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18 January 2021


Bill Tozer

Quotes for our Dark Days

Upright I: “If you say that targeted deplatforming, though not Stalinist, is troubling, the same people who want to compel everyone to buy state-mandated health insurance, who want to dictate how corporations compensate their employees, who want to force nuns to buy abortifacients and who want to destroy the lives of bakers and florists who run businesses according to long-held religious beliefs will vigorously defend the value of free-association rights that allow corporations to act this way. So I’m pretty skeptical that most of these people are genuine champions of individual market choices, and aren’t just super excited about silencing people.” —David Harsanyi

Upright II: “Perhaps we could take Twitter’s claim that it is upholding the sanctity of democracy more seriously if it didn’t host Chinese Communist officials who treat slave ownership as a social good or anti-Semitic Iranian officials who regularly use exterminationist rhetoric. I’d rather we just hear everyone, and mock, stigmatize, debunk and undermine bad actors.” —David Harsanyi

Upright III: “Cable news is bad for you. It doesn’t matter if you are addicted to Fox or MSNBC. It’s all infotainment. With some notable exceptions, and there are some, TV is not designed to inform or educate you. TV producers are a lot like the engineers who obsess over how to keep us in casinos. Casinos famously spend amazing amounts of time and money figuring out how to keep people at the tables: the sounds, the air pumped in, the free drinks and the confusing layouts with the hidden exits. These are not perks or design flaws. They are all deliberately placed to keep you in your seat gambling more than you planned on. Most cable news is the same. They know what you are emotional about, and they play it up to keep you watching. If guests aren’t partisan enough, the producers tell them to up the volume and the rancor. This can make for entertaining programming, but it’s not good for us.” —Neil Patel

Upright IV: “We have an amazing country, unique and impressive in so many ways. It’s worth fixing. Given where we are, though, things are not going to fix themselves. It’s easy to pretend that the problem is just with our leaders or with the people who think differently, but it’s not. We have the leaders we deserve. We are the problem. We each have some responsibility for the sad place we are at, and