Rhetorical martial Arts--Keeping your cool, countering attacks and advancing your position in the war of words (c)
"Rhetorical Martial Arts: Keeping your cool, countering attacks and advancing your position in the war of words" (c)
Posted January 22, rev. Jan 23, 24, 28, 29, Feb 2, 2019
(c) All rights reserved, Futurescapes21C, 2019
Parts A and B will:
I've stepped back from time to time to survey the impacts of a decades long culture war, and from my vantage point as an analyst, they are enormous. As a conservative, I've often wondered why we failed on so many occasions to counter the ideological assault and devaluation of so many things we held dear. And as I survey the damage, I have also wondered where all the champions of our cherished democratic freedoms have gone. Can they not see that Orwellian constrictions on free speech imposed by an identity politics dictatorship are strangling us?
I've concluded that common sense Canadians, traditionalists and middle-of-the-road moderates of all political stripes have been beaten down, bamboozled and silenced by political ideologues. The zealots have prevailed for several reasons. We can be sure however, it wasn't due to the brilliance of their arguments or the moral rightness of their position. Smearing those holding different points of view as "racist" or "Nazis" and "hystericizing" issues doesn't meet the threshold of rational argument. And many of the tenets of the politics of the far left today are contradictory and irreparably deficient in reason. So why do those of us in the resistance camp so often find ourselves fighting an ineffective rear guard action?
There are several reasons for the losses to neoliberalism, but it's pretty clear we were ill-equipped for the rigours of a long running war of words. Perhaps, most importantly, however, we vastly underestimated the size and potency of the neoliberal arsenal of rhetorical weapons. The daily barrage of amped up fallacies, weaponized language and take-no-prisoners digital sniping has been overwhelming. Today, we find ourselves fighting for the basic right to voice an alternative point of view or contest the official, politically correct narrative. Neoliberal activists, however, remain intent on de-platforming, shaming and otherwise silencing critics. There is simply no further room left for retreat.
So, if ever there was a time to speak up, it is now. It starts by learning how to fend off attacks and frame and advance an arguement or a point of view. If you are skeptical about this, just go on-line and assess some of the debates. Yes, you will find examples of where those within our ranks who advance their argument skillfully and respectfully. But you will also find an abundance of disastrous "wince worthy" exchanges and debates amounting to no more than reactionary "flailing." They may start out in civil tones, but then the back and forth descends to ad hominem and anger--fuelled profanity. In fairness of course, many of the attacks from the so called "social justice" left, begin with the profanity and don't warrant a response.
We can and must do better. We can learn to defend ourselves and the things we hold dear, and we can do it in a way that is civil and adds value to the political discourse in Canada. One means is by upping our rhetorical skills. Rhetoric and logic may have once been pretty standard fare in high school and university, but not any more. So, I'm planing to offer some basic training that I'm calling: "Rhetorical Martial Arts: Keeping your cool, countering attacks and advancing your position in the war of words (c). It will analyze some of the current word battles, expose common logical fallacies and offer techniques for effectively countering them as you advance your position.
The time for snark and sullen silence is over. There's too much at stake. Free speech is like a muscle; you either use it or lose it. It's time to make your voice heard while elevating the quality of political discourse. Policy analyst, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (Institute for Political Economy) captures the free speech imperative.
"A population that does not respect and defend free speech, debate, and truth will not long have the liberty that results from free speech, debate, and truth."
Types of attacks -- a "dirty dozen" plus (Part A):
It must be said at the outset that you have little chance of engaging and opponent effectively in debate if you don't first recognize the nature of the attack that's been directed at you. Several different types of attack methods and tactics, often in combination, are being used by Neoliberals in their frenetic struggle to impose and maintain the dominant narrative. While sitting in my local coffee shop one afternoon, I jotted down a dozen or so in the span of two to three minutes. Some are age old, while others are newer or have a modern day twist or new potency in the age of social media. We will begin with seven of the most popular rhetorical attacks:
1. Ad hominem; 2. Lies, fabrications and BS; 3. Strawman, 4. Contortion; 5. Conflation; 6. Smear or slur, and 7. Psychological projection.
1.0 Ad hominem (the sucker punch)
Ad hominem is latin for "to the person" according to Wikipedia and it belongs to a subcategory of fallacious arguments called fallacious of irrelevance. The underlying motive is usually an attempt to divert attention away from the issue on the table. It can take the form of an attack on someone's character, reputation or motives. Such attacks are often distinguished by a lack of accompanying evidence or counter-argument. And, their unexpected nature can give them the impact of a sucker punch to the gut or the head in the physical world.
Wikipedia offers a useful example. A father initiates a conversation with his son regarding the proven dangers of smoking. The son, sensing he cannot win the argument against the dangers of smoking, responds with something like "you used to smoke." (1) It reminds me of a kitchen table discussion with my daughter as a three year old regarding her use of eating utensils. I told her that licking her knife was not a good (safe) practice. Her defence was to point out that her older sister had the same habit; "Alana licks knives." In neither of these parent-child examples, was the central issues addressed -- the dangers of smoking or licking knives, respectively.
Ad hominem attacks are common in political debates between adults of course. Let's assume that you are trying to have an intelligent discussion about Canada's current immigration policy. You have commented that increasing annual immigrant numbers without first assessing a) progress in the integration of the recent influx of newcomers and b) the impact of the latter on social services infrastructure (like education and health care) isn't smart policy.
Your opponent responds icily: "I don't think that your xenophobia qualities you to participate in any policy discussion regarding what's in Canada's best interests." In reality, this response isn't much different from those of the two children described earlier as it ignores the issue on the table. It is, therefore irrelevant. It's no accident that the issue was skirted. Your opponent has just told you that he/she had no credible response.
When you hear your inner voice asking, "and what does that response have to do with anything?", it's a cue to pause and weigh your response. Because such attacks have a personal barb, they can sting. As humans, our inclination is to respond to a barbed argument by striking back with some adrenalin added. A natural retort might be: "And who are you to accuse me of being a xenophobe?" Or, "No, it's you that has the phobia; you're afraid of what the kind of assessment I am calling for might reveal." A mischievous, but not necessarily recommended response, would be to repeat your statement and ask, "Would you like to phone a friend?" (We will explore how to use humour later in the course.) First, often angry reactions aren't usually the best responses, however. You asked a genuine question, and like a good lawyer, you should retain your focus on the question until you get an honest answer.
In some circumstances, it may be sufficient to remind an opponent that such attacks are considered the refuge of individuals who lack cogent arguments. Other ad hominem attacks of a more serious nature may warrant more assertive responses (also see Smear in this regard). It's not hard to see however that the politically naive or undiscerning may fail to see the ad hominem for what it is and demand evidence or proof of the assertion. Thus one's reputation as it relates to the politically unsophisticated may be damaged by an ad hominem attack.
2.0 Lies, disinformation, hyperbole and unadulterated BS
Lies, hyperbole, disinformation and their variants including attempts to generalize isolated occurrences outside the mainstream are common strategies in debate or political combat. You can add half truths, rhetorical sleights of hand and bait-and-switch deceptions to this list of tactics in this category. The goal is the same in all cases: to deceive, distract and demoralize an opponent. Their damaging effect is greatest again, among the politically naive who fail to realize these are tactics not arguments (the politically naive tend to assume that all parties are bound by the rules of fair play.) Many of your adversaries in the culture war have been guided by a different ethic, however. Specifically, it is that the end justifies the means and lying is a perfectly acceptable means for many.
If US electoral politics is any barometer, federal politicians have, in my view, taken ever greater liberties with the truth and become increasingly unanchored from reality. One can make the case, that the methods and tactics of war propagandists are being mainstreamed. So let's get this out of the way up front: our political leaders deceive us on a regular basis. It ranges from failure to disclose essential information to citizens to fabricating complex, multilayered narratives and orchestrating false flag events sometimes referred to as "theatre."
An Ottawa Citizen contributor describes how the Trudeau liberals abandoned their campaign promise of 2015 to exercise budgetary discipline in favour of profligate spending. The journalist calls it "artful lying."
"Gone are the sober and pious days of 2015, when even the NDP was promising balanced budgets, and Trudeau’s deficits, although a shock, were meant to be modest, with a return to balanced budgets assured by 2019. This artful piece of electoral lying is now etched in permanent red ink all over the federal books." (2), (3)
More recently, Stephen Ledrew, former president of the Liberal Party of Canada stated that Justin Trudeau had resorted to one of the most despicable, albeit tried and true, political ploys to stay in power. That is Trudeau was accusing his opposition of sowing fears of hatred and extremism.
“In a recent speech, Mr. Trudeau accused Conservative leader Andrew Scheer of failing ‘to call out alt-right conspiracy theories’ and proudly speaking ‘at the same rallies as white nationalists.’
The allegations have no basis whatsoever in fact. They are lies meant to divide Canadians. Trudeau wants to make it seem like only the Liberals are moral, and the Conservatives are deplorable.” (4)
This only scratches the surface of Trudeau propensity for lies and deception. Liberal foreign policy narratives including the Maidan Square (Ukraine) coup, the Russia threat narrative, and the "we're defeating ISIS in Syria theatre and based on lies. Why do politicians and governments do it? Well, unfortunately, as the above examples illustrate, it works with a gullible electorate -- in the short term at least. The stories of how lies and deception have been used to win political advantage throughout human history would fill books -- perhaps entire libraries. Suffice to say, the harsh reality is your opponents often lie in order to get you to accept their argument or version of reality and herd you down the path they have chosen.
What do I mean when I refer to attempts to generalize isolated occurrences as universal truths? On example of this comes in the form of the feminist assertion that Canada and or the US is a "rape culture." Philip Carl Salzman, writing in the letter of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (Winnipeg, Manitoba, contends: "The feminist argument that we have a “rape culture” is an outright lie, and no more than a vicious vilification of men." The daily repetition of the phrase or accusation however is likely to have an effect among those who aren't able to filter this piece of feminist fear propaganda. (4)
Barbara Kay similarly exposes an untruth as promoted in a TV ad campaign advancing the "toxic masculinity" meme.
"The scenario is a baby shower (“It’s a girl!” banner close-up tells us the unborn baby is female). Gifts are being opened by the young mother, as a doting circle of friends and relatives of diverse ages looks on. Notably, every one of the shower guests is beautifully groomed and fashionably kitted out. A gift is passed to the expectant mother. She opens it and holds the unwrapped object up, puzzled. “What is it?” someone asks. An older woman solemnly and sadly responds, “It’s a rape whistle.” The mother looks stricken. A young child at her shoulder smiles at the whistle, clearly uncomprehending. Cut to a black screen with the words, “1 in 2 girls will be physically or sexually abused.”
Pardon? Fifty percent of women will be beaten or raped? Um, well since you asked—and I was the only journalist in Canada who did, to my knowledge—the answer is no."
...The actual intimate partner violence rates in Canada in 2011 were 18.8% for women and 19.8% for men. That is, about one in five women suffered abuse from a partner, and about one in five men suffered abuse from a partner in that year. There has been no upward surge since then. These figures are consistent with figures in other western countries, as confirmed by multiple bona fide studies, like this one from 2010." (5)
Lies and grand deceptions can be all the more appealing if they are packaged inside romanticized tales, clever expressions or memes. The Israel foundation myth, as described by Philip Geraldi, has a poetic touch.
"Even before the creation of a Jewish state, Zionists encouraged Jewish emigration from Europe to the then Turkish-controlled Palestine. They coined the expression “a land without people for people without a land.” Geraldi calls the expression, "a flat out lie as Palestine was fully inhabited by Muslim and Christian Palestinian Arabs plus a small Jewish minority." (6) Cue the violins.
Remember, a lie whether it is embedded in beautifully-crafted, emotive TV commercials, or poetic expression, repeated 1,000 times and acted on just as many remains a lie. Isolated facts stretched out of proportion and presented as universal truths also remain lies. There is no alchemy under the sun that can transform leaden lies into golden truths. And their authors deserve to be called out for the liars or liars accomplices they are.
3.0 Strawman: erecting a pale substitute argument
The reason your opponent may try to "straw man" your argument is because he or she has no response to your position as presented. So your opponent restates it in an altered form so it can be easily countered. It can catch the unwary debater off stride however and he or she finds themselves debating an unwindable argument.
To illustrate the straw man fallacy, we will return to the now famous Jordan Peterson-Cathy Newman debate. The debate is replete with examples of attempts by Newman to paraphrased Peterson's words inaccurately thus making them easy to refute. The problem for Newman was that Peterson was alert to her many false "So, you're saying...." paraphrases. Here's an example.
Newman: "Jordan Peterson, so you're saying you've done your research and women are unhappy dominating men."
Peterson: "I didn't say they were unhappy dominating men, I ..."
Newman: (interrupting Peterson) "You're just saying that's the way it is."
Peterson: "Well, I'm not saying anything..."
Newman: (Interrupting) "Well, you're saying basically it doesn't matter if women aren't getting to the top, You're saying that's just a fact that women aren't necessarily getting to the top."
Peterson: "No, I'm not saying it doesn't matter either."
Newman: "You're saying (Peterson interjects; "You can't...) .Newman talks over.. (if it's?) at a cost to men, that's a problem."
Peterson: "That is so untrue that it's almost unbelievable."
Newman: (cutting in): "I fought to get where I've got."
Peterson: "That's fine; more power to you as far as I'm concerned." (7)
The Newman debate tactic of "you're saying that...." continues through much of the interview with Peterson repeatedly stopping her to correct the misstating of of his position before proceeding with the conversation. There's no point in arguing for or against a position you don't hold, is there?
4.0 Contorting (word meanings)
Deliberately twisting or contorting word meanings to your advantage is nasty. It's most effective of course when it's done surreptitiously. It's is a bit like covertly moving the goal line and goal posts in the dark of night before a game of football in order to trick the opposing team. The unsuspecting home team attempts to move the ball in the right direction, but it's to no avail. The play-by-the-rules team was foiled. A former member of the Social Justice Warrior (SJW) cult provides an insider's view of the mental gymnastics employed by its leading lights when it comes to definitions of "racism" and "sexism" and the inversion or trickery involved.
"SJW ideology MUST redefine racism and sexism. It’s essential to getting well-meaning people to go along with racist and sexist behavior and speech. ‘Racism and sexism are okay now guys, because they’re no longer considered racism or sexism! Here, let me share the new definition with you.’
I learned the Racism/Sexism = Prejudice + Power redefinition at a “Dismantling Racism” training I attended in college with other Amnesty International student leaders. It was then reiterated and accepted as truth in my Women’s Studies and Critical Theory classes. I have pages upon pages of embarrassing feminist message board posts from my early twenties, where I proselytized to non-believers who still defined racism and sexism as prejudice or discrimination based on race or sex. I find it kind of amusing now when new converts try to explain it to me. I understand it perfectly fine, thank you, I just reject it."(8)
So, your opponents in the culture war may attempt to confuse and defeat you by resorting to contorting -- contorting your words and contorting the meaning of language. They have already done the latter in the case of the terms "racism" and "sexism." (more on the latter later).
5.0 Conflating (unrelated subjects)
I define conflation as inappropriately equating a particular issue or concern with another, often of a morally-reprehensible nature. Our far left opponents are very skilled at inappropriately coupling legitimate concerns raised by conservatives with very different matters. This blurring of subjects has been very effective in shutting down dissent and discussion regarding important issues. It's also been very frustrating for those who don't understand the trickery involved.
Social Justice Warriors commonly conflate views that challenge their narrative with "hatred" (or some nasty "ism") despite the fact that disagreement doesn't equal hatred. This has long frustrated those conservatives, for example who hold no malice toward gays but don't embrace activist LGBT+ ideology or politics. Dissenters in this category are summarily branded "homophobes." The Canadian government has frustrated many conservative Canadians by passing a resolution in parliament In March of 2017 condemning "Islamophobia". The resolution is unnecessary and there's nothing to be gained by conflating critique of Islam with hatred of Muslims. The political overreach will in fact only serve to frustrate and divide people who are sufficiently astute enough to know that no ideology or religion is exempt from critique. The contradiction should be clear: For the current neoliberal administration, diversity of cultures is "good" but diversity of viewpoints is "bad" it seems.
Salman Rushdie has assayed the temper of the times and highlights the problem inherent is the political construct of Islamophobia.
“we are living in the darkest time I have ever known”, with the rise of Islamic State of “colossal importance for the future of the world”. He argued that the taboo surrounding “supposed ‘Islamophobia’” must be brought to an end.
“Why can’t we debate Islam?” ...“It is possible to respect individuals, to protect them from intolerance, while being sceptical about their ideas, even criticising them ferociously.” (9)
So, let's be clear. Just because you disagree with a feature of third wave feminism, Islam, current immigration policy, LGBT+ politics or Israel's policy regarding Palestinians, it does not make you a "hater." It simply means you disagree. And any society with no room for expressing different points of view cannot call itself a democracy.
Snowflake universities and their indoctrinated students commonly conflate differences of opinion -- conservative view points in particular, with physical violence. Barbara Kay tells the story of an instance in which conflation was used to suppress thinking. An education student enrolled in the University of the Fraser Valley's faculty of Education shared some statistics potentially linking multiple abortions and rates of autism. She was confronted by her professor and the department head and accused of "being hurtful" and not considering the "feelings" and "safety" of others who may have had abortions.
The department head absurdly compared the situation to encouraging the establishment of a KKK office on campus. It takes the fallacious argument and intellectual bullying to a whole new level!
“It’s not freedom of speech per se … we don’t just say whatever. Otherwise — that’s why we don’t have the KKK having a club on campus. That’s not freedom of speech. That’s hate, right?” (10)
No, it's not; they are not the same. This is how the pretence of protecting people from hate speech is used to de-platform, defame, and otherwise sideline speakers with alternative viewpoints and even, as in this case, a biological explanation for a medical condition. It must be exposed for the intellectual cowardice that it is. Moreover, it is those who equate challenging points of view with violence who are usually themselves the source of violence and intimidation, and it's now time to hold them to account.
6.0 The smear or slur
The smear is age old and to this day remains one of the most common among the dirty dozen attacks in the word wars. Some smear attacks are direct and obvious. Others are more subtle. Sometimes it takes just a few well-aimed words embedded in the text of a story or spoken argument. But the result can be devastating nonetheless, leaving their target's reputation or character forever stained as offensive or unsavoury. And that in turn invites public ridicule and scorn.
The enemies of US policy analysts, Paul Craig Roberts and Stephen Cohen, have used the smear tactic repeatedly in order to sustain their "Russian threat" narrative and deflect criticisms advanced by the two analysts. A casual reader could easily miss the subtle smear in their terse description of the two critics as "Russian dupes." It's just two words embedded in hundreds or thousands of words of text. But with repeated used over a period of month and years, the smear is likely to penetrate the subconscious of the reader. The result is that the thoughtful red pill analyses Cohen and Roberts deliver, is subconsciously disregarded as unworthy of consideration.
Here's a top ten favourite in a related vein -- "conspiracy theorist." The term was coined by the CIA in the wake of the Kennedy assassination to smear those who were tempted to reject the findings of the Warren Commission. The mere fact the term was coined by the CIA should be telling in itself, but many are unaware of the term's origin, so it remains effective in suppressing the natural curiosity of those interested in finding out what's really going on. Thus, those who fail to accept the official narrative regarding the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon are routinely branded conspiracy theorists or members of the "tin foil hat crowd." The problem for the smear artists is that times changes and peoples' opinions regarding the credibility of official narratives change. A recent survey reveals that a majority of US citizens no longer accept the official 9/11 narrative. So the tables have turned. Those who would brand other conspiracy theorists appear to be the real "conspiracy theorists" now clinging to an explanation of events that defies reason and science.
Political analyst, Paul Craig Roberts exposes the hollow nature of the "conspiracy theorist" label. It's also a telling acknowledgement that the smearer has no counter argument.
"The fact that the carefully presented evidence is NEVER ENGAGED EXCEPT WITH NAME-CALLING is a strong indication that the evidence is true and cannot be refuted." (11)
Roberts also highlights an ugly smear that recently made the news, one he believes warrants legal action. It was launched at Brett Kavanaugh, the nominee for the US Supreme Court, during his Senate hearings, by a Georgetown feminist University Professor.
“Look at this chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.”
Roberts comments: "There is no evidence whatsoever that Kavanaugh is a “serial rapist.” By calling him one, she is guilty of libel. Kavanaugh should sue her for damages." (12)
It's noteworthy in this context that one of the women who in October 2018 anonymously accused Judge Kavanaugh of sexual assault has admitted her allegations were a "tactic" and a "ploy." This accuser, decades older than Kavanaugh, went so far as to say she "just wanted to get attention" and had never met the supreme court candidate. Ahhh yes, the old, "I just want to have fun" smear. (13)
Other smear attacks are more subtle. Take the example cited by Maxime Bernier, leader of Canada's newest political party, the People's Party of Canada (PPC). Prior to his party's being granted official status, Bernier was interviewed by CBC journalist, Wendy Mesley. In the course of the interview, Mesley repeatedly asked Bernier about libertarian US billionaires, the Koch Brothers. Twelve of Mesley's 17 questions or follow-ups touch on the Koch Brothers or libertarianism. Wesley never had to accuse Bernier directly of being under Koch influence, only imply a link existed. That in itself would be sufficient to deflect some potential followers from his fledgling political campaign. (14)
The smear or slur tactic can also be used to distract from the misdeeds of the attacker. Smearing can also be used for darker purposes. in the social media age, a smear can effectively set up a target for society-wide condemnation and potentially, physical attacks. SJW's like to proactively apply broad brush smears to entire segments of society. If you've been branded a "Nazi," a "sexist," an "Islamophobe," or a "racist" there's a good chance you aren't keen on making your views better known lest you get singled out for a public hanging on social media or doxing.
Ultimately, the smear or slur (meaning "mud" in old English) is intended to dirty you, your reputation or your argument. The outcome of implying your conduct is morally offensive or you or your argument is ridiculous or contemptible is they are cast as unworthy of consideration. You may recall Hillary Clinton's lumping Trump supporters as a single basket of "deplorables." A more recent example of such a slur comes from the Washington Post's Dave Wiegal who appeared on a podcast of Chapo Trap Host. In the course of the interview , he referred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's handling of the partial government shutdown and funding for Trump's wall. He described McConnell as: "very good at identifying what the rubes want to hear." (15).
This slur invites readers to treat Trump supporters as laughable hillbillies or country bumpkins. It brings back memories of my school days. As the kid from the farm, my tormentors on the playground gave the term, "farmer" an inflection that called to mind its origins meaning as an awkward and unsophisticated individual.
To summarize, smears and slurs are a means of silencing opposition or dissent by tagging the subject for disgust or ridicule. Properly done, it creates the perception that the subject or the subject's argument is beneath our dignity and is thus unworthy of our attention. Like the majority of logical fallacies, It is a means of control. To some degree, it is now in being used on a pre-emptive basis to ensure criticism or dissent never secures a foothold with the public.
Note: We will deal with the subject of countering smears later in Part C. In the interim, however, you may find this analysis by rogue journalist, Caitlin Johnstone of interest. https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/03/03/how-and-how-not-to-beat-a-smear-campaign/
7.0 Psychological projection (mirror reversal)
A tactic that's very common in the current culture war is psychological projection. In 2018, I attended a rally on Parliament Hill aimed at bringing public attention to the risks in Canada's decision to sign unto the UN Global Immigration Compact. Before I even entered the barricaded area reserved for attendees, I could hear Antifa protesters angry shouts of "Nazi Scum." I chatted with a couple of Baby Boomers a who arrived a bit later than I did via the wrong entrance. The husband had been roughed up by Antifa protestors before security redirected him to the appropriate entrance. Both, like me, wondered if antifa members were completely lacking in self-awareness or any appreciation of the irony in their conduct.
Could they not see the irony in their attempt to intimidate Canadian citizens merely wishing to exercise their rights of assembly and free speech? Did they not realize that it was their behaviour that resembled that of real fascists. Accusing your opponent of the very things you are engaged in is psychological projection. It is so Machiavellian in nature it's hard not to imagine it was an integral feature of Nazi propaganda campaigns. More sobering is the fact that it remains part of NATO's repertoire, a feature of its psychological warfare (e.g. NATO provocatively engages in war exercises on Russia's border while declaring Russia a threat.) In my assessment, psychological projection is at best extremely disorienting for its targets.
Our dystopian societal inversion can be attributed in part to the work of dedicated SJW's, their indoctrinators and their collaborators. Unlike the Pogo cartoon character of the sixties, they have not yet experienced the epiphany that comes when one realizes "the enemy" is staring back at them from the mirror. Moiret Allegiere has some pointed advice for those under assault by combative feminists and culture warriors.
"Do not back down. Do not give them an inch. And watch them grumble, mumble, crumble and waste away, driven back across the borders and back into the padded cells of their safe-space asylum." (16)
Allegiere's outrage is apparent, as is his approach to defending oneself from aggression. His first principle is clearly one of no retreat, no compromise, no surrender. Subtext: cowering and begging for mercy doesn't work. Would-be members of the resistance, take note.
1. Ad hominem, Wikpedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem
2. MacDougall: Trudeau is spending your money like you don't care. He may be right., Ottawa Citizen. March 16-18.
3. Will the bill ever come due for Justin Trudeau's Liberals?, Ottawa Citizen, January 4, 2019,
4. Stephen LeDrew: Trudeau's 'racism' slanders will make fear and hatred worse, National Post, May 1, 2019
5. Should false accusations be punished?, Philip Carl Salzman, Frontier Policy Institute, Frontier Centre for Public Policy, January 5, 2019, https://fcpp.org/2019/01/05/should-false-accusations-be-punished/
6. "Toxic Masculinity in Advertising: Keeping Women Scared and Men Shamed, Barbara Kay, The Post Millenial, January 25, 2019, https://www.thepostmillennial.com/toxic-masculinity-in-advertising-keeping-women-scared-and-men-shamed/
7. Israel's story, Philip Geraldi, The Unz Report, January 29, 2019,
8. Jordan Peterson versus Cathy Newman -- the "You're saying" recut, YouTube, February 4, 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-rE03PGQfA
9. Deprogrammed: Fighting racist with racism?, Keri Smith, A Medium Corporation, January 2, 2019, https://medium.com/@KeriSmith/deprogrammed-fighting-racism-with-racism-abfb4034017a
10. Salman Rushdie on Islam: 'We have learned the wrong lessons,' The Guardian, July 23, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jul/23/salman-rushdie-on-islam-we-have-learned-the-wrong-lessons
11. Another School, another recording, another free speech crisis, Barbara Kay, National Post, October 11, 2018, https://nationalpost.com/opinion/barbara-kay-another-school-another-recording-another-free-speech-crisis
12. A majority of Americans do not believe the official 9/11 story, Paul Craig Roberts, Institute of Political Economy, January 8, 2019, https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/01/08/a-majority-of-americans-do-not-believe-the-official-9-11-story/
13. The White heterosexual male has been renditioned to the punishment hole, Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy, October 5, 2018) https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-10-05/paul-craig-roberts-white-heterosexual-male-has-been-renditioned-punishment-hole
14. Brett Kavanaugh accuser referred to FBI-DOJ for investigation, USA Today, November 3, 2018, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/11/02/brett-kavanaugh-accuser-referred-fbi-doj-investigation/1863210002/
15. Maxime Bernier is furious after being interviewed by the CBC, and he may have a point, National Post, September 25, 2018, https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/maxime-bernier-is-furious-after-being-interviewed-by-the-cbc-and-he-may-have-a-point
16. Washington Post reporter calls Trump supporters 'rubes' on podcast, Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, January 29, 2019, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/washington-post-reporter-calls-trump-supporters-rubes
17. Don't Apologize, Don't Back Down, Moiret Allegiere, December 29, 2018, https://moiretallegiere.wordpress.com/2018/12/29/dont-apologize-dont-back-down/
Next time: Rhetorical Martial Arts (Part B)
NATO is psycho
Posted December 4, 2018, revised Dec 5, 17, 2018
Futurescapes21C (c) 2018, All rights reserved
I see that NATO ministers of Foreign Affairs met in Brussels, Belgium from December 4-5, 2018. While NATO wasn't the focus of the agenda, an earlier meeting in Brussels referenced NATO from a very different perspective. I'm referring to the 12th European-Russian Forum held in the European Parliament in Brussels on November 26, 2018. Gilbert Doctorow, a Brussels-based political analyst and author, reported on the forum. Doctorow says the forum, "brought sobering realism to bear on the questions of whether we are headed into war with Russia, whether it can be limited in destructiveness and regional in scope or will quickly escalate to the global level with nuclear exchanges, and appraising what kind of outcomes we may anticipate."
With the West's relations with Russia at an historic low, and military tensions at a dangerous new high, it's important to ask how we got here. What went wrong? Doctorow's report was clear as to where forum speakers laid the blame.
"There was a near consensus of all speakers regarding who is to blame for the deterioration in Russia’s relations with the West ever since the halcyon days following signing of the Paris Charter in November 1990 that formally ended the Cold War. This deterioration has moved with particular speed over the past decade bringing us today to the lowest point in relations since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
We heard from speaker after speaker that the US was and is to blame, starting with NATO expansion to the East in the mid-1990s and running through the US-managed coup d’état in Kiev on 22 February 2014 that installed an aggressively anti-Russian government in Ukraine. That crossed all of Moscow’s red lines and precipitated the re-incorporation of Crimea into the Russian Federation the following month, leading in turn to the Western response we see to this day: sanctions, nonstop information war and exacerbation of conflicts in Europe and in the Middle East, where Russia and the West have been backing proxies that are in conflict."(1)
The record shows that NATO, the so-called "system of collective defence" (2), has been playing offence, violating the Gorbachev-Reagan agreement and poking the bear. But why? Patrick Armstrong, former analyst in the Canadian Department of National Defence specialising in the USSR/Russia, attempts to psychoanalyze NATO. He concludes the alliance "demonstrates a dangerous level of 'confirmation bias.'"
He points out the brazen pro NATO New York Times propaganda and nature of NATO news speak.
"Could there be a better illustration of the truth of Kennan's percipience than this headline from the New York Times in July 2017: "Russia’s Military Drills Near NATO Border Raise Fears of Aggression"? The chutzpah of the headline is hard to swallow: Russia hasn't moved anywhere. "The troops are conducting military maneuvers known as Zapad, Russian for 'west,' in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad." Belarus is an ally of Russia, Russia has a Baltic coastline of more than 400 kilometres, Kaliningrad is part of Russia. So what exactly is the reason what Russia can't do whatever military things it wants to at home? Imagine the reaction if Moscow dared question an American military exercise in the USA. But this reversal of truth is now the propagandistic norm." (3)
In a subsequent article, Armstrong takes his analysis a step further. After examining the scope of fanciful and conflicting pro NATO war rhetoric (propaganda) regarding Russia, he concludes members are suffering from something more serious than simply confirmation bias. He states: "There is a striking schizophrenia among NATO's members: Russia is, at one and the same time, so weak it's "doomed" and so strong that it's demolishing NATOLand." (4)
Another Canadian, lawyer-author, Christopher Black, also examined NATO behaviour. In short order, Black calls out NATO “saviour of democracy" propaganda, its diabolically inverted mission and the psychopathy of the leaders of the nations behind it.
"The US and its NATO allies treat international law with contempt, use intense propaganda on their own peoples to brainwash them to support this criminality, and try to intimidate them with their 'war on terror' as they savaged civil liberties. Law means nothing to the psychopaths who rule these nations and whose slogan is 'peace through strength' or, to penetrate the euphemism, 'peace through war.'"(5)
I've also attempted to make sense of the inexplicable behaviour of the organization known to many of its critics as the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization. It's clear that one NATO propaganda tactic is psychological projection. It resembles that employed by antifa activists who are fond of aggressively threatening any who oppose them and then branding their opponents as “haters” and “Nazis” among other things. It’s a style not unlike that of the playground bully who approaches and then repeatedly pushes the skinny kid wearing glasses while shouting “don’t touch me.” The bully then promptly leverages his own aggression by accusing the skinny kid of “hiting” him, thus justifying a beat down.
In a satirical essay on US foreign policy called Why can’t Sam learn?, I argued:
"... the NATO gang should be immediately broken up and each of its members given a similar assessment. Their aggressive behaviours and their enabling of (Uncle) Sam’s intimidation and bullying suggest that some of them may also suffering from a similar condition (psychopathology). To some extent however, they are also Sam’s victims. (Canada, is no exception.) (6)
It's sometimes said in management circles that the pathologies of organizations are the pathologies of their leadership. So we shouldn't be surprised that NATO is demonstrating psychopathic behaviour. Hare's Psychopathy Checklist is a useful diagnostic tool. The checklist describes one of this condition's essential characteristics as "selfish and unfeeling victimization of other people." Substitute "foreign nations" for "other people" and it is descriptive of NATO. At a glance, 15 of the 20 traits on the checklist are further descriptive of NATO ethos and conduct. They are:
Which of our current NATO obligations predispose our acting, now or in the future, in ways at odds with Canadian values and our vision for the future?
In what ways has Canadian participation in foreign conflicts as a NATO member contributed to or exacerbated conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world?
In what ways has Canada as a NATO member with the backing of the military industrial complex, contributed to a more dangerous and less secure world?
It what ways does our participation in NATO undercut our understanding of what is essential for the long-term global good and our desired contribution to it? (8)
Do we need another reason to rethink our NATO commitment beyond that of its criminal pathology?. How about its incompetent management? The seventh anniversary of Gaddafi's murder and a NATO-assisted regime change was October 20. If NATO practiced the most basic form of project management, it would have evaluated the Libya "democracy" intervention. The actual result was that a prosperous and stable state was reduced to a chaotic and divided country with a depressed standard of living. I could add that some analysts also attribute the uncontrolled flood of North African migrants to Europe to the collapse of a strong central Libyan government. So the damage from that military escapade is still mounting.
I have to conclude there was no honest evaluation of the Libya project and its rippling consequences. If there had been, it's unlikely an intelligently-managed organization, supposedly dedicated to the good of humanity, would have plunged ahead with another disastrous regime change project in Syria (9). Again, the damage estimate associated with NAT0's involvements in the Syrian war is still being tallied. So, from the an organizational management standpoint, NATO is an abject failure. I might add that in another world, one where international justice prevailed and NATO was accountable for its performance, NATO countries would be paying war reparations to both Libya and Syria to name just two recent victims of the alliance's war crimes.
Canada has other good reasons to re-evaluate its contributions to military spending and NATO in particular. This country spent $32 billion on military spending in the last year (10). Mark Taliano contends that this was "largely to bolster US imperialism abroad, to the detriment of humanity." And Canada did this while running a deficit and lacking sufficient funds for infrastructure renewal, health care and other social programs. So here's a modest suggestion. Why don't we limit our "defence" expenditures to those items which are genuinely matters of Canada's defence, tell the armaments industry lobbyists to take a hike and redirect precious resources to more peaceful and productive purposes. I promise you, it would generate a much "healthier" return than our current investment in the North Atlantic Terrorist Organization.
Note: Add the name of one more of us (Jan Oberg) who thinks NATO has a serious psychological problem.
1. Experts and activists offer a sober evaluation of the risks of a major war between Russia and the West, Gilbert Doctorow, Anti-War Blog, Nov 30, 2018, https://www.antiwar.com/blog/2018/11/30/experts-and-activists-offer-a-sober-evaluation-of-the-risks-of-a-major-war-between-russia-and-the-west/
2. NATO, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO
3. Psychoanalyzing NATO, Patrick Armstrong, Strategic Culture, November 9, 2018, https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/07/03/psychoanalysing-nato-projection.html
4. Psychoanalyzing NATO: Schizophrenia, Patrick Armstrong, Strategic Culture, December 15, 2018.https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/12/15/psychoanalysing-nato-schizophrenia.html
5. On capitalism and eternal war: NATO as "world government," Christopher Black, Global Research, October 3, 2018,
6. Why can't Sam learn? Futurescapes21C, November 22, 2017, http://www.futurescapes21c.com/blog/why-cant-sam-learn
7. Encyclopedia of mental disorders forum, Hare's psychopathy checklist, http://www.minddisorders.com/Flu-Inv/Hare-Psychopathy-Checklist.html
8. Prayers for Canada's Pogo moment in 2017, Futurescapes21C, January 32, 2017, http://www.futurescapes21c.com/blog/prayers-for-canadas-pogo-moment-in-2017
9. Anniversary of Gaddaffi's death and the current situation in Libya, Yuriy Zinin, New Eastern Outlook, October 18, 2018,
10. NATO economic straightjackets: Military spending drains public coffers, triggers collapse of social programs, Mark Taliano, Global Research, November 26, 2018. https://www.globalresearch.ca/nato-economic-straightjackets-military-spending-drains-public-coffers-triggers-collapse-of-social-programs/5660995?utm_campaign=magnet&utm_source=article_page&utm_medium=related_articles
Home page post, October 2018
Futurescapes21C (c) All rights reserved
I suspect that a lot of folks are feeing rather disoriented these days. Major developments in the geopolitical, technological and cultural realms of late have been sending tremors through our world as it seemingly stumbles from one crisis to the next. It's left the average person without sufficient breathing space to process the latest happenings and their implications. And collectively the picture is distorted and incoherent, so sense-making is exhausting. So, I can understand why many have given up on making sense of their world and adopted a "whatever" attitude. At times like this, when things are blurring past us, it's important to step back, confirm essential landmarks, and try to grasp how the pieces fit together. With a better understanding of what is really transpiring, we're in a position to make sounder, longer term decisions including which policies we should support. This is urgently needed when it comes to the matters of proxy jihaidi armies, regime change wars in Middle East, mass migration to Europe and cultures clashes in the West. We need to figure out what's really going on.
People struggle to see the big picture
A capacity for big picture thinking doesn't come naturally. It's a bit like that image of the six blind men, each with their hand on a different part of an elephant's anatomy from trunk to tail and each describing what they perceive an elephant looks like. None of them has the full picture. None could describe an elephant. And that's often the way the mainstream media presents the news to us. We are bombarded with bits and pieces -- the "issues" du jour, but few sources provide a meaningful analysis of how the pieces intersect and their overall significance. This is one reason so many of the proverbial "elephants in the room" or in our society are left undisturbed. It also explains why so many people and organizations are caught off-base, tilting at windmills (symptoms of a problem) and others, unawares and easily blindsided by new developments. Do we really want to be concerned with paving our driveway if an earthquake is building under our feet or our local Mount Vesuvius is about to erupt.
Big picture blindness is often self-imposed
Why don't we get better at grasping big picture stuff and anticipating what's coming? Often the constraints are self-imposed. For starters, it often involves the unfamiliar and that in itself can cause discomfort. And then, those who pride themselves on being "practical," often have a distaste for anything that seems like a distant abstraction. A former colleague responded that big picture stuff was the responsibility of his managers -- the folks being "paid the big bucks." He was, in effect saying,"it's none of my business." The problem is that sometimes those very senior managers are insulated from the tremors which folks with their feet on the ground have already sensed. And, let's be honest, there's another category of people that simply don't care and still another that wishes to preserve its innocence. So, the cognitive dissonance associated with potentially unpleasant subjects quickly repels them. Who, for example, wants to believe that the reason some things don't add up is because their government regularly lies to them?
Crisis reactions inhibit clear thinking
Let's take a real world example of some major activities recently dominating the news. I'm thinking of global terrorism, a succession of regime change wars in the Middle East, and disruptive mass migration into Europe. Those with a narrow "issues" mindset will likely see these as distinctly separate developments, producing different sets of problems and warranting particular responses or solutions. Thus when our national government presents us with a "refugee crisis," we react to "the problem" as presented in the moment, rather than ask what's behind the so called crisis or probe what the underlying problem is. Besides, many people are eager to prove to their political masters that they are capable of rising to the challenge just handed to them by their government. (Isn't that how Europeans reacted to the migrant wave and how Canadian's responded to the Trudeau-McCallum challenge of accommodating 30,000 or so immigrants.). Thus the emotional urgency of "crises" presented by governments, can suppress critical thinking and reasoning.
The puzzle pieces fit together
Former US diplomat and author, Michael Springmann, peered behind the curtain. Springmann connected a lot of dots and assembled the pieces of a big puzzle in his two books, Visas for Al Qaeda (2014) and Goodbye Europe?, Hello Chaos,? Merkel's Migrant Bomb (2017). The former diplomat demonstrates there are links between US-backed jihadi activity and proxy wars, destruction of Arab countries, displacement of native populations, the migration of millions to non-Arab countries, the covert role of migrant enablers, the disruptive impacts felt by host countries, and the destructive influence on the cultures of both host countries and migrants. Springmann examines the divisive effect that mass immigration has on the population of the host country. This is pretty much a given considering that host western countries tend to fracture y into two camps -- those supporting large scale immigration and those concerned with protecting the native culture. Springmann believes that those behind this kind of daisy chain of destruction and disruption are aware of the consequences.
One conclusion then is that the "bomb" of mass immigration was deployed as a deliberate part of a larger plan. Another conclusion that's even easier to reach is that "The best way to avoid a refugee crisis is to not create one in the first place. So, no more regime change wars." It's something I've been saying for some time. Now, I'm wondering if anyone is listening or looking at the big picture. In retrospect, it all makes sense from a Machiavellian globalist perspective.
Those wanting to expand their capacity for big picture dot connection may wish to read Springmann's interview or put his book on their suggested Christmas gift list. See: Weapon's of mass migration: Interview with Michael Springmann on Europe's migrant crisis (SOTT, Aug 13, 2017) in the Society and Demographics section below.
-- Rod (October, 2018)
For the better part of the last four decades, I have been encouraging people and organizations to anticipate the shape of their futures and plan accordingly. It can be daunting, but it can also be immensely practical. It can be as practical as using a set of binoculars to scope out a distant slope when hiking or winterizing your car before winter’s onslaught. Organizations that develop foresight capabilities are, among other things, creating a kind of organizational radar. This enables them to integrate discernible elements of tomorrow into today’s strategies and decisions.