Posts Tagged ‘socialization’

How The Left Is Creating A New Generation Of Terrorists

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

McKenna set down her drink, a mix of seltzer, wine and vodka. “So what do you guys think about this new tax plan?”

“Ugh, it’s horrible,” said Maya. “Trump wants to stop state tax deductions so the states cut their social programs. Just another attempt to screw over minorities, women and the poor.”

“You know she’s right,” Ronnie lisped. “He’s just trying to hurt everyone who didn’t vote for him.”

The darkest member of the group, having a Nigerian father and Korean-Norwegian mother, McKayla spoke up last. “That man is a racist, and he was elected by racists,” she said. “Either we get rid of him, or he’s going to turn this country into Nazi Germany with the Klan enslaving all of us.”

Cucky McCuckerson listened in the background. At age 64, he had long given up on the possibility of real existential pleasure in life. He knew what life was: go to his job, at which he would never advance or be fired, then pay his bitch of an ex-wife alimony, call his ungrateful kids who were more interested in Tinder and Grindr than him, then go by Whole Foods for a few well-deserved treats, namely pre-prepared ethnic food and three bottles of mid-grade wine. This was his life, and it would never change. He had lost money on the sale of his previous house, paid most of the rest to the ex-wife and child support, and now was going to work until he died, or would have to retire early on $2500 a month and go do… what? No one at his job would care if he disappeared, and his social group would evaporate as soon as he did not at least have the cash to stand a few rounds at the bar. Already he felt weak inside, and perceived that everyone else in the group was the focus of attention while he sat in the background, nursing a drink and thinking about how he was just counting days until the end.

He would show them. A few machine guns, he could buy those in the barrio for half-price. Body armor and hall cameras? He saw a video on YouTube. He had no real interest in living, but he wanted to go out a hero.


One of the more exhaustive studies on terrorism shows us that people become terrorists for the same reason that they start doing drugs or buy unnecessary consumer goods: social status, or peer pressure, otherwise known as socialization pressure.

The pathway towards the participation in a suicide mission can be analyzed as the result of an accumulation of socialization processes that can be accounted for by classic social psychological mechanisms. This is congruent with the empirical evidence about how the process of joining a terrorist group usually is heavily influenced by the prevailing political and social environment shared by friends and relatives. Several studies conclude that becoming a terrorist is basically an issue of socialization (Fields, 1979; Silke, 2006). Radicalization and engagement in violent activities are facilitated by contacts and links with people who already have embraced an extremist ideology. Social interaction is the vehicle through which individuals receive the “reasons” that motivate and “justify” their desire to give up their lives to carry out a terrorist attack.

Like suicide bomber, a spree shooter like Stephen Paddock or James T. Hodgkinson knows that he is headed on a final one-way trip: if he is not killed during the event, he will most likely be executed for his crimes. Spree shooters at schools and nightclubs do not intend to survive; they want to kill and then die.

There is some evidence that suicide is inextricably linked to the desire to kill groups of others:

Why are some mass shooters more likely to kill themselves? If we go beyond the armchair psychology and diagnostic labels in the coverage of this horrific tragedy, the data from past rampage shootings (see also this paper and this) may partially reveal some motivations.

It’s about self-loathing and perceived injustice. And location matters.

Psychologists have long theorized that there’s a connection between rage against others and rage against the self.

When you combine the spree killer mentality with the justification afforded by ideology, you have something like the suicide bomber: someone who wants to die, and wants to take revenge on the world in the process, but is also socialized to the degree that he wants to commit his murder-suicide in such a way that his social group will applaud and for once, even posthumously, he will be “famous” in his group and the center of attention. He will no longer be a loser.

Add to that the effects of depression — such as that brought on by a dead-end career, alcoholism, failed marriages and other parts of the usual modern toxic stew of personal tragedy — and you have weaponized misery:

People with mental illnesses are influenced by their environments, Paul said, and can be vulnerable to extremist rhetoric.

“Certainly people who fit the pattern of having relatively low levels of social skills, often times being more withdrawn, are more likely to respond to extremist language on radio, television and that sort of thing,” Paul said. “If you look at the history of cult development, that’s very often where they get their recruits.”

The Left is brewing up the next generation of spree killers through two methods: violently binary rhetoric, and social events where people talk about politics more than anything else.

Leftist rhetoric tends to be binary because Leftism is not directly related to reality, but to how reality might be improved. Thus Leftism is an option, and people either say yes or do not, and everyone who says yes is an ally and by the converse, everyone who refuses to join the cult is an enemy.

We can blame the media, and surely they are one vehicle for this thinking, but they are not the cause of it. The cause is ideology itself, which tends to impose cult-like thinking.

Some aspects of the mind control methods of cults are inherent to Leftism when it occurs in a social setting (excerpted partially):

  • Isolation of the person and manipulation of his or her environment.
  • Control of information going in and out of the group environment.
  • Separation and/or alienation from family and friends.
  • Induced dissociation and other altered states by putting person in mild form of trance (through speaking in tongues, chanting, repeating affirmations, extended periods of meditation or prayer, lengthy denunciation sessions, long hours of lectures or study, public trials or group humiliation, about seat criticisms focusing on one individual, sexual abuse, torture, etc.)
  • Degradation of the person’s sense of self, through confession, self-reporting, rebuking, criticism and self-criticism, humiliation, and so on, in individual or group sessions.
  • Peer and leadership pressure, especially using powerful guilt mechanisms.
  • Induced anxiety, fear, and confusion, with joy and certainty being offered through surrender to the group; instilling the belief that the person’s survival physical, emotional, spiritual depends on remaining with the group; also induced crises, so that the person must submit to symbolic (or real) acts of submission to the group via betrayal and renunciation of self, family, and previously held values.
  • Extensive indoctrination sessions (through Bible lessons, political training, sales training, self-awareness lessons, lectures by leaders).
  • Alternation of harshness and leniency in a context of necessary discipline.

The Leftist cult begins by isolating the person through creation of a social group. This social group then dominates the life of the person involved, and by its nature, occupies time when the person could socialize with others, while simultaneously demonizing all who do not belong to the group.

In this group, the induced disassociation through mind-numbing repetition of talking points, propaganda, studies, and cultural artifacts — including rock music, popular books, movies and rage-inducing articles — also amounts to information control, since the cult is hostile to sources which do not share its ideological bent, and so members cannot admit being exposed to those. Leftists will shun anyone who even pays attention to moderate-Right sources like Fox News.

Degradation of the person’s sense of self and peer pressure occur through both shaming to those who do not conform, and an inherent sense of guilt for being privileged enough to be an armchair Leftist. The rich rage against the rich, the white rage against the white, and the intellectuals rage against intellectuals; this achieves inculcated guilt which is only alleviated by “doing the right thing,” according to the cult at least.

Leftist writings and movies tend to induce anxiety through their apocalyptic outlook. Climate change, which causes a sense of futility and despair, has been especially useful.

Alternation of harshness and leniency is administered through social methods. Basic discipline is non-existent, but if someone crosses a line, they are punished with scorn, disparagement, impugning of their moral character, and social exclusion. For this reason, people in a Leftist social setting are always attention to what is de rigeuer and whatever the most recent no-no is, because whoever crosses that line will be destroyed, but at the same time, members are continually encouraged to cross lines in order to draw more attention to themselves and advance the narrative.

Since the social nature of the activity snowballs to the point where the members have no other social outlet, they quickly become dependent on the group for their self-esteem and guidance, which means they will have nothing if they offend the group. Total control has been imposed.


Cucky relaxed in his hotel room. Earlier he had purchased a bottle of Hillrock Solera, which he considered the best bourbon available on the market. For the past five years, he had denied himself any such extravagances, but now he sipped his second glass.

On the bed before him were ten rifles and thirty-five loaded magazines. He had purchased these, one a month, over the past year from a friend of the janitor at his job. At $500 apiece, they were draining his account, but soon he would not have to worry about that. Or anything. He thought of death like going into outer space: farther and farther from anything he knew, until he was in the total cold and blackness, with nothing to perceive, then getting sucked into a black hole and compressed into nothingness, even unaware of his thoughts as the bioelectric impulses were torn apart by the intense gravity. Painless forevermore. He liked that.

He had bought ammunition a box or two at a time, always on the way home from visiting his children in a nearby city where they lived with his ex-wife, her boyfriend, and now a girlfriend, and the girlfriend’s boyfriend. He thought they were all having sex, but his kids were old enough not to care, and besides, they were having plenty of sex themselves, when they were not strung out on Ritalin, Valium and Xanax. He was irrelevant to them: old, gross, sexless, weak, broke and tired.

But now he felt wonderful. The warmth stretched through his body as the whisky and anger spread. Tonight, he was top dog. He picked up the first weapon, took a deep breath, and opened fire through the closed window. He knew little about guns, but imagined himself aiming a garden hose strapped to a stick, and soon saw flashes as his bullets struck the metal gates around the crowd. He corrected, but then was out of bullets. The illegal fully automatic modification to these guns, AR-47s and AK-15s or something like that, made them shoot at the full 800 bullets per minute, so the little magazines ran out quickly. These, too, were bought from Juano at a reasonable twenty-five per.

He swigged more bourbon, letting it burn down his throat and fill him with a feeling like fire. Up came the next gun, and he began hosing down the idiots across the street again, delighting in watching them fall as they crushed each other in their panic. He moved the gun in little circles as he fired, and this time when he heard the ching! of an empty magazine, he gleefully seized up another and repeated. When all ten were fired, he went back to the first and inserted a new magazine, then began the process again, firing a thousand dollars of ammo in a stream of hot leaden hatred.

Down to his last magazine, he checked the camera feeds displayed on his laptop. Ah, yes, the pigs — cops were usually Republicans, he thought — were coming up the hall, clearing rooms. He was mostly out of bullets anyway, and the sweet sound of screams came to him from across the road. He knew he could not live on after this, live through a trial at least, and so it was time to exit stage right. He thought of the party that weekend that his social group would have, and how they would talk about him every minute, unable to take his deeds out of their thoughts. Good.

The first flash-bang went off in the hall. He had seen a YouTube video on those, too. Next step would be smoke grenades and then door breaching, followed by flash bangs again and a hail of bullets. Time for his grand exit. Time to liquefy this brain. He took one last sip of the bourbon, relishing how fine it was, like this his moment of triumph. Then, he put the tip of the gun in his mouth and rested his thumb on the trigger. I have all of the power now, he thought. I am God. I have made my mark. He tightened his grip and began the slow squeeze.

Thy will be done.

Why Civilization Drifts Left: Social Feelings

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Donald J. Trump gave his first really big speech, and feelings are mixed across the board. Many on the Right feel that he gave in to the Left, and it is certainly hard to refute that when we see language like this in the speech:

…while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms.

…Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty, and justice in an unbroken chain all the way down to the president. That torch is now in our hands, and we will use it to light up the world.

…This is our vision. This is our mission. But we can only get there together. We are one people, with one destiny. We all bleed the same blood. We all salute the same, great American flag. And we are all made by the same God.

His speech is great and stirring, a laundry list of changes shaped roughly around an arc from bipartisanship to his big point of American unity and self-interest. He makes a convincing argument for that — in the context of recent history — which reveals his role as a moderate trying to stop the bleeding in the short term, not think about the long term.

In the long term, everything said here is nonsense. Mob rule is unsustainable; the election of Trump was an attempt to fix the past hundred years of horrible decisions, not to make an affirmative choice toward a saner and healthier civilizations. He alludes to this:

Then in 2016, the Earth shifted beneath our feet. The rebellion started as a quiet protest, spoken by families of all colors and creeds, families who just wanted a fair shot for their children and a fair hearing for their concerns. But then, the quiet voices became a loud chorus, as thousands of citizens now spoke out together from cities small and large all across our country. Finally, the chorus became an earthquake, and the people turned out, by the tens of millions, and they were all united by one very simple but crucial demand – that America must put its own citizens first. Because only then, can we truly make America great again.

In other words, things got so bad that a correction had to happen, and so democracy will perform one of its favorite tricks just as it did under Reagan. In this trick, democracy shows us how “good enough is the enemy of good” and will fix a few really egregious and immediate problems as a means to ignoring all the longer-term, deeper-seated problems.

Our modern world is miserable. It is ugly, conformist, unrestful, noisy, polluted, disposable and essentially wastes time because it refuses to find a purpose except humanity itself. Its emphasis on equality and tolerance means endorsement of decay and degeneracy all around us. Jobs are jails and most of our activity is distraction, producing landfill and little else.

This society is a horror. It has been a horror for so long that we cannot imagine any other way of doing things. Western Civilization is in decline and has been for centuries. The result is that all of our thinking is screwed up. We are so accustomed to the lies and rationalizations that we can no longer see clearly. And so the failed methods of the near past get perpetuated.

Most people have focused on adapting to our current existence, forgetting that by doing so, they are changing themselves. They spend the best hours of every day in servitude to the pretense and fears of others. They invest their time in communities which do not last, institutions that chase trends and fads, and a society whose values conflict with their own.

America represented an attempt to delay the decline just a little while longer by restraining mob rule through an elaborate set of gates, locks and channels known as the Constitution (“muh Constitution”). But by limiting the insanity of modernity, it only perpetuated modernity in a slightly diluted form.

This held on for almost two centuries before imploding, reaching its low point in 2008 with the election of the least credible candidate for an American president ever, and then in 2016 reversing course through the backlash Trump mentioned. We are in the midst of a cultural movement in the West that rejects liberal democracy, diversity and equality. Trump and Brexit are its first steps.

Our society is a horror because it is driven exclusively by people jockeying for position in socioeconomic status. The Enlightenment™ was a revolution against the kings, but it was also a revolt against caste, or the knowledge that people have different awareness — intelligence, morality — and that general gradations in awareness correspond to career and social roles that people should pursue.

With a caste system and aristocracy, the jockeying for socioeconomic status is removed. This produces a stable society which does not need constant growth in order to maintain itself. We gave this up for equality. America has tried to limit that equality with rules, but the herd subverted the rules and took over, with the most egregious example being Barack Obama.

His election however heralded something else, which was really total victory for the Left. They had beaten back the last vestiges of Anglo-American self-interest, and now conquered the nation with socialist policies designed to bleed dry its middle class and convert it into a Venezuela-style ideological state.

While Trump is pushing back against this and cleaning it up, the bigger problems remains which is that the system of liberal democracy is unworkable. The West has been in an accelerated downward slide since its liberalization, including two disastrous and fratricidal world wars. But everything else is bad too, except the economy, which so far has seemed powerful.

For example, in most of the West, our leaders are still crazy. Our popular culture is garbage and we have not produced anything great in centuries. Our science is politicized, our industries predatory, and the average person walking around exhibits the symptoms of dissociation (sorry… deconstruction) and confusion. Idiocy rules. Ugliness prevails.

Preserving this situation is the “good enough” that is the enemy of “good.” Good would be a better society, from its pattern to the everyday experience of its citizens. Good enough is patching up the sad wreck of modernity so that it avoids the immediate crisis and then goes back to a slow, smoldering decay.

People say that civilizations have life cycles, but this is less like a human life cycle and more like that of a forest. When a forest is new, trees expand onto previously unused land. As it succeeds, it runs into new problems like overcrowding, soil nutrition, parasites and waste removal. In the long term, the forest that lives maintains itself, and this is what civilization has failed to do.

Our civilization needs pruning and renovation. Our people, the only implement that can make this civilization, also need some work, both in terms of mental discipline and ejecting the one-in-five people in this society who seem to be outright insane or criminal. We need to orient our minds toward a future version of our civilization that is better, not just the present with a few threats removed.

Trump cannot do this. He is only the president of one country, and his goal is to take “baby steps” away from the Obama insanity and toward something more like 1950s America. That is admittedly a good first step, and if he can do it without starting a disastrous war that first step will lead to others, which is ultimately the goal for any non-Leftist.

However, he will have to struggle with a very human problem: humans tend to move Leftward in their thinking, especially in groups. This originates in the nature of socializing with others; the first step in socializing is to make others feel accepted, and most people do this by validating the individualism of others.

Individualism does not mean what people think its means. It does not mean independent-minded, as people want it to, but instead has a complicated meaning which amounts to thinking that the self is more important than the world, principles or others. Excerpts from a dictionary definition:

…the pursuit of individual rather than common or collective interests

…the doctrine or belief that all actions are determined by, or at least take place for, the benefit of the individual, not of society as a whole

We might include principles and the inherent purpose of civilization in with the categories listed above as “common interests” and “society as a whole.” The essence of individualism is denying anything larger than the self and things one needs to manipulate in order to get what one wants. It is the basic unit of control, or using others as an extension of a will not their own.

Some would say, not incorrectly, that individualism is a kind of sociopathy and solipsism: it denies the world outside the self except as an agent of the self, or an extension of the self, or in extreme cases, views the world as part of the self instead of the other way around. This is a fundamental inversion, like pretending to be God, that afflicts humans like a bad mental virus.

The reason humans shift Leftward by default is that we like to socialize, and socializing means accepting the individualism of others, and this in turn means accepting the worldview in which individualism is the default. This means that instead of thinking about the consequences of our actions in reality, we are thinking about:

  • Symbolism. What message does it send? What does it stand for?
  • Feelings. How does this make other people and the group feel?
  • Appearance. How does this make me look to others, and how will they react?
  • Judgments. Does this communicate safety or risk to others?

If you wonder why the West has drifted into decay, here is your answer: the default state of human beings is self-destruction, but they are only liberated to this state when they are so dominant over their environment that they have excess. Someone whose concerns are bound up with reality is conservative, and people who spend all their time on survival tend to be that way.

Societies like the Spartans and even modern religious orders embrace asceticism for this reason. People who have no excess and stay busy tend to be focused on their actual task, not woolgathering that then becomes wishful thinking and, once an untested mental paradise is created, self-pity at being here and not in the Utopian there.

Trump cannot be anything but a moderate because he has relatively limited power and anything approximating actual conservatism will seem to most people to be beyond the boundaries of what is accepted now, in the 70th year of our transition to Communism and the 228th year of our transition to Leftism and the thousandth year of our immersion in individualism.

He also is forced into a moderate position by the social pressures around him. Now that he is inside the system, and socializing with the people there, he is gradually drifting Leftward through a process like entropy where the collected wills around him slowly erode his own. He is fighting back, and seems to be employing the Reagan strategy of symbolic Leftist acts to cover himself while working toward a few core ideas that are more moderate — undoing Leftist damage because it is dysfunctional — than Rightist.

So far, he seems to be doing well. Brexit and Trump are just the tip of the spear of a cultural shift in the West. This is manifesting in politics most visibly, but behind the scenes, people are shifting away from Leftism in all of its degrees, including liberal democracy. We have seen that it wants to kill us — especially Caucasians — and now we want escape.

Metaphor For The Enemy: Locusts

Saturday, July 30th, 2016


Parasites. Do we look any further? No: the easiest role is as one who takes more than one gives, and then hides that fact — if a language-enabled creature like humans — behind a sociable, or flattering to others, justification like altruism, egalitarianism or pity.

the locusts have no king,
yet they advance together in ranks. – Proverbs 30:27

Parasitism is easy because it requires no plan. In fact, it is the anti-plan: the idea that there needs be no goal, no method of achieving a future, and no principle. Only take what is convenient. Opportunism, narcissism and moralism coincide in the mentality of the parasite, which takes what it wants without considering consequences, then excuses itself with some broad platitude about how everyone deserves to eat.

Our society is swarming in parasites. Yes, the poor are mostly parasites, but so are many of the “successful” who knowingly take on useless jobs for the salaries and power. And the news reporters, politicians, lawyers, self-help instructors, populist priests and psychologists? What do they do that is not parasitic, but thickly disguised?

Humanity finds it hard to believe that, having vanquished nature, we find the same roles that exist in nature cropping up among us. But it is true: people are either docile prey animals, predators, parasites or the (rare) independent creatures of lawless atavism.

If humanity survives, future generations will look on this time as the age of publicly legitimized parasites. They will say that without scorn, only cold emotionless diagnosis, which is why such undramatic clarity is so massively feared in our time.

The individualist fallacy

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015


Every sheep secretly thinks he is a lion. For that reason, we overstate our contributions and under-estimate how much we depend on those around us. This mentality is similar to that of scapegoating, in which we assume that our intent was right and any failure must have come from external forces.

The Individualist Fallacy falls into the same pocket. Specifically, it holds that the individual is or does not need civilization, while living within civilization. This can be seen in the rebellious types who want “anarchy with grocery stores,” libertarians, and many conservative Christians and conservatives, including fairly underground types.

There are three main areas of the Individualist Fallacy:

That the individual can do what is right, and associate with others like him, and this solves the problem of civilization downfall.

This version of the fallacy mainly affects mainstream conservatives. Their idea is, based in part in Christianity and in equal part in economic liberalism, that society is comprised of individuals and that each individual has responsibility to do what is right, and then things will end for the best. This makes sense at first because it parallels Social Darwinism, with the idea that the most adapted — raising happy families, maintaining wealth and health and moral standards — will outproduce the rest. It fails to take into account however that the others will reproduce more thanks to the efforts of society and, that in civilization, other factors exist than for isolated families in the wild. The responsible will end up paying for the rest and the rest will use their greater power in numbers to parasitize and eventually destroy the responsible. This version of the fallacy is most frequently heard from baby boomers who just want to die before their children inherit the utter ruin the boomers made of the West.

On the left, this version of the fallacy mutates into the idea that everyone is good and we will all survive together and somehow, magically, the choices that exist for you today — or back in 1965 when the boomers were young — will be there for you in the future. One would have to be blind to the current state of Brazil, the history of the French Revolution or Soviet Union, and human nature to believe this. Choices and opportunities change as society does, and whatever is tolerated proliferates, so that those people who are doing bad things eventually outnumber the rest. Again, this type of reasoning serves as an excuse and justification — backward-looking, inverted thinking — than forward-looking, planning-type analysis. People just want an easy answer that allows them to “keep on truckin'” without having to “rock the boat.”

That rules which affect society at large do not affect the individual, and therefore that the individual has no right to object to rights or privileges granted others.

Mostly on the left, this version of the fallacy goes like this: how dare you oppose someone else doing what they want, such as gay marriage or legal marijuana, because it is an individual choice and affects only them? Any sensible and experienced person will interject here with the observation that nothing affects only the individual. Gay marriage for example sets a new lower boundary for permissiveness in society and changes the nature of marriage from “mature, get married and have a family” to “date recklessly, and when your current significant other needs health care, go perform a trivial civil ceremony.” The children after gay marriage have lost the sanctity and purpose of marriage. Similarly with legal marijuana, a social value is changed — and a market is created. Now children will be surrounded with the paraphernalia, behavior and lifestyle behavior of those who are using drugs. With one drug legal, others become acceptable. Even more, society embraces a type of thinking that it has firm reasons to oppose. Every individual “right” in turn forces the normalization of that right on others, and deprives those others of their right to a society of their choice. The liberal will fire back that they can have that at home, which is fine if they and their families never leave that home and will not be interfered with there. In reality, it means that they are attacked passive-aggressively by society — passive aggression is a form of the “begging the question” fallacy where one party assumes as behavior is right in order to challenge others with it, then play the victim when they are not approving — and forced to either submit to the new order which goes against their conscience and wisdom, or become targeted as a potential pariah for ostracism.

That collectivism is formed of a collective, and not individualist impulse, rather than being a collective enterprise to demand individualism.

This version of the fallacy has found popularity with the Internet-style Libertarians who believe that, since they exist only in their apartments and jobs, everyone else should do the same. In their view, the enemy is Statists who are collectivists, which means they believe all money should be pooled and used to support all people. They are correct in recognizing that this is insanity, but incorrect in that they forget that society itself is a collective enterprise. In it, we all do things which do not benefit ourselves directly but because they benefit everyone, serve to increase the value and utility of life in that society. This denies the leftist impulse which is to create “equality” by penalizing the successful to subsidize the unsuccessful — zero historical counter-examples exist — which involves paying benefits to specific groups which are smaller than the whole or even the majority, thus “minorities.” The problem with this version of the fallacy is that it denies the simple formula collectivism = individualism. Collectivism is individualism in a group context where individuals join together to form a large group that uses the superior numbers of that group to demand that individualism — no higher purpose than self-gratification — to become the law of the land. This irrevocably changes society. While a libertarian system seems to oppose this, what it really does is create a society based on individualism which will inevitably turn toward “collectivism” as a plurality of people emerge who, exhausted of no purpose except self-interest, will support it.

Hope you enjoyed our brief tour of one of the most common fallacies today and its three common variants. You will see these regularly and expressed fervently, but like almost all of human thought, they are signals, distractions and rationalizations to allow that individual to both (a) continue to live life as they have been, for individual comfort a.k.a. “bourgeois values” and (b) feel justified and in fact morally good about doing so. Illusion is an easier sell than reality.

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