Tag Archive | hysteria

Bad Apples & Peer Pressure

Americans continue to underestimate peer pressure, but I’m not sure that there is a manipulation force in the west that is more powerful than that of peer pressure. In fact, the dangers of peer pressure are ones that I constantly watch out for; as I’ve said countless times, it will only take one drunken idiot jokingly saying, “We should teach that fag a lesson” for it to grow out of control. We all know how it will play out next: his friends will agree, and the next thing you know they’re on their way to my house with chains and bats, and the first drunken idiot’s reservations about it are kept quiet.

I think it was in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that Dumbledore remarked that standing up to one’s friends is among the most difficult things that a person can do, and this remains true today. Yet I’m seeing a lot of condemnation for the cops who stood around and did little, or nothing, to stop the arresting asshole from being an arresting asshole.

Absolutely, yes–that was wrong of those officers. But let’s not pretend like most of us would have done otherwise in that position. The overwhelming majority of us would have stood around silently, keeping our reservations quiet. The top-right officer, who you can see in the video putting his hand on the asshole and attempting to calm him, is the only one who did something to try to calm the situation, and I daresay that it was far more than what 99% of people would do.

We all like to think we’re immune to peer pressure. But we’re not. Because he says it infinitely better than I can, take a few minutes to watch this short video on conformity by therapist and psychologist TheraminTrees:

This is an observed phenomenon that affects the majority of people.

It’s easy to stand there and condemn the cops for doing nothing. Yet how many of us have stood and watched a fight play out, and one person be kicked in the head while they lie on the ground? You know what you see when you watch the video of the nurse being arrested, and everyone else standing around and watching?

Notice all the people standing around, watching, as “a few bad apples” engage in being bad apples. Those “good apples” in Antifa–they’re doing nothing to put a stop to this, to calm the situation, to de-escalate it. I’m not ripping on Antifa; the exact same thing is seen in the cop video, or in any video of a mob targeting a single person. The horrific murder of Kelly Thomas certainly applies. You’re watching animals–bloodthirsty predatory animals–who smell blood circle around and pounce on their target.

I remember being in high school, my ninth grade year, when a friend of ours wanted to put together “a gang.” I don’t remember what he called it, but it wasn’t “gang,” though it had the same effect. Naturally, we all agreed, and the rule was anyone who wanted out had to fight the guy who put it together. None of us took it seriously, of course. Then one guy said he wanted out. They fought in the locker room of the Fieldhouse. These two large dudes shoved each other through lockers while everyone else watched. No one moved to stop it. No one went to get the coaches. No one jumped in, because these two behemoths would have crushed most people purely by accident. But there were more than enough of us to rally together and break up the fight.

And none of us did.

On September 11, 2001, a number of planes were hijacked by a relatively small number of people. The passengers, despite being numerous enough to overwhelm the hijackers, consistently did nothing, in at least three out of four of the alleged hijackings*. Because it’s not just a simple matter of “Hey, everyone, we can take these guys! We can put a stop to this.” Anyone who thinks it’s that simple has never been in such a situation.

The reality is that, even if “everyone else” joins in, that first person who acts is as good as dead. Even if five other people would have jumped in and overpowered the hijacker and his box-cutter (or whatever), the first person who jumped for the hijacker was still dead. Of course, in the grand scheme, they were all dead, weren’t they? Surely we have to wonder why, once it became clear that they were all going to die, they did not take over the plane? It was not cowardice; they were not cowards. No, it’s too easy to call them cowards, but that doesn’t carry water. If you tell an animal they’re about to die, they’ll not passively submit.

The answer is more insidious and more dangerous: peer pressure.

Further, we have to ask ourselves what would have happened if one of the cops had moved forward to put a stop to it? Even though it’s pretty clear from the video that most of the cops present had quiet reservations (anyone familiar with body language can see this), only the one guy did anything about it. What if he had done more? He’d have been fired, or at the least reprimanded for questioning another officer’s authority during an arrest. You know how a mother occasionally says to the father, “How dare you challenge me in front of the kids?” or how the father says that to the mother? It’s the same thing here.

Good apples and bad apples is too simplistic of a view. It’s not that simple. There are good apples (yes, coming from me), and you can often see their reservations about how things are developing. It’s easy to criticize them for not stepping forward and putting a stop to the bad apples’ bullshit, but this criticism drastically underestimates the power of peer pressure–the same power that caused the Salem Witch Trials, the anti-clown hysteria of last year, the anti-Russian hysteria, the current Neo-Nazi hysteria. The same power that causes peaceful Antifa protestors to stand around and do nothing as their comrades pile on single individuals and beat them.

We can’t address this quickly or easily. We have to go to the source, and the source is peer pressure. It takes far more forms than the simple “Ah, you know you want to smoke this marijuana” indicated by afterschool specials. Watch the video I linked to get a more complete picture of what, exactly, peer pressure can do–what that innate desire to conform to others can do. It’s powerful.

And it’s the problem.

* Don’t get me started.

The Drumhead

Anyone who has seen the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “The Drumhead” will probably have a pretty good idea of where I’m going with this. In the episode, a klingon happens to be a spy, and is caught–however, an accident that occurred at around the same time went unexplained, and, worried about saboteurs and collaborators, Starfleet began an investigation into the crew of the Enterprise.

What began as a seemingly justifiable investigation devolved almost immediately into a witch hunt, or, as Picard put it, a “Drumhead Trial”–a mock trial put on by a military tribunal where punishment was swift and decisive. It’s a well-known episode, and generally considered among that series best’s. It’s a pity that we learned nothing from its rather anvilicious lessons.

Consider this excerpt from someone at Fox News who was writing in defense of Trump:

That doesn’t mean that, say, Michael Flynn, who just invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying on the Hill, doesn’t have problems related to past payments from the Russians.

Er… No, Howard Kurtz, that’s not right. The way this is phrased creates the default idea that Flynn has those problems, and that his invocation of the fifth is evidence of that–otherwise, why even link these two things?

In the episode I mentioned, a young man is revealed to have lied about his heritage, having claimed to be half-Vulcan when he was actually half-Romulan, and the Romulans were essentially Star Trek’s Russians. During his publicly open interrogation, with dozens and dozens of people watching eagerly, he was asked about his true lineage, and he invoked the fifth (or, actually, Starfleet’s version of the fifth).

Immediately, the whispering and gasps rang out. Rumor swirled, and he was instantly assumed to be guilty.

Kangaroo done hung the juror with the innocent.

We would all do well to watch this tense episode once more, but allowing it to hit closer to home. You’ll see in the inquisitor none other than Democratic leadership, relentlessly pursuing every possible lead in their quixotic quest to find a collaborator or saboteur. In those nightmarish circumstances, where even Picard is ultimately brought in for questioning, even pleading the fifth becomes evidence of a person’s guilt.

The moral of the story is that we’re never more than one accident away from a witch hunt. We saw it last year when the clown sightings began–fully hysterical reactions from people over clowns who had done nothing to anyone and may very well not have existed in the first place. It’s entirely possible that there was never even a single clown, much less several, but that didn’t stop panic and hysteria from sweeping the nation: schools were locked down, clown masks were pulled from store shelves, and police investigations were launched.

Of course, we can look to an actual witch hunt if we’d like to depress ourselves, since 40,000 people were killed in puritan America for being witches–and, the reasoned mind of today understands that none of them were witches. The accusation alone branded one guilty, and often the trials involved horrific things like “Drown her. If she’s innocent, God will save her.”

Eyeballs deep in muddy water, fucking hypocrite.

I’m honestly not scared of much. I’ve had someone put a gun in my face and tell me to drop to my knees and beg for my life, whereupon I defiantly replied, “You’re gonna have to kill me, because I’m not doing that.” I’ve been left beaten and bloody in at least three parking lots. I’ve had picking up hitch hikers backfire on me in spectacular ways. But none of that scares me.

Hysteria, however… Hysteria terrifies me.

How long did McCarthy and Hoover’s reigns of terror last? There has even been talk of recognition the House of Un-American Activities. My death–who cares? It would likely be painful, but after that, over, so it’s really not something to be scared of. However, a witch hunt can go so very far beyond that–into tortured confessions, corrupt interrogators, presumed guilt rather than presumed innocence…

We played with the fire after the Orlando Shooting, as well, when people asked how this person who had been investigated three times by the FBI had been able to acquire guns. It is simply assumed, in their worldview, that a person is guilty if the FBI investigates them. Never mind that this could easily be part of the anti-Muslim witch hunt. “He was investigated three times? Then he’s guilty. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire! Besides, look what he did!”

Yes, but the fact that “what he did” was something he “hadn’t yet done” at the time he was being investigated is of critical importance. You can’t apply current knowledge about him to decisions people made about him in the past. And we damn sure can’t assume people are guilty just because we have an out-of-control investigatory agency that is perfectly poised to begin and instigate witch hunts.

I don’t know or care whether Flynn did whatever it is that he’s being presumed guilty of doing, and I don’t care if Trump played a role in it. Even if they do manage to demonstrate guilt (as opposed to assuming it), they still have to demonstrate why the whole thing is of any consequence at all.

Now people are talking impeachment. There’s no doubt: impeachment was on people’s minds on Election Day, as soon as the results came in. If the idea of having a hardcore religious nutjob as President sounds appealing, then, by all means, proceed with impeachment. People seem to think that we can make a Democrat president if we impeach Trump, or that we can spark an emergency election. Neither of these things will or can happen.

Kangaroo be stoned, he’s guilty as the government.

If Trump is impeached and remove from office, then Mike Pence becomes President. And any impeachment proceeding would look far more like a Drumhead Trial than anything that resembles a fair court. And, really, I think such an act could very easily spark a civil war, given that Trump has been in office barely four months and hasn’t done anything out of line with what previous presidents did. Removing the president that people chose before that president has even had the chance, in his supporters’ eyes, to do what they wanted him to do… I hope Democrats are ready for the fallout from that, because it won’t be the sunshine and daisies they seem to expect.

We have a problem, though, and the problem is fear. We are terrifyingly prone to panic, and that should be what scares us, not whatever bogeyman we’re panicking about at the given moment. Panic and hysteria shredded much of the Bill of Rights already. What is next in our witch hunt?

Rantings & Ravings Reboot Ep 01

As I explained in the intro, now that the iron appears to be having an effect and my anemia is lessening, I plan to be more active–it also helps that I’ve just forced myself to proceed anyway, of course–and that means a return to podcasting. I’ve been planning to reboot Rantings & Ravings for a while, and this is episode 1: “Ryancare & Russians.”

Note: I’m certainly not doing anymore podcasts in this voice. I sound so angry. This is actually due to the fact that I edited out most of the pauses; you can tell from some of the less edited podcasts that, when recording, I tend to talk about like Obama, with a pause following every 3 or 4 words. That fits with the inflections better, but removing the silences makes it sound… like a continuous raving rant. That’s actually not intentional.

In this episode, we discuss the GOP’s attempts to modify the Affordable Care Act, and the effects we can expect that to have. Spoiler: it will really piss off the GOP’s voter base. They already have trust issues so severe that they rejected the establishment and elected Donald Trump. With him betraying them, as I predicted in this video:

… and with Paul Ryan–who already drew their ire by siding against Trump–working to further undermine their implicit desires, the 2018 midterm elections will be The Reckoning for Republicans. It will be a bloodbath that pours Democrats into office, a trend that will continue with a sure Democrat victory for the White House in 2020.

The Stupid Comment of the Week is quite possibly the most stupid thing that anyone has ever said to me, no joke. It’s seriously that stupid. The Anarchist Shemale will not be held responsible for drivers whose heads explode when they hear the stupidity and thereby have an accident. It is advised to not listen to this segment while driving.

Furthermore, Trump, Russians, and hysteria are discussed, since that’s always in the news, and we consider the implications of the Clown Sightings that people seem to have forgotten about, as well as what it might mean that the FBI isn’t looking into it. Schools were actually locked down because of alleged clown sightings, but the FBI hasn’t bothered to check it out? There’s something certainly odd about that, and the parallels between clowns and Russians are too much to ignore, so we speculate the possibility that–seriously–the entire clown sightings thing was a Psy-Ops campaign by intelligence agencies to study the effects and spread of hysteria.

We also discuss the absolutely absurd assertion that the Russians are competent enough to “hack the election” of the world’s foremost superpower and the most technologically advanced nation in human history, but are simultaneously too incompetent to click four things to change their Date & Time and keyboard settings.

Finally, there is an overview of Reductive Reasoning and how it applies to the boy/girl dichotomy, the nature of definitions, and abortion. Each week in this segment, I’ll be picking an issue and applying Reductive Reasoning to it. This week wasn’t meant to dive fully into gender or abortion, but sought to use them as examples to explain the concept.

Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the reboot. 😀

Brothers and Sisters, We Don’t Have To Put Up With This Shit

Don’t get me wrong. I know the media doesn’t care about my trust. They’ve successfully polarized the nation into liberals and conservatives, and the result is that it doesn’t matter what a news outlet reports. Liberals will accuse conservative outlets of bias and untruthful reporting, and conservatives will accuse liberal outlets of bias and untruthful reporting. Each and every issue gets carved into two halves, and what the average American believes is far more dependent on their political views than anything that might resemble truth. Naturally, this leads to shocking amounts of hysteria and hypocrisy. One day, you have the left criticizing Wikileaks and leaks in general while the right praises them; the next, the right criticizes Wikileaks and leaks in general while the left praises them. One day, conservatives cheer for the committee investigating Hillary while liberals condemn it; the next, liberals cheer for the committee investigating Trump’s alleged Russian ties while conservatives condemn it.

While I do enjoy pointing out the glaring hypocrisy, I know that it does no good, because it requires self-awareness to identify one’s own hypocrisy, and if they had any self-awareness at all we wouldn’t be in this mess.

But we are in this mess, and the media has played the biggest role in making it this way.

I think it’s time for a public admission from liberal news elements like The Guardian, CNN, Huffington Post, and all the others that they knowingly terrorized the population to support their political agenda. Have we forgotten the post election headlines? The constant fear and doom mongering? The headlines telling us that we needed to be afraid, that Trump’s tweets made him the next Hitler. “The Republic repeals itself!” and articles from resident lunatic Jessica Valenti about how she’s going to tell her daughter that we elected a racist, misogynist bully. The non-stop spiel from people saying “I’m disabled–imagine what Trump is going to do to me!” The people stating publicly that it was just a matter of time before conversion centers were on every corner, and LGBTQ people were being rounded up and electrocuted?

This shit happened.

I mean, the stuff that those lunatics raved about most certainly did not happen. But the lunatics did scream about it. Bloody hell, you’d have thought that we just elected LITERALLY Hitler to the presidency from the news headlines making the rounds. “You’re not dead, and you’re not in hell. You’re awake. You’re alive. This is your life now,” stated Rachel Maddow, with all pretense of fairness long discarded. And hers is among the less egregious of the horrific things the media peddled about how we were all about to die. “How Donald Trump Will Wreck the World Economy” ran other headlines. It was disgusting.

And there has been no apology. No indication that they feel any remorse whatsoever for this blatant terrorism, this lying, this manipulation, and this deceit.

We’re not weeping in the streets while Trump and his rightwing death squads round up and kill all the LGBTQ people, while they put disabled people in the ovens and cook them alive, and while Muslims are sent to concentration camps. Nothing has changed. Your life is the same as it was a year ago; my life is the same as it was a year ago. Even Trump’s travel bans aren’t new; Obama did it several times. Nothing Trump has done is any different at all from anything Obama did or that Bush Jr. did. All in all, things are proceeding right along exactly as they have always been.

Just contrast it to the world we were warned about four months ago! Fuck, you’d come away from the headlines expecting the KKK Grand Dragon or whatever to be the next Supreme Court Justice. You’d think that slavery was about to return, that forced registration of LGBTQ people was just around the corner, and that we omg we’re all about to die. I heard from people who were literally cowering in their homes in fear.

And it was the media–it was 100% the media that created, stoked, exaggerated, and heightened that fear.

They terrorized huge chunks of the American population just months ago, and they did the same shit over Brexit. “The sky is going to fall!” they shouted. “The economy will collapse! Muslims will be rounded up and killed! Xenophobes will rule the nation! We’ll be sold into slavery! We’re all going to die!”

And, again, none of that fucking shit happened.

Here we are proceeding along normally, doing nothing about the months of terrorism that was just inflicted on us by institutions that are supposed to at least pretend to be unbiased and fair. No, man. Fuck that. Fuck this. We don’t have to put up with this shit. Hold these fuckers accountable for what they did. That’s not okay. That’s not acceptable. You can’t terrorize people into supporting your political agenda.

That’s not okay.

I don’t actually care whether the people who spread this terrorism actually believed the lunacy pouring out of their mouths. Maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t. Maybe they knew that there was no chance at all that LGBTQ people would be forced into conversion therapy centers. Maybe they knew that men weren’t going to be able to run through the streets grabbing random women by the pussy. Maybe they knew that disabled people weren’t going to be euthanized. Maybe they believed this insanity, and maybe they didn’t. It doesn’t matter.

Because it’s reckless, irresponsible, and downright dangerous. Anyone who has ever encountered any wild animal can tell you that the most dangerous animal is the one that has been backed into a corner. And that’s precisely what the media attempted to do: convince everyone that we had been backed into a corner and that death squads were on the way. Now that none of their psychotic prophecies have come to pass, and there is no indication that anything at all is going to change, it is well past time to hold them accountable for it, make them apologize, and make them rue the goddamned day they thought that they could get away with terrorizing us.

We don’t have to put up with this shit, and we shouldn’t put up with it.

Stand up and scream at them, “No! I am a human being, and you will not push me around!”

How Would Americans Handle President Fuhrer?

I recently talked about how libertarians and anarchists need to draw a line in the sand with our government, and make it clear that, if that line is crossed, it will be tantamount to a declaration of war by the government against the people, and will be treated as such. Don’t get me wrong–I think that needs to happen, and I think it’s ultimately necessary for the government to be firmly reminded that we are armed and will not tolerate much more bullshit, but I also know that it won’t happen.

Calling upon the Libertarian Party to draw this line is a waste of bandwidth and the time it takes to type the sentence. This is not Sarwark’s fault, of course, or Austin Petersen’s or Gary Johnson’s; it is the party’s fault generally because, as I alluded to in the previous discussion, concerns about electability and what is a “good” political move will forever prevent the Libertarian Party from probably ever being anything like its older, principled self.

But it isn’t just the Libertarian Party that wouldn’t dare make such a statement publicly. In fact, very few people would be willing to. The reason has to do with psychology, the innate desire for acceptance, the horror that we may be seen as overreacting, and peer pressure to conform and behave as others behave. Can I back up this claim? Goodness, yes.

We recoil when we see in the news that a bunch of neighbors watched as a woman was gang raped and murdered in broad daylight, with none of them intervening and none of them even calling the police, and we tell ourselves, “Goodness, no! I would have intervened! I would have at least called the police!” And this is true–if there is no one else around. Strangely, as the number of people around the scene increases, the chances of someone intervening or even calling the police drop. It’s very peculiar, but it’s a known fact.

This experiment consisted of people being placed in a room to wait for an interview while they filled out paperwork. Smoke began to roll from the bottom of the interviewer’s office door. The results showed that, when people were alone, they were far more likely to treat the situation like it was a potential emergency. On the other hand, when the person was not alone, they were far more likely to ignore the smoke and pretend like they didn’t notice it–even as they began coughing from it. It’s called the Bystander Effect, and it’s a serious problem.

It will be the reason that almost no one does anything about President Fuhrer, whoever that president happens to be.

Even in my article, I stated at least twice that I was not making the allegation that this was about to happen or that there was any reason to panic; the same psychological tendencies exist in me, too, of course. I don’t want to sound like I’m in foaming-at-the-mouth hysterics over President Trump when there really isn’t that much to be worried about. It’s a shame that modern liberals lack this restraint, but with all their friends pushed into overreaction by the media, we all became outcasts for not overreacting to President Trump.

Just as I was insulted–heavily insulted–simply because I did not overreact to the clown sightings of 2016. It became acceptable to be hysterical, to make Facebook posts about how one would “totally shoot a clown on sight” and how a clown “better hope I don’t see one, I’ll break a bat on a motherfucker’s face!” Hysteria became the norm, and thus it wasn’t considered hysterical. Closing down schools, posts from people about how they would gladly shoot someone just for dressing up like a clown… These became acceptable, while trying to convince people they were exhibiting the same behavior that led to the Salem Witch Trials went against the grain and became unacceptable. Instead of everyone fearing to be seen in hysterics, people feared to be seen reacting calmly and proportionally.

Overreaction became the acceptable level of reaction.

In effect, measured, proportional reaction became under-reaction.

This happened again when Trump won the November election. Holy hell, people went crazy, and I can think of at least a dozen people who should be too damned embarrassed to even show their faces in public, yet instead of having any shame they’re still carrying the hysterical insanity torch proudly. That’s a hell of a thing to say, considering that my previous article said that we needed to be ready to fight an American dictator with guns and not words, but the difference is context; the difference is reaction, overreaction, or anticipation.

Shortly after the election, I had an extensive discussion with a woman who claimed to be Hispanic–though she had the whitest goddamned name I’ve ever heard, short of Wendy McFinnigan–and who claimed to be huddling in her house in fear with her children, crying and terrified. One of my clients, a doctor, closed her practice and returned to India, though she claimed it had nothing to do with the election, she sold off her equipment days after Trump’s victory, and was in such a hurry that she refused to wait and let me wipe the drives. Yes, that’s correct. She sold computers with tons of patients’ medical data on them; clearly, she has no intention of ever returning to the United States, because that’s illegal in more ways than I can count, and I can count to at least seven.

There are three large, politically active groups in the United States: conservatives, liberals, and libertarians. All of these are subdivided into various groups that range in loudness, pettiness, stupidity, petulance, childishness, horror of policy, and activism. Conservatives consist of the Tea Party, the alt-right, liberty-leaning conservatives. Liberals consist of Greens, communists, socialists, mainstream democrats. Libertarians consist of libertarians, classical liberals, minarchists, anarchists. There are other groups, of course, and more divisions within the three large groups, but none of that is really that important.

The important part is that the left overreacts to everything, which makes them pretty much The Party That Cries Wolf. They scream about racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny, and every manner of -phobia so often that when one of these descriptive labels actually applies to an action, it’s met with the eye rolling and groaning that accompany the mundane and familiar. “Oh, Democrats are screaming about some sexist thing… again…”

Plus, their manner of doing things is to simply make a lot of noise. They’re good at getting the media’s attention, but they’ve routinely shown that they don’t have a clue what to do once they have that attention. Black Lives Matter is my “go to” example, but it’s hardly unique to that movement; virtually everything that liberals protest and demonstrate for or against gets a lot of attention but does nothing, changes nothing, and accomplishes nothing. It’s ultimately just noise. This doesn’t mean that I agree or disagree with the sentiments they’re expressing; I do not approve, however, of how they [don’t] achieve their goals. Like the Republicans now that they totally control the government, liberals in general are like the dog that finally caught the car–now that they have it, they don’t know what to do with it. “Alright! We shut down a major interstate that stretches from California to North Carolina! The country’s eyes are on us! … … … So what do we do?”

Meanwhile, Trump and the alt-right have made huge strides in getting conservatives to accept and go along with some truly horrible policies. People cheered when Trump said he would bring back torture, when he said that he’d go after terrorists’ families, and when he said that he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the country. Four years ago, a Republican saying that would have quickly found his political career in shambles.

This means that the two biggest chunks of the politically active American population won’t do anything to fight against President Fuhrer. The liberals won’t, either because President Fuhrer is a liberal–President Obama showed us just how much liberals will turn a blind eye to, and their zeal to inflict violence upon people who disagree with them knows almost no bounds–or because they simply don’t know how. They’ll be the group out protesting while the U.S. military rounds up Muslims. And, surprisingly, they’ll be ignored, I think, because clamping down on protest would only exacerbate the problem and possibly motivate people to further action. As long as they’re simply protesting, they’re only making noise and accomplishing nothing, so I believe President Fuhrer would largely ignore them. People who aren’t already liberals will certainly ignore them, because liberals are always protesting and demonstrating–generating noise–and we’ve already started to filter it out.

There are two paths I see us going down in the future, and it really depends on the timing. There is a strong chance that President Fuhrer will be a conservative, in which case conservatives won’t resist. However, there is also a strong chance that liberals will vote in a terrible choice in 2020, who proceeds to gut the Tenth Amendment and force liberal legislation onto conservative states, particularly regarding abortion and LGBTQ issues, which is more likely than anything to send the conservative states into secession again. People who advocate #CalExit today would, of course, be opposed to this, because “If Mississippi leaves, then we can’t force Mississippi to put LGBTQ people on a pedestal! No, they can’t leave, because they only reason they want to leave is to oppress people!”

I’m sure we all know how the rest will play out.

This really only leaves the Libertarians, but they’re generally so concerned about how the public perceives the Libertarian Party that the absolute last thing they would ever, ever do is appear to be overreacting. The Libertarian Party is lately motivated by only one single concern: mainstream acceptance. The psychological tendencies that create the Bystander Effect virtually control the Libertarian Party, such that it would probably be the last group to actually take up arms against a tyrannical government. Only once most people were doing it and it was socially acceptable would the Libertarian Party do it, because they’re terrified of doing anything that will make them appear kooky or extreme.

It’s simply sad, but true, that the Democratic Party is more likely to tell Trump, “If you begin construction of this wall or impose a national registry of Muslims–or any other group–then we will take it as a declaration of war against the American People!” than the Libertarian Party is. If the Democratic Party did do that, then I’m sure the Libertarian Party would immediately leap to its feet and cry, “Us, too! Us, too! Yeah! A declaration of war!”

But regardless of political affiliations, it won’t much matter how President Fuhrer and his/her actions sit with people. They won’t do anything, because they don’t want bystanders to think they’re overreacting. And by the time it reached the point where it obviously wouldn’t be overreacting, because President Fuhrer had already declared martial law and started rounding people up, it would be too damned late to do anything about it.

So I guess we need to hope that President Fuhrer never rises, because the American People won’t do anything about it until it’s way too late.

 

The Age of Hysteria: Clowns, Russians, Assange, and Americans

What do clowns and Russians have in common?

That Americans are swept up in hysterical fear of them without a damned bit of evidence to support the paranoia and without any good reason why anyone should be afraid.

be-afraid

One could say I’ve spent the last month studying and considering hysteria, how it develops, how it spreads, and how it rules the mind of those who are swept up in it. I’ve postulated an explanation for the ubiquity of this hysteria, although I’m not entirely convinced that the hysteria needs an explanation–perhaps we have always been on the edge of insanity. The Salem Witch Trials would certainly suggest so. Speculating that our increasing inability to see the world in anything but the terms of Either/Or has given us the notion that the side who agrees with us is, at the least tolerable, while the side who disagrees with us is “literally Hitler” and “literally the Devil,” it’s been my hope that I might figure out why we are going to wake up in January saying either “President Trump” or “President Hillary,” two people who, by all rights, should be grinding their teeth angrily because they are trapped in a position where their job is fetching coffee for the president and his aides.

Yet all of that became meaningless as I read through an article at The Guardian about Julian Assange, and then made the mistake of reading the comments. Now, you may remember that I am no fan of Julian Assange these days, primarily because I think “whatever he once was” has become lost in his personality and his placement of himself as the gatekeeper of seemingly-critical information. Assange made this horrible bed for himself–not by releasing classified information, though… By doing the opposite, in fact–and I have very little sympathy that he must now lie in it.

Anyway, all of that is neither here nor there; I just wanted to give an understanding of my position on Assange before we proceed. I don’t want to talk about Wikileaks. In fact, I want to talk about hysteria.

wikileaks1As myself and so many others pointed out, this whole mess with blaming the Russians was started by the Democrats, clearly as a way of distracting from the contents of the leaks. I wrote that article on September 27, saying:

Hackers have pulled back the curtain and have shown us the man standing there, maneuvering levers and talking into a microphone, and the great, green glowing head is shouting at us, “Ignore that man behind the curtain! The dog is out to get you! That damned dog! That dog hates you and wants to see you destroyed!”

And now, only three weeks later, the allegation has memetically made its way throughout the United States, and we now have a liberal army of people convinced that the Russians are out to get them, because Hillary told them so, and then Obama told them so. It is irrelevant that the Democrats merely pointed at the Russians and shouted, “They did it!” and have never presented a shred of evidence that Russians are responsible–in fact, I lean toward the hypothesis that Sanders supporters are responsible, and that the leaks actually come from within the Democrat Party. But that’s speculation, too. However, my speculation is at least as likely to be true as Hillary’s. Moreover, since I have no skin in the game, I am a much more trustworthy source.

Dawkins would be proud.

Soren_Arkwright accurately summarizes the bullshit being fed:

wikileaks2Many months ago, I wrote an article about how the 2016 election is a case-study on the devolution of democracy, and I think that’s something worth revisiting now, so here it is.

It’s a matter of some interest to me that Hillary supporters accuse me of supporting Trump, while Trump supporters accuse me of supporting Hillary. I assure you, I despise them both, probably equal, though I hate them for entirely different reasons. That makes it hard to compare the two. Hillary is much worse for the rest of the world, while Trump is much worse for us here at home. Do you want to take the beating so that children in Syria don’t have to? It’s not an easy question to answer, but that’s ultimately what the Hillary/Trump choice boils down to, and I want nothing to do with either of them.

I’m not pro-Trump or pro-Hillary.

I’m anti-sensationalism and anti-hysteria. Naturally, this means that I spend more time defending Trump and attacking liberals than I do attacking Trump and defending liberals. I mean, Republicans aren’t out there starting riots and then demanding to know who was the last presidential candidate since Hillary to incite riots. However, Democrats have done that. Republicans aren’t out there behaving like Nazis burning down the Reichstag Building* by attacking Democrat offices, yet democrats–and you know before I proceed that it’s fucking millennial Sanders supporters** doing it–absolutely are out there “firebombing” Republican offices. And, as I said on Quora, if someone says something or advocates a policy that you don’t like, and you respond with honest-to-fuck violence, then your opponent is not the Nazi.

You are.

And now anti-Russian hysteria is not just coming from the top, as it has been for a while. In fact, Hillary has been beating the Drums of War while staring at Russia since she secured the nomination, and the situation in Syria is shaping up like a classic catalyst to lead to a larger war. We are now fighting a proxy war against Russia in Syria. We all understand this, right? Syria is a three-way conflict between Assad and the Russians, the U.S. and rebels, and Isis.

Of course, Isis only has a foothold there because we backed the rebels and gave them weapons, which destabilized the country and loosened Assad’s grip on power. This created a vacuum that Isis happily swept in from Iraq–where a similar power vacuum had given then prominence–to fill in the gap. I mean, we pretty much created this mess when we started arming the rebels. There’s a reason Putin accuses us of supporting Isis.

Oh, I know. Americans aren’t interested in having Putin tell us about the tremendously fucked up things that our government is getting up to. We were beating the drums of war with Syria long before Isis was there, though. Do you remember that? A lot of things happen here in the United States, and we’re constantly fed bullshit; it can be really hard to remember that this or that happened. But think back to the rise of the rebels in Syria, and the allegation that Assad had used chemical weapons.

Seems like it was forever ago, doesn’t it? That is by design.

It was one of the few places Orwell got it totally wrong. The government doesn’t necessarily have to straight up lie to us and rely on our doublethink for us to say “We’ve always been at war with Eurasia.” They don’t have to, because we are fed so much shit on a daily basis that even someone with a powerful memory for these types of details is left going, “Wait… I don’t remember the details, but… Didn’t… That’s not right…?”

Remember when the United States clearly wanted to attack Russia? Obama drew his “line in the sand” or whatever, and Hillary was loud in her vocalization in support of attacking Assad. Then Kerry gaffed and gave Assad an out, completely by accident. Do you remember the sentiment? The United States was angry with Kerry for paving the way to avoid war. There was a lot of talk that Kerry’s offer wasn’t enforceable, and that it didn’t matter what he said; we didn’t have to keep his promise. It was insane to watch, but it was entirely clear: the United States wanted war with Assad.

And now Isis is there.

This happened somewhere else, too. It happened in Iraq. DAESH has existed since 1999 in Iraq. However, they were a nothing group without any significance. Until 2003. “Some time in 2003”–I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess when that “some time” was–Isis began recruiting and militarizing. We invaded, toppled Saddam Hussein, left a weak, broken government behind, and then left. While I’m for the leaving, I’m against the vacuum we created there in the first place.

And now Isis is there.

Indeed, if you look on a map of military invasions throughout the Middle East, you’ll find there is a perfect correlation between a country being invaded and later becoming a hotspot for “terrorism.”

We also now have Russia in Syria, presumably having drawn their own line in the sand. Far be it from me to guess what anyone is thinking, but I don’t think Russia is going to let us topple Assad the way we did the Taliban and Saddam Hussein. And Gadhafi. And about three dozen others, possibly through covert operations.

I’ve no love for Russia and Putin, but a realistic look at the situation shows that Russia is a force of stabilization in Syria, while the United States is a force of destabilization. Why in the hell are we even viewing Russia as an enemy?

The Democrats’ anti-Russia propaganda has perpetuated itself among the stupid and gullible, though.

wikileaks3So in the past month, we watched an unknown but small number of clowns appear throughout the country innocuously, making no threats and violating no laws. Now, Target has pulled clown masks from its shelves. Municipalities have launched actual police investigations. Teens have been arrested for going on social media and “pretending to be clowns” making threats against people. People have wildly asserted that the clowns have been seen trying to lure children into the wounds–an allegation that has been widely debunked. Schools have gone into lockdowns.

I am proud to say that I was among the first to identify the hysteria. No, really. I was. In fact, I may have been the very first American to call the clown reaction “hysteria.” Now, it’s increasingly accepted that we are dealing with hysteria. My speculation that it was viral marketing for the upcoming remake of It remains on 100% solid ground, with not one piece of evidence refuting it, and the hysteria has mostly died down now. In short, I was right, and I am very much proud that I was able to see through the hysteria and call it the bullshit that it was.

It’s a curious thing, and now we see it happening with Russians. Simply replace “clowns” with “Russians,” and you have exactly the same phenomenon. “The clowns are dangerous and hostile!” becomes “The Russians are dangerous and hostile!” There is no evidence to support either claim, of course. “The clowns are out to hurt us!” becomes “The Russians are out to hurt us!” There is no evidence to support either claim, of course.

We, as a people, are terrifyingly prone to bouts of hysteria. Did we learn nothing from the clown shit that just happened?

wiiileaks4This isn’t at all plausible, Tijger. Hillary explicitly joked about using a drone to kill Assange. While it was a joke–presumably–you’re engaging in some wicked doublethink to believe she doesn’t give a rats ass about him.

Anyway.

I’m not advocating anything, really, and I’m not speaking out against anyone. I’m just calling for everyone to calm the fuck down. Look, if we could just calm down and get our emotions under control for three weeks, we might be able to get something productive done. But as long as everyone is just at the edge of hysteria–some of them leaping gleefully over it–then we’re never going to be reasonable. That’s what we need right now: to be reasonable, to calm down, and to stop being hysterical.

* A conspiracy theory, but one with better than “likely” odds of being true.

** Strictly speaking, no more certain than the speculation that Russians are behind the Democrats’ hacks, to be fair. However, Sanders supporters have been pulling shit like this in the open for six months.

Can Everyone Just Calm Down?

I’ve talkedquite a lotabout how Americans are increasingly drawn to the extreme ends of the spectrum, to the extent that I am convinced we Americans have begun to genuinely think in hyperbole.

When someone says, “I don’t think welfare benefits the poor,” we have come to expect a response something along the lines of:

Oh? So you just want to let the poor starve?

That libertarians are so often accused of “wanting poor people to starve” is, if nothing else, a shocking example of how pervasive this extremism has really become. It happens to anarchists, as well. “I don’t think the state does anything to benefit society.” Of course, then the response comes:

Oh? So you’re okay with being ruled by rape gangs?

It’s a mark of how sensationalized, hysterical, and extreme we have become that these two innocuous statements are met with such hostility; those making these replies appear to be legitimately unable to fathom that “the state” and “rule by rape gangs” (one might say that this is not just a false dichotomy but also a false choice, as “the state” and “rule by rape gangs” are exactly the same thing, but now is not the time for that…) are not the only possibilities.

A few weeks ago, frustrated with how Jill Stein was attacking Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, I commented one of her posts asking why she was becoming a shill, why she was wasting her energy targeting another third party candidate, when it served no one except the two dominating parties for the third parties to begin chiseling away at each other. I observed that she was acting like the youngest child petulantly attacking the middle child because the oldest child wouldn’t let her play with the toys. Thankfully, Jill Stein ceased her attacks on Gary Johnson.

Anyway, Rusty–we’ll call him “Rusty” because he’s a Steiner, and no one reading this will get that reference, and wouldn’t get it even if it wasn’t so tenuous–commented my comment to basically shriek, in all caps half the time, that it was stupid to expect Jill Stein of the Green Party to support Gary Johnson, when their policies, as I’d pointed out, were diametrically opposed.

On the surface, he had a good point. Why did I expect Stein to support Johnson?

Because I didn’t.

I asked Stein to stop attacking Gary Johnson. “Not attacking Johnson” and “supporting Johnson” aren’t even remotely the same thing. If I could not respect a candidate without supporting them, then my presence on Jill Stein’s page–which came about specifically because I respect her; I just disagree with her… on everything…–would have been impossible. Until Stein attacked Gary Johnson, I never attacked Stein, and I immediately stopped as soon as she stopped. I’m not attacking Stein now. I still don’t support her, because her platform is the anti-thesis of everything I stand for.

The idea that Jill Stein could just not say anything about Gary Johnson was something that Rusty couldn’t comprehend. In his extremist, ends-of-the-spectrum World of Either/Or, Jill Stein must attack Gary Johnson, because otherwise she supports Gary Johnson.

It’s easy to see how this came about, since we live in a society where the false dichotomy has thoroughly conquered the political landscape, and everything starts there and stems from it. If I post something negative about Trump, people take me as a Hillary supporter. If I post something negative about Hillary, people take me as a Trump supporter. My Quora page demonstrates this clearly.

I support neither one of those toxic devils, and it is my fondest wish that they both withdraw from the race. Trump is no better than Hillary, and Hillary is no better than Trump. They are both just absolutely awful, but for completely different reasons. It’s as close to a real-life example of “Pick your poison” as I’ve ever seen, and I am not going to do it. I will not eat a bowl of shit simply because the other bowl is diarrhea. I will leave the table.

But I doubt that the two party system is really the source of the problem; I suspect it’s a reflection of something that lies underneath, within the average human’s mind, and stems more from psychology than manipulation. This election just makes it more apparent. I know very few Trump supporters. Indeed, most of the Republican Party seems to be saying something along the lines of, “We don’t like Trump, but we really hate Hillary.”

Democrats point that out, too. I’ve seen Democrats suggest that the RNC was little more than a “We Hate Hillary” party. Fine. I’ll gladly grant that. However, they’re delusional if they think that the DNC was anything but a “We Hate Trump” party. The average liberal spends far more time trashing Trump than they do supporting Hillary.

It’s distressing how many people consider Hillary to be the apex of progressivism, though. That’s a scary amount of cognitive dissonance.

More than ever, we’re not voting to put someone in. We’re voting to keep someone else out. And all the while we bemoan the state of the nation and ask how it came to this. I don’t know why anyone should be surprised it came to this, or confused on how this came to be. It’s quite obvious. A country full of sensationalized masses who only think in the ends of the spectrum will obviously view their political enemy as “LITERALLY” Hitler and “literally” the devil. So it doesn’t matter how bad their candidate is–their candidate is opposed to “literally” Hitler and “literally” the devil, so their candidate is automatically preferable.

They’re too terrified of “literally” Hitler and “literally” the devil to even dream of voting third party, and they will absolutely hate you for doing it. Why?

I’m not sure why. It’s an ongoing examination.

I’ve noticed it elsewhere, too. You wouldn’t believe how hostile people have been because I tried reasoning with them over this clown shit and tried to point out to them that they’re being hysterical–textbook definitions of “hysterical” at that. Ad hominen is their bread and butter; they immediately launch into it, seizing anything and everything they can. One woman did this by attacking my grammar, though, if she’d actually bothered to read anything that I wrote, she’d have noticed that my grammar is borderline impeccable, and things like “but” being used to start sentences are intentional departures from formality. Another decided to inform me that she could see the feather’s end in my hair, and that it was tacky.

Basically, I was met by weak and petulant personal attacks, exactly as I was when I first joined Youtube with my video targeting the Liberal Redneck and criticizing him for assuming that this white family was racist simply because they were white. The response was so vicious that I ultimately pulled the video down, and it is what first clued me into the false dichotomy that the average American appears to be trapped in. The podcast I linked above is from that period, and the preceding and succeeding podcasts dive into the same issue.

It was clear. They hated Christians, so any attack on Christians was fair game, no matter what the attack was, regardless of how unfounded it was, and without respect to its applicability. That I, a transgender atheist, dared defend the Christian from an utterly baseless attack presented them with a cognitive dissonance too great for them to face. They saw me, and so they saw someone who refused to jump on their hateful bandwagon pulled by a horse named fear.

And they hated me for that.

I received more hate from those liberals calling themselves progressive and “Allies” than I’ve ever received from Christians for being transgender–if you don’t include my family. Meanwhile, as they spouted their vitriolic, hate-filled rants, they insisted that they were spreading love and tolerance. Is it a case of people believing that the ends justify the means? We should not be surprised that people think that they can use violence and hate to put an end to violence and hate–it’s the idea that allows the state’s existence to persist, after all. “We hate hate!” they proudly proclaimed. “So fuck those Christians, and fuck you for defending them, you boring, terrible, idiotic, treacherous piece of shit! Whose side are you on, anyway?”

“Whose side are you on, anyway?”

That was an actual comment, and it was such a transparent example of the Us and Them, False Dichotomy, World of Either/Or bullshit that I thought, “Surely no one can refute me now.” I had the evidence right there–I had proof right there, that I had called it from the start. People were overly sensationalized, trapped into thinking only in hyperbole and extremes, because they had locked their minds in a vicious Us Versus Them state where anything that didn’t fit with “Us” was, by definition, “Them,” and thus to be ridiculed and hated. And then there was this person who just straight-up asked me whose side I was on, implying that I could be on the Christians’ side or I could be on the liberals’ side, but that there were no other options.

We have to calm down, and we have to re-open our minds.

We have to stop thinking in terms of Us and Them.