Maajid Nawaz and the Jussie Effect

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While scrolling through Twitter, I came across this tweet from Maajid Nawaz, an anti-Islamic Extremism activist:

My initial response was to laugh and hit the “like” button.

That might sound like the response of a truly hateful racist, but it wasn’t. It was the response of someone who has spent the past week observing the Jussie Smollett hate crime narrative collapse.

As you may already know, actor Jussie Smollett claimed to have been attacked by two white men on the streets of Chicago. Smollett alleged that the men tied a noose around his neck, poured bleach on him, and used both racist and homophobic slurs during the assault.

The story sounded bogus from the start for a whole host of reasons, but has now been all-but-confirmed to have been a not-so-carefully-orchestrated hoax.

The mindset the Smollett incident left me with led me to believe that Maajid’s tweet was a parody.

Many have noted that the real victims of the Smollett hoax are individuals who do indeed wind up on the receiving end of hate-induced assaults. With knowledge of the Smollett incident as well as many similar, politically-motivated hoaxes, the public will be less likely to believe an individual who is genuinely attacked by racists or bigots.

It seems as though this effect, at least for a moment, caused me to laugh at a victim instead of express sympathy. When I looked at the replies to the tweet, I realized that Maajid’s story is almost certainly true and one of the worst things that can happen to a person. It is a twist of cruel irony that this hateful incident was perpetrated against a man whose life’s work is to prevent this kind of violence from taking place. And I am ashamed of my reaction.

In short, lies do not end with the liar. Their consequences can travel around the world and land where you least expect it. Stick to the truth.

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Maajid Nawaz and the Jussie Effect

Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income Plan Sucks

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If there’s one welfare state proposition that makes Libertarians reconsider their anti-government position, it might be UBI (Universal Basic Income). The concept of UBI is simple: every person in a given country gets cash from the government every month. Rather than rationing food, energy, or clothes like a purely Socialist society, a nation with UBI allows those on the receiving end to decide which of their needs should be met the same way people who earn their own money do.

Andrew Yang is a businessman running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and UBI is his signature issue. I hadn’t heard much from Yang until his recent appearance on the Joe Rogan Podcast, but have heard that he’s a refreshing voice in the Democratic field. While he seems like a nice enough guy, Andrew’s justifications for implementing UBI are easily discredited.

A phenomenon Yang hones in on to promote UBI is the supposed automation of jobs which, he says, is not only on the horizon, but in its midst right now. There are many problems with this claim. The first is that manufacturing jobs, a main source of concern regarding automation, are on the rise and had been for several years even before Donald Trump was elected president:

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With Trump doing a laudable job of deregulating the domestic economy and signing corporate tax reductions into law, there is no reason to expect this trend to reverse in the near future.

Another job Yang fears will be automated is trucking, one of the most common sources of occupation in the country. Yang is dead wrong here as well, and on two counts. First, there is no shortage of trucking jobs. Conversely, there is a shortage of truckers to fill trucking jobs. As Mark Allen and Chris Spear wrote in May of last year:

“In the next decade, we’ll need 890,000 drivers to keep pace with growth and demand for freight transportation. Americans are used to getting what they want with the click of a button, but this expectation of door-to-door service will be increasingly difficult to fulfill if we can’t get more drivers behind the wheel.”

I have two cousins who are truck drivers. It’s not exactly a glamorous occupation. They spend weeks at a time away from their homes and families, and they sit at the helm of a big rig on the same wide open roads day after day after day. Sitting idly for so long is detrimental to a person’s health, and 5,000 people die in trucking accidents every year.

The other problem with Yang’s trucking claim is that it is based upon the false premise that self-driving vehicles are in the fast lane and ready to run drivers off the road. On the contrary, self-driving technology is nowhere near ready to take over the world as it is developing at an even slower rate than predicted. And even when driverless cars and trucks are ready to hit the road, it’s not as if people are going to ditch their manually operated vehicles at the drop of a hat. People don’t trust AI, and they also love being in control of what they’re doing. Driverless vehicles will have to compete with traditional ones, and winning that battle will be a traffic jam of a fight.

Even if we imagine that an earth-shattering breakthrough occurs tomorrow, and consumers widely decide they’re ready for an AI escort, trucking jobs are not only safe, but might even reap unseen rewards. Self-driving vehicles are not exactly as the name suggests. For the most part, a human driver will need to be present in case of emergency or for any number of other reasons. This will be especially true of self-driving trucks, so at least one occupant will need to be inside the vehicle at all times. The negative aspect of this is that the wages truck drivers earn could be diminished via the less demanding workload. But as mentioned earlier, driving a truck is a pain in the butt. Instead of being zeroed in on the road for so long, drivers will be able to stretch their legs, read a book, talk on the phone, or even search the web for a new or additional job. And since the labor will be so much less strenuous, many unskilled individuals looking for work may reconsider taking  stab at driving trucks. Young people still finding their way could spend a few years earning some money and getting an up close and personal look at the US of A. Driverless trucks would create jobs without killing them, and keep goods at the low prices every American desires.

In the portion of the two-hour interview I watched, Joe Rogan does a solid job of pushing back on Yang’s ideas. One of the most important questions Rogan asks is how much UBI is going to cost and who is going to pay for it. Yang gives a straightforward answer, saying that UBI would cost $3 trillion a year. He then explains that it would not really amount to $3 trillion a year as individuals already receiving roughly $1,000 per month in government benefits would not be entitled to any more money. An individual getting $700 in benefits would get $300, and one receiving no benefits at all would receive the full $1,000. Yang estimates that the added cost would amount to under $2 trillion.

This is a seemingly moderate proposal with an extreme consequence built into it. On the bright side, Yang’s iteration of UBI could actually encourage people to get off the government breadlines and take care of themselves enough to get onto the government dole. In a perfect world, people would take more responsibility for themselves to such an extent that Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and unemployment benefits would wither away as a cost to taxpayers. This could be a boon to human capital while also making way for consumer-driven market forces to improve the conditions of healthcare, insurance, and job markets.

Milton Friedman, whom Yang calls a supporter of UBI in the interview, did indeed flirt with the idea. But unlike Yang, Friedman’s plan, dubbed the Negative Income Tax (NIT), would immediately replace the rest of the welfare state. Friedman did not want the NIT to become an addition to the alphabet soup of bureaucracy already in Washington, but rather a simpler, cheaper, and less intrusive way to provide a safety net to those unable to care for themselves. When Friedman realized support for his version of UBI was not what the rest of its promoters had in mind, he rightfully abandoned it.

One of Friedman’s wittiest quotes is that there is “nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.” The problem with Yang’s intention to implement UBI without eliminating other programs is that all are bound to expand. Once the UBI can is opened, the worms will crawl. And there is nothing stopping the amount of money UBI recipients demand from reaching impossible depths. UBI would be certainly be permanent, and certainly permeate.

Yang’s answer to the funding part of Rogan’s question is even worse. This is mainly because of Yang’s proposal to implement a Value Added Tax (VAT). The way a VAT tax works is by taxing exchanges at every level from production to wholesale to retail and everything in between. Simply put, a VAT tax is an all-encompassing sales tax.

While some Libertarians like me might jump at the idea of replacing the corporate and income taxes with something like a VAT tax, Yang’s VAT fails to relieve us of other taxes and contradicts an alleged benefit of his UBI plan. Yang, in a claim common among the anti-supply-side crowd, says that putting money in Americans’ pockets will be a boon to business and job creation because recipients will spend the money and keep the economy rolling. Regardless of whether or not this claim has any merit, the VAT tax would undermine consumer spending like nothing before. When a tax is levied, the cost of paying it is passed on to the next guy in line. If you tax bread sales at 10%, bakers will charge sandwich artists some of that rate by increasing bread prices. And consumers will see the price of their lunch go up at the deli counter too. The individuals who incur cash from UBI will not be as willing to put their money back into the economy when everything around them is becoming more expensive.

Yang is certainly not stupid and not all of his ideas and analyses are wrongheaded. He points out the futility of having the government tell displaced factory workers to #LearnToCode, and also highlights current injustices taking place in our criminal justice system (though the way he ties this to UBI is far-fetched). But all-in-all, Yang’s plan for UBI is just as bad as any other government scheme to turn the race of life into a walk in the park. Our country will be far better off if Yang forgets about politics and goes back to creating jobs on his own.

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Andrew Yang’s Universal Basic Income Plan Sucks

Candace Owens Has a Point

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I have published 132 blog posts on HowToCureYourLiberalism.com (this one is number 133). But I have failed to complete or decided not to publish at least 100 others. Sometimes I lose my train of thought, sometimes my research persuades me to disagree with my initial thesis, sometimes I fear my words could come back to haunt me if ill-intended people come across them, and other times I simply can’t find a way to express my thoughts in a way that I feel comfortable sharing with my readers.

One topic I have attempted to write about several times, but all in vain, is Candace Owens, the conservative firebrand and communications director of the advocacy group Turning Point USA. On these previous occasions, my intention was always to criticize Owens and to warn right-wingers against elevating her. My feeling is that Owens may do wonders for Republican Party recruitment, but, in the process, morph the Conservative movement into little more than a meaner and more reckless version of Progressivism. As Michael Malice often remarks, Conservatism is simply Progressivism driving the speed limit. In my opinion, Owens’ version of Conservatism already has the pedal to the metal.

On this occasion, however, I aim to defend Owens from an undeserved media and social media onslaught. A video of Owens and her colleague Charlie Kirk (whom I hold in the same regard as Owens) recently surfaced. The video documents the two answering audience questions at an event in the UK. What the left, media, and squishy Conservatives pounced on were comments Owens made that referenced none other than Adolf Hitler (pro-tip: unless you are actually talking about him, caution against bringing up Hitler under any circumstances because you are likely minimizing his atrociousness and/or leaving yourself open to slander—Owens is probably guilty of the former and definitely suffering the latter). Check out Owens’ comment for yourself:

Many attempted to portray Owens as simply criticizing Hitler’s foreign policy while remaining indifferent to what he did inside of Germany, as if she only disagrees with the Holocaust because it went beyond German borders. That seemed wrong to me when I first encountered tweets and headlines, wronger when I watched the clip for myself, and absolutely wrong after Owens posted a video clarifying what she meant:

The truth is that Owens is, with shades of grey, correct. Hitler was a Globalist (or at least a Continentalist).

Globalism and Nationalism are not finite political philosophies with a single iteration. The same can be said of Liberalism, Libertarianism, Conservatism, Socialism, and so on. This is why there are caucuses and disputes within political parties and why Hillary Clinton can be criticized for being too Progressive and for being too much of a Neocon by people in the the same party at the same time.

Hitler’s globalism and, say, the UN’s globalism are obviously not the same. Hitler’s version centered around his race dominating or outright exterminating the others. The UN’s globalism, according to their website, is nearly antithetical to Hitler’s:

 The United Nations is a global organization that brings together its member states to confront common challenges, manage shared responsibilities and exercise collective action in an enduring quest for a peaceful, inclusive and sustainably developing world, in conformity with the principles of justice and international law and with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

What Owens should be criticized for is shitty rhetoric. Lumping Nazism and modern Globalism together is exactly the kind of false logic that causes me to shake my head at Conservatives who support her (even though I’m not a Conservative myself). She is technically correct in saying that the UN and the Nazis are both Globalists, but these versions of Globalism are so diametrically opposed that associating the two is simply a dishonest smear.

The thing is, in the context of the question being asked, Owens was engaging in I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I politics. By this I mean that it’s not necessarily Owens who is launching the first attack, but that her words are still petulant. The gentleman she was responding to, at least according to Owens, was expressing concerns about the baggage that comes with being labeled a Nationalist when all you want is to promote the sovereignty of your State. When Brexit supporters and Trump supporters call themselves or are called Nationalists, they are often lumped in with Hitler by the left and the media. But any semi-rational person can see that what they advocate for has nothing to do with genocide, imperialism, or even National Socialism.

When Candace Owens associates modern Globalists with Nazis, she’s sinking to the same low level as her opponents. This is commonplace among the MAGA insurgency that has taken the Republican Party by storm. They veer away from National Review Conservatives in preferring to win by playing dirty than lose while preserving their dignity.

On Nationalism, Hitler’s and Trump’s versions are dramatically different. The term nation, when used by Trump, is synonymous with country. To Trump, the USA is his nation and his country interchangeably, and I imagine this to be the case for the vast majority of Americans. Personally, I only make a distinction between the two when attempting to be technical as I am doing now. But off the cuff, I might refer to the USA as a nation, even though it isn’t one. The United States of America is exactly that: 50 united states.

When Hitler used the term nation, he was referring to the supposed Aryan nation, his ethnic group. This is why Hitler called the US a “mongrel nation” for being home to people of myriad nationalities. It was the ancestral makeup of a people that Hitler focused on, not policies, philosophies, or religion. Keep in mind that the Nazis attempted to exterminate the Jewish race, not the Jewish religion, which was irrelevant to their cause.

Hitler’s nationalism was not bound by the borders of the country called Germany. The globe (or at least Europe), in his mind, was his ethnic nation’s for the taking. Aryans living in greater Europe were his allies; non-Aryans living in Germany were to be eradicated or subjugated.

While there is an infinite number of critiques one can make of Trump’s views and policy preferences, referring to his Nationalism as Hitler-like is not one of them. Trump is as politically blind to race and color as any other mainstream politician. The same cannot be said of Trump’s views on culture, but that is independent of our ethnicity and other immutable characteristics. The friends I grew up with have last names and skin tones originating from all corners of the Earth, but we all love baseball, beer, and Billy Joel.

If your takeaways from reading this are that I support Trump’s Nationalism or that I am a lackey for Candace Owens, you are being feeble-minded. What I intend to put across above all is that we stop attempting to make demons out of our political rivals. We should hear each other out, and respond with honest and measured disagreement if we feel it necessary. While Candace Owens may not deserve the benefit of the doubt, the principle remains. C.S. Lewis said it best:

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Candace Owens Has a Point

Welcome to the Constitutional Upside Down

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If you’re not familiar with Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things, don’t worry, I won’t reveal any major spoilers. A central theme of the show is that a portal into a parallel dimension has been opened, and the terrors that lurk there are spilling out into a small town in ours. Once this is discovered by the show’s main characters, they begin to refer to the parallel universe as “The Upside Down.”

A bipartisan majority of US Senators has recently decided that the US needs a taste of The Upside Down too. By a 68-23 margin, the Senate has affirmed a resolution to block any attempt made by President Trump to remove American troops from both Syria and Afghanistan.

The vote comes amid repeated announcements and tweets by the president that he will fulfill one of his central campaign promises by ending some of the US’s endless wars abroad, particularly in Syria. In the spirit of his America First slogan, bringing our troops home would make it easier for the government to focus its attention and resources on the country it presides over as well as respect the autonomy of the globe’s many nation-states.

When the president began talking withdrawal, establishment members of both parties and a hostile mainstream media scoffed and presented lame justifications for our presence in both countries. Many claimed that Turkey, our NATO ally, would “slaughter” our Kurdish allies if the mere 2,000 US troops still in Syria were sent home. Although the Kurds and the Turks have their differences, this would be a first in their shared history, not to mention the fact that Kurds are rough and tough and won’t be slaughtered by anybody.

By the way, many of the same people who claim we need to protect the Kurds from Turkey lost their minds when Trump suggested the US leave the outdated and useless bureaucratic leviathan known as NATO. In a transparent display of idiocy, they simultaneously claim (1) we can’t leave NATO because it would be a betrayal of our NATO allies and (2) we can’t leave Syria because it would be a betrayal of our Kurdish allies who would be slaughtered by our NATO allies. Talk about Stranger Things…

Other purported reasons to remain in Syria and Afghanistan are that leaving these aimless 10 and 17 year mission creeps, respectively, would be “precipitous” and, of course, something, something, something, Russia.

Despite the contradictions and hollow fear mongering, the real reason the situation is so upside down is that the wars Trump is trying to end were not authorized by congress while the commander-in-chiefs power to withdraw troops from foreign lands requires no congressional authorization at all.

Article I Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the power “to declare war” and Article II Section 2 names the president “commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.” To me, “commander in chief” sounds pretty self-explanatory. Perhaps that Founders would have had to have written “Total Super Ultra Mega Boss of the Military” to help get it through the thick skulls of today’s Democrats and Republicans.

It is true that congress authorized former President George W. Bush to use military force against those responsible for the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, but he was not given permission to occupy Afghanistan indefinitely for whatever reasons he and his successors could conjure up along the way. The language used in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists is admittedly vague, so it might be fair to say that congress and a gullible public are to blame just as much as our executive administrations since then.

On the other hand, President Barack Obama was outright denied authorization to invade Syria in bipartisan fashion, but he did so anyway. Nice one, Barry.

Going to war should not be this easy, and ending wars should not be this hard. Our Founders were right to warn against entangling alliances and sticking our noses in other nations’ business. Engaging in either of these endeavors drains American lives, liberty, and treasure and prevents our neighbors abroad from learning to develop themselves. Neoconservatives can spend hours explaining why dependency upon welfare programs undermines an individual’s ability to develop, but for some reason they are too blind to see that dependency upon a foreign militia has the same result on nations.

However upside down our government is, the truth is that President Trump cannot blame the potential failure to end the wars in Afghanistan and Syria on congress. He has unquestioned authority to command the armed forces, and no one can stop him from exercising his constitutionally granted powers but himself. Playing politics by waiting a little while to accomplish this goal could be deemed a forgivable strategic maneuver. But Trump will deserve total and complete blame if this promise is broken.

Mr. President, it’s time to grow a pair and order things right-side up.

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Welcome to the Constitutional Upside Down

In Rebuke to Racists, Nathan Philips Defies “Wise Old Chieftain” Stereotype

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In an attempt to stop racist bigots dead in their tracks, 64-year-old Nathan Philips is refusing to be pigeonholed into the tired mold of “Wise Old Native American Chieftain.”

“I became fed up with people’s prejudiced attitudes about people like me years ago,” said the valor-stealing, regularly AWOL refrigerator mechanic, “so I decided to take a stand.”

Although he was never particularly sage, Philips says, he made a choice to break free from “society’s oppressive expectations” by taking things in the complete opposite direction.

“I started abusing as many psychedelic drugs as I could get my hands on, and I abandoned truth and common sense almost entirely. Whatever wisdom I had I replaced with conspiratorial nonsense and opinions on energy and the environment that any seventh grader could disprove with a quick Google search. Finally, I ditched the bits of my personality that were warm and stoic, and I focused on developing a petulant and entitled persona in their place.”

While Philips says he has succeeded in making himself a pariah among fellow Native Americans, white liberals and journalists continue to prejudge him based on his immutable characteristics by blindly worshiping the very earth that he walks upon.

“That day in front of the Lincoln Memorial, I tried to get on TV and prove to the world once and for all that enlightenment has failed to reach me. I beat a drum in a kid’s face. I defended racist and homophobic Black Hebrew Israelites. I had my grandson tell those kids to go back to Europe for being white. And the next day, my group and I tried to get into a church to disrupt their prayers with protests.”

When these tactics didn’t pan out, Philips took to the airways.

“And then when I went on TV, I just lied about everything. Every word that came out of my mouth was a lie. I even lied about lying about being a Vietnam War veteran. But those white liberals and journalists kept putting me on a pedestal like I’m Moses or something.”

Philips says this setback had given him some grief, but not enough to halt his mission.

“I figured that I would have to forgo any semblance of nuance to convince white liberals and journalists that I don’t deserve their awkward, culturally-ignorant admiration. So when that Covington Catholic kid tried to set up a summit, I outright refused. And then after he went on TV and looked like ten times the adult that I am, I said that I would meet him, but it would be to teach him a lesson. I thought, come on. Someone acting like me claiming that I would be the educator here? That had to work.”

Philips is disappointed that so many white liberals and journalists continue to paint him with the same glorification forced upon the Native Americans they see in picture books. But as unwise as he is, Nathan Philips has one more trick up his sleeve.

“Next year, I’m gonna join the March for Life and wear a MAGA hat myself. That’ll be sure to get me labeled all kinds of terrible things.”

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In Rebuke to Racists, Nathan Philips Defies “Wise Old Chieftain” Stereotype

“Change My Mind” is Garbage: Change My Mind

I have dedicated an absurd portion of the past week of my life to understanding, discussing, debating, and writing about the recent Lincoln Memorial confrontation between Nathan Philips and a group of students from Covington Catholic High School. While there is much to take interest in regarding the matter, nothing is as captivating as the hallucinations people have had and, amazingly, continue to experience when watching video of the incident. The human mind is a baffling device.

The other day, I opened YouTube and clicked on the latest episode of Steven Crowder’s “Change My Mind,” a segment of his show Louder with Crowder. “Change My Mind” involves Crowder and some of his crew members setting up a table in a public location and displaying a large sign that espouses a provocative political statement followed by the words “change my mind.” If you are social media savvy at all, you’ve probably come across the meme “Change My Mind” has inspired:

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The stated goal of this experiment is to attract dissenters of the displayed statement then invite them to sit down and have a rational and healthy dialogue to express their disagreement. I am not exactly a fan of his, but watch Crowder’s videos on occasion.

As productive political discourse in America, particularly the online variety, seems to have taken a turn for the worse over the past few years, Crowder’s project is noble on the surface. But Steven Crowder is not the man for this job.

In his most recent video titled “PROTESTER SCREAMS Then Rethinks: Change My Mind,” which takes place at UT Dallas, Crowder has his table set up with a banner that reads “Build the Wall: Change My Mind.” But rather than a typical “Change My Mind” video in which guests are sitting down at the table with the host, the video begins with Steven approaching a group of students demonstrating against him a few yards away.

Throughout the rest of the video, Steven either hallucinates or lies on myriad occasions and acts as anything but an authority on rational discourse.

Free Speech Bullying

I’m often told that while free speech is a right, some speech has consequences. This is a fair legal argument, but can be an awful human argument when applied too broadly.

First off, what is and what is not legal does not determine what is right and what is wrong. Driving through a red light is illegal, but driving through a red light at a completely empty intersection where the driver has the field of view to determine with certainty that no cars are coming from any direction is not wrong.

Saying “nigger” in front of a black stranger or screaming “fire” in a movie theater are not criminal acts, but they are examples of wrongful behavior because they are liable to cause problems without reason. This is to say that just because you have Constitutional protections that allow you to do something without government interference does not mean you should do it.

While some speech is reasonably treated as wrongful behavior that has consequences regardless of legality, some speech or expression currently deemed offensive does not deserve the consequences it elicits. For example, James Damore was fired from his job at Google for writing an internal memo that mentioned scientifically observed differences between male and female psychologies. Additionally, early critics of the Covington Catholic School boys whose initial perceptions have been proven invalid are moving the goal posts to argue that the boys were asking for trouble by wearing red Make America Great Again hats. Both of these instances illustrate active consequence assignment, as opposed to consequences coming about naturally. The people who bemoan evolutionary biology and the sitting president’s signature merchandise are being intolerant bullies, and third parties must stick their necks out and stand up to these bullies to preserve an environment of liberal expression.

About a minute into Crowder’s video, he decides to abuse his First Amendment rights to the detriment of others. Crowder, camera crew in tow, approaches the demonstrators, and says “I understand there’s a protest going on here.” A white girl (WG) says they are not protesting, but “representing our views.” She says this calmly and politely and, in my opinion, in a way that attempts to communicate to Crowder that they are not trying to dehumanize or demonize him, but simply express their countering views.

Crowder then engages a guy holding a rainbow umbrella (GHU) and questions his group’s decision to demonstrate instead of joining him at the discussion table. He, as calmly and politely as WG, explains as follows:

For one, there is a fear for our safety. We don’t want to be put online where people that have similar beliefs to yours potentially would dox us and come at us and harass us. We feel that our point of view standing here was enough to be said. But now you’ve all come here and essentially forced us into this interview.

When those critical of identity politics and modern let-wing activism here the word “safety” in the context of political and social discourse, it may ring bells of the “safe space” culture eviscerated by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff in their groundbreaking essay  “The Coddling of the American Mind.” But what GHU and his group are afraid of is not encountering opposing views; they fear the same internet mob tactics that have upended the lives of the Covington Catholic students among so many others.

A black girl (BG) then makes another valiant point by explaining that her lacking public speaking skills could cause her to misrepresent her own views. Although I think she is underestimating herself, it’s a perfectly fair point. But none of this dissuades Crowder, and he continues to disregard their wishes.

By bringing these demonstrators into his YouTube channel and its 3.3 million subscribers, Crowder is not violating anyone’s First Amendment rights, but he is being a jerk and a bully and potentially subjecting them to undeserved consequences. And that kind of behavior is the exact opposite of what is needed to reestablish an environment for rational discourse in America.

Who called Steven a racist?

About half a minute into the video, Crowder’s voice, dubbed over the video, alludes to nasty accusations being hurled in his direction. We then see BG and a Muslim girl (MG) for the first time. Both girls are filmed saying “I don’t engage with racists” and “at the very least xenophobic.” No other context is provided at any point in the video.

After rejecting the students’ requests not to film them, about three and a half minutes into the video, Crowder confronts MG, who is a holding a sign that says “Immigrants are welcome here: change my mind.” Crowder invites her to his table, so he can take her up on the request implied by her sign. MG refuses by saying, “I’m good.” From behind Crowder, a female’s voice can be heard saying something along the lines of MG is the one who didn’t want to speak to “the racist,” which, at least in Crowder’s video, she did not say. Crowder continues his attempt to persuade her to speak with him, and she denies.

What’s important to take notice of here is that Crowder towers over MG. She is petite as can be, and he is a fairly hefty and tall man. Crowder also has a camera crew behind him, and spectators surround the entire scene.

I do not abide by the #MeToo principle that imbalance in stature, race, gender, or position of power should have legal ramifications. Adult female secretaries should not receive special legal treatment if they choose to sexually interact with their bosses. Adults are adults.

However, as I said earlier, legality does not determine right and wrong, and Crowder’s behavior here is bullying.

BG interjects and says to Crowder that the situation he is creating might be “intimidating” for some people. Crowder all but ignores her, and stupidly explains that it’s intimidating for him to be in a crowd like this too.

About twenty seconds before the five minute mark, Crowder says to the group “I’ve heard rumors here that Crowder is a racist.” BG denies having said that. Crowder then turns to MG and asks if she called him a racist. MG says “I said I wouldn’t engage with racists, and I don’t feel comfortable engaging with you right now.” Crowder asks if this is because she thinks he is a racist, and she says “it’s because you’re crowding me and you’ve brought a crowd of people and multiple cameras, so I really don’t appreciate how you’re crowding me like this.” Some people in the crowd jeer her response petulantly. Crowder says he isn’t crowding her, which directly contradicts the mass of people and cameras that have encircled MG and her friends.

If Crowder were decent, he would have apologized at this point and walked away. He doesn’t.

MG calmly and clearly explains that she prefers to engage in smaller groups, not in crowds. Crowder essentially admonishes her for another minute until a bearded demonstrator (BD) raises two fingers, signalling he would like to chime in. More on BD in a moment…

I recommend watching this entire exchange carefully and listening to some of the things Crowder says. Then reconsider whether or not this is the type of person you should be listening to, let alone leading a pro-discourse movement.

Protester screams?

Regardless of his views on immigration or anything else, BD, who arrives on the scene during the interaction between Crowder and MG, is the hero in this story.

Growing increasingly visibly annoyed during the exchange, BD raises to fingers and asks “Can I speak?” He then explains that he believes Crowder is doing something under-handed by basically exploiting a girl with possible anxiety issues in order to cast all of the demonstrators in a light of intellectual weakness.

Crowder then does something fascinating. In a near mirror image of the dishonest leftists he would destroy for throwing out accusations of racism when defeated in an argument, Crowder’s red herring response is that it’s “kind of like how calling someone a racist might be underhanded.” BD, who is quite eccentric and emotive, looks as though his brain has been twisted into a knot by Crowder’s non-sequitur rebuttal.

BD goes on for a minute or so explaining that coming to this campus, which is multi-cultural with a large immigrant population, with such an inflammatory debate topic is “shady” and that Crowder is exploiting the students for their emotional labor among other things.

Crowder, the self-anointed standard bearer for rational discourse, interrupts and responds by saying “everything you just said is inaccurate.”

I do not agree with Crowder that a wall should be built on the southern border, and I’m sure I would disagree with BD on a plethora of political and social issues (including the phrase “emotional labor” itself). But I would never make a comment as disrespectful, absolutist, or myopic as Crowder’s to either of them. This is because I actually want to change people’s minds, and can understand that their experiences and knowledge sets may be different from mine. I am almost willing to change my own mind and understand that every person I meet knows something I don’t, the 9th of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life, which Crowder is evidently not heeding.

Around thirteen minutes into the video, BD (who tells Crowder his name is Nicholas) agrees to sit down with Crowder at his table. One of Crowder’s first comments is suggesting that sitting at the table “breeds more friendly, productive conversation” and that he doesn’t want to “shout out there.” Nicholas explains that he didn’t think that was an issue, and I agree with him. In contrast to the video’s title, no one had been shouting at each other. Yet, Crowder accuses him of “shouting” and “yelling” during the first few minutes of their conversation, which Nicholas says he doesn’t remember but is sorry for if he did (I like Nicholas).

At this point, Nicholas has remained polite and practiced active listening despite being smeared, mocked, and lied to. Add all of this to what I interpret to be standing up to the bullying Crowder on MG’s behalf, and it seems that Crowder should be taking notes from Nicholas, not the other way around.

Adding Insults to Injury

Crowder is both a political commentator and humorist with roots in stand up. While I love both, and am a sycophant for political satire, the blending of politics and comedy can have mixed results. A benefit of political comedy is that satire and ridicule can be used to show people that they may need to reconsider their views. Another benefit is the inherent value of making people laugh, regardless of whether or not it’s constructive. Jokes are great in and of themselves.

One downside of political comedy is that people like Crowder, Bill Maher, and Stephen Colbert can hide behind their comic identity to avoid taking responsibility for flubs and mistakes while continuing to pose as legitimate voices when convenient. Another downside is that laughs, which should be elicited by a joke’s cleverness, timing, or absurdity, can also be generated via hate and confirmation bias. This has been on full display since Trump became a contender for president as jokes about him tend to forgo wit and instead capitalize on telling people what they want to hear. We the Internet has satirized this phenomenon as well as anyone.

Throughout the video, Crowder sinks to the comedic depths of Colbert and the rest of the late night clones with hackneyed and insulting quips about the oft-ridiculed terminology used by Social Justice Warriors. He refers to a reasonable and well-spoken argument made by Nicholas an “emotional reaction.” When Nicholas tries to defend himself from Crowder’s blatant misrepresentation of his arguments, Crowder sarcastically accuses him of “mansplaining.” After an exchange with BG, Crowder asks for a “bro-hug” then amends it to a “gender neutral bro-hug.” When prodding Nicholas to tell him what an acceptable argument from a supporter of Trump’s wall would sound like, he asks “what, to you, would be the acceptable way for someone who disagrees with you to express himself, or herself… or xeself.”

Forget how disrespectful it is to presume that the people Crowder is speaking to actually abide by these concepts, and forget how dishonest it is to mock them without first knowing what their views are.

The real offense is his assault on the institution of comedy. By throwing these catchphrases in at such inopportune times, Crowder is playing to the lowest comedic common denominator. These jokes are about as original and as funny as calling Trump Orange.

Steven Crowder is not actually in the business of promoting civil discussion. He is in the businesses of promoting his own views and of making his opponents seem worse than they actually are. While there are many on the left who are deserving of harsh criticism and denunciation, the students he bullied in his video did not appear to be the right targets at all. The students did not deserve to be treated the way they were by Crowder, and Crowder did not deserve the time of day from them.

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“Change My Mind” is Garbage: Change My Mind

Birth of an NPC Hate Mob

It was perfect: white, male, MAGA-hat-wearing, pro-life, Catholic school teenagers mocking and harassing an elderly, Native American Vietnam Veteran. The Gods of grievance studies, the Democratic Party, and Socialism had combined their omnipotence to deliver the video exemplifying toxic masculinity and white supremacy in Trump’s America to end all videos exemplifying toxic masculinity and white supremacy in Trump’s America. The Donald, Capitalism, and freedom of association would now be defeated in one fell swoop.

Unfortunately for some, the initial video in question, like most videos, neglects crucial and extenuating context.

In the video that went viral on Twitter, a lone Native American man can be seen banging on a drum and chanting a Native American hymn or song. Directly in front of him stands a white teenager in a MAGA hat. The teenager, whose face is terribly punchable, remains still with an irritating grin plastered on his mug. Surrounding these two are dozens of other teenagers bouncing, cheering, laughing, and clapping to the rhythm as well as some individuals who appear to be with the Native American man.

The clip spread online with captions and explanations suggesting that the boys had instigated the situation. The man was identified as Nate Philips, a Vietnam war veteran, and the boys were identified as pupils of Covington Catholic High School, which is in Kentucky.

It was at this point that a hate mob was born, and all the usual suspects latched on to the conglomeration. Obviously, left-wing identitarians, woke celebrities, blue check marks, and anti-Trump radicals pushed the hardest, but cowardly Conservative pundits and journalists joined in too.

Next came doxxing and explicit threats of violence towards the boys and platitudes of admiration for Mr. Philips. What never came, at least out of the burgeoning NPC mob, was skepticism. I guess some realities are just too convenient to question.

More video of the situation began to emerge, and it became clear to anyone willing to open their eyes that the situation was far more complicated than the mob would permit for consideration.

One video shows that it was Philips who approached the boys, not the other way around. As the boys shout their alma mater wildly, something teenage boys (who are stupid) tend to do, Philips can be seen walking towards them with his drum:

As one student who was present explains, the boys’ initial thought was that Philips was making “a cultural display,” and they decided to join his chant. They then became “confused” after sensing hostility on Philips’ part:

Enter the boy with the most punchable face in America. I do not know this young man’s name, and I wouldn’t share it if I did, but he is in dire need of some sympathy. Simply for wearing a MAGA hat and having a face that only a mother could love, an awkward young man is being called a hateful bigot and other horrid things I’d rather not repeat.

What is it that he is being accused of doing? Not using his fists. Not using his words. Not using his middle finger. He is accused of smiling and standing still and having evil in his heart. Smiling and standing still are not contemptible acts, and nobody knows what is in another’s heart.

I don’t know who you are, young man, but God bless you and stay strong. And grow a mustache as soon as possible.

If Nate Philips were someone else, I would have a major bone to pick with him. But based on the interview below and his disputed recounting of the event (he said he heard chants of “build that wall” but no evidence of this exists and also claimed punchable face boy blocked him from moving forward and from retreating, which is absurd), I must assume that he is not completely with it:

Philips is a man and is responsible for his words and actions, but The Washington Post is the real villain here. Instead of reporting on what the video evidence suggests, they simply quote Philips’ version of the story. This is despicable, but it’s also journalism in 2019. So what do you expect?

If anyone is to be called a bigot here, it’s a group of black Isrealites who shouted conspiracy theories and racist and homophobic epithets at the Covington boys, though simply ignoring them is likely the better way to go. Against my own advice, here is a longer video of the confrontation with the black Isrealites taking center stage about four and a half minutes in.

Instead of white supremacists inspired by President Trump treating a Native American serviceman like garbage, we have some dumb boys (redundant) having fun and being smeared by a psychotic gang of silly adults.

The anti-Trump mob is not interested in facts or reality. They will not get over their electoral college loss from over two years ago, and they will be happy to ruin lives for the sake of misguided vengeance until someone else is commander-in-chief. I predicted this would last a few months after Trump was elected, but I was wrong.

Something can be done about this. But because the mob is spreading the fake version of this story with chilling haste, I do not know what it is at the time of publication.

Buy gold, ammo, and canned food, and, for the love of God, share this post!

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Birth of an NPC Hate Mob