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Obfuscating Stupidity & the IP/MA Game

In his seemingly unlimited capacity to #trigger people, Arvin Vohra, Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party, recently posted this on Facebook:

“Guys, we shouldn’t speak badly of rapists. Many people rape, and they vote. If we attack them, they might not vote libertarian!”

That’s how some of you sound when you suggest we pander to public school “teachers” and members of the military welfare complex in order to not lose their votes.

Without going further, I’m sure readers will accurately assume the most common response to this. Of course, the widespread was one in which the commenter pretended to be excessively stupid by pretending not to understand metaphors and how they work. In fact, every time I think of this and how common it is, I’m reminded of Christ saying, “It is harder for a rich man to get into Heaven than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle.”

I suspect Americans today would ask, “Jesus, are you saying rich people are camels?!”

We saw exactly the same thing when Donald Trump, Jr. made his analogy using Skittles over immigration and refugees, when he said that “refugees are like a bowl of Skittles [or M&Ms?] where some of them are poisoned. Would anyone out there really help themselves to a handful?”

Predictably, the widespread response to this on Twitter was “Are you saying we should eat refugees?” The sentiment was so common that a news site, doing its typical crap of taking samples of tweets and compiling them into an “article,” used several different tweets that expressed that confusion.

The alarming possibility is that there are people out there who sincerely don’t understand how metaphors work. This is more plausible than it should be, given how few American adults actually read (anything more than Facebook posts and tweets]. The ability to read and process information is indisputably helped by reading (hence why people’s reading levels tend to increase the more they read), and Reading Comprehension is similarly helped by exposure. However, the ability to reason is also critical to understanding analogies, and I’m not sure that reasoning can be taught. One either knows how to think or one doesn’t.

Cue Joshua Smith, who fancies himself qualified to be the Chair of the national Libertarian Party (despite having no more qualifications than I have, and I’m imminently unqualified):

Wow, you just compared school teachers to rapists.

Just when I thought there wasn’t possibly any way you could get edgier and drive more people from the party.

Can’t wait for June 30th.

Joshua Smith was not alone in this idiocy. I called him out on this directly, of course:

You’re over here (at best) pretending not to understand a basic metaphor and how metaphors work. That is 100% worthy of condescension. Don’t obfuscate stupidity if you don’t want people to think you’re an idiot.

At worst, you legitimately don’t understand how metaphors work, which is more sad than funny. But I think I’m okay with being condescending of a grown ass man who claims to read philosophy but doesn’t know how metaphors work.

…and earlier, when he attempted to change the subject to “being an asshole”:

Don’t change the subject. This is about you deliberately feigning ignorance over something you know damned well that you understood.

Joshua continues to this point denying that he’s simply pretending not to understand how metaphors work. This is, as I’m sure you’ve observed, very common. It’s almost impossible to use any kind of metaphor in conversation with people these days, because they either knowingly pretend not to understand, they have convinced themselves that they don’t understand, or they actually don’t understand. There’s not much that we can do about the latter, except aknowledge their apparent mental handicap and stop trying to reason with them.

The middle group–those who understand how metaphors work but who have convinced themselves that they don’t, because then they can be outraged at the non-meaning they extract from the statements–are caught up in doublethink, and I think the logical absolutes are the only way to break people out of doublethink. They know that they understand, but they have forgotten that so that they can feign ignorance. I suspect Joshua falls into this group. They know that Arvin was not comparing teachers to rapists, but it doesn’t matter; they have forgotten that and convinced themselves otherwise.

The first group are those who deliberately and consciously pretend to be stupid, again because this allows them to be outraged and triggered over the meaning that they imagine.

Who can blame them? Outrage works. It’s a method of putting the speaker on the defensive. Instead of the point they’re trying to make getting the focus, they instead end up spending the entire conversation defending what they said and trying to explain that they did not, in fact, compare rapists to teachers.

So let’s break Arvin’s down. What is Vice Chair Vohra referring to? The actions of people in response to teachers and rapists.

On the one hand, we have the fictionalized hypothetical response of someone to rapists as effectively defending them, saying that we shouldn’t antagonize them because then they won’t vote for us. It’s not rape or the rapist who is the focus of this, but the person responding to the rapist. The person acting in this metaphor is the person responding to teachers and rapists; neither the teacher nor the rapist are acting here. They are not, therefore, the subjects of the metaphor, since they are not the ones acting.

Then Arvin pointed out that this person’s response is just as stupid when it is teachers to whom they are responding. There is no quantitative assessment of how “bad” rape or teaching are; there is just the assumption that both are bad, and this is not presented in any comparative sense. There’s no comparison at all in Arvin’s words to the act of rape and the act of teaching in a public school. The comparison is entirely about the way people react to rapists and to public school teachers. So in its most basic form, Arvin’s metaphor is quite clearly not comparing rapists to teachers; it is comparing how people react to teachers to how people react to rapists.

Understanding Metaphors

The first step to understanding any metaphor is to determine what, exactly, is being compared, and what it’s being compared to. “Cat is to mouse as bird is to worm” is a simile, and what is it comparing? Is it saying that cats are birds? Is it saying that cats and birds are the same thing, or that mouse and worms are the same thing? In fact, the relationship between the cat and the mouse is being compared to the relationship between the bird and the worm. None of the animals are being compared. Their relationships are being compared.

Now that we have determined what’s being compared, we have to identify that the comparison is. This can be difficult, and is dependent on the reader’s knowledge. Here, we are comparing the cat’s predatorial relationship with the mouse to the bird’s predatorial relationship to the worm. Presumably, we are doing this as an attempt to explain to someone that birds hunt and eat worms. So we’re using this analogy (a simile, though it contains neither “as” nor “like”) to clarify to someone the relationship between one of the two. As long as we understand cats’ relationship to mice, we can understand birds’ relationship to worms; as long as we understand birds’ relationship to mice, we can understand cats’ relationship to mice. Through this simple analogy, we have communicated a lot of information about the animals and their habits, and the listener can extrapolate their knowledge of one of the relationships to figure out the nature of the relationship.

So How Do We Respond To These People?

First, don’t let them take the offensive, as Joshua attempted to do by feigning stupidity, and then attempting to change the subject to whether it’s necessary to be an asshole. Their tactic is a weak, intellectually dishonest one of shifting the conversation onto their outrage (the poor little snowflakes), and it shouldn’t be allowed. At this point, there are two ways to handle the stupidity, and both need to be done. First, the metaphor needs to be fully explained. Sadly. Secondly, the person needs to be called out for acting stupid or being stupid, neither of which is acceptable for an adult. My seven-year-old nephew would understand the metaphor without somehow coming to the conclusion that we were directly comparing two things qualitatively. Have fun with these points, though, and combine the two together: explain the metaphor like you would to a five year old.

Don’t let up on this. Be ruthless. Keep in mind that this is a grown adult (and in this case, someone who fancies himself qualified to lead the national Libertarian Party!) who is pretending not to understand a basic and simple metaphor, unable to even figure out what is being compared. Reasons for doing this are complicated. The most obvious, as I said, is that doing so allows them to be outraged, which snowflakes love. But there’s more to it than that, I think–perhaps remnants of the high school attitude that it’s uncool to be smart and cool to be stupid continue on into adulthood. I know we can find examples of this on YouTube.

When Joshua went on to criticize me for being arrogant and condescending, I rightly pointed out:

Don’t obfuscate stupidity if you don’t want people to think you’re an idiot.

These are people are acting like idiots. They deserve scorn, ridicule, and shaming. We should not mock and belittle those with handicaps that prevent them from understanding simple metaphors, but that doesn’t come close to describing the bulk of these deliberate morons. Most of them aren’t stupid. They’re just pretending to be stupid (often with doublethink thrown in, because they want to convince themselves that their outrage should be directed outwardly, at Arvin, instead of inward, at their own past). For this, they should be laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, memed, shamed, and scorned. This scourge of people pretending stupid so that they can be outraged must be stopped. Our ability to communicate takes too severe of a hit if we can no longer use metaphors and analogies.

There’s a reason that Christ, the Buddha, Nietzsche, Plato, and so many other great people in human history communicated primarily in metaphors–they are unrivaled in their ability to clarify things for people. Losing the ability to use parables and metaphors so severely hinders our ability to communicate that it could very well be enough to send us into a second Dark Age. See? That’s a metaphor. It compares the dangers of the Dark Ages to the dangers posed by feigning stupidity so much that everyone becomes stupid and believes in their own stupidity. Someone responding to that with “Are you saying we’re going to experience famine?” would be appallingly moronic (another metaphor). Metaphors are extremely common.

Allowing people to be outraged because they’re getting away with pretending to be stupid will only exacerbate the problem. Why would Joshua pretend to be stupid? To be outraged. But why would he want to be outraged? What does he gain from that? Victimization. Typical of snowflake behavior (Don’t act like a snowflake if you don’t want to be called a snowflake, and being outraged over imaginary offenses is the modus operandi of snowflakes), he seeks and latches onto any possible offense he can find. It’s a way of playing the IP/MA (Identity Politics / Micro Aggressions) Game, because we reward victims so heavily and love them so much. It’s simple psychology and positive reinforcement. People see “victims” being rewarded for being victimized with adoration, “respect,” pity, and other positive things–often money and gifts, too.

Don’t let it stand. Always challenge it.

Libertarians and America-centrism

If there is one thing that nearly everyone who has studied the matter agrees on, it’s that United States global dominance is on the executioner’s block and cannot last forever. This has been said by Ron Paul, who repeatedly pointed out that the militaristic propping up of the USD is unsustainable, but libertarians are not the only people saying such things. It’s well-known that, around 2030, China will have passed the United States economically, and by 2040 technologically and militarily. Regardless of the angle we take–whether internal collapse or external excellence–the conclusion is inevitable: the U.S.’s enjoyment of its time as “the world’s only superpower” is coming to a close.

Earlier today, I defended points made by Libertarian Party Vice Chair Arvin Vohra (who routinely #triggers people who want to call themselves “libertarians” without actually abiding libertarian ideology, as well as those who cry “Muh marketing!” and threaten to take their ball and go home) by asserting that it really doesn’t matter whether Americans find Arvin’s statements palatable or not. He’s right. And the consequences of everyone else being wrong (e.g., the collapse of the USD and American military dominance) will happen whether people find his message agreeable or not.

In fact, the most common whine directed at Arvin is that he’s right, but they wish he would be more diplomatic in expressing it. They assert (without evidence) that statements like his are the reason the LP isn’t taken seriously, are the reason the LP doesn’t win elections, and are the reason the party’s membership is waning. These statements are made entirely without evidence and in full disregard of the obvious facts that the LP didn’t win elections long before Arvin came along.

The most glaring omission from such stupid statements like “This is the reason liberty will never be popular–Arvin is making unpopular statements” is probably the most American-centric thing a person can say. It’s true that Arvin’s statements are not typically popular among Americans, but Americans make up less than five percent of the world’s population. It’s absolutely stupid to act like that five percent is “all there is” or that the 5% are the only people who matter. It’s exactly that kind of attitude that makes people hate Americans–that horrific short-sightedness that cares only about what other Americans think, so much so that the speaker apparently isn’t aware that most of the world’s population isn’t American.

Are Arvin’s statements about the military unpopular? In America, maybe. We really don’t know. There’s been no study of that, so it’s impossible to make any credible analysis. Not much of the American population even pays attention to Arvin, and, of those who do, roughly half seem to be supporters. The other half, strangely, seem to follow him just to argue with everything he says. Being extremely generous, no more than 5% of the American population even knows who Arvin is, so even if we assume that half of those vehemently oppose Arvin, what we’re left with is half of 5% of 5% of 7,000,000,000. So even with unrealistically high numbers, no more than 8,750,000 of the seven billion people on the planet could possibly turn from libertarianism because of Arvin. And, again, since we’re using stupidly generous numbers, 8,750,000 of the seven billion people would also be turned to libertarianism because of Arvin.

And this is only in the United States. How do you think people in Pakistan react when an American political leader boldly speaks out against the crimes committed by the American military in Middle Eastern countries? How do the people of Russia react? The people of China? Half of Americans might get deeply upset that Arvin dared point out that the American military murders people, but the vast majority of Earthlings fiercely nod and agree–having seen and felt the sting of American bombs falling on their cities.

We can’t just zoom in on the United States and pretend like the rest of the world doesn’t matter–it most certainly does. And I know people would say, “But the American Libertarian Party isn’t running for election in the rest of the world! So it doesn’t really matter what they think in this regard!”

That’s wrong, though.

We are running for election with the rest of the world, and it’s an election for survival, peace, prosperity, and forgiveness.

The United States doesn’t exist in a bubble. And while it currently doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks, every indication is that we have only two or three more decades of this being the case, after which it won’t matter what America thinks. It’s hard to overstate the impact that being overtaken militarily, technologically, and economically will have, but, for the first time since its inception, the United States will truly be vulnerable to foreign aggression. And we won’t have the infrastructure, money, technology, industry, or military might to do anything about it.

The rest of the world is watching us put our vast industrial and technological might to use by picking on countries that can’t possibly pose a threat to us. They’re not happy about this. Even our oldest allies, like Canada, Australia, and the UK, aren’t happy with American hegemony these days. Saudi Arabia may be the only country in the Middle East that isn’t deeply pissed off at the United States. China certainly isn’t pleased with us, and neither is Russia. In fact, Russia drew a line in the sand around Assad and refused to let us topple him as we had done to so many in the past. That’s how fed up Russia is with our bullshit.

We have created lots of enemies, and many of them are eagerly waiting on the edge of the darkness, hungrily licking their lips and hoping for our defenses to fall, wishing to see us taken down a peg. And here’s the bad news: that is going to happen. There are only two ways of avoiding it, and we won’t pursue either course of action.

The best way of avoiding it is to stop the hegemony. Let cryptocurrencies thrive, withdraw all of our troops, and, at the very least, return to being a Constitutional Republic of limited government and pro-liberty. It would be even better if we went the Minarchist route, beyond classical liberalism, and best if we went full anarchism. All of these actions would create genuine prosperity, which would make us excellent trading partners, and which would in turn drastically reduce people’s reasons to want to see us destroyed. Because, of course, the thing about using might to enforce one’s position is that might fades, and, when it does, the previous ruler is overtaken and defeated. Look at Rome, Mongolia, the British Empire, and countless others, and know, without a doubt, that their people once thought that it would be impossible for their place as the rulers of the world to be challenged. We have the chance–but maybe not the time–to stop ruling with might, and to instead rule with peace, friendship, and liberty. We can lead the world not by bombing everyone and fighting countless indefinite wars, but by being loving and peaceful, and inspiring people to come to our land and enjoy the most freedom to be had anywhere on the planet.

The other, more immoral, way is to pre-emptively attack China before they can overtake us. I fear this is the route that we will ultimately go, probably around 2024 or 2026, when it is painfully obvious that, if nothing is done China will overtake us. I don’t think most Americans will be able to tolerate that, not when so many Libertarian Americans view the world in such American-centric terms that they don’t understand that “popularity in America” isn’t the same as “popularity.”

The United States is part of the world. It isn’t above the rest of the world, it’s not greater than the rest of the world, and it has no right to bully the rest of the world. We need to come down from our high horse now, not when we are knocked from it by competing countries that have overtaken us. The criminal who stops committing his crimes and apologizes before he is caught is forgiven to an infinitely greater extent than the criminal who only stops and apologizes after he is apprehended. And by the standards of almost everyone, the United States’ actions especially of the last 60 years have been indisputably criminal. Bombing hospitals, weddings, and the like…? We cannot hide from this. And one day–very soon–we will be punishable.

The Fall of Democracy

While I’m not particularly a fan of any state, as Winston Churchill rightly observed, “Democracy is the worst form of government–except for all the others.” While I’d nitpick a bit and point out that we don’t (and have never had) a democracy–we have a republic with universal suffrage–I’m going to use the terms interchangeably, incorrect though it is. This is because most people think we have a democracy, and I don’t want to confuse them unnecessarily. Because it doesn’t matter the nuances of what they consider “democracy” as much as it matters that, regardless of their definition, it’s being undermined across the world.

Take this recent passage from (I think) the Guardian:

The Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s president and dismissed its parliament on Friday, hours after the region declared itself an independent nation in Spain’s gravest political crisis since the return of democracy four decades ago.

A country where the government can dismiss elected officials on a whim is hardly a democracy, or even a democratic republic. The people of a given territorial area, if they have a government, are indisputably the ones in control of their government. It doesn’t matter whether a group of people whose lives are not vested in that area don’t much care for how the people in that area direct their government–the people of Barcelona don’t govern the Catalans; the Catalans govern the Catalans. The politicians in Madrid don’t govern Catalonia; the Catalan politicians govern Catalonia.

We should be as appalled and disgusted by the efforts of Madrid to govern Catalonia from a distance as we are when we look back on the imperialism of the British in India, because there is no difference except that the imperialized territory happens to be closer to the central government that denies them the exercise of their right to self-governance. Instead, we’ve found alarming condemnation of the Catalans right to independence from the same people who have generally been the loudest voices of anti-imperialist sentiments: the modern left.

That a people have the right to choose their government, to abolish existing political ties, and to eject foreign powers from their soil is washed away in a tide of addiction to political power. We see this addiction in the United States, as well, with the regular shift of power from Republicans and Democrats that precede a series of power abuses from one side of the aisle to the other. At any time after seizing power, either one could end the cycle of abuses, but they don’t. Democrats abuse Republicans, and are unable to see their actions as abuse, and are so vengeful upon seizing power, after suffering similar abuses by Republicans that Republicans also do not recognize as abuses, that they immediately do everything possible to use the power structure that had done them wrong mere months before, instead of dismantling it.

It’s difficult to explain this behavior. It’s very much like a marriage where the partners beat each order and periodically take turns on who is the abuser and who is the victim. When one has the upper hand as the abuser, it would be a simple matter for them to declare “No more hitting” (a rule that, for the sake of our analogy, would be obeyed). However, rather than taking that obvious measure, the abuser instead uses their momentum to pay back the other for their own abuses.

It would even be fair to say, “These lunatics deserve each other,” were it not for the spillover of their fighting, reminiscent of an Andy Capp-style scuffle that catches up innocent bystanders.

As indictments loom over the anti-Russian hysteria, it’s worth remembering that the charge, as I pointed out last night on The Call to Freedom, is not that Russians influenced the election. The accusation is that Russians influenced voters. The difference is supremely important: as I’ve pointed out before, what factors a particular voter uses when making their decision is no one’s concern but their own. Whether the person votes for Trump because Russians influenced him, because his dog told him to, because Trump had an R next to his name, because he thinks Hillary is “the devil in a pantsuit,” or because of some other reason, it’s nothing to us. That person has the unalienable right to vote based on whatever facts, emotions, and lies they want.

It’s not stated so bluntly, of course. The assertion is always that Russians “influenced the election.” This statement should be challenged any time it is said. It’s a lie and a euphemism. The contention is actually that Russians influenced voters, which caused the voters to vote in a way the speaker doesn’t like for reasons the speaker disapproves of. This should never be allowed to stand uncontested. Even if all allegations are true, the argument is that Russians influenced voters, and voters then influenced the election (by voting).

It’s an insidious way of challenging the legitimacy of the election by discarding whatever votes the person thinks were cast for reasons they don’t like. At the end of the day, the argument is that “If you are influenced by Russians, your vote shouldn’t count.” It shouldn’t be necessary to stop to point out this horrific violation of universal suffrage. It would also be amusing coming from the Democrat Party if it wasn’t so dangerous. I’d venture the statement that I haven’t seen such widespread attempts to undermine democracy, now that it has produced results that one side doesn’t like, in my life. We now effectively have a checklist of Legitimate Reasons You Can Vote For Non-Democrats, and anyone who has spent much time around Democrats knows there is no such thing as a legitimate reason to not vote for them. This is a blind spot Republicans also have, though they decry democrats’ reasons as illegitimate in different ways.

Let’s return to the bizarre continuation of events in Catalonia:

Violence has broken out on the streets of Barcelona as Nazi-saluting fascists draped in Spanish flags clashed with Catalan police wielding batons. Spanish officials organised a unionist march through central Barcelona today in which they claimed more than a million people took part to resoundingly reject Catalonia’s declaration of independence.

More thwarting of democracy, as more than a million people failed to grasp the basic idea that they don’t get to rule over Catalonia with all the subtlety of the British Empire in India. In fact, to demonstrate the horror of this position, let’s swap a few words.

Violence has broken out on the streets of London as Nazi-saluting fascists draped in British flags clashed with Catalan police wielding batons. British officials organised a unionist march through central London today in which they claimed more than a million people took part to resoundingly reject India’s declaration of independence.

There’s no way around that, though if the imagery of Nazis taking the side of the Spanish government to continue this imperialist governance from a distance isn’t clear enough, then it’s unlikely that parallels to the British Empire in India (especially after Catalan officials called for peaceful resistance–like Mohandas himself resisted British imperialism, in fact) will make it clear. The truth, however, is that even though the modern left in the United States has been successful in the public eye at presenting itself opposed to fascism, powerful central governments and state supremacy, even if that means dismissing elected officials (like another Nazi did…), are the key components of fascism. It is a shock to no libertarian that the modern left has found itself on the same side as Nazis, resisting self-governance, thwarting democracy, and attempting to impose colonial rule on who they consider to be subjects.

It’s conjectural on my part to say that the modern left is vehemently anti-independence, at least in regard to Catalonia, though they seemingly don’t mind invoking the sentiment when it’s their own independence and “right to not be ruled by a government with which they disagree,” such as with the Californian secession talk. They were opposed to Brexit, after all, and made the claim that Brexit advocates were motivated by xenophobia and, thus, their votes weren’t as valuable as Remain votes.

That seems to be an underlying thread–that a vote’s value is determined by the reasons for which it was cast. How valueless the vote becomes varies from one person to the next, but I’d venture the guess that most modern leftists would say that your vote should be thrown out if you voted for Trump simply because he’s white. We should never allow the mindset that a vote derives its value not from being cast but from the reasons for which it was cast to propagate, but it appears to be too late–there are already millions who say that Trump’s victory is illegitimate because racists voted for him, and that Catalonia’s independence vote is illegitimate because the other side stupidly opted not to vote, and therefore the votes cast shouldn’t count.

As I pointed out in the linked article, this is yet another method of thwarting democracy, by conscripting the uninterested and apathetic into the ranks of the “No” camp, shifting the focus away from the actual vote results and instead onto voter turnout. With the apathetic added to their numbers, those on the “No” side who refuse to vote (because they don’t want “Yes” to win, remarkably) outnumber the “Yes” votes. In this way, Yes Votes don’t merely have to outnumber the No Votes; they must also outnumber the apathetic, the No Votes, and  the No supporters who hid among the apathetic to mask their actual support level. It raises the bar so high (by automatically adding at least 20% of the population to their side) that it’s nearly impossible for Yes to have legitimacy by those standards. Considering that votes are not often landslides and are most often split around 45-45, it is obvious that adding 20 to one of those makes it almost insurmountable in any realistic terms.

The initially posted quote has the brazen audacity to describe Spain as a democracy in the very same paragraph where it talks of a central government dismissing elected officials. It is well known that Spain intends to send police and officials to replace the elected Catalan government. “Democracy.”

Not for Catalonia, clearly. The absurdity is highlighted by calling India a democracy because the parliament of the British Empire was elected democratically. Imagine the British Empire dismissing Mohandas (or whoever was in charge at the time they began calling for independence) and Indian officials, and then people having the ignorant nerve to refer to India as “a democracy” in those tyrannical conditions.

Independence and secession attempts are never recognized as valid by the ruling powers, or by its flunkies. Even as such people recognize that the American colonies, India, and South Korea had the right to independence, they fiercely rebuke Catalonia’s calls for independence. And as someone reminded me on my last article, the independence attempts of the southern states were also rejected. This led to the War For Southern Independence (then, as now, the reasons for independence were dismissed as racist, disregarding the many other grievances), which the secessionists lost. As a result, it was determined, in flagrant violation of the foundation of the very nation that crushed the independence attempt, that states do not have the right to independence. Despite the bulk of Americans saying today the the south didn’t have the right to independence, and that California doesn’t (and, naturally, there are those who say the south didn’t have the right, but California does), they recognize the legitimacy of India’s independence, and the United States’ independence from the UK.

What scares me most is the possibility that the American left’s attempts to thwart democracy will be successful, that Trump and Pence will be removed, and that they’ll do some kind of tyrannical thing to install a Democrat as president. This isn’t as far-fetched as one might think. It’s happened many times in history, and there’s no reason to believe the United States is immune. Such a turn of events would give political parties the ability to use political power (instead of votes) to remove people in another political party from office, setting up an actual tyranny.

It’s not that I like democracy or Democratic republics. I don’t. However, I certainly prefer them to unilateral despotism by a powerful political party that decides to remove elected officials from office over reasons that are basically fabricated and that, even if true, ultimately boil down to nothing more than “We don’t recognize the validity of your votes because we don’t recognize the legitimacy of your reasons.”

That being the case, I really think the Democratic Party should change their name. Republicans, too, but at least they aren’t quite as extremely unrepublican as Democrats are undemocratic.

Regardless, the question of our era is no different from ages past: “Who do we want to be?”

While we can certainly answer that question by hungrily proclaiming “Tyrants!” and using a democratic majority to seize total and unrelenting control of the political process, to rule barbarically over others, it wouldn’t be advisable, and I would bet my Litecoin that no ordinary reader finds that idea palatable. So why do we see so much of it? Why are people who consider themselves morally superior and righteous so giddily asserting that India has no right to declare independence from the British Empire?

Confusion.

Just behold the very first passage I quoted from a “reputable” news source. There’s no self-awareness at all, and no critical thinking. It is obvious that dismissing elected officials and sending in authorities to reassert control is antithetical to democracy; it is a violation of democracy every bit as much as Hitler’s (who was elected democratically) dismissal of the German Parliament. It is similarly obvious that removing Trump for things that aren’t in any sense an actual problem is the same sort of violation (As I’ve grown fond of asking, even if Trump and Putin meet up once a month to have sex, why is that a problem?).

If the modern left wants to demolish democracy (and the modern right would, too, if it was convenient for them; it’s simply not convenient for them right now), they should be honest about it. Stop calling this tyranny “democracy.” It blatantly isn’t democracy. Discarding the will of the voters, challenging the legitimacy of voters’ reasons, imposing rule from a far, violating the tenet of self-governance, and a McCarthyist witch hunt over Dem Russians! are directly counter to democracy.

As a method of allowing the people of a territory to quantify their will and enact it collectively, the Democratic Republic is the least evil. That is why I defend it. I’d similarly prefer not to be murdered, but if it’s going to happen, I’d prefer it to be a gunshot to the head, not some slow and torturous death. I’d like to have no state at all (and work toward that), but if we’re going to have a state, then it should be the least destructive and least tyrannical. This is the Constitutional Democratic Republic.

And it’s under attack by tyranny and fascism.

Protesting Votes

Of all the stupid things to come from the modern left (as opposed to libertarians, the true left), this recent trend of opposing a vote by protesting it and not voting at all may be the most stupid. Congratulations to Catalonia for its declaration of independence (given the foundation of the United States, if you request international assistance, the U.S. should have your backs). We won’t, because we’re too busy fighting in countries like Niger without any declaration of war while simultaneously starting fights with Syria, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and because, despite living in a country that was literally founded by a declaration of independence, many Americans seem to think that “declaring independence” is a right that no longer exists.

It’s worth reminding people that turnout doesn’t really matter in a democracy and that refusing to vote is like saying, “I know we’re going to drive somewhere one way or another, but I’m not going to express any desire about where we should go.” It’s stupid on its face. If one guy shows up to vote “Yes” and thirty million stay home to protest the vote, do you know who wins?

The one guy.

Because that’s how democracy works. Yes, it’s bad, and yes, it’s stupid, but it’s the system that’s in place, and until that system is dismantled, it’s counterproductive to protest it. Can you imagine in the United States if people protested Trump’s campaign by not voting? It’s pretty obvious what happens then, isn’t it? Only the people who support the Trump campaign vote, resulting in a landslide victory. Just like in Catalonia, where (primarily) only the people who wanted independence voted, which predictably resulted in a landslide victory.

So why do people do it, if it so obviously and directly causes them to lose the vote?

For one, because the modern left has this weird thing where they don’t believe that actions have consequences. I’m not even kidding–just look at their support for price controls (in relation to Hurricane Harvey), in full disregard of the long, failed history of price controls. And their support for socialism, despite its body count in the hundreds of millions and history of economic collapse. The modern left has a somewhat tenuous relationship with reality. And then, of course, there’s this absolutely bizarre inability to notice that “not voting because you’d vote ‘no'” is basically helping “Yes” win.

The actual heart of the matter is, unsurprisingly for the modern left, more insidious and deceitful. While it’s true that they’re generally confused about actions and consequences (and a total lack of awareness of Defensive Voting), there’s a deeper, almost masterful masquerade being played here: it becomes impossible to distinguish the “would-be No votes” from general voter apathy. And they use this to great effect.

Indeed, the primary contention people had against the Catalan referendum was that “the no voters protested it by not voting at all, so the support for it isn’t sure what it appears.” This is almost an open admittance of their attempt to obfuscate their numbers by hiding among the people who didn’t give a shit either way. Regarding Catalonia, 45% of the population voted, with a 90% vote for “Yes.”

Their idea is that a large portion of each country is genuinely apathetic about results, usually between 25% and 40%. If forced to vote, there’s absolutely no way of knowing how these people would vote. They can be claimed for neither side, because their disinterest makes it impossible to, you know, gauge their interest.

However, if a “No” camp refuses to vote, then they’re immediately mixed in with these apathetic voters, inflating and conflating their numbers. Instead of the actual vote results, the turnout itself becomes the measurement of success or failure. The number of “Yes” votes becomes irrelevant, because the number of “non-votes” exceeds the number of votes. The vote becomes illegitimate in their minds because less than 51% voted, so the “majority” doesn’t exist.

This overlooks the obvious fact that only people who actually voted have their votes counted and that people who don’t vote don’t have their votes counted.

The modern left has a desire to undermine democracy–or, to be more precise, the established and hitherto agreed upon rules by which we’re playing the game. Gary Johnson did this, too, by crying about the unfair debate restrictions, despite having no objection to following them until it became clear that he wouldn’t win the privilege of being on the debate stage. It was only then that accusations of unfairness came about.

Hillary Clinton, of course, basically wrote a book crying about the rules, not to mention the widespread attempts to decry the entire election as illegitimate because of magical 1337 Russian HaXorZ. When this failed due to an unfortunate and inconvenient lack of any evidence at all, they shifted to bizarre hopes that the electoral college would discard the actual will of voters and install Hillary anyway. When that failed, they decided to target the voters themselves by alleging that the portion of the population that elected Trump is too stupid to think for themselves and were manipulated by Russians into voting for someone the left didn’t want them to vote for.

The rules of universal suffrage as a method are pretty simple: every adult has one vote, and can use it as they wish. There are essentially three positions on any given Yes/No issue: Yes, No, and Indifferent. Indifferent voters are indifferent and therefore their “votes” aren’t counted–which is fair, because their votes aren’t cast. Not voting isn’t a vote for “No.” It’s a vote for “I don’t particularly care what the result is, and therefore I will do nothing to sway the decision toward one outcome or the other.”

A true Protest Vote can, in fact, be found among the electoral college. The Texan elector who voted for Ron Paul comes to mind. The two in Maine who refused to vote for Hillary also come to mind. A Protest Vote is actually cast. I cast my Protest Vote for John McAfee. Not voting isn’t a Protest Vote; it’s just not voting.

One would expect elected officials to be capable of making this gargantuan step of logic, but it evidently “takes in a field too vast for their narrowness of view and proceeds with mightiness of reason they cannot keep pace with.” In the Democratic method, votes are only counted when they actually exist. Votes are what matter. It doesn’t matter if that takes the form of direct democracy or an electoral college where each state has allotted votes proportional to their population and the direct democracy merely determines how the state uses its allotted votes. Despite this, a reported ten of eighty Catalan officials “protested the vote” by leaving during the session.

This is not a vote for “No.”

It’s an abstinence. It’s abstaining from the vote. Their reason for doing so may be important to them, but it’s not important to the actual vote results. The only way a democracy can find out what people want is by polling them (there’s a reason voting locations are called “polling places”). For all intents and purposes, refusing to vote because you don’t want “Yes” to win, in addition to being counterproductive and silly, is, from the point of view of the democratic system, no different from not voting simply because a person doesn’t care.

So what we really had in Catalonia was some 39.5% of the population voting “Yes” and 59.5% of the population abstaining from the vote. The reason that “No” advocates chose not to vote is that they saw the results of Brexit and the 2016 American election and knew that, if they voted, then their numbers would be clearly known, and if their numbers are clearly known then they can be easily compared to other known numbers. The solution they’ve found, instead of risking losing the election fairly and squarely, is to blend in with the 20-40% of any given population that doesn’t vote at all. If you assume even that 80% of the population wasn’t apathetic, and if you assume that everyone who didn’t vote but… would have?… would have voted “No,” then, at best, we get a tie of 39.5% to 39.5%. And keep in mind that this assumes a relatively low degree of apathy; the turnout of the Spanish general election in 2011 was only 68.9%, and 66.5% in 2016. The turnout for the UK in 2010 was about even with this, at 65.1%. Given that Brexit saw a turnout of 72.2%, which is an increase of 7.1%, we can assume the same turnout increase would have accord in Catalonia, given the importance and divisiveness of the issue.

Even if we assume a turnout increase of 10%, we’re only looking at 76.5% turnout, which is certainly below the threshold needed to overturn the 39.5% Yes vote. We’d need roughly 90% turnout with 90% of those people voting “No,” which certainly wouldn’t be the case.

And none of these assumptions hold water anyway–they’re full of holes. Turnout for the Catalan referendum was not 76.5%; it was 45%. It’s true that the Spanish central government told “No” advocates to not vote, and that should serve as a warning to all future people that “not voting” is not equivalent to “voting no.” In a Democracy, The Vote is supreme. I’m not a particular fan of that, but it’s the rules we’ve agreed to. Until we actually change those rules (by getting rid of the state, preferably), it doesn’t make any sense at all to ignore those rules and pretend like there won’t be any consequences.

There will be.

You’ll lose the vote.

Neo-Cons Didn’t Corrupt Trump

I must confess that I’m pleased to see the general condemnation from Trump supporters of the attack against Syria, motivated primarily by incredulity over the absurd claim that Assad, to better fight a war that he’d nearly won, saw fit to do something that would certainly drag the West into the war and thereby assure his defeat. The whole thing stinks, for several reasons. I suppose first among those is that Assad surrendered all of his chemical weapons to Russia, as overseen by the United States and United Nations. This would mean that any chemical weapons since constructed couldn’t have been made by Assad’s forces, who were being monitored by the UN as part of the agreement that John Kerry accidentally forged with Assad.

It’s also alarming that we, the United States, killed 230 civilians, and no one retaliated against us for the atrocity. We escaped unpunished, and that we murdered 230 civilians is an undisputed fact. Meanwhile, Assad allegedly kills about a hundred civilians, and we hypocritically take it upon ourselves to punish him, thereby handing an endangered city directly over to Isis.

It should be a cause for concern that McCain, Hillary, CNN, NBC, and others who have long demonized Trump are applauding his actions. If McCain gives you the thumbs up, then you’re doing it wrong.

Now Rex Tillerson has openly stated that our goal for Syria is regime change.

I never expected better of Trump, but, for unknown reasons, a lot of people did. We knew that Hillary would put us on this path, and I’ll admit that Trump was a bit of a wild card–based on what he said, I don’t blame the people who fell for his seeming policy of non-interventionism at least in Syria, but he backpedaled, lied, and contradicted himself so much during his campaign that anyone who took anything he said seriously might be a little touched in the head.

Yet here we are, preparing to go down exactly the same road that Hillary would have led us down, although we might have gotten here a few weeks sooner under President Hillary Clinton. It’s hard to say, honestly. Trump hasn’t even been President for three months, and he’s already getting us into a war to topple a Middle Eastern regime. One would expect the tragedy that is the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan would have taught us better, but we seem to have a remarkable inability to admit when we’re wrong. As long as we can’t admit that we screwed up, we can’t learn from the screw-up.

The similarities between Syria and Iraq are too much to ignore, especially given that ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. This is an organization that first appeared in 1999 in Iraq, but was unable to generate any momentum, especially with the world’s most famous terrorist bin Laden being part of Al Queda. A competing terrorist group just wasn’t going to get much coverage, as Boko Haram learned a few years ago, around the time that Al Queda fell. Remember them? They were going to replace Al Queda in the west’s zeitgeist of organized terror perpetrated by the government against its own citizens, but they failed to inspire us to give a shit.

It’s no coincidence that the vacuum of power we created when we deposed Saddam Hussein and then vacated the region allowed Isis to come forward and fight against the western-friendly government we had installed. When rebels began fighting against Assad in Syria, we “humanitarians” that we are took it upon ourselves to arm the rebels and help them, while Russia and Putin attempted to crush the rebellion. It’s probable that if we hadn’t gotten involved–much as we had during the Iran-Contra affair–then Russia wouldn’t have gotten involved.

Anyway, this new vacuum of power allowed ISIL–Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant–to spill over into Syria, at which point its name was changed, although “Levant” was always a reference to eastern portions of Syria, if my memory serves me correctly. I do have a good memory, but it’s honestly hard to keep track of all this shit that we’ve done and caused.

Suddenly that civil war between Assad and governmental forces with Russia’s backing against rebel forces with our backing had a new combatant, which had grown powerful in the chaotic Iraq and seized the confusion in Syria to establish footholds there.

It’s comforting, for what little it is worth, to see Trump supporters criticizing Trump for his actions, and Infowars has finally taken Trump’s dick out of their mouths long enough to criticize the attack against Syria for playing right into Isis’s hands by further destabilizing the region, weakening Assad, and allowing them to take more territory. They rightly point out that it’s absolutely absurd to think that Assad–who publicly surrendered his chemical weapons while the entire world was watching–would have used chemical weapons in a war that he had all but won, considering that he knew the reaction it would have and considering that even Putin, gremlin though he is made out to be, condemns the use of chemical weapons against civilians.

However, these people contend that Trump has been “corrupted” by the Neo-Cons in his cabinet.

The cabinet that Trump himself appointed.

It’s an argument that is truly facepalm worthy. Trump appointed the very Neo-Cons who are now supposedly corrupting him. This means he wanted them to be where they are, and he wanted them to influence him. People he personally selected are advising him. It’s not like he inherited his advisors and cabinet from Obama and George W. Bush. It’s not like the cabinet came with the job, and he was totally unable to remove the CFR members and Goldman-Sachs executives. Quite the opposite–those people left with Obama, and the entire idea of “draining the swamp” was that Trump would refrain from bringing a bunch of CFR globalists, Goldman-Sachs executives, and neo-cons back into power. Yet instead of draining the swamp, Trump brought those people right back in and gave them jobs.

He didn’t get corrupted by them. He brought them in to advise him, and they gave him the advice that he clearly wanted and expected from them when he appointed them. It’s not like he appointed Ron Paul as his Defense Secretary, and Ron was assassinated with Trump receiving a letter that read in letters cut out from newspapers and magazines, “The next will die, too, unless it’s one of Cheney’s friends.”

It’s like if I went out with a bunch of friends to get ecstasy and have a good time, and someone said that those friends “corrupted me” when I was caught buying MDMA. It’s a blatant denial of responsibility. Trump chose those people, knowing who they were and what they represented. They didn’t corrupt him. They did exactly what he knew they would do when he chose them.

Trump wasn’t corrupted by the Neo-Cons in his staff. He wasn’t corrupted by the Deep State. He wasn’t unduly influenced by the CFR globalists in his cabinet. He hand-selected those people. Trump is to blame for this. He picked those advisors and cabinet members. He appointed these people.

So now Trump supporters have this idea of their savior being corrupted against his will and cajoled into taking actions that he doesn’t want to take by evil, corrupting Neo-Cons. It would be funny if this wasn’t what they evidently think. The swamp didn’t corrupt Trump while he was desperately trying to drain it. Trump dived headlong into the swamp the first chance he got, and that was his choice. He’s not the non-interventionist that people think he is, and he’s not the anti-establishment president that people think he is. He fooled such people, and it’s time they admitted that.

Stop making excuses for him. He marketed himself as a quasi-sorta-but-not-really-non-interventionist, although he did say some things that did lean a little bit in that direction, and he marketed himself as an outsider, someone who would fight the system and drain the swamp. Continuing to deny the fact that he lied to you and played you is not going to avoid war with Syria. He’s not being manipulated and [neo]conned by his cabinet. He’s doing exactly what he wants to do, and following the advice of people he appointed to give him exactly the advice they gave him.

One Nod and the World Gets Smaller

I was thinking this morning about how Trump hadn’t even lasted a week before he had blood on his hands–which, of course, isn’t surprising, more is the pity–and it really occurred to me what an extraordinary amount of power American presidents hold, so it’s no wonder they all become mass murdering lunatics.

These are people who can kill someone with only a nod. One nod, and a drone drops a bomb in Yemen, killing the target and probably a few civilians with it. One nod, and the military invades a sovereign nation. One nod, and an enemy combatant is sent to Guantanamo Bay to be tortured and incarcerated without a trial.

I can’t even imagine essentially having the power to point at someone and then watch them die, with no one able to do anything about it. The only people who possibly could do anything about it are overwhelmingly uninterested in the whole affair, even when 230 civilians are murdered, while they have no problem showing interest and devoting attention to the firing of a random waitress from a Cracker Barrel. And even if the American President did have to explain his actions to Congress or the American People, all he has to do is say “ISIS!” and that’s it.

Press a button, enter a launch code, hundreds of thousands die.

Nod, hundreds die.

Give a thumbs up, dozens die.

My world is unaffected.

That’s the most dangerous part of all of this. There is a reason that Trump wouldn’t nod his approval for a drone strike in China or Russia–those nations could fight back. China and Russia could return the “favor” by dropping bombs on American cities. Oh, it would be a bloodbath, and no one would have an easy time of it, but it would certainly happen. Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, and all these others that we’ve attacked, however, are incapable of striking American cities. But if bombs started falling on American cities, we would sue for peace quickly against these nations. The only reason that we’re so uninterested is that we are unaffected.

Even North Korea, perhaps the most advanced of our self-created enemies, doesn’t have the ability to strike American cities. There’s no chance that any of these less-advanced Middle Eastern countries in whose affairs we’ve interfered for decades, often via wars that devastated their economies, could possibly retaliate except through guerilla terrorist tactics.

The invading aliens are too advanced to be destroyed with weapons. The only hope is to infect them with bacteria.

When I’m God, everyone dies.

Considering how much like a religion statism is, and the faith we place in government that it holds the answer to all life’s problems, and given how extraordinarily powerful the American head of state is, the metaphor is more appropriate than one might think.

Of course, all of this was true for Obama, as well–notorious winner of the Nobel Peace Prize who went on to be responsible for more deaths than Fidel Fucking Castro. It applies to every American President going back a very long time. They’re omnipotent, for all intents and purposes, sitting at the very top of humanity’s pyramid. If it truly came to blows, it’s doubtful that China and Russia could combine to take out the United States, after all, and individually neither stands a chance.

The biggest, toughest, strongest man in the prison, and he’s also a black belt.

And the only people he must answer to are only semi-resistant of this atrocity, with only about 7% of them resistant to it regardless of who is making the world smaller. There’s another 15% or so that are resistant to it, but their resistance depends upon who is exerting the power. If a Republican, then Democrats resist. If a Democrat, then Republicans resist. Nearly half the population doesn’t care enough to find out what’s going on.

Meanwhile, the world just keeps getting smaller.

I’m no Constitutionalist, but we do have constraints within the Constitution that would actually prevent the president from having this power to assassinate pretty much anyone he wants: Congress has the authority to create Letters of Marque and Reprisal. These are used in lieu of declarations of war, and are much more limited in scope. A letter of marque against Osama Bin Laden, for example, would have prevented the 16-year-long War in Afghanistan and the 14-year-long War in Iraq. It’s basically Congressional permission for authorized people–privateers, although, in an era of the standing army, it’s not inconceivable that the marque could be carried out by the military–to capture or kill someone, if capture is impossible.

I don’t know about you, but when someone says, “Hey, we could have avoided this war that has lasted sixteen goddamned years,” my interest is usually piqued. This war has lasted more than half of my life. Throughout more than half of my life, we have been fighting in Afghanistan, and the situation doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon. It’s worse now than it’s ever been–truly a victory for statism, since now we must keep the military there in an insane attempt to fix the problems caused by our military fighting there.

Congress really shouldn’t have the power to point at people and say, “Die!” either, like Lord Soth or something, but at least we know how dysfunctional Congress is. The dysfunction is a good thing, because it prevents these power-hungry lunatics from accomplishing anything. It’s more egregious than ever, too, with a reasonably decent Supreme Court Justice having a hard time getting the cloture vote. These people can’t agree on anything. There’s no chance that the Senate could get sixty votes authorizing an invasion of another country, or authorizing a drone strike. It would be considerably easier to authorize a letter of marque, given how much less responsibility that places directly on them, but they’d still have a difficult time accomplishing anything.

And when we’re talking about the power to point at a spot on the map and drop a bomb there, we want there to be lots of roadblocks built into the system, almost so many that it’s impossible to get them actually drop the bomb. Personally, I’d prefer it to be legitimately impossible, but…

Regardless, we should all be able to agree that no one person should have this sort of power. We’re worried about the power that Kim Jong Un unilaterally wields in his own nation, yet the power our president wields absolutely dwarfs that of North Korea’s. Kim Jong Un can point at a North Korean citizen and sentence them to death for whatever reason he wants, and that’s terrible, but the American President can point at anyone and sentence them to death for whatever reason he wants. And the only people to whom he has to justify it are overwhelmingly uninterested in even hearing the justification, because waitresses are getting fired from Cracker Barrel and transgender people are having a hard time finding restrooms.

This is me.

In case you’d like a sound track while you listen:

Anyway, earlier today I discussed with someone the various kinds of programming that people are hit with from the day they’re born–religious, advertising, and so on–and it was a pretty good conversation. At one point in the discussion, I was asked “Why?” and I replied that the state–government–is one of the biggest programming/brainwashing elements out there. It is the most institutionalized, the least questioned and least challenged, the most dominant, and the most powerful. Anyone who spends any significant amount of time introspectively wondering whether their responses to various stimuli have been pre-programmed by external influences will eventually turn their attention to the state.

Honestly, I think I could hear her eyes roll when I mentioned the state.

In the modern west, there are three primary factors that go into our conditioning–and yes, we’ve all been conditioned. I’ve talked about this countless times. Here, I talked about how we’ve been conditioned like Pavlov’s dog to associate nudity with sex. Here I discussed how we’re conditioned to place value–particularly, the value of “important”–in arbitrary things and, more importantly, to identify so strongly with that value that we use it as the basis for other assessments. It’s not a subject that I shy away from.

We’ve been conditioned to think of humans as boys and girls, black and white, and countless other divisive categories that serve no purpose than to separate us from one another and to slice the world up into groups of Us and Them. In this article, I explicitly discussed the fact that labels are useful only for communication–instead of saying to you “I have breasts and curves, long hair, I wear makeup, and I wear women’s clothes, but I have a penis” I simply say “I’m a shemale.” It’s about conveyance and communication, these labels. I even did a video on the subject–one I’m not particularly proud of, honestly–titled “Be an Individual.”

Groupthink is a serious problem, and it has its roots in conformity, which is another subject that I discuss fairly often–often enough that it has its own Category. The desire to conform and fit in binds so many people to be things they don’t want to be, and to do things they don’t want to do, because the act of standing up against the group and saying, “No! I’m going to just do me!” takes a tremendous amount of courage, because the path is riddled with fear. Fear of loneliness that comes with not being part of the group. Fear of rejection that comes when the group brands you as a heretic. Fear of stepping off the conventional path and into the darkness, to let go of the person you were following and begin feeling your own way out of Thesseus’s labyrinth.

Those three things are religion, advertising, and the state.

On the first, religion is certainly doing the least programming these days, and the days of its control of the population are waning. In the past, a person’s worldview and outlook were informed almost entirely from their religious beliefs; today, a person’s religious beliefs are informed almost entirely from their worldview and outlook. There are still plenty–like the people in my family, for example–who take their cues largely from the religious programming pushed onto them by their parents, who themselves had it pushed onto them by their own parents, who themselves had it pushed onto them by their own parents, ad infinitum.

That’s generally how things work. Each generation simply follows in the footsteps of the preceding generation, carrying on its trends, its ideas, and its practices. We look to the past as a guide and an anchor, using it to assure ourselves that we are on the right path, even as one thing after the other goes wrong. Even though that path has led to not one but two World Wars, the slaughter of Native Americans, the Holocaust, neverending wars, the destruction of the planet, widespread hatred, and so many other things, we remain on that path, never questioning whether we should get off it.

Painfully, someone has forgotten who I am. I don’t know how, but that is why I’m writing this–to state it once more, firmly and clearly. Here on Quora, someone asked if the next generation was going to be a Cupcake Generation, and I pointed out the same thing there: the next generation will be pretty much exactly like the preceding ones.

The most common thing is that a generation merely continues along whatever path the preceding generation placed it on, and that looks to be exactly what our generation is going to do—not just for tradition’s sake, but because we appear to actively fear change. We are terrified of everything and everyone, and the only thing that gives us solace is the knowledge that the state is there, protecting us from the bogeymen.

I am an anarchist, and of the mind that we do need to tear down everything. Every single existent human institution, and rebuild from scratch. We will not, however. We will continue traipsing merrily this path of destruction and self-destruction once our parents die and can no longer carry us down it.

The state isn’t merely one cog in the wheel of programming that we’re hit with our entire lives. It’s not some distant thing that can be safely and easily ignored as a factor in human behavior; it is the biggest source of programming that we have in the world today. And if the state isn’t directly controlling our minds through the education system, lies, manipulation, and coercion, then it’s relying on popular entertainment to do it–like with the film The Purge, where very few people questioned the premise. “Of course, there would be a lot of murder if murder wasn’t illegal for one day!” people thought, taking the premise and running with it.

But the premise is wrong, because it isn’t legality that stays people’s hands; it’s morality. We don’t kill each other for the reason that we think it’s morally wrong, not because we don’t want to be punished. Yet that idea is there. No one ever had to explicitly state it. The government didn’t have to write into a textbook that there would be widespread murder and rape if the government didn’t make them illegal, but that idea is in people’s heads, isn’t it? In fact, though, a lot of history and civics textbooks in high school do make the allegation that the government is what keeps these things from existing. In actuality, though, the government is a murderous, thieving rape gang. It is nothing else, and it is nothing more than that. It has simply used its power and the comfort of centuries of tradition to program us to accept it as inevitable and, in more modern times, actually a positive thing.

So, too, are we swimming in a sea of advertisements. I have no idea how an ordinary person manages to use the Internet–I’ve rarely seen anything in such a state of disrepair. My Verizon Galaxy S7 isn’t as flexible as my Sprint S5, so I’ve not been able to tailor the experience as much as I’d like, and the result is that I’m pretty much running stock Chrome as one of my primary web browsers. The experience is horrendous! Even a common news page has five or six ads, sometimes breaking up the text, and sometimes covering up the text. Hell, rare is the website that lets me visit it without prompting me for my email address to sign up for its newsletter. And if it doesn’t fill the screen with an ad that is going to count down for 5 seconds before I can close out of it, then it’s certainly going to shove them into my face while I’m trying to read. This isn’t just a problem on the Internet, though.

The television show M*A*S*H, which incidentally is one of my favorite shows, has episodes that are 25 to 27 minutes long. To accommodate this, channels that run the series today chop out entire scenes to make it fit in the 23 minutes of programming expected of modern shows. Even though you’ve paid money to enter and watch a movie, you will still be served ads. They’ll come over whatever music app you’re using, they’ll come over the radio, and you’ll drive by them on your way to work. They’re everywhere, constantly programming us. Billions and billions of dollars go into researching how best to make you think what they want you to think. It’s not an accident that Starbucks has the reputation it has, or that Apple has the reputation it has. They know how to program us.

Years ago, a bass player in one of my bands told me about a new vehicle he purchased that beeped incessantly any time the car was cranked but the driver’s seatbelt wasn’t fastened. After a few weeks of this, he was in the habit of fastening his seatbelt before even cranking the car. It’s a habit that he continues to this day. He was programmed by his car to fasten his seatbelt. And this sort of thing happens all around us all the time. Even being able to recognize it only minimizes its impact on us; there is a constant battle for our minds, with everyone and everything trying to define things for us, trying to tell us what to assume, and trying to tell us how to act, how to think, how to feel, and how to respond.

The state has convinced us that nations are real, that borders are real, that our enemies are real, that war is necessary, that it is necessary, that it must take money from us, that it must rule us, that it must spy on us, that it must keep secrets, that it must tell us how to leave, and that it must protect us from ourselves. I recently described it as an Imaginary World, like how my father is looking forward to all the good things that are going to result from a Trump presidency. As I said then: “What is he talking about?”

Trump’s presidency is likely to have no effect whatsoever on his life one way or another. Your life is proceeding exactly as it was two years ago, and so is everyone else’s. Nothing has changed, and nothing is going to change. But people like my father–indeed, most Americans–live in this fantasy world, where Trump is either about to make everything better or about to destroy everything. They are fixated firmly on imaginary things. There are some places where this imaginary world created by politicians and rulers overlaps with our real world–like when I was arrested–but those are still rare occurrences. They are less rare as the leviathan state grows, which is why the United States currently has the highest percentage of the population in prison throughout the entire world.

The state, its role, and its power structures remain the same, though. The wars continue. The death continues. The slavery continues. The rape, the kidnapping, the brutality… it all continues, unchecked, because people are fixated on those imaginary worlds where things are either about to improve or about to totally collapse. And it is here that denial and cognitive dissonance take over. No matter how much things don’t change, and no matter how nothing ever changes one way or another, it never gets noticed and pointed out by the average person. The average person isn’t saying “Well, shit, nothing changed when we went form Bush to Obama, did it?”

But it didn’t.

Everything went on exactly as it had been going on, exactly as our parents had done, as our grandparents had done, and as our great grandparents had done. Because we’ve been programmed not to look. We’ve been programmed to not acknowledge the emperor’s nudity, and we’ve been programmed to convince ourselves that the emperor isn’t naked, so whenever anyone dares point out that the Emperor’s schlong is hanging out, we are conditioned to adamantly deny it, saying patently absurd and demonstrably false things like, “No, we withdrew from Iraq in 2011!”

I’ve met far more good Christians than I have bad ones. While I don’t believe in anything supernatural, I also don’t care to challenge anyone who does, because most people aren’t out there using their belief in the supernatural as an excuse to do terrible things. Some people are, like Steven Anderson, but most aren’t. Neither is advertising causing a great deal of suffering in the world, although materialism is–and I’ve spoken frequently against materialism.

By an enormous margin, the one thing doing the most harm in the world is the state, the programmed belief that we need a state, and the conditioned response to anarchism that the state protects us from evil in the world. The state has racked up a body count that the Christian Devil would envy–war-related deaths only, something like 120,000,000,000 people were killed by the state last century, and so far we’re on schedule to surpass that. Bombs are maiming and murdering innocent people because of the state. People are being robbed of their livelihoods by the state. People are being kidnapped and held against their will by the state.

The state is the most evil thing in existence. These groups of psychopathic, barbaric, murderous amoral, thieving rapists have conquered the entire planet and used their control of the world to convince virtually every ling person that we need those psychopathic, barbaric, murderous, amoral, thieving rapists to be in charge, because if they weren’t in charge, then we might end up with psychopathic, barbaric, murderous, amoral, thieving rapists in charge.

People should be free to explore themselves and reality, but that’s not just an esoteric idea, a meaningless platitude for dropping labels and blurring lines between genders or whatever social convention a person might want to break. People should be free not just in thought but in deed, because we are the culmination of our experiences, and we are the actors who create our next experiences. Control of our actions is control of us. Being free to explore the dark labyrinth of the human psyche, as Joseph Campbell observed people have been doing and relaying to us in the form of mythology for thousands of years, is only half the battle. After slaying the minotaur, Thesseus then undertakes the most difficult challenge yet: returning and sharing the revelation.

American Soldiers Aren’t Fighting For Our Freedom

There seems to be a neverending supply of people so caught up in that Fantasy World that they truly believe that the American armed forces are fighting for our freedoms by invading countries that could never pose any sort of threat to our freedoms. There’s a lot to say on this subject, and one of the most important things that has to be pointed out is that, if American soldiers were remotely interested in protecting our freedoms, then they would turn their guns onto Washington, D.C., and then immediately disband after they removed the politicians from office.

I’m not joking, but a lot of people will think I am. A lot of people are probably already typing a comment along the lines of

u be glad idiot that they over their fighting 4 u to write dum shit like this

… or they have already clicked the “X” in the top-right corner.

This is propaganda that has been going on for quite a while. In fact, politicians during the Korean War routinely went on television to remind us that our “brave American soldiers” were fighting for our freedoms. Yes–in Korea. I think everyone today can see that, whatever we were fighting for in Korea, it had absolutely nothing to do with American liberties. Of course, the same spiel was vomited at us during the Vietnam War, too. In each of these cases, many of the people at home swallowed the propaganda completely, but will likely look back now and realize that it was propaganda–bullshit, manipulative propaganda. And though they can apply that in retrospect, they don’t seem to be able to make the connection between that bullshit and the idea that American soldiers today fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and other places… “for our freedom.”

I’ve been called unpatriotic, disloyal, and traitorous. But let’s call it what it really is: just heresy. Just as religions have a long history of tarring and feathering anyone who dared challenge their sacred tenets, so do people today who worship their nation; the only difference is that instead of challenging the notion that the Earth is the center of the universe, we’re challenging the notion that the United States is the center of the universe.

For some bizarre reason, it’s considered disrespectful of the troops to say that they aren’t fighting and dying for our freedoms–even though, you know… they aren’t. The Taliban was never a threat to our freedom. If anything, the Taliban did nothing more than make our very own government a threat to our freedom, with things like the Patriot Act coming in the wake of 9/11 to gut our liberties while our military “fought to protect them.” Liberty and freedom isn’t some imaginary thing that can be fought for in any random place that warmongering sociopaths throw a dart at; they’re real things with real definitions, and real bills passed by real politicians have taken them away. And it is strongly implied that this can’t be true, because, after all, our troops are fighting for our freedom, so how can we be losing our freedom?

During the 2012 Presidential Primaries, the U.S. military overwhelmingly supported Ron Paul*. Ron Paul had so much support among the military that if you added every other presidential candidate together, they would still have less support from the military than Ron Paul had. Yet there was never any shortage of “Support Our Troops” ribbons on the back of people’s vehicles, or Republicans reminding us how important it is to support the troops. It’s just an unhappy coincidence that “supporting our troops” does not mean voting for someone who would bring them home and keep them from dying, nor does it include taking what the troops want into consideration when voting for the President. Instead, “Support Our Troops” means keep electing murderous idiots who will ensure that more of our troops are sent to die in countries that aren’t a threat to us while propaganda perpetuates the absurdity that they are “fighting for our freedom.”

So maybe I don’t support the troops. Maybe I don’t support the military. And I definitely don’t support the military adventures.

But I do support the men and women who were conned by propaganda, coerced by recruiting officers, and beaten by bad economic conditions until enlisting became the only way out. I do support the individuals who are fighting in distant parts of the war for causes that haven’t been explained and to accomplish objectives that have never been clarified. I don’t want them to kill people. I don’t want them to die. It’s not about some geopolitical tug-of-war between two sides and an esoteric ideological conflict.

It’s about real men and women who are shooting real bullets at real men and women, and it’s about real men and women who are being killed by real bullets fired at them by real men and real women.

I don’t want that to happen.

Maybe that makes me a hippie.

I think, though, that it just makes me a decent human being.

The last time the United States was truly under threat by a foreign power was World War 2, and there’s reason to believe that would never have come to pass if the United States had not stepped into the first World War without being under threat by a foreign power. It’s common knowledge that our entrance into World War 1 tipped the scales so strongly in the Allies’ favor that the Central Powers were run over in the Treaty of Versailles, and that American entry into the war would have led to the same general outcome, but without the scales being so heavily skewed. It’s also well-known that the economic strain and forced fracturing of Germany led to the surge of nationalist pride that produced Hitler. Without Nazi Germany, it would primarily have been fascist Italy and Spain with Japan against the rest of the world; the bulk of the military power in World War 2 on the Axis side lie in Germany, and without them the war wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long. And whether or not Japan or Nazi Germany ever truly posed a threat to us is another question entirely–those gigantic oceans on either side of us are important strategic buffers.

Today, American soldiers might be about to “fight for our freedom” in the South China Sea against the Chinese military that has had the audacity to expand into the South China Sea and build a series of islands and military bases there. It’s actually reminiscent of World War 2 and Japan’s attempts to take Midway, Indonesia, and the Philippines. While they do have a large ocean to their east that would ostensibly protect them from American attack, we have something that we call “projection power,” which basically means that we can point to a location on a map and ensure that it’s leveled by nightfall and occupied by our soldiers by sunrise. The ocean may be a buffer of protection for us, but it hasn’t done a whole lot to slow or halt our expansion.

Imagine if we decided to build a series of islands off of Hawaii and California to host military bases, and China was threatening us with military action for having the audacity to do it. We would be livid! “Who in the hell do they think they are? We will not be threatened! We will not be told what we can and can’t do in our territory!”

If we’re going to stack “Chinese Expansion” against “American Expansion,” then I have to be totally honest with you…

The only one that is a threat to me is the American Expansion. Just in the last sixteen years, we’ve “expanded” so much that Edward Snowden’s leaks from the NSA merely proved what libertarians have been saying all along: our privacy is dead. There’s a very real threat in conservative states that protest is about to become illegal, except it won’t be “protest” as much as it will be “any protest that causes any disruption whatsoever.” Because they can’t outlaw protest. Even a conservative state isn’t dumb enough to try to get away with that. But remember how they wrote a thirty thousand page document assuring us that The Patriot Act is totally not a violation of our Fourth Amendment right? Remember how they wrote a gigantic document explaining that requiring us to buy drivers’ licenses is totally not selling us the liberty that our ancestors actually fought for? Be prepared for one of those about how outlawing disruptive protest is totally not a violation of the First Amendment. And, just as with all these other examples, people will sleep easier, content in the knowledge that the government has promised them that it all totally checks out.

Don’t fret, precious, I’m here…
Step away from the window
Go back to sleep
Lay your head down, child–I won’t let the boogeyman come
Count the bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums
Pay no mind to the rabble, pay no mind to the rabble
Keep your head down, go to sleep to the rhythm of the war drums

The government isn’t our friend, or our ally. The government is lying to us, and has been for a very long time. In fact, one of my favorite new jokes is saying that my favorite part of the Trump presidency is how people no longer call me a paranoid lunatic for telling them that the government is lying to them. But it is. It is an entity of manipulation and deceit.

Everything the state says is a lie, and everything it has, it has stolen.

* Sorry for the inadequate wording. I’m referring to donations from active military personnel to presidential campaigns, the only real metric we had to gauge their support.

 

Cum Trumpsters–i.e., Libertarians For Trump

It’s a subject I’ve avoided for the most part, but one that I can’t take any longer. I know a fair number of self-described libertarians, and even a few self-described anarchists, who boarded the Trump Train, and so I felt it best to just look the other way. Many of these people are friends, after all.

But these same people still support Trump, and I’ve got to call them out on it.

First, let’s talk about the VALs (Voluntaryists, Anarchists, and Libertarians, self-professed and actual) who routinely criticized Hillary as a passive attempt to help Trump, instead of just doing it because the bitch clearly wanted to start World War 3. They didn’t want Hillary to lose; they wanted Trump to win. I wanted both to lose. I wanted everyone to lose, in fact. No one on the ballot should have been on it.

If you attacked Hillary hoping to hurt her so that Trump would win, then you’re not just “not a libertarian.” You’re also underhanded and untrustworthy. We can’t just distrust the things you say; we must also distrust your motives for saying it.

I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you. I’m biased as hell. Everything I wrote during the election was aimed at making Hillary lose and McAfee win. I avoided Trump most of the time, because so many other people were attacking him, and instead focused my Trump articles on primarily addressing hysteria–hysteria that remains more of a problem than ever. In the grand scheme of things, Hillary was probably worse, seeing as she repeatedly threatened military action against Russia, but that doesn’t make Trump any better. He’s still a buffoon.

As to the people who fell for Trump’s speeches about draining the swamp, and who have now realized that it was all bullshit, welcome back. I hope you learn from the experience what I learned from Obama in 2008: no one in the main two parties can be trusted to do anything they say. I don’t know why anyone who was an adult in 2008 didn’t know this, but it happens, I guess.

Now the biggest group: the ones who are still with Trump.

Fuck all of you.

You’re not librarians or minarchists, and you’re damn sure not anarchists. Trump is clearly just another politician. If you supported Trump because you wanted to throw a bomb at Washington, I get it. I don’t approve of your choice in bomb, but I understand your sentiment.

But Trump wasn’t a bomb, was he? No, he was just wearing a Bomb Mask.

Pictured: Trump campaigning.

Now that he’s removed the mask, nothing but doublethink and cognitive dissonance can keep those people supporting him. He’s not a bomb. He’s not challenging the status quo. He’s just another politician, and one with a scary understanding of the military’s purpose and an America-centric way of viewing the world.

I was willing to give you guys the benefit of the doubt and let you say that you fell for his con. But you’re still falling for it, even though it’s apparent that he’s nothing but a modern Lincoln. You know. Lincoln. That President that libertarians despise because he cemented the federal government’s hold on the states, suspended the Bill of Rights, and killed more than half a million Americans. Policy-wise, he and Trump are identical. “The Union first” morphed into “America first.” The only thing that remains to be seen is how far Trump is willing to go.

But if by some chance [note: it would require more explanation than I’m willing to get into right now, but my position on California’s secession has changed–I now support it] California secedes, then we’ll see first-hand how similar they are.

And I’ve no doubt that you Cum Trumpsters would continue cheerleading for him as he invaded California. Why not? You guys don’t have the credibility to simply claim you’d be against such an invasion; your credibility lies burned by the bombs that killed the 8 year old girl.

You are every bit as bad as hypocritical conservatives. You know, the people who claim to want small government, unless it’s something they want to do, in which case big government is okay. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Your biggest issue is immigration. Even though the federal government has no authority over immigration (something that you knew until Trump announced his campaign), and certainly no rational or moral justification to affect it, you’re now totally okay with the federal government dictating over all fifty states and even cities in the name of your pet issue.

Just like a conservative.

Just like a liberal.

And, just like the conservatives, you completely lack the self-awareness to realize how hypocritical you are. If the federal government wanted to allow abortion in all fifty states, you’re all “RAWR! STATES’ RIGHTS!”

But if the federal government wants to force California to use Texas’s immigration policy, you don’t see the problem, the tyranny, or the hypocrisy. Because it’s YOUR pet issue.

Conservatives blew it, as I knew they would. It’s true that I hoped they wouldn’t, but I knew they would.

They had the chance to put their money where their mouths have been, to not force conservative positions onto liberal states. And instead of beginning to build bridges by allowing liberals to continue being liberal in liberal states, they jumped right to forcing conservativism onto everyone, particularly in regard to immigration, though there are other areas.

And you’re doing the same shit. “Oh, I’m a libertarian! I don’t think the government should be telling anyone what they can do! … Unless the government is going to tell them to do what I want them to do, in which case, yeah, I’m okay with that.”

“Libertarians.”

No.

You only want liberty when you get your way. If people who disagree with you want to get their way, then you suddenly stop being libertarians.

That’s conservatives’ shtick. Get that shit out of here.

Oh, and transgenderism? There is no fucking better indicator of a Cum Trumpster than vehemence toward transgender people. It’s not ubiquitous or exclusive, but it is certainly one of the best indicators. If someone professes to be a VAL but insults transgender people, particularly by calling us mentally ill, then I’ll gladly take the bet that they’re a Cum Trumpster.

You want to talk about mentally ill? Let’s talk about the Cum Trumpsters who think that the number of brown people in the country affects their lives in any way, and who think that how brown people enter the country makes even the smallest difference.

For fuck’s sake, these “Libertarians” are for the wall. The wall! The motherfucking, goddamn wall. I’m not sure that anything can get more statist than “We need the government to put a fence around our country!”

As Ron Paul pointed out repeatedly, walls don’t just keep people out. They also keep people in. Under no fucking circumstances should the government be building walls that could one day trap us in a la East Berlin. But no, these “Libertarians” are for it! They’re for what is probably the crowning symbol of statism: border walls.

Many of these same “Libertarians” want states or the federal government to legislate that a person can only use the restroom associated with their birth certificate. Even though, you know, they clearly don’t trust birth certificates, which is why their champion Trump carried the “Obama is a Kenyan” shit for so long. Though they don’t trust Obama’s to honestly report his place of birth, they’ll trust yours to report your birth sex.

Seems legit.

They’re particularly fond of saying that liberalism is a mental illness. So is conservatism, and I just don’t see a difference any longer between them and conservatives.

And they are conservatives, clearly–they want to conserve the 1950s Leave it to Beaver way of life that never actually existed anyway. They think their way of life is somehow under threat. It wasn’t long ago that I read an article by one Cum Trumpster saying that multi-culturalism was bad. What? Coexisting alongside other cultures is bad?

No, idiots. It’s only bad if incoming cultures refuse to allow and accommodate other cultures. It’s not even about assimilation; it doesn’t matter if people assimilate. It only matters if they conquer other cultures.

And while I know they don’t understand the difference and truly believe that Muslims are trying to conquer their culture, that’s because they are lunatics who think that a transgender person demanding the state not force its gender definitions onto her is the same as her forcing her definitions onto everyone.

And I do hate to say it, but that’s certainly a side effect of privilege: thinking that not being allowed to force your way onto people is the same as them forcing their way onto you. I mean, for centuries those people had the power and ran all over everyone. Then the democrats formed their equality coalition and pushed back. Of course, then that coalition became addicted to the power and went way too far, moving the goalposts from equality to elevation of minorities. I even agree that democrats have done that.

But the solution is egalitarianism and no one forcing things onto anyone. The solution is not reverting back to the way things were and forcing conservatism onto liberals. Just like Democrats, you “Libertarians” have moved the goalposts from liberty and egalitarianism.

So kindly fuck off and stop calling yourselves libertarians, voluntaryists, minarchists, and anarchists. You’re not. You’re conservatives who want small government when Democrats want to force their way onto you, and want large government when you can force your way onto them.

Some of you criticized Johnson for not being a libertarian, too. Are you kidding me? If you’re going to criticize Johnson for not being libertarian enough while supporting Trump, then you’re an idiot and you’ve dug the principled high ground right out from under your own feet.

I criticized Gary Johnson repeatedly as the libertarian candidate. The difference is that I did so because of principles. The Cum Trumpsters appear to have simply used that as an excuse to back a terrible candidate. And yes, Trump was a terrible candidate, and he’s proving a terrible President. I don’t know why anyone expected anything else. My sister recently said, “I like that Trump is doing what he promised to do.”

Like what? Bombing little kids? It’s true, he did promise to go after families. I have a hard time accepting that anyone, regardless of what they call themselves, is okay with that, but fair enough–he did promise to do that, and he is doing it.

That doesn’t make him a good President. It makes him a murderer. A monster. A depraved, disgusting wretch of a human being with calloused disrespect for life.

Tariffs are bullshit, too. They do have some place in world trade, but their only conceivable non-destructive use would be implementing them on a plan to phase them out from the start, easing a nation into an economic change instead of taking it all at once. That’s not good by any means, and consumers ultimately pay the cost, but it’s the only non-destructive role they could play. They’d still be damaging, but not destructive.

Economics is a pretty big part of libertarianism. I know very few VALs who are economically ignorant. So the Cum Trumpsters should *know* that tariffs on China should be put in place only if the plan is to abolish the Minimum Wage, and even then should start on a system to phase them out over several years. Ditto for Mexican tariffs. And this is because we KNOW that taxes are paid by consumers.

That sales tax you pay at Wal-Mart? That’s not a tax on you buying the item. It’s a tax on Wal-Mart for selling the item. But because Wal-Mart doesn’t want to eat the cost, they pass it onto you. That’s how taxes work. Consumers are always screwed by them and by tariffs. I’ll grant that it’s conceivable tariffs could be used to soften economic blows. I wouldn’t like it, and I think it would extend the damage, but I’m not going to argue the point. But just imposing tariffs and taxes?

A libertarian should know better.

I arrived on-site at a client’s and had to get started working. I intend to add more to this.

So Ellison Lost the DNC Chair Race

As I hoped, Ellison, who represented the “progressives,” has lost the race for the DNC Chair to Perez, who represents a more mainstream faction of Democrats. I’m certainly not a Democrat, and so all I was comfortable doing was watching it unfold from the sidelines, but I have to admit that I’m pleased with Perez’s victory. However, it has not had the effect that I hoped it would have.

Progressives–and I’m going to continue calling them “progressives,” though there isn’t anything progressive about them–have a wildly overblown ego and understanding of their own importance and political popularity. This really kicked off and became out of control around Occupy Wall Street, when they convinced themselves that they “represented the 99%,” a point that South Park hilariously dug into by having reporters ask protestors, “Technically, I’m part of the 99%… So what do I think about this situation?”

It’s a real problem.

There are countless Facebook pages and groups professing to be the One True Voice of the majority. There’s “The 99%.” There’s “The Other 98%”. Jill Stein repeatedly stated throughout her campaign that she represented the 99%, even though, no, objectively speaking she represented the inverse of that; she represented about 1% of the people. The actual numbers, though, don’t seem to matter.

I mean… What do you even say?

To a certain extent, it’s only worth it to roll one’s eyes at the almost constant proclamations from progressives that they represent this huge supermajority of people, despite all evidence to the contrary, but there is a bigger problem–they seem to actually believe that they are speaking for a huge, unspoken, mysterious supermajority, and, generally, anyone who states otherwise needs to shut up and surrender their voice to the progressives who represent this alleged supermajority. This incongruity between reality and their imagined self-importance has caused them no end of trouble, and I think it’s going to get worse.

So allow me to be the one to inform you candidly, progressives…

You don’t represent “most people.” You don’t represent 99% of people, 98% of people, 51% of people, or even 49% of people. Based on the numbers, at absolute best, giving you the benefit of the doubt in major ways, we can estimate that you represent about 4% of people. You are not a supermajority; you are not even a majority. You’re a stupefyingly loud minority with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and if you truly believe that you represent anything that is even remotely close to a majority of Earthlings, Americans, young people, or any other division of things or people, then you are hopelessly out of touch with reality.

Progressives went into the Democratic Primaries firmly believing themselves to represent, if not 99% of everyone, then at least 51% of people. As such, they literally could not even when Sanders lost the nomination per the written rules of the Democratic Party to Hillary Clinton. While I’ve lambasted Hillary as much as any progressive and while I firmly agree that the DNC conspired with Hillary to win the nomination, it doesn’t matter, because they didn’t actually do anything against the rules. No one expects the DNC Chair or the RNC Chair to be completely neutral, and progressives don’t expect that, either. Their ire is a result of the fact that Debbie was not a Sanders supporter, not that she wasn’t neutral.

They immediately did what progressives have been doing since the primaries started: bitching, complaining, shouting, and rioting. It was Sanders supporters–progressives–who caused the riot in the Nevada Democratic Primary, and Nevada was not the only state that this happened in. While they did not riot at the Democratic National Convention, they were so boisterous and loud at having lost that Sarah Silverman famously told them they were being ridiculous. And they were, but how could we expect anything else? After all, they firmly believe that they represent 99% of people, or at least 51% of people, so any democratic result must have their side winning–that is their understanding. If the vote doesn’t go their way and they represent 99%, 98%, or 51% of people, then clearly the election was stolen from them. That’s their logic, and that’s how they understand these events.

Their hostility and anger stems from that severe misunderstanding–the fact that they’ve fallen for the bullshit political rhetoric that they’ve been telling themselves year after year. In their echo chambers, all around Buzzfeed and Facebook and Twitter, they’ve been telling each other over and over that they represent 99% of people. Like one progressive who said after Trump’s election victory, “When the top trending tags on Twitter are #AmeriKKKa and #NotMyPresident, that should tell you that this isn’t what America wants.”

Right. The top trending tags on this platform that isn’t limited to just Americans and that doesn’t contain anything even close to all Americans–primarily because Twitter has a notable bias toward banning right-wingers, thereby denying them the voice that might have prevented #NotMyPresident from trending in the first place… are how we should gauge the American pulse. Not by having some day where literally every American adult citizen can firmly and unequivocally state their preference. No, as Sargon of Akkad joked, “What’s Trending on Twitter” is clearly how a government should determine its rulers.

But the point is that they do think that–because Twitter is an echo chamber. And so is Tumblr. The numbers are actually in here, and it’s a proven fact that liberals are far more likely to block people over political views, with over 44% of self-identified liberals stating that they had unfriended or blocked someone over political differences. We have a word for this, when a person or group consistently refuse to associate with people who disagree with them: it’s called an “echo chamber.” And though we can’t extrapolate too much from the studies, if nearly half of self-identified liberals are isolating themselves from people who disagree and demonstrably hold institutional power in places like Twitter, where tweets like this are determined to not be violations of the policy:

… then, obviously, yes. Yes, they’re going to become wildly out of touch. And if, on top of that, they repeatedly tell each other all about how they represent a majority or supermajority of all people, after they have already ensured they won’t even hear the voices of people who disagree with them, then what on Earth could possibly be the result, if not exactly what we see today?

They’re now threatening to revolt because Elliot lost.

So after Sanders lost the nomination, some progressives defected to the Green Party and bolstered Jill Stein’s numbers to the 1% that she ultimately received, while others refused to vote and still others bit their tongues and voted for The Devil in a Pantsuit. The widespread assumption, of course, is that Sanders would have beaten Trump. This, naturally, ignores the fact that Trump didn’t have very good turnout, either, because a fair number of Republicans–among them George H. W. Bush–actively preferred Hillary over Trump. If Hillary had not been the Democratic nominee, then those Republicans who didn’t vote or who voted for Hillary would have had more invested in the outcome. And as much as George H. W. Bush, Mitt Romney, and all the others disliked Trump, believe me when I tell you that they hate Socialism a whole lot more.

So if we assume–which we certainly can–that Stein’s boost came from jaded Sanders supporters who refused to vote for Hillary, and we reduce her numbers back to 0.3%, then we add less than 0.6% of voters to Sanders’ side, while we probably take at least that many Republicans away from Hillary and restore them to the Republican nominee. This sort of speculation is worthless, my own included, especially since the demographics and Electoral College system complicate matters, but my point is just to say that, mathematically, there is no reason to believe that Sanders would have beaten Trump. As many liberals stayed home because they refused to vote for Hillary, just as many Republicans stayed home because they refused to vote for Trump. If you instead offer up a candidate who represents literally the opposite of everything they profess to stand for, then I’m not sure they’d have complacently sat at home.

Take, for example, my uncle and aunt, who considered Sanders such a threat to their way of life that they voted in the Mississippi Democratic Primary, despite being registered Republicans. Or they attempted to. Thankfully, Mississippi requires party registration, so they weren’t allowed to commit such a travesty of voter fraud by interfering in another party’s election. I realize progressives don’t understand that people like that exist–and I realize that I’m preaching to the choir because progressives have long since stopped reading this–but they do, and in shockingly large numbers. Contrary to their proclamations of representing majorities and supermajorities, the reality is that Americans absolutely hate communism–it’s why we fought the Cold War. Well…

Anyway.

And to the average American voter, there isn’t a difference between Communism and Socialism. To them, it’s two ways of saying the same thing: “Fuck you, fuck your liberty, fuck your rights. Do as we say, or we’ll shoot you or throw you in the Gulag.”

And when progressives are out there inflicting violence on people for not agreeing with them, and threatening to revolt because the Democratic Party didn’t “do as [they said],” we can’t really blame the average American for thinking that. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Then chances are… it’s a duck.

At literally every vote that has been held, progressives have lost. They lost the Sanders nomination, they lost the 2016 election, and then they lost the DNC Chair. Yet this delusion of theirs that they represent a majority of people persists, and that is the heart that must be attacked.

You don’t. The numbers suggest that progressives represent, at best, 4% of the American population. This is so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be said. The best we have right now is that roughly half the population even cares enough to vote. Only half of those are Democrats, so we’ve immediately reduced the progressives’ “supermajority” to no greater than 25%. And since evidence suggests that they are far more motivated and likely to pursue political matters than the average Democrat–as the saying goes, the unhappy minority screams the most, or something like that–losses in the nomination and DNC Chair mean that progressives can’t represent more than 12% of the population. Giving you guys a third of that 12% is being extremely generous, because you guys are animated, loud as hell, and extremely disruptive.

Most people are surprised to learn that the average Democrat accepts Trump’s victory. Most people are surprised to learn that the average Democrat didn’t care much one way or another between Trump and Hillary. There’s a reason that Primary turnouts–not to even get started on historical turnouts to vote for a party chair–are so much lower than turnout in the general election: people just don’t care that much. Perhaps because they recognize that the overall impact the state has on their day-to-day life is negligible, and that changing presidents is going to result in fuck all changing. Regardless, it’s certainly the case that the loud, “woke af” progressives are surely going to appear disproportionately to their actual numbers. And this disparity is so great that they believe themselves to be “the 99%” when they actually represent about 2%.

My Advice to Progressives

First, look at the actual numbers to determine what portion of the American population you actually represent. Strictly speaking, you don’t represent any portion of the American population. When a person speaks, the only person they are truly representing is themselves. But let’s put that aside and just say that you represent all people who share your ideology. It won’t be anywhere near 99%, 98%, or 51%. In fact, it will be closer to 1%.

Secondly, stop blocking people who disagree with you. This week, I had a progressive block me on Facebook. When you block people who disagree with you, you insulate yourself against disagreement and completely become disoriented about the popularity of your views in the world. You’re rather like certain anime fans who have been living and breathing their favorite anime for so long that they have completely lost touch with the fact that their show isn’t popular; they insist that it is, because familiarity is generally how we gauge popularity. If you block people who disagree with you, then you’ll obviously end up believing that very few people disagree with you, and you’ll only become more familiar with people who do agree with you, until you’re finally so convinced of your own popularity that you state you are the 99%.

Thirdly, accept that you live in a world with other people, and not all of them agree with you. Moreover, they believe they are right just as strongly as you believe that you are right. And even more over, you aren’t objectively correct. They are just as objectively correct as you are, because neither of you–indeed, no one–is objectively correct. You’re arguing your subjective opinions against their subjective opinions, and I know you feel really, really, really hard that you’re truly correct. But you’re not. You just think you are. And so do the people who disagree with you.