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founding

I normally avoid reading anything on free speech. We have all heard the arguments and, after a certain age, you get to see how the brave souls who talk about freedom actually behave in real life. It is depressing to watch/recall.

Your take on the subject, John, was pretty good.

Free speech is like any capacity. It needs development at a granular level. Free speech is a precondition for many things, above all inquiry and insight. Free speech is wrapped up with lucidity, scepticism, curiousity, engaging with reality and with the right people (the ones who think for themselves).

At their best, people who are threatened by free speech are invested in a narrative. At their worst, they are uncomfortable with curiousity and complexity. The latter type are the most dangerous of all.

Ultimately the regime's accomplices (as well as the instinctively docile), want us quiet, alone with our thoughts and thereby isolated from others. The epistemic equivalent of solitary confinement.

The way forward is not to argue for freedom (yawn), but to think/write better in the first place and just keep on doing it till you drop. The more logical we are, the more exact and effective our speaking or writing, the better we embody the threat that really frightens them. Defiance over regulatory reform, as it were.

I do not want the state or corporations to recognise my rights (which they grant or take away to suit themselves and always will), I'd prefer to think more forcefully. I want less emphasis on them and what the regime wants or allows and more on us and how well or poorly we think. Focusing on regime-compliance is a time-sink and a talent-sink. If there is anything that I truly regret it is taking the system seriously. Life is too short.

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author

Extremely well said. The meta-discourse on free speech is dull - we know the arguments, and they're obvious and good arguments, meaning that those who argue against it are clearly arguing in bad faith.

But endlessly talking about free speech is very much less interesting than actually using it to develop our own thoughts.

That said, one factor that I should have discussed, but didn't: the censorship regime of the last decade had the effect of making the right far more intelligent, because we were forced to think around the restrictions. In a way it's similar to the constraints imposed by a poetic metre demanding additional creativity.

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founding

I just feel disgusted by the smugness of the conventional pieties...especially when they come from law school types or the kind who think we need permission from the state to speak our minds. Candour used to be considered a virtue, albeit a common one that you'd expect to encounter on a routine basis. Not so much now. It is now 'problematic'.

Candour was also part of a deeper cultural thing. Realism in art (descriptive realism) developed in the Low Countries in connection with religious currents about the world and the need to honour God by depicting it with clarity and exactitude. Those currents came to the fore in natural philosophy: we understand His will by studying His works. The Book of Nature as the Book of God etc.

Re censorship, it necessarily forces people to smarten up. For that alone the various dissident and independent currents should be grateful. The right especially needed to wake up from its unbelievable complacency about the system.

Re metre, you nailed it. Poetry composition used to figure a fair bit in basic grade elite education for a good reason. Metre is very mathematical. The quantity of a syllable is the foundation. Mastering this (or parsing prose) mirrors analytic practices (breaking things down to their simplest unit etc) and helps for the mind. I am pretty sure the old techniques (suitably upgraded) could be very useful for re-establishing education on a sounder basis.

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author

Candour, yes. Frankness, honesty, direct speech. Indeed frank speech is more important than free speech - to speak one's mind clearly and well, to communicate the truth as one sees it as candidly as one can. This was also essential to the ancient Persians - to ride well, shoot straight, and speak truly.

In all the focus on free speech, we have lost track of frank speech, and our language has become a swamp of euphemisms and weasel words as a result. Marketing and PR. As a result little of interest, originality, or truth is communicated, and communication itself breaks down. It's a confusion of tongues akin to the Tower of Babel.

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founding

Foucault wrote a very decent (and short) book on the subject. Worth a glance because he does not approach this from the usual J.S. Mill orthodoxy.

https://monoskop.org/images/b/ba/Foucault_Michel_Fearless_Speech.pdf

As for the connection between candour and reliability in science, the use of language was a very, very, big thing in the earliest days of the Royal Society. The reformation in prose and oratory (in order to do justice to reality) was right at the heart of the Baconian project that the Society was pushing.

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author

Fascinating. Meanwhile in a modern context, scientific prose has been deadened via embrace of the objective voice from nowhere. I do not think it is accidental that the perfusion of this style in the literature has accompanied a decline in creativity and breakthroughs, together with the dominance of megaprojects that absorb enormous resources while yielding scant useful results.

How we use language affects how we think in incredibly subtle and profound ways.

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Apr 20, 2023Liked by John Carter

The reality is that those in power decide what our rights are. The liberal democracy regime realized with Trump that they had dropped the ball and needed to censor the internet. No governance in history tolerated those who wanted to overthrow it...

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founding

The funny thing is that Trump was never a destroyer. At his worst he was a better version of Bill Clinton and no rightwinger. Very much a centrist.

I think the enthusiasm of the masses for Trump terrified the regime.

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Apr 20, 2023Liked by John Carter

He gave a voice to the dispossessed, we can't have that in our liberal democracy.

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founding
Apr 20, 2023·edited Apr 20, 2023Liked by John Carter

I'd say that he was speaking for the aspirational strata, the soon-to-be dispossessed or those in the process of dispossession. The truly dispossessed gave up voting a long time ago. Trump voters are largely a coalition of small business owners, lower middle and working class whites...the productive people exposed to taxes, debt, crime and the burdens of military service. This is a constituency that has a grim future ahead and they wanted to recover the civility and security of the past. This strata remain integrated into society, but their kids are exposed to the possibility of downward social mobility and eventual pauperisation in a crony capitalist system that blends race-based socialism and Social Darwinism.

Had Trump successfully mobilised this strata and made any kind of substantial material gains for them he would have attracted sufficient numbers of both the non-voters and portions of the Democrat base to shatter the regime for good.

Trump's "voice" was extraordinary. He was the first politician to use social media effectively. That alone was a terrifying innovation for the regime.

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This is just another front in the global war. Did anyone imagine that Substack would get a pass from the Eye of Sauron? This is a war of everything, everywhere, all the time and without end.

By the way, I do feel compelled to add that some people on the left agree with us on the free speech issue. One example is Glenn Greenwald from the USA who is fighting the good fight on this issue. There are a few others, I believe.

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author

Greenwald, Taibbi, Naomi Wolf, CJ Hopkins, Charles Eisenstein (I assume) ... there is indeed a long list of people with left-leaning philosophical priors who support free speech unequivocally. Hell, I used to consider myself a leftist, not all that long ago.

The woke are a mutant death cult that have possessed the left and kicked out everyone who refuses to go along with their madness.

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I got an email from Greenwald saying he is no longer on Substack just today. I think they will put financial pressure on the organization by having their big moneymaker thousands of paid subscriber types leave until they try to put pressure on the little guys. Greenwald has been very oddly silent on the jabs bad stuff since day one. One would think that a person whose journalistic credentials were all about seeing through government collusion would have seen through that one right away...

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author

Interesting. A Brazilian reader over at Deimos has been quite vociferous in his distrust of Greenwald. Seems good instincts might have been correct.

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

Wilful blindness coupled with blind faith in Narrative™ has taken on an existential dimension lately; 'tis the very survival strategy many adopted consciously or not, reluctantly or otherwise.

The canonical Monkey Business Illusion explains a lot ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ --> youtu.be/IGQmdoK_ZfY

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author

That thing freaked me out the first time I saw it.

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

The suffocating censorship hardening its stranglehold by the day must be @FernandoMaldonado's gorilla. Or alternatively,

🗨 Morning, boys. How's the water?—What the hell is water?

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author

Assuming he's merely stupid and blind, and not arguing in bad faith.

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Apr 18, 2023·edited Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

Whenever I see praise for Taibbi, i feel compelled to remind others how he treated David Ray Griffin. Might not have been calling for censorship, but contemptible nonetheless.

https://www.metafilter.com/75438/The-Ultimate-911-Truth-Showdown-Taibbi-vs-Griffin

And in case you thought it was isolated to just Griffin, he dedicated his time to writing an entire book denigrating 9/11 truthers, not to mention praising masks and vaccines.

Better link:

http://dickatlee.com/issues/911/asc/pdfs/griffin_vs_taibbi.pdf

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author

I actually wasn't aware of that. Not a great look on him to be sure. No one's perfect, however ... which indeed is why it's so essential that people be allowed to speak.

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Absolutely, in a free society Matt is allowed to behave reprehensibly and as a result we get to learn about him.

I'm not the first to say this, but when you silence hate, you prevent yourself from hearing who is voicing the bad ideas. Or something like that.

As for no one being perfect, also absolutely. But it's kind of like referring to a years-long affair as a mistake. That exchange happened over a period of months and there has never, ever been any sort of contrition. He knew what he was doing and for me calls all of his other work into question.

Anyone who followed David Ray Griffin over his lifetime knows that there have not been many men who deserved that kind of treatment less than he. He was your amazing, nobody-has-ever-been-nicer grandad, who also wrote seminal volumes on 9/11. (Fun fact: the book that put him on the map: A New Pearl Harbor, is hosted on CIA.gov)

If you read it through, it is clear which one has honor and which had one and only one intention: to smear. He tried and tried to provoke Griffin but as you noted in your writing today, Griffin knew his ideas were better.

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What book are you referring to? I haven't read any of his but think I downloaded Hate Inc - have yet to read it tho. He has updated his opinions on masks and vaccines since he got a peek into the Twitter Files....

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The Great Derangement

If it took a privileged sneak peek into a small section of the deep state Twitter underbelly ... which also was not exactly a secret ... for Taibbi to modify his stance, well if you throw a scoop of ice cream into a bucket of shit, it's still a big bucket of shit.

Also, that link to Taibbi v. Griffin was but the right one.

http://dickatlee.com/issues/911/asc/pdfs/griffin_vs_taibbi.pdf

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Apr 20, 2023Liked by John Carter

Thanks for the excellent links and info. Very informative and interesting.

Couldn't agree more with your above comments, spot on Doug.

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Apr 17, 2023Liked by John Carter

As do I, as long as we’re not calling for violence against any group of people. Than again in a center left type of guy.

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Jewish poofter child kidnappers being the heroes we need is pretty funny.

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There it is! That’s exactly what I was looking for.

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We are in the thick of it right now. We had to expect this at some point. That point is now. Exiting from fascism is part of this war. If we stay with talking we are likely to be alright. Just imagine this on an actual battlefield with weapons instead of words. War turns us into demons and this war of words no different. Chris Best and SubStack are our allies. Many people are just becoming aware. They are going to be angry - unreasonable. It is up to us to be the change we wish to see in this world. If hate speech is all we suffer we will be fortunate.

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“Lexical liberty” reminds me of the “lexical error”message I once received in the corporate email (in the days when I still worked for a large semi-government corporation in the UK). This was circa 2008, so ancient history by now. I had been invited to speak at an academic conference on disability in the pre-modern world, which in today’s climate would tick every woke box possible. The organisers gave the conference the erudite Latin label “Homo debilis” (debilitated man, the closest Medieval Latin equivalent to disabled person). My email acknowledging my attendance was returned as undeliverable by the company email server due to “lexical error”, all due to that little offensive out of context word “homo”.

I hope not to have bored you with this anecdote, but to have highlighted how as early as 2008 the algorithm dictated correct thought and corresponding censorship. Needless to say I learnt the valuable lesson then of disguising my offensive lexical choices by creative spelling (“h*m*”), which stood me in good stead during the recent covid hysteria, when I managed to continue posting offensive misinformation on Phuckbook.

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author

That's a hilarious anecdote, more Brazil than 1984. But then Clown World is self-parody as often as horror story.

Funny how many have taken to Hebrewizing the no-no words by simply removing vowels.

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founding

"Homo debilis" brings to mind "homo sovieticus/sovietski chelovek" or "homo economicus".

From now on I intend to use "homo debilis" to describe the human ideal of the current regime...though maybe it should be "transhomo debilis".

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author

H. debilis really is a much more appropriate label than H. economicus for the New Globohomo Man.

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founding

It fits like a glove. They really do want us crippled. The evidence to support that is overwhelming, from the 'deaths of despair' to the crap being screened in cinemas. The vitalists are dead right about the malice of the Longhouse.

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm famously identified what he called a necrotic personality complex: people who are so overwhelmed with anxiety by the autonomy of others that they have to devitalise everyone, turn them into zombies. He thought that politicians were prone to it. It's an interesting idea.

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author

Politicians, perhaps. Certainly the managerial mindset is extremely prone to personality necrosis, and at a foundational level - it is all about sucking spontaneity out of the world in order to make it easier to control.

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founding

Politics and managerialism are an extension of the same imperatives: maximum control unconstrained by inherited forms of socio-cultural life or even instinct. Conservatives hate to hear this but Henry Ford's biggest fans were Hitler and Lenin. Had Lenin lived a bit longer Soviet communism would have taken on a more American flavour, hard as it is for people to imagine.

Heidegger, the Frankfurt School and the psychoanalysts pretty much converged (though no one admits this) on the impact of managerial capitalism. Adorno used the term gleichschaltung (standardisation, coordination) which the Nazis had used for their policy of remaking German society across the board. Gleichschaltung was all about applying developing an industrial mode of cybernetics. IMHO it captures the reality of what we see today.

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author

The relatively small differences between the Soviet and American industrial states tend to blind people to their similarities. With historical distance - a few centuries out - our descendents will regularly get confused about the difference between the USSA and the USR.

Likewise today - China has an explicit social credit system, but in the West it is implicit, and just as brutally enforced.

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Yossarian in Catch-22: The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.

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Apr 18, 2023·edited Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

I won't be snorting Notes. You probably could guess a dozen reasons, but you've explained the 13th very well here.

"If you build it, they will come."

"They" being the Legion of wokescolds, undead hausfraus and other lobotomized tilapia which pollute and ultimately destroy every other platform that enforces or incentivizes brevity. Yeah, yeah, I know I'm longwinded, that I desperately need an editor, etc. But I don't do sound-bytes, and the people who do tend to be the same bunch who'll find a rationale for Heckler's vetoes, Assassin's vetoes and the like.

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author

Yep. There seems to be a very close correlation between bite-sized text and bite-sized thought, which favors the small-minded.

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And that's even leaving aside the bots. Don't get me started, or I'll get all Jagger up in this bitch.

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author

Only a matter of time before bots take over the comments here, too. I suspect we'll ultimately have to limit comments to paid subscribers.

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Counterfeiters can afford paid subscriptions for their bots, I imagine.

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True, but at least then they're contributing something of value. Obviously it sucks though that things seem to be heading in that direction.

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author

If they're counterfeiting, they're not contributing anything of value.

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Apr 18, 2023·edited Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

Contributing value parasitically extracted from the productive, but still net value to our champion, I suppose. Pay to poison.

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

🤬😶

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

Damn I liked this joint because it's so easy to post... just invent an email and go. Much easier to post than on 4chan

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

Do get started. Pluh-ease! 🥹

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"wokescolds, undead hausfraus and other lobotomized tilapia"

WOW

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Eugyppius used a good one recently...lunitard. 😂 Perhaps he coined it. I haven't seen it used before.

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author

I like that. I coined 'intellitard' in another thread as a descriptor for the over-educated and credential-blinded high-IQ expert class.

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Brilliant! Seems creating a Dissident Dictionary might be a good thing so these useful witticisms are not lost.

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author

Those innovations which resonate will spread on their own. This is the creative source of our memetic power.

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Apr 18, 2023·edited Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

I'm proud to say I've never Twatted at all and have only possessed limited fake Farcebook accounts for contacts with various grassroot orgs.

The Twat character limit is self imposed silliness. Complex ideas often take length and time to formulate.

Twats always seemed to largely be snarky verbaculations seeking that coveted moneyshot over any long term commitment to actual ideas. Not that it's not entertaining sometimes. Like Porn it's best in small doses knowing full well the plots don't generally work in real life.

Substack reminds me of the multitude of forums of the late 90's often centered around a common interest or activity. It was a wonderful place and led to many actual real-life meetings and friendships I still have.

Substack will eventually be destroyed like the rest but in the meantime let us rejoice and actually connect in person when it seems warranted and prudent.

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Fuckin A, man, fuckin A.

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Without our God given right to cause offense, there would be no need of the 1st Amendment.

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author

Exactly.

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“Glorious and inspired as the First Amendment is…”

Hm. Yes it guarantees free speech. But it also protects a class/group of people (the religious). By so doing it opens the door to endless “civil rights” and “protected groups”. Those groups can claim that they should be protected from being harmed by, say, speech offensive to them.

It's a double edged sword.

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In fairness though to the drafters of the First Amendment, the courts have subsequently expanded its meaning way beyond what was literally written or originally intended. Similar to the way courts have somehow interpreted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to promote the trans agenda.

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I'm going to reply before I read your whole article.

The 1st half dozen notes that appeared in my notifications were from authors testing it out, except 1 from a total stranger that I had no idea what it was about. My response was "wtf is this & why?" I already had concluded that "also posteds" cluttered up my notifications. This was a million times worse. So I limited my email notifications to replies & likes, so I can ignore notifications altogether.

It took me some time, but I think I discovered a way to banish notes. In my search, I also learned how to block trolls, so my very brief notes experience generated 2 positive results.

Beyond that, I'm not interested in notes. I realized, after twitter dumped my for calling that nazi NZ bitch, Jacinda, a nazi bitch, that twitter was an enormous time sink & beyond that, useless.

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023Liked by John Carter

The left will never cease in their attempts to neuter free speech. Their main goal is to create a "Newspeak" that serves no other purpose than to promote their ideology by enforcing the supremacy of their talking points...The genuine surprise to me is the manner and the relatively short time span that elements of the State have totally co-opted the Left for its own purpose.

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author

The state recognized the utility in fanatics with an enthusiasm for silencing their enemies.

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Proof of concept that birds of a feather flock together.

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The Left was pro free speech not that long ago. Debating with far leftists was a hobby of mine for years. Progressives used to be more fun than Republicans -- as people. And sometimes I could get through to them. Sometimes a lightbulb would go off when I pointed out that overregulation favored Wal Mart over Mom and Pop stores, or that deficit spending is a subsidy for the already rich.

Back in my Libertarian days I had more threats of violence from Republicans for my views, especially on the drug issue.

Today, they advertise cannabis products on conservative talk radio. Back in 1999 calling for legalizing hemp around conservatives was still dangerous.

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author

It's amazing how rapidly things switched. If someone had told me two decades ago that all the creative countercultural energy would be on the right I'd have laughed them out of the room.

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I saw the first rumblings in 2008, when a Democrat saw my Libertarian bumper sticker, gave me the finger and shouted Obama! as he drove past. It has been downhill since.

Historically, the Left undergoes a phase change when it gets too much power. Much like Gremlins when you feed them after dark.

And this is why I am ready for Nehemiah Scudder to end the Crazy Years with a brutal theocracy if that's what it takes.

But I'd rather wind the clock back 50 years and have a do-over.

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

A whiff of faintly alike vibe from Curtis Yarvin ↓↓ 😉

🗨 it is impossible to go directly from hypocrisy to morality. A cleansing bath of amoral realism must intervene

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

Cf the curious lightbulb-ish incident of senator McGovern in his post-legislative time 🙂

🗨 In the end, the inn failed, leaving McGovern with many observations about the disconnect between politicians’ dreams and business owners’ realities.

takimag.com/article/are-more-progressives-coming-around-on-overregulation

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Apr 17, 2023Liked by John Carter

Totally unrelated to the piece but as a reader of Edgar Rice Burroughs, I have to say I love the theme of the newsletter. Especially love the pictures of Barsoom the are sprinkled around the different pieces. Nice touch.

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author

I like to decorate. Actually though, most of the art I use is from contemporary artists - I like to think I'm doing my small bit to promote their talented work.

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Here is the question: Frazetta or Whelan?!

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Apr 17, 2023Liked by John Carter

Now that I think of it Frazetta deserves the top spot as he is the godfather. Boris the inheritor. Tough choices.

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Apr 17, 2023Liked by John Carter

Would you hate it if I said Boris with Frazetta a close second? Or maybe Whelan the close second?? Please don’t make me choose!

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No man you are completely entitled to like Boris.

This is like arguing about Rachmaninoff vs. Tchaikovsky vs. Mussorgsky, except with muscle dudes brandishing sabers, buxom ladies in bikinis and gnarly monsters

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author

It really is. Frazetta, Whelan, and Vallejo are all absolute masters.

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Possibly my favorite ERB/Boris cover:

http://people.uncw.edu/smithms/Ace%20singles/s5N-series/35805-5.jpg

(Substack really needs to just let us post pix directly on 'Stacks like we can on Notes. The incremental and inconsistent rollout of these features is baffling)

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author

Strong agree. I'd have rather had comment pics than Notes tbh.

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Also that cover is great.

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I was buying ERB paperbacks in the 1970s. Great covers. Fun times.

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While we're picking on the left for subjugating free speech, let's remind ourselves that there is still a significant portion of the right who loses their mind at people kneeling during the anthem, or simply not showing respect for the flag or not standing up to support the troops.

It seems more insidious now because of the tech of the platforms but being anything but pro-USA in every way was every bit as taboo twenty years ago. Barbara Lee, for example.

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author

Indeed, the right of 2001 was far more censorious. But this is not 2001. Perhaps the situation will have flipped again by 2040.

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Apr 18, 2023Liked by John Carter

Those were suckers not actual right-wingers... 'people' kneeling during the anthem are enraging because they are privileged marxissist brats. I also detest hyper-politicization, yet another feature of the psychological warfare known as democracy. As Rolo says making the peasants care about politics is abuse... not like they have any power anyway. LEAVE PEASANTS ALONE

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Apr 17, 2023·edited Apr 17, 2023Liked by John Carter

"You might not always enjoy what you hear, because true things can be ugly when they conflict with your own model of reality."

Shit, man, true things are ugly when they are IN ACCORDANCE with my own model of reality.

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author

I find that when my reality model is fully harmonious with a given face of reality, it ceases to be so ugly.

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You've been quite prolific these last few weeks! Keep at it! 🙌🏼

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