Rebuttals of the Week! #29: Um… Too much information!

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Background: The Progress Conservative Party gets elected in Ontario, the largest province in Canada, replacing 18 years of rule by an ideologically far Left and much loathed Liberal Party. The Conservatives ran on a platform that included repealing a very controversial, very ideologically grounded and in many parents’ eyes age-inappropriate sex-ed curriculum that was imposed on public schoolchildren by the Liberals under the leadership of Kathleen Wynne (whom Jordan Peterson once described as “the most dangerous woman in Canada”!) only three years ago. It replaced a curriculum that had been in place since 1998.

To the shock and horror of Liberals and Leftists,  PC party leader and new Premier Doug Ford announces within a couple of weeks of assuming power that the contentious curriculum is now officially revoked… thus keeping one of the promises that got him elected.

Liberals and Leftists in Ontario respond as expected by lighting their hair on fire and running around screaming that life as we know it is about to come to an end and that children’s lives are now in imminent danger.

The ‘hair on fire’ thing is a slight exaggeration. Claims that the lives of children are threatened as a result of getting rid of this course that’s been around for three years is actually real. You can’t make this stuff up.

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Speaking of stuff you couldn’t make up… have a look at the exchange below. Ray W who launches the interaction seems to be a first year University student in his 20’s who is probably just mouthing the fashionable opinion of his peer group and the group-think pumped into him by whatever ‘Social Justice’ course his parents are wasting thousands of dollars on in place of a useful education for their son. But it’s Carrie B who wins the “Didn’t See That One Coming” award with her… let’s call it, explicit point!


Ray W: Your children are gonna grow up without knowing about lgbt people, consent and cyber safety all because some people clearly didn’t read the curriculum but threw a fit anyway, good job Ontario

Going to Getugly: Funny Ray… somehow everyone who lived before you were born a couple of decades ago managed to ‘grow up knowing’ about all of this stuff without this curriculum. You might want to stop telling yourself that everything began the moment you were old enough to be aware of it.

Carrie B:  Oh, you mean like my 53 year old coworker who didn’t know the difference between a vulva and a vagina?

Going to Getugly: Oh well then! That changes everything! Someone call the Premier of Ontario and inform him that Carrie B had a weirdly inappropriate conversation with her coworker and discovered he was something less than an expert on female anatomy!

Thanks for alerting us to that Carrie. Please let us know if you ever had a disturbing chat with someone on the bus at any point in your life and we’ll make sure government policy is rewritten to reflect whatever it is you found out.

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‘White privilege’ and the end of adult thinking

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The arc of the impact on Western civilization of the allegedly ‘progressive Left has evolved over the last couple of years from being laughable and irritating to frustrating and tedious to truly freakin’ scary. The number of people I encounter on comment sections of mainstream media outlets lately who simply parrot generic ‘progressive’-Left ideological slogans and talking points… essentially verbatim… and present them as if they were expressing ideas of their own is genuinely chilling.

I see a lot of this sort of thing:

Richard H: “If we cannot acknowledge the residue of Patriarchal systems how can we ever rectify the fall out. The ‘Me Too’ & LGBTQ movements are a sign that we have to allow these archaic systems of Patrriarchy to collapse in order to bring a more inclusive one.”

I can’t read that and not instantly be reminded of scenes in the John Hurt movie version of Orwell’s 1984 in which drab, deeply conditioned members of the ‘outer Party’ obsequiously and enthusiastically regurgitate official Party doctrine.

As the perfectly conditioned, obedient group-thinker in the above scene makes clear:

“The secret is to move from translation to direct thought to automatic response.”

Indeed.

And few things strike me as providing a better example of the reality of the Orwellian conditioning that has gripped Western societies than the hideous and deeply racist concept of ‘white privilege’.

In fact, to even call it a ‘concept’ is giving it too much credit. It is little more than taking two unrelated words that when jammed together generate a ‘feeling‘ or an ‘impression‘ of something vaguely pernicious. It’s the kind of thing that a lot of people find themselves reflexively nodding along in agreement about how pervasive and terrible it is long before noticing they couldn’t tell you what it specifically means, where the expression came from or why it’s supposedly an issue in the first place.

One can’t help but suspect that this is in large part the intention.

It is an example of using language to obscure and manipulate rather than to illuminate and clarify. The phrase is sufficiently vague to make it a catch-all explanation for essentially anything you want. Rather than pointing to an objective fact… the way classifications such as ‘cumulus clouds’ or ‘arrhythmic heartbeat’ point to specific, observable phenomena …  ‘white privilege’ is designed to validate subjective impressions and conclusions. “I’m right and you’re wrong… because white privilege”. That sort of thing.

We live in an era in which terms and phrases that seem to have come out of nowhere are almost instantly adopted into common usage and parroted. Take a fairly harmless but ubiquitous example: How many grown men and women now routinely incorporate generic, adolescent Internet abbreviations like ‘LOL’ into their written forms of communication without ever thinking about it? Despite the fact that no one would ever deliberately use the phrase ‘laugh out loud’… millions of people reflexively type out the abbreviation for this rather oblique phrase everyday when writing their emails, text messages and the comments they post online. Why do people do this? Presumably it’s because they saw other people using ‘LOL’ on the Internet at some point and so they started reflexively mimicking the behaviour themselves. And because no one points out how weird it is that everyone suddenly started typing the same three letter abbreviation for a phrase that no one would ever deliberately use… it never occurs to anyone to notice just how truly weird it is.

There is undoubtedly something about the technology of the Internet that takes this mostly unconscious human instinct for mimicking behaviour and supercharges it.

This slightly dispiriting but reasonably benign example of how technology magnifies our  impulse for unthinking conformity turns into something significantly more odious when the terms and phrases that seem to appear out of nowhere and are instantly parroted are associated with specific ideological conceptions and agendas.

Sometimes these are real words with little genuine relevance beyond the arcane interests of scholars of history… like ‘patriarchy’ and ‘colonialist’… but which have been re-purposed by ideologues as ‘titles’ for their skewed social and political interpretations.

Other terms are simply invented out of thin air… much like an advertiser will market  a product by constructing a slogan designed to evoke the desired emotional response without engaging any conscious thought on behalf of the consumer.

Recently coined terms like “mansplaining”, “rape culture”, “wage gap”, “male privilege” and of course, “white privilege” are examples of this.

Just as with the marketing campaign for a product, these catchy, bumper-sticker phrases bypass critical thinking and appeal directly to the predispositions of the target audience.

So for instance, a woman who already harbours resentment or hostility towards men or who is insecure or uncomfortable about engaging men in verbal confrontation may encounter the term ‘mansplaining’ and find it instantly appealing. It provides external validation for her resentment:  “Yes! That’s the explanation for my inability to represent my views effectively! That’s the explanation for why not everyone agrees with me! There’s something wrong with men!”

But of course, maturity and basic self-awareness places an onus on each of us to recognise that our default impulse, more often than not, is to let ourselves off the hook. To say “It isn’t me! It’s you!” To buy into the notion that it isn’t my responsibility as an autonomous adult to moderate my conduct and my emotional reactivity… but rather it’s the responsibility of all the other autonomous adults out there to moderate their behaviour so that I may avoid the unpleasantness of my own uncontrolled reactions.

In other words, it’s your responsibility not to ‘trigger‘ me. Not my responsibility to learn how to handle it.

And that my friends… is ‘social justice’ in a nutshell. This whole thing… all of the pseudo-intellectual wankery… the reams and reams of naval-gazing sociology papers and theories… the millions of dollars in public and private money poured into paying the salaries of self-appointed ‘experts’ in academia who push these concepts in the humanities departments of universities… all of the sanctimony, moral self-aggrandizement, circular reasoning and endlessly proliferating slogans, terms and expressions… the entire project is essentially the extension of one, pitifully infantile and ignoble premise: The world needs to change so that I don’t have to!

Or to put it another way…  ‘It isn’t my job to grow and become a better person. It is the job of reality to reorganize itself so that I don’t have to encounter anything that challenges my ego.’

It is the inverse of character. The normalization of narcissism.

Perhaps it is an inevitable consequence of a decadent, rich and technologically advanced civilization pushing childhood into the second decade of life and beyond.

Who knows?

Whatever it is, it is what ultimately accounts for the widespread appeal of the ‘progressive’-Left, ‘social justice’ worldview: Instead of taking on the challenge of growing up and cultivating the skills and capacities to engage with the objective realities of life… society now gives you permission to remain a child and validates the expectation that authority structures will pander to your impulses and ego.

And these recently minted, fashionable slogans and phrases provide the mechanism for doing just that. They facilitate relocating responsibility for one’s own internal, negative emotional reactions as a response to disappointment, frustration and failed expectations from oneself to the most  convenient, external source available. It is the institutionalization of scapegoating.


Here is a brief exchange with someone responding to the article by Rex Murphy referenced above. Alan is a great example of the quality of thinking of people who buy into these fashionable Leftist concepts like ‘white privilege’.

Alan W:  This article has to be parody. If Murphy is being serious then his white privilege has reached a record-setting level.

Going to Getugly: I wish I could believe that your  comment was a parody. But judging by the number of similar posts from people desperate to demonstrate their  conformity to this currently fashionable group think I have to conclude it’s for real.

Alan W: Thanks for replying to my comment! I’m very excited to exchange ideas with you.
I regret to inform you that my post is based on fact, more precisely, the fact that white privilege is a real and observable phenomenon. In no way was I attempting to appear “fashionable” with my ideas. I was merely stating facts which are based on observation. Therefore your conclusion that my post is”real” is correct but your reasoning is false.

Going to Getugly: Here’s the thing Alan: It strikes me that the people who have adopted this generic ideological construct have done so as the result of not particularity well-developed reasoning and critical thinking skills. And the problem with “exchanging ideas” with people like this is that they are using those same poorly developed reasoning and critical thinking skills to justify their claims. For instance… your response to my criticism was to instantly default to fallacious argument. And the fact that you don’t recognize that you’ve done this or why it is a symptom of poor reasoning skills is itself evidence of the problem.

Let me show you what I mean. This is what seems to you to be a credible rebuttal:

“I regret to inform you that my post is based on fact, more precisely, the fact that white privilege is a real and observable phenomenon.”

“I was merely stating facts which are based on observation. Therefore your conclusion that my post is”real” is correct but your reasoning is false.”

Now clearly all you have done there is make the assertions that  “I’m right because this is true.” And “Your reading is false because my opinion is fact.”

These are examples of ‘begging the question’. In other words, your response to criticism of your premise is to simply declare again that your premise is true without demonstrating it. It’s basic circular reasoning.

So here’s the point: People who are good at thinking… don’t do that. And by ‘good at thinking’… I mean people who have adequately cultivated specific reasoning skills and disciplines which generate effective interpretations about the objective world.

And it is predictable that people who have not cultivated those skills will, a) be oblivious to the existence and necessity of those skills, and b) be prone or susceptible to internalizing externally generated narratives that are promoted to them and which provide them with an already complete,  prepackaged set of interpretations.

Ultimately, there is no point assuming that the interpretations which you are espousing have any merit until you first address the issue of the thinking skills you’ve used to generate them.


Despite Alan’s apparent initial enthusiasm for exchanging ideas…. I didn’t receive any further replies to my critique of his position.

Telling the most inclusive, tolerant and welcoming people in the history of human civilisation how uncommonly racist they are is going to backfire.

 

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 “It’s time the federal government designates Jan. 29 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia so that we take the opportunity to educate fellow Canadians about this poison in our midst. Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

This ladies and gentleman… is the real, unabashed, undisguised bigotry of our times.

What the author of this column is calling for is that the state officially declare that Canadian society…. and let’s just say what he is really meaning here: white Canadians… are intrinsically morally corrupt and despicable. Not only that, but that we owe his specific co-religionists unique recognition as penance for the systemic wickedness we  are collectively inflicting upon them. I suppose we are to be grateful to Mr. Yussuff and the federal government for taking the time to “educate us” about this.

It is precisely this kind of self-righteous, hypocritical and intellectually corrupt arrogance and sense of entitlement that drives otherwise tolerant and inclusive Canadians to view his community with animosity and resentment. And yet as these insults to the character and basic humanity of mainstream Canadians continue to accumulate… those pushing these derogatory narratives feign shock and wonder that more and more of the people they are enthusiastically disparaging are turning sour on the whole multicultural experiment.

If this keeps up… and there is no cause for hope that it won’t… we are in for some extremely unpleasant social unrest in this country in the very near future.

The ‘alt-right’? Get with it… that was last year’s moral panic!

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The ‘alt-right‘… a vague catch phrase fashionable among Millennial alternative-media types for years… latched onto by the Clinton campaign and their puppets at CNN in the dying days of the election who turned it into an insidiously threatening bogeyman to associate with Trump.

Worth noting that since the media has moved on from months of promoting the ‘alt right’ and the return of ‘fascism’ as an imminent threat to the very fabric of society and is now focused on hyping sexual harassment as the latest media-induced moral panic….. the dire threat from the ‘alt right’ has completely evaporated and everyone has forgotten about it.

 

 

Rebuttals of the Week #15 Part 2: Lefty says Left-wing bigotry is okay because it doesn’t hurt anybody.

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Here’s a quick follow up to my exchange with James from Rebuttals of the Week # 15: Lefty tries desperately to believe racism okay if his side does it.

As is usual when you critique the position of someone captured by Left-wing ideology, James responded by ignoring the issues I raised in my argument and simply restated the same thing he’d said originally but with slightly different words (see below). Rather than supporting that position with facts, evidence or reasoned argument… notice how he offers only subjective expressions of the superior moral stature of his own opinion.

You see this over and over again when debating people on the Left. What James is revealing here, I believe, is the key to understanding what motivates people to identify with Leftist,  ‘progressive’ ideology: They are driven by an impulse for moral and social validation.

In short, they adopt opinions to fulfill ego-needs…. not to know something true about the objective world. And their use of language is a reflection of that.

This goes a long way to explaining why reason, argument and evidence that challenges or refutes their position rarely if ever influences their fixed opinion on these issues. They didn’t arrive at their conclusions as the result of an interest in what is ‘real’ to begin with. They settled on those conclusions because they find them personally satisfying. So it is rare that someone who focuses on ego-gratification by nature will suddenly exercise the willpower to make that sense of personal satisfaction subordinate to the pursuit of truth.


James: Dear Going to Getugly, standing in a different spot briefly would not hurt anybody. It might make people think. We shouldn’t turn our radar for sources of outrage up too high. If people will think about something I can move 30 feet or whatever for a couple of minutes. Let’s not major on the minors.

Going to Getugly:

Here’s the thing: What you think other people should feel about being told where to stand based on their race is irrelevant. You’re blind to the outrageous narcissism and self-aggrandizement of believing everyone needs to conform to your ideological concepts and see the deliberate humiliation of people at this concert based on their race as an opportunity to “make people think” about how collectively guilty they all are.

Again… this is what people out here in the real world keep trying to get people who are captured by this ideology to recognize: The fact that a self-identified “leftwinger” has “Left-wing” justifications for the bigotry he wants imposed on certain people doesn’t make him different to other bigots!

It makes the “leftwinger” exactly the same as every other bigot who ever walked the Earth. EVERY bigot believes he is doing ‘the right thing for the right reasons’ and that his critics are just not as aware and enlightened as himself.

The problem with “leftwingers” is that they lack principles. Basic principles tell you that unethical, deplorable behaviour…. like treating people differently or poorly based solely on their race… is ALWAYS unethical and deplorable… regardless of who is doing it and to whom.  But  “leftwingers”  indulge in the narcissistic conviction that the very same unethical and deplorable behaviour magically and conveniently transmutes into noble and justified as soon as they engage in it.

After all,  “leftwingers” are only doing it to “make people” who are clearly inferior to themselves “think” and behave the right way! Right James? And that’s nothing like the kind of justifications real bigots tell themselves!

Rebuttals of the Week # 15: Lefty tries desperately to believe racism okay if his side does it.

 

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Article: Halifax music festival apologizes for ‘overt racism’ after volunteer refuses to give spot near stage to women of colour

Another fine example of the degenerate ethics and reasoning of the sanctimonious, allegedly ‘progressive’ Left. The reaction to this from James, below, is very interesting. He proudly self-identifies as a “leftwinger“. Yet his struggle to reconcile this unambiguously racist public incident with his conviction about the inherent moral excellence of the premise behind it is palpable.

This highlights precisely the threat posed by the cultural phenomenon of ‘progressivism’: The willingness to privilege ideological premises over self-evident, objective truth. 

Poor James is trying desperately to adhere to the standard “leftwinger” conception of  “teaching moments”… in which people who take the perfection of their own beliefs for granted impose their will on those they deem to be in need of their superior insight.

The problem for James is that unlike the majority of people who share his intellectual commitment to the ideology of  the ‘progressive’-Left , he hasn’t yet completely abandoned his capacity to recognise hypocrisy:

JamesHow is the volunteer racist? As a leftwinger, I confess that this baffles me if this article is accurate. Having white people move back as an exercise could be a teaching moment, but not with acceptable means unless you plan to, say, return people to their old spots after a few minutes.

Breaking equal-treatment rules isn’t acceptable. This is a grotesque caricature of the left that rightwing blogs constantly circulate (no, most leftwingers aren’t worried about dissenting opinions). Don’t ask people of one race to move back for people of another race for your concert.

Going to Getugly:

James, it’s anything BUT a “gross caricature of the left”. This is the Left in all of it’s irrational, hypocritical, circular reasoning glory! And your statement that this would be a “teaching moment” is a symptom of the same irrationality. You don’t subject people to the very thing you claim to so strongly oppose to fulfill your narcissistic belief in the righteousness of your own opinion.

Indulging in bigotry because you tell yourself it’s for ‘all the right reasons’ is not DIFFERENT to bigotry. It’s just bigotry! This is the blind spot of people such as yourself who self-identify as “a leftwinger” that folks who are not captured by ideology keep trying to get you guys to recognise! You are NOT better than the people you imagine yourselves to be superior to! The problem is that people on the Left… people like YOU… never bother to go through the process of examining YOURSELF before imagining that you occupy the lofty position to pass judgement on people who don’t conform to your ideology.

Another commentator, Nathan, inadvertently emphasises the truth about this impulse to privilege a commitment to prefabricated, ideological conceptualisations over independant thinking with this comment:

Nathan: I’m a liberal who spends more time confronting the stupidity of the type defined here than conservatives.

These aren’t isolated incidents. Head to any university in the country and you’ll find people that think making white people move is noble.

So I posed the obvious question:

Going to Getugly:

Nathan, why then do you persist in self-identifying with an ideology that you recognise is so flawed and corrupt?

Fantasy ‘fascism’ and the totalitarian Left

We live in Orwell’s nightmare.

There was yet another demonstration that turned violent this past week. This time it was in the picturesque, 400-year-old, walled backwater known as  Quebec City of all places. It involved a legal gathering by a relatively small group that no one on the planet Earth has ever heard of called La Meute. They were apparently protesting Justin Trudeau’s government for failing to do anything about the surge of illegal, mostly Haitian migrants pouring into Quebec across their border with the US. It’s a growing problem largely generated by the outrageously irresponsible Tweet Trudeau sent out in the midst of Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim travel ban’ controversy. In an act of self-aggrandizing virtue-signalling notable for its narcissism even by what we’ve come to expect from Justin, he essentially invited all illegal immigrants in the US to come to Canada if they feared deportation to their home countries under the Trump presidency.

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Anyway, the usual thugs from the far-Left showed up… bused-in 254 km from Montreal… to express their profound commitment to human decency by attacking people, destroying property and rioting. The folks from La Meute on the other hand, whose ‘far-rightyness’ was instantly proclaimed by the entire mainstream Canadian media (although I’m yet to see any attempt to support that claim by the tireless truth-seekers in Canadian journalism) and who collaborated with the police were forced to hide-out in an underground parking garage so as not to be torn to shreds by their tolerant, compassionate, loving, non-judgmental moral superiors on the allegedly ‘progressive’ Left.

You may have noticed that ever since the grotesque events in Charlottesville Virginia, the mainstream media seems to be labeling anything that isn’t ‘far-left’ as ‘far-right’… with the obvious connotations of jack-booted Nazis or slope-browed skinheads rising up from the dustbin of history to threaten all that is noble and virtuous. At the same time, they are either not identifying the far-left extremists at all… or they are treating them like the defenders of the one true and righteous belief system… whose zealous commitment to all that is wonderful and good (in other words,  their enforcement of strict conformity to Far-Left ideology) miraculously transmutes their Nazi-esque tactics  into a kind of frightening benevolence.

Maclean’s Magazine: “their violence in retaliatory self-defence was the “last resort” so often referred to by those more committed to order than justice.”

New York Times: “But the tragedy in Charlottesville… undercut the notion that the black-masked radical leftists who smash windows and hurl firebombs are an equal menace.”

CNN: “Unmasking the Leftists Antifa movement: Activists seek peace through violence.”

Reuters: “Pro-Trump supporters face off with peace activists  during protests outside a Trump rally in Phoenix,”

The Atlantic: “Using the phrase “alt-left” suggests a moral equivalence that simply doesn’t exist. For starters, while antifa perpetrates violence, it doesn’t perpetrate it on anything like the scale that white nationalists do.”

CBC: “While groups like Antifa and BLM might engage in violence at times — no one is disputing that — the major difference is that their existence is not predicated on hatred of others.”

And what does Antifa say? The Globe and Mail reported: In interviews, antifa activists explained their position. “You need violence to protect non-violence,” said Emily Rose Nauert. “That’s what’s very obviously necessary right now. It’s full-on war, basically.” 

Sure, it’s violence and oppression… but it’s violence and oppression for all the right reasons (or left reasons). There is an unmistakable ‘hate is love’, ‘war is peace’ atmosphere descending on us. You can practically taste it.

Have a look at the perception of the events that the supposedly ‘right-wing’ National Post chose to manufacture for its audience:

 

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Is there any doubt about the interpretation that the headline of the article above is intended to generate in the reader? The message is pretty clear: It’s the ‘right wing’ people who are the unwanted. Who are to be despised. Who represent the real threat. The fact that they collaborated with the authorities, obeyed the law, were peaceful and were the targets of the violence from the Left-wing extremists doesn’t matter. Sure, “some” completely unknown, politically and ideologically unidentifiable “counter-protesters” inexplicably “turned violent”. But it’s the non-violent, law abiding people prevented from exercising their democratic rights who are ‘right-wing” and therefore evil by definition who must be singled out as pariahs and banished.

So let’s cut through the mass cultural group-think and describe in plain language what is really happening here: The mayor of Quebec City and the National Post are consciously focusing everyone’s antipathy on a tiny, insignificant group of people who are politically right of centre… whom no one has ever heard of, who have no power, who obeyed the law and were the targets of violence and abuse of their civil rights…. while simultaneously downplaying the threat posed by the perpetrators of the violence whom they fail to name (Antifa), fail to identify as representing far-left extremism, refer to by using the generic and neutral term “counter protesters”… and who represent a widespread movement, openly supported by facets of the media establishment and the political elite…  which has endorsed and repeatedly resorted to politically motivated violence in several North American cities over the past year.

We have a submissive and neutered political class in this country who are frightened to death of appearing not to conform to ‘progressive’-Leftist ideology. At the same time, the media class has abandoned objectivity altogether and has adopted the role of conduit for the single-perspective messaging pushed out by the liberal American media machine.

It is getting harder and harder to find voices in the mainstream advancing the perspective which actually reflects authentic reality: The now inconceivable notion that normal, moral, intelligent and perceptive human beings can find things about the fashionable, ‘progressive’-Left worldview (the one preferred by the elite wielders of power and influence in the media, academia, entertainment and mainstream political establishment ) that is flawed, counter-productive and deserving of critique and criticism.

This manufactured binary conception that you either conform without question to ‘progressive’-Left ideology or you’re a Nazi is what actual totalitarianism looks like from the inside… as opposed to the fantasy fascism the political Left and their lapdogs in the mainstream media are using to sow hysteria and prejudice against any views more than half-a step to the right of Chairman Mao’s.

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