"There's A Global Riot Against Psuedo-Experts" Nassim Taleb Exclaims "This Is Not About Fascism"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Suhasini Haidar via TheHindu.com,

Economist-mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb contends that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts

After predicting the 2008 economic crisis, the Brexit vote, the U.S. presidential election and other events correctly, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the Incerto series on global uncertainties, which includes The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, is seen as something of a maverick and an oracle. Equally, the economist-mathematician has been criticised for advocating a “dumbing down” of the economic system, and his reasoning for U.S. President Donald Trump and global populist movements. In an interview in Jaipur, Taleb explains why he thinks the world is seeing a “global riot against pseudo-experts”.

I’d like to start by asking about your next book, Skin in the Game, the fifth of the Incerto series. You do something unusual with your books: before you launch, you put chapters out on your website. Why is that?

Putting my work online motivates me to go deeper into a subject. I put it online and it gives some structure to my thought. The only way to judge a book is by something called the Lindy effect, and that is its survival. My books have survived. I noticed that The Black Swan did well because it was picked up early online, long before the launch. I also prefer social media to interviews in the mainstream media as many journalists don’t do their research, and ‘zeitgeist’ updates [Top Ten lists] pass for journalism.

The media is not one organisation or a monolithic entity.

Well, I’m talking about the United States where I get more credible news from the social media than the mainstream media. But I am very impressed with the Indian media that seems to present both sides of the story. In the U.S., you only get either the official, bureaucratic or the academic side of the story.

In Skin in the Game, you seem to build on theories from The Black Swan that give a sense of foreboding about the world economy. Do you see another crisis coming?

Oh, absolutely! The last crisis [2008] hasn’t ended yet because they just delayed it. [Barack] Obama is an actor. He looks good, he raises good children, he is respectable. But he didn’t fix the economic system, he put novocaine [local anaesthetic] in the system. He delayed the problem by working with the bankers whom he should have prosecuted. And now we have double the deficit, adjusted for GDP, to create six million jobs, with a massive debt and the system isn’t cured. We retained zero interest rates, and that hasn’t helped. Basically we shifted the problem from the private corporates to the government in the U.S. So, the system remains very fragile.

You say Obama put novocaine in the system. How will the Trump administration be able to address this?

Of course. The whole mandate he got was because he understood the economic problems. People don’t realise that Obama created inequalities when he distorted the system. You can only get rich if you have assets. What Trump is doing is put some kind of business sense in the system. You don’t have to be a genius to see what’s wrong. Instead of Trump being elected, if you went to the local souk [bazaar] in Aleppo and brought one of the retail shop owners, he would do the same thing Trump is doing. Like making a call to Boeing and asking why are we paying so much.

You’re seen as something of an oracle, given that you saw the 2008 economic crash coming, you predicted the Brexit vote, the outcome of the Syrian crisis. You said the Islamic State would benefit if Bashar al-Assad was pushed out and you predicted Trump’s win. How do you explain it?

Not the Islamic State, but al-Qaeda at the time, and I said the U.S. administration was helping fund them. See, you have to have courage to say things others don’t. I was lucky financially in life, that I didn’t need to work for a living and can spend all my time thinking. When Trump was running for election, I said what he says makes sense to a grocery store owner. Because the grocery guy can say Trump is wrong because he can see where he is wrong. But with Obama, he can’t understand what he’s saying, so the grocery man doesn’t know where he is wrong.

Is it a choice between dumbing down versus over-intellectualisation, then?

Exactly. Trump never ran for archbishop, so you never saw anything in his behaviour that was saintly, and that was fine. Whereas Obama behaved like the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was going to do good but people didn’t feel their lives were better. As I said, if it was a shopkeeper from Aleppo, or a grocery store owner in Mumbai, people would have liked them as much as Trump. What he says makes common sense, asking why are we paying so much for this rubbish or why do we need these complex taxes, or why do we want lobbyists. You can call Trump’s plain-speaking what you like. But the way intellectuals treat people who don’t agree with them isn’t good either. I remember I had an academic friend who supported Brexit, and he said he knew what it meant to be a leper in the U.K. It was the same with supporting Trump in the U.S.

But there were valid reasons for people to be worried about Trump too.

Well, if you’re a businessman, for example, what Trump said didn’t bother you. The intellectual class of no more than 2,00,000 people in the U.S. don’t represent everyone upset with Trump. The real problem is the ‘faux-expert problem’, one who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and assumes he knows what people think. An electrician doesn’t have that problem.

Is the election of Trump part of a global phenomena? You have commented on the similarity to the election of Narendra Modi in India.

Well, with Trump, Modi, Brexit, and now France, there are some similar problems in those countries. What you are hearing is people getting fed up with the ruling class. This is not fascism. It has nothing to do with fascism. It has to do with the faux-experts problem and a world with too many experts. If we had a different elite, we may not see the same problem.

There are other similarities, to quote from studies of populist movements worldwide: these leaders are majoritarian, they build on resentment, they use social media for direct access to their voters, and they can take radical decisions.

I often say that a mathematician thinks in numbers, a lawyer in laws, and an idiot thinks in words. These words don’t amount to anything. I think you have to draw the conclusion that there is a global riot against pseudo-experts. I saw it with Brexit, and Nigel Farage [leader of the U.K. Independence Party], who was a trader for 15 years, said the problem with the government was that none of them had ever had a proper job. Being a bureaucrat is not a proper job.

As a businessperson, you have a point about experts and pseudo-experts who you say are ‘left-wing’. How do you explain the other parts to the phenomenon that aren’t economic: the xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny, etc.?

I don’t understand how a left-wing person can defend Salafism, or religious extremism. In a democracy, you can allow people to have any view, but they can’t come with a message to destroy democracy. Why should people who come to the West come with a message to finish the West? This is where the discourse goes haywire. So in Yemen, the [Saudi] intervention is good, but the intervention [by Russia] in Aleppo shouldn’t be allowed. I don’t think Trump was racist when he said Mexican criminals shouldn’t be allowed into the U.S.; he was targeting criminals. If you are Naziphobic, you are not against Germans. If I oppose Salafism, I am not an Islamophobe. Obama also deported Mexicans and refused to accept immigrants.

Is anti-globalisation a part of this sentiment?

I am not anti-globalisation, but I am against big global corporations. One of the reasons is what they cost. Today, every project sees cost overruns because these projects have to factor in global risks as well. In nature there is an ‘island effect’. The number of species on an island drops significantly when you go to the mainland. Similarly, when you open up your small economies, you lose some of your ethnicity or diversity. Artisans are being killed by globalisation. Think of the effect on so many artists who have been put out of work while people are buying wrinkle-free shirts and cheap mobile phones. I’m a localist. The problem is globalisation comes through large global corporates that are predatory, and so we want to counter its ill-effects.

Where do you see the world moving now? Further right, or will it revert to the centre?

I don’t think it will go left or right, and I don’t know about the short term. But I think in the long term, the world can only survive if it lives like nature does. Many smaller units of governance, and a collection of super islands with some separation, quick decision-making, and visible implementation. Lots of Switzerlands, that’s what we need. What we need is not leaders, we don’t need them. We just need someone at the top who doesn’t mess the system up.


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keep the bastards honest's picture

I dont agree. Commonsense agrees... go to surgeon with bad back and the response is surgery, to a masseur, its massage and maybe topical  or stretching advice added.   BUsinesssman looks at plane and sees very very  epxensive and  so looks at costs breakdown and the sees the padding fraud and  con... a Teleprompter in chief looks at words and  lays on some spite and thats all that comes out with zero depth or accountability, looks at expensive plane sees words of status accrual.  Nassim is great and unbound.

kiwidor's picture

nassim is a systems thinker in disguise.

Radical Marijuana's picture

"... an idiot thinks in words."

"He said, not appreciating the irony in his cleverly-designed soundbyte."

Words have no meaning without their long cultural association with actions &

the most important history has been that of lying words backed by violent actions!

Everyone who is any kind of publicly significant social "expert" NECESSARILY is living inside a political economy based on the maximum possible enforced frauds, which, in turn, is operating inside of a human ecology based on the maximum possible deceits and treacheries. Civilization is NECESSARILY controlled by its murder systems, while the most socially successful murder systems where those which were the most deceitful and treacherous, which then became the basis for building monetary systems upon the maximum possible frauds.

There has been some genuine advancements of experts in physical sciences. However, there has been NO progress in political science, due to the ways that the oldest and best developed forms of social science and engineering were warfare, that was actually the manifestation of the methods of organized crime on larger and larger scales. EVERYONE who is socially successful within the established monetary and taxation systems is NECESSARILY living inside systems based upon being able to back up legalized lies with legalized violence. Therefore, EVERYONE is socially successful to the degree that they are the best available professional liars and immaculate hypocrites. The vast majority of the kinds of socially recognized "experts" that are denounced in the article above are those kinds of PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES.

"Idiots" ONLY "think in words" to the degree that they deliberately do NOT think about the actual facts regarding the ways in which Globalized Neolithic Civilization was based on being able to back up lies with violence, and therefore, then to take for granted the overwhelmingly triumphant enforcement of frauds which dominates everything that civilization actually does.

I too thought was quite ironic for a writer of popular books to assert that he often says that "idiots think in words." However, I find that to be typical of the kinds of consistent contradictions manifested by those who deliberately do NOT admit and address the death control issues that are the central controls to everything else, including, of course, the debt control systems which are now operated by the central banks. Moreover, those sets of consistent contradictions are due to the long history of the ways that the actually most successful death control systems, which manifested through militarism, as the ideology of the murder systems, were always based on become most successful by becoming most deceitful and treacherous.

The chronic political problems inherent in the nature of life manifest as natural selection pressures. (Those innate problems are that all living things have the potential to reproduce at exponential rates, which no environment can endlessly sustain, and all living things live as entropic pumps of environmental energy flows, which similar living things compete for access to, such that human beings live as reproducing gangs of robbers.) Natural selection pressures have driven the development of artificial selection systems to become as dishonest as possible. Furthermore, almost exponentially advancing technologies are enabling those artificial selection system to become almost exponentially more dishonest, as demonstrated by the ways that exponentially more "money" made out of nothing as debts is manifesting throughout the globalized political economy, as systems based upon public governments enforcing frauds by private banks, which are becoming exponentially more fraudulent ...

Political science can not genuinely progress unless it goes through series of intellectual scientific revolutions and profound paradigm shifts, such as would be required to understand how and why all political economy operates inside human ecology, or that the debt controls operate inside the debt controls, as combined money/murder systems. Various social "experts" at the present time are almost all PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES, which never admit and address the essential social facts that the entire economy has become dominated by big banks that are legally allowed to create the public "money" supplies out of nothing as debts for everyone else, around which systems have grown up all of the big corporations.

Moreover, those few who do somewhat recognize those central social facts regarding the roles of privatized central banks, which have almost totally rigged all "markets," as well as effectively destroyed any so-called idealized "democracy" & "rule of law," tend to continue to NOT think through the underlying reasons for how and why natural selection systems drove the development of the currently existing artificial selection systems to become based on the maximum possible dishonesties, in ways which more and more blatantly are revealing that all so-called social science "experts" are actually PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES which are spouting exponentially worse bullshit, due that having historically become the biggest bullies' bullshit, which almost totally dominated civilization through the ways that it was possible to back up lies with violence, so that Huge Lies ended up almost totally dominating Globalized Neolithic Civilization.

At the present time, it is politically impossible for political science to stop being an oxymoron, instead of genuinely progress, because it is politically impossible for civilization to admit and address the real ways that it is based on the biggest gangs of criminals, governments, being dominated by the best organized gangs of criminals, the banksters. It is especially impossible for political science to genuinely progress because of the degree that the most important forms of social science have been warfare, whose successfulness was based on deceits and treacheries.

While it is more and more theoretically imperative for Globalized Neolithic Civilization to develop radically different ways to perceive and operate its death control systems, it is currently stuck in the cul de sac of its actual death control systems having become completely crazy, and corrupt to the core, due to those becoming not only as dishonest as possible, but also, are still endeavouring to become exponentially more dishonest. All so-called social "experts" are actually de facto experts on the principles and methods of organized crime, because those are the ONLY actual sociopolitical systems. However, that also means that the are the sets of consistent contradictions manifested by the ways that the most socially successful forms of organized crime are systems based upon enforcing frauds, which are operated by the best available PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES.

In my view, the article above was merely another ironic example of the superficially correct analysis of what is apparently wrong with Globalized Civilization which is publicly dominated by PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES, who are the "experts" whose expertise includes deliberately ignoring and or misunderstand the most important social facts, in ways which divorce those social facts from the surrounding physical and biological facts as much as possible, other than by making use of advancing physical and biological technologies to be able to engage in greater frauds, backed by greater force.

Essentially the political problems that Globalized Neolithic Civilization faces are that there MUST be some death control systems, while those which actually exist became the most expedient sets of systems based on becoming as dishonest about themselves those could possibly become, while the current events are revolving around the various ways that those are becoming and more and more impossible to continue to double and double ... But nevertheless, the existing systems of debt slavery are doubling down, by generating numbers which are becoming runaway debt insanities, which are set up to provoke runaway death insanities, because those debt controls were always backed by the death controls, as well as MUST have been.

The ONLY theoretically possible resolutions of the real problems would be radically different real death controls. However, almost all of the actual "experts" in the existing murder systems are operating through the ideology of militarism, which developed for thousands of years on the basis of recognizing that military success was based on being able to back up deceits with destruction, which then became the foundation for financial success based on backing up frauds with force. For words to make more sense, those have to be better connected with actions. However, the most important manifestations of those have become the ways that human laws are connected to natural laws through the abilities to back up legalized lies with legalized violence. Therefore, all of the socially most important words are spouted by the dominate PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES, as if those were NOT LIES, while they get away with publicly doing that because of the long history whereby those HUGE LIES WERE BACKED BY LOTS OF VIOLENCE.

For generation after generation, people have adapting to living within sociopolitical systems based upon being able to back up lies with violence, mostly as various slavery systems, which became the debt slavery systems that now so totally dominate Globalized Neolithic Civilization. Inside that context, the best available PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES continue to be the most socially successful people, despite that doing so drives Civilization as a whole to become exponentially more psychotic, since the social "realities" based on being able to back up lies with violence become farther and farther away from any relatively objective physical and biological realities.

Social "realities" were made and maintained by the murder systems, and that developed as sets of consistent contradictions whereby human beings and civilization became as thoroughly dishonest as they possibly could. That was context inside of which "experts" on economics, or any other sociopolitical realms, are "experts" within those social "realities," which are objectively as UNREAL as possible.  Instead, what is happening is that sociopolitical systems based upon enforcing frauds ARE becoming exponentially more fraudulent, while those systems continue to be operated by the best available PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES, who continue being socially successful BECAUSE they deliberately ignore and misunderstand that everything they are doing is actually based upon the history of being able to enforce frauds.

Although it is theoretically possible that political science could be better reconciled with physical and biological science, doing so would require series of intellectual revolutions and profound  paradigm shifts in the ways that people perceive politics. The profound paradigm shifts which political science should go through ought to be inspired and guided by those paradigm shifts which physical and biological science have already gone through. That is especially the case regarding the prodigious progress achieved through mathematical physics, which should become better appreciated by political science. However, when one attempts to better understand human beings and civilization as manifestations of general energy systems, the results are that one discovers and demonstrates how and why civilization NECESSARILY operates according to the principles and methods of organized crime, which NECESSARILY includes the ways that civilization is dominated by the biggest and best organized crime gangs, who are NECESSARILY able to most publicly get away with their intellectual mercenaries being the social reality "experts" that are spouting the maximum possible absurdly backwards bullshit regarding everything that is actually being done.

As the social facts, that governments are the biggest forms of organized crime, dominated by the best organized gangs of criminals, become exponentially amplified to astronomical sizes, more and people are noticing those social facts. However, the accumulations of those apparent anomalies tend to NOT push through more profound paradigm shifts. Rather, the still relatively few people who are able to become relatively popular presenters of superficially correct analyses of that factual situation ironically tend to still share in the same problems that they are describing, as was the case with the article above. The Grand Canyon Chasms between progress in physical science, without progress in political science, are getting bigger, such that the "experts" on social "sciences" continue being the best available PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES, spouting ever more absurdly backwards bullshit, in ways which have nothing in common with those genuine experts in physical sciences, other than through the history of socially successful experiments in the history of warfare, which then had their paradoxical results that drove political economy to become almost totally based on being able not only to enforce frauds, but also to be able to also publicly misrepresent that as NOT being based on enforcing frauds.

The most meaningful words are the lies backed by violence, because that violence is the most meaningful action. However, the consequences of having done that for generation after generation, for thousands of years, has become Globalized Neolithic Civilization, manifesting as a society which is too terminally sick and insane to recover from how serious that social situation has become. Overall, the excessively successful control of civilization through the methods of organized crime has become runway criminal insanities. Within that context, the so-called social "experts" are mostly still EXPERT PROFESSIONAL HYPOCRITES, while there are no good grounds to doubt that will continue to automatically get worse, faster, for the foreseeable future ...

kiwidor's picture

seriously, you expect me to read that, digest it, contemplete it, and respond?

it was all horseshit because it is too long and riddled with cuntoxomy

The Wizard's picture

It's called Trading With the Enemy Act

The Great Gold Robbery of 1933



Daily Article* by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

http://mises.org/articles.aspx?AuthorId=424 Posted on 8/13/2008

Raging Debate's picture

Wizard- Thanks for the link good historic read. As for Taleb, love the man. A genius able to articulate words to common sense. We need people like this when we get lost as a species, he is an anchor. Smart to do peer review of his book samples before publishing to sharpen his views through debate. Free market research :)

Mountainview's picture

But Pseudo experts on MSM, pretending to speak truth and brainwashing general public are a real scourge.

The Deacon's picture

What are the chances an author who writes about ' faux experts' gets great reviews from the legacy media?

He's not always right but he is frank.  

The line that stood out to me was....I have time to think. ... A rare and dangerous activity these days.

Gold Pedant's picture

Faux News Network. I've been saying it for years.

ebear's picture

"I have time to think. ... A rare and dangerous activity these days."

Or any day. 

Karl Marx had a lot of time on his hands and look how that turned out.

Taleb is one of those guys that, as the Russians say, likes to think big thoughts.

The Longest Call's picture

Inded it is fascism.  https://www.perpetualassets.com/news/2017/02/06/1524/  Also Jim Willie gives ZH well deserved props..

Spanky's picture

I am constantly amused by CFR affiliated journalists who consistantly interview CFR affiliated "subject matter experts" to broadcast their foregone conclusions.

Man-Bear-Pig's picture

NPR needs its public funding cut. I hate that my taxes go to fund that liberal trash heap.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Not fascism?  So suddenly, this guy is an "expert"?

The hypocrisy/irony of the current circus is fucking astounding.  So long as the bread keeps coming I guess...


..still think that there might be a little fascism in what is going on...

Nick Jihad's picture

No one can even define what fascism is anymore.  Try using a word that still has meaning.

Giant Meteor's picture

Does or does not, the "government" no matter the flavor of the day, implicitly support the present "money system" and those that control the levers of powers of that "money system", as well as the TBTF "primary dealers?" AND it doesn't end there does it .. but certainly, it MUST, start there ..

I'd say that is a pretty good definition ..

shovelhead's picture

It's simple.

Fascism is anything I don't like.

LawsofPhysics's picture

"Fascism is using the power of government to do/take/kill who/what I want WITHOUT the consent of the people or regards to any sort of rule of law" - fixed it for you asshat. Yes, it has been a "Just-Us" system for quite a while now.

g'kar's picture

"In the U.S., you only get either the official, bureaucratic or the academic side of the story."

Spot on Nassib

chunga's picture

Any time the "establishment" wants to make their bullshit sound less ridiculous they trot out a batch of "experts". The backfire on this has been fantastic. I had to go back and find this one, the fake news experts have uncovered the source of fake news! A teenager named Dimitry is running this thing from Macedonia! DOH!

Fake News: How a Partying Macedonian Teen Earns Thousands Publishing Lies


Dimitri — who asked NBC News not to use his real name — is one of dozens of teenagers in the Macedonian town of Veles who got rich during the U.S. presidential election producing fake news for millions on social media.

g'kar's picture

"Fake News: How a Partying Macedonian Teen Earns Thousands Publishing Lies"

Fair and Balanced. Good to see fake news was supporting both sides.

Insurrector's picture

It's turtles all the way down.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The structure of the universe is fractal, i.e. self-similar, in nature.  So it's turtles all the way up too.

Did I say turtle?  I meant Tori, multiple toruses, not turtles.

ebear's picture

It's turtles all the way to the horizon.  By definition, anything beyond that is known to neither man nor turtle.

Insurrector's picture

I went to a lecture given by Mandelbrot at either Boston University or MIT many years ago when I was a computer graphics software slinger. Although conceited, Mandelbrot was quite articulate and gave a fascinating lecture/demonstration.

Wish we could find a good use for fractal mathematics.  They have limited use in chaos theory, but other than that they are just pretty pictures.

shovelhead's picture

A coincidence that Soros funds an enormous effort to dominate Macedonian politics via web-posting among many other methods?

Got The Wrong No's picture

Another line which was spot on,

"The real problem is the ‘faux-expert problem’, one who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and assumes he knows" 


Many posters assume things that they do not know, yet they post as faux-experts.

Insurrector's picture

So what side do we want to hear from?

barysenter's picture

Its not the fake experts with the fake pedigrees. Its the nefarious agenda of the Hand that put them there.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

5,000 years ago they were called false prophets of false gods.

Chupacabra-322's picture

"This is not Fascism?"


It is Global Fascism.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Limits on ATM withdrawals? Capital controls? War on cash?

It most certainly is a form of fascist control.

Gnostech's picture

What a waste of Taleb's time.

Winston Churchill's picture

At least he could pick up some cheap silver in the souk, thosands of silversmiths in Jaipur.

VWAndy's picture

 One big ass never ending chain yank. 

Byte Me's picture


Just an excess of self-appointed pseudo experts.

(Financed by cunts who think 'leveraging' extends to the social structures)

Raging Debate's picture

Byte Me - Correct, and the 'tudes of those from top all through the downstream suck and waste our time at the end of our evolution where we can defeat classic death, travel interdimensionally,  etc. It is certainly not enlightened thinking. 

NobodyNowhere's picture

A complex economic system is designed by the banksters, run by the banksters, for the banksters.

Dumbing it down is the cure

adonisdemilo's picture


Two sylables.

EX  =    has been

Spurt  =  drip under pressure.


Sliced into ribbons's picture

It can be both fascism and a global riot against psuedo-experts.

FXPortent's picture

I disagree with Taleb on a number of things and I think he is very arrogant. However, the guy has shaken the way Finance is taught in schools and really gives the Liberals a much needed kick in the intellectual ass.

Escapeclaws's picture

Black swans was a good idea based on Taleb's knowledge of probability. He seems to have lost his touch. This seems to be about false experts (fake experts?). Ken Rogoff is an economic expert and he wants to ban cash. This seems more than being incompetent--it is an evil idea that will lead to tyranny, but of course it is coming. The problem has more to do with people of bad will. Taleb should address that.

Mountainview's picture

People of bad will, use pseudo experts to justify themselves.

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Hence, remove the grocery clerks and you'll face the truth.


Volaille de Bresse's picture

Make that "PSEUDO-EXPERTS" there's an annoying typo in the title...


Btw "pseudo" means "fake" in Greek  ;-)

Imagery's picture

NOT Fascism?  Who is the intellectual idiot now Nassim?

If its' not fascism, Stalin and Hitler never lived.  The TBTF WS Banks are simply giving out ubiquitous "waivers" to ubiquitous covenant violations on TBTF WS Public Portfolio PONZI Fraud Shalers everywhere now - pursuant to Dallas FedRes' denied trip to Houston to demand the Banks do such - and NO TX AG, nor US AG cares even investigate.

This is fascism as the private sector is crushed by these Public Corps who get this special treatement adn compete directly with Mom-and-Pops and entreprenuers who get their 23% pa C/C "Notes" called at first balk.

The UFSA is the most fascist country the world has ever known.  RIGHT THIS MINUTE.