to boosting growth in the coming year. Trump and the Republican Congress are essentially guaranteed to pass a large and regressive tax cut in the coming year. The regressivity of this tax cut will make it extraordinarily inefficient as fiscal stimulus, with a bang-for-buck about 1/5th of equivalently sized fiscal boosts that transferred money to low- and moderate-income households and/or undertook public investments. But the sheer size of the tax cut insures that it will provide some boost to demand growth.

    It should be noted that there are plenty of ways that Trump and the congressional Republicans could manage to neutralize any fiscal boost stemming from tax cuts with ill-designed cuts in spending. For example, Affordable Care Act repeal would clearly drag on demand growth because of spending cuts. Draconian cuts to Medicaid and/or non-defense discretionary spending would drag on growth as well. And while Trump has spoken kindly of infrastructure spending, the skeletal details of his infrastructure plans indicate that very little net new investment would be forthcoming from it.

    But if spending cuts are skipped or deferred and fiscal policy does indeed become expansionary in 2017, this will lead to faster growth, more jobs and higher wages so long as the fiscal boost is not neutralized by the Fed raising rates to keep unemployment from falling too low. The Trump administration is clearly banking on an accommodating Fed, given recent stories about the unrealistically rapid economic growth they’re projecting in coming years.

    If the Fed does decide to neutralize a fiscal boost, American workers will be worse off. The job of the Fed should be to aggressively plumb the depths of how low unemployment can go without sparking wage and price inflation. They should not start pulling back on economic support before this inflation actually occurs.

    If the Fed instead decides to accommodate the fiscal boost and refrains from raising rates until wage and price inflation actually show up in the data, 2017 could be a very good year for American workers. But it will be Janet Yellen and her colleagues at the Fed who decide on this, and it will be they who would deserve the credit.

  4. Manuel 20 October 2019 at 10:35 pm Permalink

    They were about to close but…

    the British are coming!:

    In 1971, the first Borders opened its doors in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and its owners began opening other stores. The first Borders “superstore” opened in 1985 and included an in-store coffee shop and a music section. This model became the prototype for other bookstores like Barnes & Noble, B. Dalton Bookseller, and Waldenbooks. Discounts were high – a boon for customers but a bit of a challenge for publishers, which now had to rely more heavily on their bestselling authors to make a profit. Toward the end of its 40-year run, with over 500 stores around the country, Borders struggled to stay in the market. The digital age had hit, changing how customers shopped, and many superstores did not fully realize the impact of the rise of digital products like eBooks and digital music downloads until it was too late. Customers browsed to find products at superstores, only to buy what they found on Amazon for a steeper discount. B. Dalton closed their stores in 2010 and Borders and Waldenbooks soon followed in 2011, leaving Barnes & Noble as the last chain standing, though struggling. After a series of store closures and changes in management, the store was sold to a British hedge fund in mid-2019 and is now helmed by CEO James Daunt, an Englishman who successfully revived Waterstones, a similar bookstore chain in the U.K.”

  5. Manuel 20 October 2019 at 10:51 pm Permalink

    “ Medical voyeurism was nothing new. It arose in the dimly lit anatomical amphitheaters of the Renaissance, where, in front of transfixed spectators, the bodies of executed criminals were dissected as an additional punishment for their crimes. Ticketed spectators watched anatomists slice into the distended bellies of decomposing corpses, parts gushing forth not only human blood but also fetid pus. The lilting but incongruous notes of a flute sometimes accompanied the macabre demonstration. Public dissections were theatrical performances, a form of entertainment as popular as cockfighting or bearbaiting. Not everyone had the stomach for it, though. The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau said of the experience, “What a terrible sight an anatomy theatre is! Stinking corpses, livid running flesh, blood, repellent intestines, horrible skeletons, pestilential vapors! Believe me, this is not the place where [I] will go looking for amusement.”
    The operating theater at University College Hospital looked more or less the same as others in the city. It consisted of a stage partially enclosed by semicircular stands rising one above another toward a large skylight that illuminated the area below. On days when swollen clouds blotted out the sun, thick candles lit the scene. In the middle of the room was a wooden table stained with the telltale signs of past butcheries. Underneath it, the floor was strewn with sawdust to soak up the blood that would shortly issue from the severed limb. On most days, the screams of those struggling under the knife mingled discordantly with everyday noises drifting in from the street below: children laughing, people chatting, carriages rumbling by.
    In the 1840s, operative surgery was a filthy business fraught with hidden dangers. It was to be avoided at all costs. Due to the risks, many surgeons refused to operate altogether, choosing instead to limit their scope to the treatment of external ailments like skin conditions and superficial wounds. Invasive procedures were few and far between, which was one of the reasons why so many spectators flocked to the operating theater on the day of a procedure. In 1840, for instance, only 120 operations were performed at Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary. Surgery was always a last resort and only done in matters of life and death.
    The physician Thomas Percival advised surgeons to change their aprons and to clean the table and instruments between procedures, not for hygienic purposes, but to avoid “everything that may incite terror.” Few heeded his advice. The surgeon, wearing a blood-encrusted apron, rarely washed his hands or his instruments and carried with him into the theater the unmistakable smell of rotting flesh, which those in the profession cheerfully referred to as “good old hospital stink.”
    At a time when surgeons believed pus was a natural part of the healing process rather than a sinister sign of sepsis, most deaths were due to postoperative infections. Operating theaters were gateways to death. It was safer to have an operation at home than in a hospital, where mortality rates were three to five times higher than they were in domestic settings. As late as 1863, Florence Nightingale declared, “The actual mortality in hospitals, especially in those of large crowded cities, is very much higher than any calculation founded on the mortality of the same class of diseases amongst patients treated out of the hospital would lead us to expect.” Being treated at home, however, was expensive.
    The infections and the filth weren’t the only problems. Surgery was painful. For centuries, people sought ways to make it less so. Although nitrous oxide had been recognized as a painkiller since the chemist Joseph Priestley first synthesized it in 1772, “laughing gas” was not normally used in surgery, because its results were unreliable. Mesmerism—named after the German physician Franz Anton Mesmer, who invented the hypnotic technique in the 1770s—had also failed to be accepted into mainstream medical practice in the eighteenth century. Mesmer and his followers thought that when they moved their hands in front of patients, a physical influence of some kind was generated over them. This influence created positive physiological changes that would help patients heal and could also imbue a person with psychic powers. Most doctors remained unconvinced.
    Mesmerism enjoyed a brief revival in Britain in the 1830s, when the physician John Elliotson began holding public displays at University College Hospital during which two of his patients, Elizabeth and Jane O’Key, were able to predict the fate of other hospital patients. Under Elliotson’s hypnotic influence, they claimed to see “Big Jacky” (otherwise known as Death) hovering over the beds of those who later died. Any serious interest in Elliotson’s methods was short-lived, however. In 1838, the editor of The Lancet, the world’s leading medical journal, tricked the O’Key sisters into confessing their fraud, thus exposing Elliotson as a charlatan.
    The scandal was still fresh in the minds of those attending University College Hospital on the afternoon of December 21, when the renowned surgeon Robert Liston announced he’d be testing the efficacy of ether on his patient. “We are going to try a Yankee dodge today, gentlemen, for making men insensible!” he declared as he made his way to the center of the stage. A hush fell over the theater as he began to speak. Like mesmerism, the use of ether was seen as a suspect foreign technique for putting people into a subdued state of consciousness. It was referred to as the Yankee dodge due to its being first used as a general anesthetic in America. It had been discovered in 1275, but its stupefying effects weren’t synthesized until 1540, when the German botanist and chemist Valerius Cordus created a revolutionary formula that involved adding sulfuric acid to ethyl alcohol. His contemporary Paracelsus experimented with ether on chickens, noting that when the birds drank the liquid, they would undergo prolonged sleep and awake unharmed. He concluded that the substance “quiets all suffering without any harm and relieves all pain, and quenches all fevers, and prevents complications in all disease.” Yet it would be several hundred years before it was tested on humans.
    That moment came in 1842, when Crawford Williamson Long became the first documented doctor to use ether as a general anesthetic, in an operation to remove a tumor from a patient’s neck in Jefferson, Georgia. Unfortunately, Long didn’t publish the results of his experiments until 1848. By that time, the Boston dentist William T. G. Morton had won fame in September 1846 by using ether on a patient while extracting a tooth. An account of this successful and painless procedure was published in a newspaper, prompting a notable surgeon to ask Morton to assist him in an operation removing a large tumor from a patient’s lower jaw at Massachusetts General Hospital.
    On November 18, 1846, Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow wrote about this groundbreaking moment in The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal: “It has long been an important problem in medical science to devise some method of mitigating the pain of surgical operations. An efficient agent for this purpose has at length been discovered.” Bigelow went on to describe how Morton had administered what he called “Letheon” to the patient before the operation commenced. This was a gas named after the river Lethe in classical mythology, which made the souls of the dead forget their lives on earth. Morton, who had patented the composition of the gas shortly after the operation, kept its parts secret, even from the surgeons. Bigelow revealed, however, that he could detect the sickly sweet smell of ether in it. News about the miraculous substance that could render people unconscious during surgery spread quickly around the world as surgeons rushed to test the effects of ether on their own patients.
    Back in London, the American physician Francis Boott received a letter from Bigelow giving a full account of the momentous events in Boston. Intrigued, Boott persuaded the dental surgeon James Robinson to administer ether during one of his many tooth extractions. The experiment was such a success that Boott hurried over to University College Hospital to speak to Robert Liston that very same day.
    Liston was skeptical, though not enough to pass up an opportunity to try something new in the operating theater. If nothing else, it would make for a good show, something for which he was known throughout the country. He agreed to use it in his next operation, scheduled two days hence.
    Liston arrived on the scene in London at a time when “gentleman physicians” held considerable power and influence over the medical community. They were part of the ruling elite, forming the top of a medical pyramid. As such, they acted as gatekeepers for their whom they believed had good breeding and high moral standing. They themselves were bookish types with very little practical training who used their minds, not their hands, to treat patients. Their education was rooted in the classics. It was not uncommon during this period for physicians to prescribe treatment without first performing a physical examination. Indeed, some dispensed medical advice through letters alone, never laying eyes on the patient in question.
    In contrast, surgeons came from a long tradition of being trained through apprenticeships, the value of which depended heavily on the master’s capabilities. Theirs was a practical trade, one to be taught by precept and example. Many surgeons in the first decades of the nineteenth century didn’t attend university. Some were even illiterate. Directly below them were the apothecaries, who were in charge of dispensing drugs. In theory, there was a clear demarcation between the surgeon and the apothecary. In practice, a man who had been apprenticed to a surgeon might also act as an apothecary and vice versa. This gave rise to an unofficial fourth category, the “surgeon-apothecary,” who was akin to the modern general practitioner. The surgeon-apothecary was a doctor of first resort for the poor, especially outside London.
    Beginning in 1815, a form of systematic education began to emerge in the medical world, driven in part by a broader demand within the country for uniformity in a fragmented system. For surgical students in London, reform brought about requirements that they attend lectures and walk the wards of hospitals for at least six months before obtaining a license from the profession’s governing body, the Royal College of Surgeons. Teaching hospitals began to spring up all over the capital, the first appearing at Charing Cross in 1821, with University College Hospital and King’s College Hospital following in 1834 and 1839, respectively. If one wanted to go a step further and become a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, he had to spend at least six years in professional study, including three years at a hospital; submit written accounts of at least six clinical cases; and take a grueling two-day examination that sometimes required him to perform dissections and operations on a cadaver.
    The surgeon thus began his evolution from an ill-trained technician to a modern surgical specialist in those first decades of the nineteenth century. As an instructor at one of the newly built teaching hospitals in London, Robert Liston was very much a part of this ongoing transformation.
    At six feet two, Liston was eight inches taller than the average British male. He had built his reputation on brute force and speed at a time when both were crucial to the survival of the patient. Those who came to witness an operation might miss it if they looked away even for a moment. It was said of Liston by his colleagues that when he amputated, “the gleam of his knife was followed so instantaneously by the sound of sawing as to make the two actions appear almost simultaneous.” His left arm was reportedly so strong that he could use it as a tourniquet, while he wielded the knife in his right hand. This was a feat that required immense strength and dexterity, given that patients often struggled against the fear and agony of the surgeon’s assault. Liston could remove a leg in less than thirty seconds, and in order to keep both hands free, he often clasped the bloody knife between his teeth while working.
    Liston’s speed was both a gift and a curse. Once, he accidentally sliced off a patient’s testicle along with the leg he was amputating. His most famous (and possibly apocryphal) mishap involved an operation during which he worked so rapidly that he took off three of his assistant’s fingers and, while switching blades, slashed a spectator’s coat. Both the assistant and the patient died later of gangrene, and the unfortunate bystander expired on the spot from fright. It is the only surgery in history said to have had a 300 percent fatality rate.
    Indeed, the perils of shock and pain limited surgical treatments before the dawn of anesthetics. One surgical text from the eighteenth century declared, “Painful methods are always the last remedies in the hands of a man that is truly able in his profession; and they are the first, or rather they are the only resource of him whose knowledge is confined to the art of operating.” Those desperate enough to go under the knife were subject to unimaginable agony.
    The traumas of the operating theater could take a toll on student spectators too. The Scottish obstetrician James Y. Simpson fled an amputation of the breast when he was studying at the University of Edinburgh. The sight of the soft tissues being lifted with a hook-like instrument and the surgeon preparing to make two sweeping cuts around the breast proved too much for Simpson. He forced his way back through the crowd, exited the theater, hurried through the hospital gates, and made his way up to Parliament Square, where he declared breathlessly that he now wished to study law. Fortunately for posterity, Simpson—who would go on to discover chloroform—was dissuaded from pursuing a change of career.
    Although Liston was all too aware of what awaited his patients on the operating table, he often downplayed the horrors for the sake of protecting their nerves. Just months before his experiment with ether, he removed the leg of a twelve-year-old child named Henry Pace, who had been suffering from a tubercular swelling of the right knee. The boy asked the surgeon whether the operation would hurt, and Liston responded, “No more than having a tooth out.” When the moment came to have his leg removed, Pace was brought into the theater blindfolded and pinned down by Liston’s assistants. The boy counted six strokes of the saw before his leg dropped off. Sixty years later, Pace would recount the story to medical students at University College London—the horror of the experience, no doubt, fresh in his mind as he sat in the very hospital in which he had lost his leg.
    Like many surgeons operating in a pre-anesthetic era, Liston had learned to steel himself against the cries and protests of those strapped to the blood-spattered operating table. On one occasion, Liston’s patient, who had come in to have a bladder stone removed, ran from the room in terror and locked himself in the lavatory before the procedure could begin. Liston, hot on his heels, broke the door down and dragged the screaming patient back to the operating room. There, he bound the man fast before passing a curved metal tube up the patient’s penis and into the bladder. He then slid a finger into the man’s rectum, feeling for the stone. Once Liston had located it, his assistant removed the metal tube and replaced it with a wooden staff, which acted as a guide so the surgeon wouldn’t fatally rupture the patient’s rectum or intestines as he began cutting deep into the bladder. Once the staff was in place, Liston cut diagonally through the fibrous muscle of the scrotum until he reached the wooden staff. Next, he used the probe to widen the hole, ripping open the prostate gland in the process. At this point, he removed the wooden staff and used forceps to extract the stone from the bladder.
    Liston—who reportedly had the fastest knife in the West End—achieved all this in just under sixty seconds.
    NOW, AS LISTON stood before those gathered in the new operating theater of University College London a few days before Christmas, the veteran surgeon held in his hands the jar of clear liquid ether that might do away with the need for speed in surgery. If it lived up to American claims, the nature of surgery might change forever. Still, Liston couldn’t help wondering whether the ether was just another product of quackery that would have little or no useful application in surgery.
    Tensions were high. Just fifteen minutes before Liston entered the theater, his colleague William Squire had turned to the packed crowd of onlookers and asked for a volunteer to practice on. A nervous murmur filled the room. In Squire’s hand was an apparatus that looked like an Arabian hookah made of glass with a rubber tube and bell-shaped mask. The device had been fashioned by Squire’s uncle, a pharmacist in London, and used by the dental surgeon James Robinson to extract a tooth just two days prior. It looked foreign to those in the audience. None dared to have it tested on them.
    Exasperated, Squire ordered the theater’s porter Shelldrake to submit to the trial. He wasn’t a good choice, because he was “fat, plethoric, and with a liver no doubt very used to strong liquor.” Squire gently placed the apparatus over the man’s fleshy face. After a few deep breaths of ether, the porter reportedly leaped off the table and ran out of the room, cursing the surgeon and crowd at the top of his lungs.
    There would be no more tests. The unavoidable moment had arrived.
    At twenty-five minutes past two in the afternoon, Frederick Churchill—a thirty-six-year-old butler from Harley Street—was brought in on a stretcher. The young man had been suffering from chronic osteomyelitis of the tibia, a bacterial bone infection which had caused his right knee to swell and become violently bent. His first operation came three years earlier, when the inflamed area was opened up and “a number of irregularly shaped laminated bodies” ranging from the size of a pea to that of a large bean were removed. On November 23, 1846, Churchill was once again back in the hospital. A few days later, Liston made an incision and passed a probe into the knee. Using his unwashed hands, Liston felt for the bone to ensure it wasn’t loose. He ordered that the opening be washed with warm water and dressed and that the patient be allowed to rest. Over the next few days, however, Churchill’s condition deteriorated. He soon experienced sharp pain that radiated from his hip to his toes. This occurred again three weeks later, after which Liston decided the leg must come off.
    Churchill was carried into the operating theater on a stretcher and laid out on the wooden table. Two assistants stood nearby in case the ether did not take effect and they had to resort to restraining the terrified patient while Liston removed the limb. At Liston’s signal, Squire stepped forward and held the mask over Churchill’s mouth. Within a few minutes, the patient was unconscious. Squire then placed an ether-soaked handkerchief over Churchill’s face to ensure he wouldn’t wake during the operation. He nodded to Liston and said, “I think he will do, sir.”
    Liston opened a long case and removed a straight amputation knife of his own invention. An observer in the audience that afternoon noted that the instrument must have been a favorite, for on the handle were little notches showing the number of times he had used it before. Liston grazed his thumbnail over the blade to test its sharpness. Satisfied that it would do the job, he instructed his assistant William Cadge to “take the artery” and then turned to the crowd.
    “Now, gentlemen, time me!” he yelled. A ripple of clicks rang out as pocket watches were pulled from waistcoats and flipped open.
    Liston turned back to the patient and clamped his left hand around the man’s thigh. In one rapid movement, he made a deep incision above the right knee. One of his assistants immediately tightened a tourniquet around the leg to halt the flow of blood while Liston pushed his fingers up underneath the flap of skin to pull it back. The surgeon made another series of quick maneuvers with his knife, exposing the thighbone. He then paused.
    Many surgeons, once confronted with exposed bone, felt daunted by the task of sawing through it. Earlier in the century, Charles Bell cautioned students to saw slowly and deliberately. Even those who were adept at making incisions could lose their nerve when it came to cutting off a limb. In 1823, Thomas Alcock proclaimed that humanity “shudders at the thought, that men unskilled in any other tools than the daily use of the knife and fork, should with unhallowed hands presume to operate upon their suffering fellow-creatures.” He recalled a spine-chilling story about a surgeon whose saw became so tightly wedged in the bone that it wouldn’t budge. His contemporary William Gibson advised that novices practice with a piece of wood to avoid such nightmarish scenarios.
    Liston handed the knife to one of the surgical dressers, who, in return, handed him a saw. The same assistant drew up the muscles, which would later be used in forming an adequate stump for the amputee. The great surgeon made half a dozen strokes before the limb fell off, into the waiting hands of a second assistant, who promptly tossed it into a box full of sawdust just to the side of the operating table.
    Meanwhile, the first assistant momentarily released the tourniquet to reveal the severed arteries and veins that would need to be tied up. In a mid-thigh amputation, there are commonly eleven to secure by ligature. Liston tied off the main artery with a square knot and then turned his attention to the smaller blood vessels, which he drew up one by one using a sharp hook called a tenaculum. His assistant loosened the tourniquet once more while Liston stitched the remaining flesh closed.
    It took all of twenty-eight seconds for Liston to remove Churchill’s right leg, during which time the patient neither stirred nor cried out. When the young man awoke a few minutes later, he reportedly asked when the surgery would begin and was answered by the sight of his elevated stump, much to the amusement of the spectators who sat astounded by what they had just witnessed. His face alight with the excitement of the moment, Liston announced, “This Yankee dodge, gentlemen, beats mesmerism hollow!”
    The age of agony was nearing its end.
    TWO DAYS LATER, the surgeon James Miller read a hastily penned letter from Liston to his medical students in Edinburgh, “announcing in enthusiastic terms, that a new light had burst on Surgery.” During the first few months of 1847, both surgeons and curious celebrities visited operating theaters to witness the miracle of ether. Everyone from Sir Charles Napier, colonial governor of what is now a province of Pakistan, to Prince Jérôme Bonaparte, the youngest brother of Napoleon I, came to see the effects of ether with their own eyes.
    The term “etherization” was coined, and its use in surgery was celebrated in newspapers around the country. News of its powers spread. “The history of Medicine has presented no parallel to the perfect success that has attended the use of ether,” the Exeter Flying Post proclaimed. Liston’s success was also trumpeted in the London People’s Journal: “Oh, what delight for every feeling heart … the announcement of this noble discovery of the power to still the sense of pain, and veil the eye and memory from all the horrors of an operation.… WE HAVE CONQUERED PAIN!”
    Equally momentous to Liston’s triumph with ether was the presence that day of a young man named Joseph Lister, who had seated himself quietly at the back of the operating theater. Dazzled and enthralled by the dramatic performance, this aspiring medical student realized as he walked out of the theater onto Gower Street that the nature of his future profession would forever be changed. No longer would he and his classmates have to behold “so horrible and distressing a scene” as that observed by William Wilde, a surgical student who was reluctantly present at the excision of a patient’s eyeball without anesthetic. Nor would they feel the need to escape, as John Flint South had done whenever the cries of those being butchered by a surgeon grew intolerable.
    Nevertheless, as Lister made his way through the crowds of men shaking hands and congratulating themselves on their choice of profession and this notable victory, he was acutely aware that pain was only one impediment to successful surgery.
    He knew that for thousands of years, the ever-looming threat of infection had restricted the extent of a surgeon’s reach. Entering the abdomen, for instance, had proven almost uniformly fatal because of it. The chest was also off-limits. For the most part, whereas physicians treated internal conditions—hence the term “internal medicine,” which still persists today—surgeons dealt with peripheral ones: lacerations, fractures, skin ulcers, burns. Only with amputations did the surgeon’s knife penetrate deep into the body. Surviving the operation was one thing. Making a full recovery was another.
    As it turned out, the two decades immediately following the popularization of anesthesia saw surgical outcomes worsen. With their newfound confidence about operating without inflicting pain, surgeons became ever more willing to take up the knife, driving up the incidences of postoperative infection and shock. Operating theaters became filthier than ever as the number of surgeries increased. Surgeons still lacking an understanding of the causes of infection would operate on multiple patients in succession using the same unwashed instruments on each occasion. The more crowded the operating theater became, the less likely it was that even the most primitive sanitary precautions would be taken. Of those who went under the knife, many either died or never fully recovered and then spent the rest of their lives as invalids. This problem was universal. Patients worldwide came to further dread the word “hospital,” while the most skilled surgeons distrusted their own abilities.
    With Robert Liston’s ether triumph, Lister had just witnessed the elimination of the first of the two major obstacles to successful surgery—that it could now be performed without inflicting pain.
    Inspired by what he had seen on the afternoon of December 21, the deeply perceptive Joseph Lister would soon embark on devoting the rest of his life to elucidating the causes and nature of postoperative infections and finding a solution for them. In the shadow of one of the profession’s last great butchers, another surgical revolution was about to begin.
    Reprinted courtesy of Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ■

  6. Manuel 21 October 2019 at 8:06 am Permalink

    “ one of the 20th century’s worst mass murderers: the former SS officer Alois Brunner, nicknamed “the Bloodhound.”
    “Brunner is dead. It’s time you accepted that!”
    As Adolf Eichmann’s right-hand man, Brunner had been responsible for the murder of more than 120,000 Jews during the Nazi regime. But while Israel’s intelligence agency hunted down Eichmann and brought him to Israel for trial and execution, Brunner spent the autumn years of his life in Damascus. How was that possible? In exploring that question, author Christian Springer discovered a taboo no one wanted to address: Brunner had powerful friends after the war—some of them in such high places as the Foreign Ministry, the Federal Intelligence Service, and the German media. He’d evaded arrest warrants, extradition requests, and even convictions in absentia with the help of other Nazis who worked in the German government after the war. In 1954 he left Germany and came to Egypt, where he worked as an arms dealer, and later fled to Syria where he assumed the name Georg Fischer.
    In Damascus he was believed to be an adviser to the secret police, helping the Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad, set up a police state and training operatives in the torture and interrogation methods the Nazis had developed. During the last decade of his life he resided at an apartment in the diplomatic quarter of Damascus. He had nothing to fear from German diplomats in the Middle East: The German consul general in Damascus was believed to have participated in the Holocaust in Bratislava, while the ambassador to Lebanon was alleged to have persecuted Jews in Monaco. Those who sought to locate Brunner through official channels were likely to be met with silence, but secret files later suggested the Foreign Ministry maintained contact with him over the years. In 2001 Der Spiegel magazine reported that the Federal Intelligence Service had earlier destroyed its file on Brunner. When Christian Springer paid a visit to the German embassy in Damascus in search of the truth, he was reportedly told: “Brunner is dead. It’s time you accepted that!”

  7. Manuel 21 October 2019 at 8:14 am Permalink

    “ In 1543 Luther published On the Jews and Their Lies in which he said: “Jews are so thoroughly desperate, evil, poisonous, and devilish that they have been our plague, pestilence, and doom for 1,400 years and up to the present.” In his treatise Luther made seven demands that anticipated the cruelty of the Nazi regime 400 years later. He wanted to “set fire to their synagogues and schools” and said that “all cash and treasure of silver and gold should be taken from them.”
    “Set fire to their synagogues and schools.”
    For much of the official Protestant Church, Luther’s statements are still taboo—they are viewed as perhaps being “anti-Judaism” but not as anti-Semitic, which is a difficult distinction to make. The historian and theologian Heiko Augustinus Oberman viewed things differently: Luther’s remarks about the Jews were not a dark page in his work but rather a central theme of his entire theology. Church historian Thomas Kaufmann describes Luther’s incendiary writings as part of the “final solution to the Jewish question” that the Nazis sought four centuries later: “Luther’s texts were certainly a factor in making the Holocaust possible, for they helped establish an attitude of mind that paralyzed any kind of civil courage on the part of the Lutheran population.” The sad fact is that the Protestant Church largely supported Hitler’s anti-Semitic policies. Hitler himself often mentioned his esteem for Martin Luther and his writings. And so, on the night of November 9, 1938—the eve of Luther’s birthday—Hitler’s minions set fire to synagogues across Germany in a violent rampage infamously recorded in history as the “Night of Broken Glass.” •♦️▪️◾️◼️⬛️

  8. Manuel 21 October 2019 at 3:46 pm Permalink

    Satisfying every dictator.

    Do you think North Korea has nothing to offer? That the country produces nothing that might interest the rest of the world? Wrong! Just look at this photograph. See the statue? It stands on a hill in Senegal on the bulge of western Africa. The monument is 160 feet tall and made entirely of bronze. A masterpiece—and made in North Korea. It is called the African Renaissance Monument, and the opus is intended to celebrate the revival of African culture. It’s nearly 10 feet taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty and even more monumental. And that’s not counting the base—the hill upon which it stands. But we’ve saved the best for last: We charged just $27 million for the majestic piece. A real bargain! But you know what? Everything is a bargain here in North Korea. And we are the Mansudae Art Studio, one of the world’s biggest studios for art design, located in the capital of Pyongyang. You order, we deliver. We promise—you can bet your life on it (and we do, too).
    The paragraph above, or something similar, might as well be an ad for the Mansudae Art Studio. No need to be modest: Because it covers an area of 1.3 million square feet, the studio in the North Korean capital is among the largest centers of art production in the world. It’s organized like a small city with around 4,000 people living there, among them 1,000 artists. Most of them are kept busy making images of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un—in the form of paintings, tapestries, and busts. But there is also a special unit, Mansudae Overseas Projects, which specializes in colossal monuments like the one in Senegal.
    In 2007 the president of Senegal at the time, Abdoulaye Wade, installed the world’s biggest bronze statue. It was a job for North Korea’s artists of immense proportions—and a shady affair. Wade used the services of a middleman to pay the North Koreans with a piece of land that was later sold for $27 million (although some sources say it was $70 million). There was criticism not only of this dubious financial transaction but also of the statue itself. The country’s Muslims—who make up an estimated 92% of the Senegalese population—objected to the woman with the exposed breast. As ex-president, Wade continues to pocket a third of the admission price for visiting the grandiose monument—it was his idea, after all.
    Mansudae Art Studio offers an all-inclusive package deal, from order to on-site construction to the final inspection and approval. The group has designed and erected statues and other structures in about a dozen African countries. Outside of Africa, the group has reconstructed the Fairy Tale Fountain in Frankfurt, Germany, to replace the original that was melted down for its metal during the Second World War. Reconstruction was aided by 1:1 clay models made in Pyongyang. In the case of Senegal, a model was first prepared to gauge the possible damage the monument might suffer from earthquakes or lightning strikes. But despite the marked attention to quality displayed by the world market leader, there is always one recurring drawback: North Korean aesthetics. The African statues often possess Asian facial features—and it was for that reason President Wade rejected the initial design. However, we do not consider that to be a serious problem. We’ll keep refining our work until you like what you see. Promise! So far we have satisfied every dictator.

  9. Víctor López 21 October 2019 at 6:21 pm Permalink

    Julián, revisando vi que hizo un comentario sobre la posible no responsabilidad del cristianismo en la destrucción del mundo antiguo, tomando como tal al imperio romano y reforzando su tesis con la opinión de Asimov. Creo que la evidencia es tan grande que no cabe hacer revisión del asunto. Para el caso es indistinto quien opine. La Iglesia de Pedro, desde la quema de Alejandría por San Teófilo, persiguió inmisericorde todas las artes y las ciencias hasta bien entrado el Renacimiento (ejemplo: Georgiano Bruno). Todo arte y conocimiento se volvió escolástico. La iglesia dictaba cómo se debía pintar, esculpir o pensar. El primero que se atrevió a pintar un hombre se espaldas fue Leonardo (amparado por los Médicis), se lo menciono para darle solo una idea. Muy probablemente hubiéramos ido a la luna en el año 900 o en el 1200 sin la llegada a Europa del misticismo oriental a través del cristianismo. El accionar de la iglesia durante más de mil años en la Europa cristiana fue perseguir a los herejes, eso nos costó la eliminación de nuestros mejores pensadores durante siglos. Hoy día se considera que el 97 por ciento de los científicos son ateos. Linajes enteros de gentes inteligentes fueron asesinados por atreverse a pensar.

    Los mismos EEUU surgieron del rechazo a la ola de misticismo que produjo los crímenes de Salem, Massachusetts. La independencia (mejor dicho las ideas republicanas y democráticas) se forjaron en Harvard, tomada por los masones, después de Salem. En cierta forma el Renacimiento (la era moderna) surgió como rechazo a la estupidez eclesiástica que atribuía la peste a los pecados.

    Con pena le cuento que ando enredado en mis mecates. Quisiera escribir algo por el placer de hacerlo, y por supuesto dialogar con usted. Trataré de darme una vuelta de vez en cuando. Gracias por su tiempo, Julián. Ahí nos estamos viendo (si vale el término jaja).

  10. Víctor López 21 October 2019 at 6:23 pm Permalink

    *en la posible NO responsabilidad del cristianismo…

    (el portal modifica el texto por estar posteado en inglés)

  11. Manuel 21 October 2019 at 7:47 pm Permalink


    generated profile is broken down into six different categories. The first focuses on the formal criteria of the speech sample. Precire does not just analyze the length of sentences and the number of words, for example; it also considers such aspects as how the voice varies in pitch and volume, the use of pauses, and the linguistic variety of the words a speaker says, which are depicted as a cloud tag.
    In the second category, cognitive processes in the speech sample are analyzed along with the emotions that are conveyed. Does the speaker often use expressions that are associated with obligation and necessity (I must, I should), for example? Or does he or she use lots of “linguistic softeners” to relativize a statement (perhaps, a little bit, in my opinion), or words that intensify (very, absolutely, totally)? The emotional analysis concentrates on positive and negative components of the speech sample—words that convey a certain emotionality. These may include words that are positively weighted (home, vacation, sunshine, warmth) or those with negative weight (stress, strain, death, conflict) but they may also be associated with optimism (achievement, goal). “This illustrates some of the numerous possibilities of our word choice,” explains Precire psychologist Philipp Grochowski. “By adding certain words to a statement a substantial motivational effect can be produced.” And such an effect is not only exerted on the listener but on the speaker as well, including the speaker’s own thoughts and attitude toward life. Compare the statements “I have to go shopping now” and “I want to go shopping now.” The first sentence expresses compulsion and necessity, but the second sentence sounds positive and optimistic.

    ALLISON SIMMONS “Um” is one of the sounds I made most frequently during my “conversation” with the Precire computer. That’s not too surprising, considering that I had to think a bit before answering a question like: “Please describe in detail the aspects of your life that you enjoy the most.” My speed of speech was correspondingly slow. And yet Precire doesn’t care about what you actually say. (I could just as easily have gone on about how happy I am with my ballpoint pen.) It is more interested in your choice of words, sentence flow, etc. The result: Precire decided that I am “trustworthy” and am focused on positive matters.
    A 15-minute speech sample can also reveal a lot about our personal resources. Comparing test results against a so-called resilience index not only reveals how comparatively well we deal with our challenges and problems; it also indicates the role work and leisure play in our lives. “In analyzing a profile built from a speech sample, Precire is able to detect the connections between acute levels of stress and the recovery from stress,” explains Grochowski. That makes it possible to gauge, for instance, the extent of a test subject’s willingness to go the extra mile and his ability to distance himself from his work.
    Another category of analysis deals with personal qualities and character traits (e.g., curiosity, inclination to take risks, emotional stability) revealed by the speech sample. These may recur in the conclusions and could suggest where the test subject may have room for improvement (avoiding filler words or increasing linguistic diversity and complexity, for example). Ultimately, what makes Precire different from the current conventional speech-analysis programs? “It identifies relationships between speech and personality that would not otherwise be apparent,” explains Grochowski, who illustrates the point with a hypothetical example: “If someone with a very high degree of curiosity puts a long pause at the end of every third sentence, Precire automatically recognizes that.”

    THE MASTERMINDS BEHIND PRECIRE In 2012 psychologist Christian Greb (left), lawyer Dirk Gratzel (second from left), and business economist Mario Reis founded the company Precire Technologies. Since then their software has analyzed the speech of more than 10,000 test subjects for at least 100 different clients.
    “We consider the algorithmic evaluation of people to be particularly problematic with regard to matters of employment and insurance.”


    The future could belong to Precire. Several years ago the management consulting firm McKinsey predicted Precire would be expanding so much over the next 10 years that its sales figures would be comparable to those of Volkswagen. And such a goal does not seem unrealistic considering that the software can not only analyze the spoken word but is also able to draw conclusions from an email about a customer’s interest or frustration and then offer up recommendations for improving contact with customers. “Not everyone is satisfied to receive a voucher as compensation for bad service. There are times when a clear explanation or an apology produces more satisfaction,” says Dirk Gratzel.
    Given all of the software’s potential applications, it is not very surprising that more than 200 big corporations have inquired about the product. Top police officials have also undergone training in using Precire. “At present, more than 50 large companies have become clients,” says Christian Greb. One of them is multinational human resources consulting firm Randstad, which has used the software in more than 1,000 instances to evaluate job applicants. This example raises the question of whether programs such as Precire will lead in the long run to companies making hiring decisions entirely based on computer analysis.

    Many privacy groups have reacted skeptically to these developments and claimed that such use of speech data would constitute a violation of one’s personality rights. “We consider the algorithmic evaluation of people to be particularly problematic with regard to matters of employment and insurance,” maintains Daniel Strunk, a spokesperson for North Rhine–Westphalia’s Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. However Christian Greb insists potential employees will be clearly informed about the speech-analysis software and specifically asked about their willingness to take the test before it is administered. In addition, Precire is just one piece of the process in selecting personnel and will never replace all the others, explains Precire psychologist Anja Linnenbürger. Still, even Precire’s developers cannot dispel all of the misgivings about the software: What if a large corporation were to misuse the analysis technology by recording and evaluating an interviewee without the potential employee’s knowledge? And what if personality profiles were to fall into the wrong hands because of computer hacking or theft of data? The consequences of such scenarios cannot be forecast by even the most intelligent software program…

    LISTEN CLOSELY As our subject Allison Simmons found out, it’s not that easy to talk steadily for 15 minutes. Among the words she used most frequently during the Precire interview were “time,” “I,” “enjoy,” and “usually.”
    (PHOTOS: Deike Behringer (4); PR.)
    Up until now Precire has primarily been made available to companies, but its makers are reaching out to the private market. For more information: http://www.precire.com

  12. Cubano-Americano 22 October 2019 at 10:30 am Permalink

    Coincido con Victor..Entre los científicos mejores preparados..el 70% son ateos y el 23 % so agnosticos…Yo me considero agnóstico porque presumo ser Open mined siendo así cabe cualquier nuevo hallazgo porque pienso que es más lo que NO sabemos que lo que sabemos..aunque la existencia de un Dioa creado a imagen y semejanza del ser humano es real la existencia de la energía creadora sin buscarle formas también es real y en ese espacio caben muchas…deamasiadas…teorias…tendremos alguna vez respuestas a estas y otras incognitas??..who knows it??..do You??

    • Julian Perez 22 October 2019 at 10:56 am Permalink


      Creo que hay preguntas que, por definición, no pueden tener respuesta. La no existencia de Dios no es demostrable. Creer o no creer en él es ajeno a la ciencia, es cuestión de elección. Según Popper para que una teoría sea científica debe de ser falseable. Debe de ser posible diseñar un experimento con un posible resultado que muestre su falsedad. No es el caso con la existencia de Dios.

      Está bien que haya ateistas, no ateistas y agnósticos. Lo que no me parece tan bien es que uno de esos grupos intente demonizar a otro. Porque ese es el primer paso que puede conducir a crímenes como los cometidos por la iglesia en la edad media.

      Decir que las personas religiosas son unos ignorantes y que todos los buenos científicos son ateos es un primer paso en ese peligroso plano inclinado.

      Decir que NO se cometen crímenes en nombre de la NO religión y hablar solamente de los crímenes que se cometieron (y se cometen) en nombre de ella es ignorar el hecho de que los mayores genocidios del siglo XX, los del comunismo y el nazismo (y repito, valga la redundancia) quizás no se cometieron en nombre de NO Dios, pero tampoco se cometieron en nombre de Dios.

      Desde el momento que consideras a otros como inferiores puede que en un momento dado te sientas con derecho a someterlos, y hasta a matarlos.

      No es mi intención atacar el ateismo. El ateista tiene todo el derecho del mundo a no creer. Mi punto es que no existe superioridad ni lógica ni intelectual ni humana en la selección de ese axioma.

  13. MANUEL 22 October 2019 at 10:46 am Permalink

    Tambien me considero agnostico, no practico religion alguna, ser ateo es una religion, y ser comunista, y ser fidelista, y ser antifidelista, y ser trumpista, todo son religiones:

    desde el momento en que te declaras partidario por persona o credo alguno dejas de ser libre, y en cuanto dejas de ser libre ya todo es tendencia, sesgo

    el punto de Julian es que la mejor manera en la que el se explica el mundo es poniendo a Dios en la ecuacion, yo me lo puedo explicar sin Dios, aunque reconozco que hay sucesos que me hacen dudar de sus inexistencia, debe haber algo que explique lo que no puede ser simple casualidad, creo que debe hacer ese algo, lo que no puedo afirmar que es pues no veo que haya evidencia credible que nos pueda decir de que se trata

    soy alguien que duda, pero me decanto en la practica por el agnosticismo, como lo describo arriba

    • MANUEL 22 October 2019 at 10:51 am Permalink

      en cuanto dejas de ser libre ya todo es tendencia, sesgo

      que es lo que muchos le criticamos a CAM cdo le toca ponerse el traje de antitrumpista, no le queda bien; en cambio sus ultima publicacion relatando los rasgos del populismo esta muy bueno, aunque carece de poder definitorio, pero al menos es una aproximacion al tema, una muy buena aproximacion a lo que tocaria mejorar un poco, afinar, estructurar, clasificar, definir:

      que elementos son indispensables, cuales son de menos peso o mas indefinidos, etc; que relacion hay entre esos elementos

    • Julian Perez 22 October 2019 at 11:04 am Permalink

      >>ser ateo es una religion

      Manuel, amén. Por eso la lucha por eliminar todo símbolo religioso y toda manifestación religiosa de la vida pública es una violación de la primera enmienda que establece libertad para profesar cualquier religión y no establecer ninguna como religión oficial. Se está intentando establecer el secularismo como religión oficial.

      La libertad religiosa tiene solamente un límite: no puede afectar los derechos básicos (vida, libertad y propiedad) de otros. Alguien no se puede declarar azteca y, en aras de su libertad religiosa, practicar sacrificios humanos.

      • Julian Perez 22 October 2019 at 11:12 am Permalink

        Y también debe respetar el convenio social y cumplir con los derechos ciudadanos. En carta a los cuáqueros, cuyos principios les impiden ir a la guerra (véase la película ¨Friendly Persuation¨), Washington les decía que eso no era un DERECHO, pues los ciudadanos tienen el deber de contribuir a la defensa común en caso de ataque. Que, en todo caso, en atención a que los cuáqueros eran en todo lo demás buenos ciudadanos, se podría intentar hacerles esa concesión como excepción.

        Se discutió incluir el derecho a la objeción de conciencia en el bill of rights. Se optó por no hacerlo. Esto es otro ejemplo de los límites que puede tener la libertad religiosa, pero de ninguna forma pueden ser obligar a un pastelero a vender un pastel para una boda gay u obligar a católicos a incluir anticonceptivos en sus ofertas de seguro médico.

  14. Víctor López 22 October 2019 at 11:33 am Permalink

    Todo ateo le dirá siempre lo mismo: “yo era agnóstico, ahora soy ateo”. Simplemente la religión los tuvo (y me tuvo) sin cuidado. Cuando por alguna razón la revisé, pasé a ser ateo. El “descubrimiento” que con su “amenen” aprueba Julián (por eso le voy a restar 2 puntos) es el mismo que aplicaron todas las religiones primitivas y el cristianismo en su comienzo y momento de oro, considerar el ateísmo una forma de paganismo (crimenes interminables desde Ipatia). Así como el negro es ausencia de luz y de color, el ateísmo es ausencia de religión. Ni el negro es “un tipo” de color ni el ateísmo es paganismo (o religión). Saludos.

    • Julian Perez 23 October 2019 at 10:34 am Permalink

      >>Así como el negro es ausencia de luz y de color…Ni el negro es “un tipo” de color

      En rigor es cierto, pero es matizable 🙂 Las latas de pintura negra no están vacías. ¨Pintas¨ una pared de negro o aplicas el ¨color¨ negro al lienzo, no lo raspas para dejarlo con ¨ausencia de color¨. A las telas se les tiñe de negro y los negros se quejan de que se les juzga por el color de su piel, no por la ¨ausencia de color de su piel¨.

      El ateo cree que Dios no existe. La ausencia de creencia sería agnosticismo.

  15. MANUEL 22 October 2019 at 11:43 am Permalink

    una cosa es estar contra las religiones, e interpretaciones que se han hecho de los hechos que no pueden ser explicados por la ciencia; y otra cosa es ser ateo.

    El ateo dice que Dios no existe; el agnostico, por otro lado, dice que no cree en su existencia, pero tampoco en la no existencia, el agnostico cree que no estamos en condiciones de sostener posicion alguna al respecto, se abstiene de tomar partido, apuesta por tener acceso a mejores evidencias.

    Si existe un Dios, o alguna fuerza desconocida que explique lo que la ciencia no puede, creo que estamos lejos de poder saber de que se trata. A esto llamo ser agnostico.

  16. Víctor López 22 October 2019 at 11:58 am Permalink

    A medida que vaya sacudiendose el dogma comunista, se irá volviendo ateo, Manuel. Todos los agnósticos y en consecuencia no dogmáticos):terminan siendo ateos. No suscribiría la realidad y su propio esquema racional si siguiera siendo “agnóstico”. Agnosticismo es simplemente no haber abordado el tema religioso. Cuando lo aborde y descubra la payasada (no encuentro mejor término) que es, será ateo. Un saludo.

    • Julian Perez 22 October 2019 at 12:53 pm Permalink

      >>Todos los agnósticos y en consecuencia no dogmáticos) terminan siendo ateos.

      Menos C.S. Lewis 🙂 Quizás Tolkien (que seguramente era mucho mejor argumentador que yo) hubiera podido convencer a Víctor. Nunca se sabe.

      Recuerdo un debate entre Dennis Prager y un conocido ateista. Prager le preguntó: ¨¿Usted nunca ha dudado de la no existencia de Dios?¨ El ateista respondió: ¨No, nunca¨. A lo cual Prager dijo: ¨Entonces quizás el dogmático sea usted porque yo a veces dudo de ella¨. A lo cual yo podría agregar: Yo también 🙂

  17. Víctor López 22 October 2019 at 12:01 pm Permalink

    Ningún ateo está en contra de las religiones, simplemente las considera disparates (para mí son payasadas anacrónicas). Que cada cual practique la que quiera. No hay un solo muerto en nombre del ateísmo. Saludos.

  18. MANUEL 22 October 2019 at 12:03 pm Permalink

    hay un juego de mesa que me llevo a esa conclusion. Yo era muy joven.

    dos jugadores, A y B:

    postes de 6 colores, para ponerles en 4 posiciones, seleccion libre de colores y posiciones.

    el jugador A pone la combinacion que el otro no puede ver.

    el jugador B debe de “adivinar” que combinacion ha puesto el A. Para ello pone una combinacion cualquiera en el tablero, y el A debe decirle si alguno de los postes coincide en posicion y color con la combinacion fijada por el A.
    luego de varios intentos, el B logra dar con la combinacion oculta

    si alguien lo conoce que me diga el nombre del juego, no lo recuerdo

    Pero me hizo pensar que asi avanza el conocimiento, por acumulacion de evidencias, nos vamos acercando a lo oculto, desconocido, la “combinacion” que no podemos ver, saber, con la poca informacion de la que disponemos, hasta que luego de aproximaciones cada vez mayores logramos dar eso oculto. Lo mismo sucede con “Dios”, algun dia sabremos con mas claridad de que se trata. Creo incluso que la ciencia no le ha dedicado mucha atencion al tema, o quiza si. El modo en que Julian habla me hace pensar que la ciencia si le ha dedicado tiempo. Es un tema interesante.

  19. MANUEL 22 October 2019 at 12:18 pm Permalink

    segun el buen victor, los ateos consideran que las religiones son disparates, pero no estan en contra de ellas, no estan en contra de esos disparates (sic)

    el comienzo de toda discriminacion en la Historia es el considerar a un grupo inferior o torcido, disparate

    pero aca el gran victor no asegura que no, que es lastima lo que sienten los ateos por los religiosos, como si ser ateo no fuera Tambien una religion

  20. MANUEL 22 October 2019 at 12:18 pm Permalink

    el gran victor nos asegura que no, que es lastima lo que sienten los ateos por los religiosos, como si ser ateo no fuera Tambien una religion

    • MANUEL 22 October 2019 at 12:23 pm Permalink

      No hay un solo muerto en nombre del ateísmo. dice

      los millones que mataron Stalin y Mao, fue en nombre de cual religion?

      esos dos, y Fidel Castro, y otros mas, son ateos; no mataban en nombre del ateismo, mataban en nombre del “comunismo” que casualmente opina que la religion es el opio de los pueblos; y casualmente, le hicieron una guerra tremenda a las religiones en todas partes

      al final resultara que el mas cercano a los comunistas de los que comentamos aca, es el senor victor

      cosas que tienen la vida 🙂

  21. Cubano-Americano 22 October 2019 at 12:36 pm Permalink

    Julian..Mi opinión no es exclusiva ni inclusiva..simplemente es mi opinion..Que la mayoría de los científicos son agnóstico yo ateos??..eso es un hecho¡¡¡…Que solo el 7% de los científicos son religiosos???..ese es un hecho tambien..el por que sucede esto es un punto a analizar también pero nunca bajo el prisma de la superioridad de un grupo sobre el otro..No se puede demostrar que exista o no exista Dios???…tampoco se puede demostrar que exista o no exista Peter Pan…los dragones…Blanca nieves..o cualquier fantasía creada en la mente humana..yo no hablo de Dios..hablo de energías que se transforma y no destruye su papel y distintas manifestaciones muchas aún no conocidas y a eso me refiero..las guerras todas religiosas o no han tenido un fondo económico y las religiones han sido un instrumento aliados al poder poder para poder controlar a masas poblacionales entre más incultas mejores..aunque no afirmó que el hecho de ser religioso alguien pueda ser inculto si es menos ciertos que más del 90% de los cultos científicos no son religiosos y eso es algo estadístico comprobado que se debe tener en cuenta..y..no digo religiosos..digo no creen en Dios…pero creen en otras fuerzas…El mundo de cada ser humano está limitado a la información que posee y maneja….

    • Julian Perez 22 October 2019 at 3:59 pm Permalink


      >>Que la mayoría de los científicos son agnóstico o ateos??..eso es un hecho¡¡¡…Que solo el 7% de los científicos son religiosos???..ese es un hecho tambien

      No, no es un hecho. Es una supuesta estadística de origen desconocido, un ¨hearsay¨, como le llaman en derecho. Si proviene de una encuesta habría que decir la fuente y ver posibles sesgos. Yo cité una encuesta en el contexto norteamericano que da resultados bien distintos. Y aún así, las encuestas no muestran ¨hechos¨. Si los mostraran, Hillary Clinton sería la presidenta, pues las encuestas decían que iba a ganar ampliamente.

      ¿Cuál es la fuente? ¿Quién llevó a cabo la encuesta? ¿En qué población?

      Un hecho es que Donald Trump es el presidente de Estados Unidos, que ganó el voto electoral y no el popular. Muchos lo tildan de racista. Eso no es un hecho. Es una opinión basada en interpretación de declaraciones que admiten otras interpretaciones.

  22. Cubano-Americano 23 October 2019 at 8:15 am Permalink


    Peter Higgs (boson)particula de Dios
    Stephen Hawk8ng
    John Lennon
    Marques de Sade
    Sigmund Freud
    Charles Chaplin
    Friedrich Nietzshe
    Jean Paul Sarte
    Arthur Schopenhauer
    ..Que tienen en comun???..que son ateos y /o Agnosticos la lista es interminable no demerita a nadie…no significa que tengan o no razon…solo la tendencia del pensamiento lógico o el sentido comun…no tan común y a veces sin sentido…tenemos un límite unos lo sabemos..otros están en negacion…
    Julian..No creo en las estadisticas..en ninguna como Stendhal que dijo:” La estadística es el arte de decir mentiras en cifras”…solo observo las tendencias existente según mi opinión e información por eso escribo lo que pienso sin referencias que no creo pero siempre aportan algo: TENDENCIAS ..y solo a ellas me refiero aunque no siempre sean buenas…o ciertas…nada,, simple ejercicio mental..no te pongas a la defensiva, es innecesario
    Big hugs

    • Julian Perez 23 October 2019 at 9:23 am Permalink


      No es una lista de científicos. Hay dos o tres. Los otros son filósofos o artistas.

      Se podría hacer otra lista con nombres tan notables como Blaise Pascal, Isaac Newton, Mendel, Thompson, Marconi, Von Braun y hasta el mismo Galileo, que pese a su ¨encontronazo¨ con la jerarquía eclesiástica, fue una persona muy religiosa y hasta llegó a decir: “La Escritura no puede errar, sus intérpretes sí”.

      Me parece que una buena opinión es la de Einstein, en respuesta a una carta en la que le preguntaron acerca de si los científicos podían orar:

      Dear Phyllis,

      I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

      Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

      However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.

      But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

      With cordial greetings,

      your A. Einstein

      • Julian Perez 23 October 2019 at 10:21 am Permalink

        Y, por cierto, Cubano, Voltaire no debería estar en tu lista. No era cristiano, pero tampoco ateo o agnóstico. Al igual que Jefferson y Franklin, era deísta, Además, estaba convencido de que la religión era algo conveniente para la sociedad, no un mal. Recuerda que es el autor de la frase ¨si Dios no existiera habría que inventarlo¨.

        Schopenhauer era budista, tampoco un buen ejemplo, aunque el budismo no es una religión monoteista, ni siquiera politeista, como el hinduismo, es panteista. Chaplin, en efecto, era agnóstico según propia declaración.

        El resto de la lista es exacto.

  23. Cubano-Americano 23 October 2019 at 10:46 am Permalink

    No es una lista de científicos. Hay dos o tres. Los otros son filósofos o artistas
    No dije que fuese una lista de cientificos…más bien son notables…repito lo que sean no me importan..analizaba solo tendencias..yo no soy matemático no soy exacto, soy un aproximado, Hay pocas cosas exactas en el mundo.. todas son relativas…La tendencia de notables pensadores científicos o no, es ser ateo o agnóstico y ese es el punto..es un acto de fe…Yo soy agnóstico y participó en ceremonias religiosas como folklor..siempre algo queda. Julián la vida no es tan absoluta ..la verdad absoluta es una absoluta mentira..Solo se que no es mucho lo que sabemos.y cuando esto ocurre muchas veces quedamos en un limbo consciente de nuestro limite..Saludos

  24. Cubano-Americano 23 October 2019 at 10:52 am Permalink

    La famosa carta de Einstein en la que dice que Dios es producto de la “debilidad humana” se subastó por US$2,9 millones
    BBC News Mundo
    05 diciembre 2018

    Image copyrightREUTERSLa carta de Einstein
    Image captionLa carta, de dos páginas y escrita en alemán, está fechada 3 de enero de 1954.
    Una de las cartas más famosas de Albert Einstein se vendió en US$2,9 millones, arrasando el precio previsto en la subasta que se celebró en Christie’s este martes, en Nueva York.

    Antes de que cayera el martillo, la misiva firmada que el físico envió desde Princeton, Estados Unidos, al filósofo judío alemán Eric Gutkind tenía un precio estimado en entre 1 y 1,5 millones de dólares.

    El lote estaba compuesto además por el libro de Gutkind “Escoger la vida: la llamada bíblica a la rebelión”, que el autor envió a Einstein, el sobre original y una foto del filósofo.

    Con la célebre “Carta de Dios” , Einstein fusiona sus pensamientos sobre la religión, su identidad judía y su propia búsqueda del sentido de la vida, al tiempo que refuta los argumentos que Gutkind desarrolla en la obra.

    Einstein: la desconocida carta en la que predijo los “tiempos oscuros” del nazismo
    La carta, de dos páginas y escrita en alemán, está fechada 3 de enero de 1954. Einstein tenía entonces 75 años y moriría en Estados Unidos un año después.

    Dios y la Biblia
    Aunque la carta empieza de forma muy diplomática, no deja lugar a dudas sobre la crítica que hace al libro. “La palabra Dios no es para mí más que la expresión y el producto de la debilidad humana “, escribía el físico de su puño y letra.

    Con un lenguaje llano y sin florituras, Einstein califica la religión judía de ” encarnación supersticiosa ” como lo son todas las religiones y la Biblia “una colección de leyendas “venerables pero bastante primitivas”.

    • Julian Perez 23 October 2019 at 11:09 am Permalink


      Hay dos temas: creencia en Dios y religión. Los religiosos creen en Dios, pero los que creen en la existencia de Dios no necesariamente son religiosos y pueden hasta rechazar la religión organizada.

      Einstein, al referirse al judaismo, estaba rechazando una religión organizada. Otros escritos muestran que sí creía en la existencia de Dios.

      Mi caso particular… No soy enemigo de las religiones organizadas, pero no me puedo identificar con ninguna de ellas porque con todas tengo coincidencias y divergencias. Por eso prefiero definirme como cristiano en general. En ese sentido me acercaría más a los protestantes, pero tengo divergencias con ellos. Una es que no estoy de acuerdo con lo de la ¨justidicación por la fé¨, creo que las obras son importantes también. Y la segunda es que son bastante poco tolerantes con otras denominaciones, como la católica. Los católicos actuales son muy tolerantes con las otras denominaciones cristianas y con el judaísmo. Juan Pablo se movió mucho en esa dirección.

      Como curiosidad, el tiempo que viví en México (unos meses) pude constatar que los mexicanos suelen ser muy religiosos (sobre todo en la devoción a su ¨Lupita¨) y muy anticlericales.

  25. Cubano-Americano 23 October 2019 at 4:15 pm Permalink

    Nosotros estamos de tránsito en una dimensión que no pedimos venir..luchamos por sobrevivir en un mundo agresivo donde hasta lo que ingerimos como alimentos nos matan…las medicinas y el medio ambiente tambien..donde el futuro es cierto: todos moriremos y donde no sabemos por qué nacimos??..para que venimos a este mundo??..y para donde vamos?..si a algún lugar..Entonces en medio de tantas incógnitas que importancia tiene en que creas o dejas de creer??..Tenemos la paradoja que..Venimos a un mundo que no pedimos venir..vivimos como podemos vivir y nadie quiere irse de el hacia lo desconocido!!
    So guy..celebrate life!!

  26. Víctor López 23 October 2019 at 5:03 pm Permalink

    Muy bueno, por algo no queremos irnos (o casi). Para mí la vida es una maravilla, incluso desde el solo plano contemplativo.

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