On Oct. 24 2021, former Portage County Chief Deputy Sheriff Dan Kontos published in his column in “SP Metrowire,” an online medium in Stevens Point, WI, a letter of insult to non-conservative people of Stevens Point and the County at large: “I tell you this because I love you.” He goes on, in psychological abuser style, to post several dozen insults to the residents, repeatedly calling them “Useful Idiots” (UIs).
First, claiming a degree in Political Science, he makes this gross error: “Vladimir Lenin was credited with reviving the term (Useful Idiots) in the early 1940s and using it to describe people of a non-community country sympatheci to communism who were regarded as gullible and susceptible to manipulation for propaganda or other purposes.” Setting the McCarthyite tone with a glaring error of history (Lenin died in 1924), he also failed to do the “impartial fact check” that he claims gullible Useful Idiots are doing all the time:
The phrase useful idiot has often been attributed to Vladimir Lenin, but he is not documented as ever having used the phrase. In a 1987 article for The New York Times, American journalist William Safire investigated the origin of the term, noting that a senior reference librarian at the Library of Congress had been unable to find the phrase in Lenin’s works and concluding that in the absence of new evidence, the term could not be attributed to Lenin. Similarly, the Oxford English Dictionary in defining useful idiot says: “The phrase does not seem to reflect any expression used within the Soviet Union”.
–Wikipedia, the “Useful Idiot Libs” go-to for fact checking
After the gross historical error and sketchy attribution, Kontos dives right into exposing the “Shattered Consensus Reality” that Atlantic author J.M. Berger writes about.
See “Our Consensus Reality has Shattered” by J.M. Berger
October, 2020, The Atlantic magazine online
Kontos’s opening paragraph to his conservative meta-narrative gets straight to the shattered reality, by stating something that non-conservatives and anti-conservatives are saying ALL THE TIME about the conservatives:
“Sadly, many of our fellow citizens have fallen into the role of a UI. This explains how normally right-thinking members of our own society can pursue lines of “reasoning” that run contrary to all actual evidence or logic. The have been sold the big lie, and they believe it wholeheartedly.”
This is coming from a local leader in the anti-masks-for-covid, anti-vaccinations, anti-accurate-history-teaching in schools (they call it “Critical Race Theory”) movement in Portage County / Wisconsin / the nation. Speaking of lines of “reasoning that run contrary to actual evidence or logic…
All this reminds us of a famous episode in Seinfeld,–one particular episode borrowed an entire plot device from Superman – the Bizarro World, where everything is the opposite of Earth. Where Seinfeld and friends have somehow slipped into an alternate reality called “Bizarroworld” in which everything about them is exactly opposite to themselves.
Kontos then goes on to craft a “Quiz of Insults” against Portage County Libs. Each point is a Bizarroworld reflection of what anti-conservatives and non-conservatives’ belief system and value system looks like.
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Q1: First, add one point if you believe that the U.S. Constitution is a “living document.”
Here, Kontos is trying to establish a “Dead Document” concept of the Constitution. Thrusting the USA backward in time to the late 18th century, where the Founders crafted a document intended to codify the rule of the white male slaveowning plantation owner for all time to come. Bizarro America 2021, let’s call it. . A “Republic, if you can keep it,” in which women, and black folk, would never be able to vote for representation.
Strangely enough, the point that the Founders put a method for Amending this “dead document” into the dead document, is a crucial part of the Conservative Bizarroworld.
Q4: Now add one point if you thought the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was a success in any way. Add one more point if you didn’t realize that American citizens are still involuntarily trapped there today. Subtract one point if you know that your government is actively fighting efforts by private citizens to rescue them.
This is a sort of “Bizarro Afghanistan Mission Accomplished” piece of the conservative dogma. See, if only President 45 had won that election (he didn’t, by the way, but lost by millions of votes), then the withdrawal from Afghanistan would have gone perfectly, and Prez 45 could have stood on an aircraft carrier with a giant banner overhead reading “Mission Accomplished.”
Q5 Add one point if you think elected and other high-ranking government officials have an inherent superior understanding of where our nation should be heading.
This negates the whole concept that America’s people elect representatives because they think they know where to lead the nation. See, we do not have direct initiative and referendum for federal (nor most of the 50 states’) legislation. Nor do activist groups on either side–be they Proud Boys or Citizen Action groups–determine the direction of the nation. Activist environmentalists, for example, get a severe beat-down when they attempt to stop crude oil pipelines such as the Dakota Access Pipeline. They do not get to prevail, and very often, elected officials help with the legislative beat-down of the environmentalists with “felonizing protest” legislation.
In fact, anti-conservatives (progressives) tend not to think that elected and other high-ranking government officials of EITHER side, “red nor blue” have an “inherent superior understanding.” Most progressive activists think that elected officials are doing the bidding of corporate executives, who most certainly have NOT got an inherently superior understanding of where our nation should be heading–although they’re definitely leading the nation to consume more fossil fuels.
Q6 Add one point if you think our country is headed in the right direction.
See, here’s the thing about the shattered consensus reality of our nation: All during the Trump era, anti-conservatives and non-conservatives would have been asserting that our country is headed in the wrong direction. As Kontos is clearly stating in his “question.” Also, during the George Bush the Lesser administration. Similarly, the non-conservative would have said the same about the G.H.W. Bush admin. and of course, the eight years of Ronald Reagan.
It’s a Bizarroworld flip.
Q.7 Add yet one more point if you trust the mainstream media to be unbiased
Here we have a mainstream conservative contesting the “unbiased” nature of non-conservative media (i.e., those which are NOT WSAU-AM 550 in Wausau (the hate radio channel), or OAN, or Fox News or “The Epoch Times” in print, or the online newswire where his column appears.
Apparently the Sheriff doesn’t realize that many (many) non-conservatives, and anti-conservatives, do NOT rely on “mainstream media” (which we often call “the corporate media”) but instead rely on indie journalism. Or news aggregator sites like Popular Resistance or Black Agenda Report, which pull news from literally all over the planet, from the oppressed populations, workers, women’s liberation movement and so forth.
Shall we give him one “UI” point for that? LOL.
Q8 “Add one point if you still have a Biden/Harris sticker on your vehicle.”
Here’s the meat of the January Sixers’ message: “H8 Joe Biden.” Or as they like to say, cutely, “Let’s Go, Brandon.”
Pssst, by the way: Most of the progressives we know do NOT have such a bumper sticker. They strictly “held their noses” and voted Biden/Harris so as to prevent an authoritarian, xenophobic-nationalist-populist-white supremacy regime being installed in 2021 at inauguration day.
Q9: “Add one point if you believe that “my body, my choice” should apply to women who want to abort their unborn baby, but should not apply to people who want to control what substances are injected into their bodies.
Here we see the classic “two separate realities” of the Divided States of America. No matter what medical scientists say, that an unborn fetus is not a “baby,” we see that the Evangelical Pastor at your right-wing church is The Scientist you Believe.
We see the real intent of conservative America, which is to maintain the patriarchy for all time to come. The complete abolition of the women’s liberation movement. The “Handmaid’s Tale State” as it’s now being called.
The second half of his Q9 sentence shows the essence of the local “Freedom Fighters” or “Liberty Leaders” perspective on how Covid-19 should have been handled: Public Health be damned. There is no public. This is not a society; it’s just you and your Fam against everyone around you.
Q 10: Add one point if you support the government and businesses firing employees for not becoming vaccinated.
Here again Mr. Kontos lives in Bizarroworld where there is no longer “public health,” and measures to protect public health are viewed as encroachments on one’s “freedom” or “liberty” because there is no society, no public. Just you and your Fam against the world. May the most heavily-armed Bizarroworld Fam prevail.
Q 11: If you just added a point, then add one more if you also have no concerns that untold illegal aliens and Afghan refugees are permitted into the country without being vaccinated.
Here we see Sheriff Kontos parroting Tucker Carlson with the xenophobic idea of “untold illegal aliens permitted into the country.”Because they want to REPLACE the “good white people” like Dan. This is straight out of the Trump xenophobe-nationalist-populist-white supremacist propaganda playbook.
Q 12: Add one point if you believe that “the science” supports the proposition that wearing a mask will protect you from Covid-19.
Almost from Day One of the giant Pandemicon convention we all got our tickets to, the right wing have been peddling “their science” against “everyone else’s science.” We have “dueling scientists” in our nation because the nation is fractured beyond repair. Rather than presenting a Review of Peer-Reviewed Literature, the “Freedom Fighter” crew began searching-up “scientists” who would present a narrative that would support them doing whatever the freak they like, without any public health restrictions on them. Welcome to the Science of the Selfish. Ayn Rand would be super-proud of these folks.
Q13: “Add even one more point if you wear a mask so people will not confuse you for a Republican, an anti-vaxxer, or simply so that people will leave you alone.”
Again, here we our with “Our science Trumps YOUR science, you Libs.” Also, you are more likely to be bullied by Trumpsters than you are to be left alone if you wear a mask in public now that we’re in Month 22 of the Pandemic.
Q. 14: Add one point if you believe Googling something and reading online opinion articles and blogs is actual research.
We’re eager to discover what the source of Sheriff’s deep “actual research” might be. Hopefully the letter “Q” is not involved in the sources he’s using.
Also, please note: In our series “Our deteriorating economy pages” we’ve relied upon Google Scholar searches to turn up peer-reviewed academic / scientific articles so as to form a Review of the Literature section to inform the writing. You know, like you’d use in a Master’s Degree. I realize that “Google” Scholar is a hot red flashing warning to Mr. Kontos.
Here’s a Google Scholar search on the string “do face masks protect against Covid-19?”
Out of the 114,000 results (since 2020) you are going to discover a wide range of “findings” on this topic.
If you’re Sheriff Kontos or a Freedom Fighter soldier, you’re going to want to Cherry-Pick thru those pieces until you have a strong anti-mask narrative.
That’s how “science” works, right?
Q 15: Add one point if you believe in the use of vaccine passports as proof of vaccine status. Q 16: Add an additional point if you oppose voter ID requirements as proof of voter eligibility.
In Q 16, here we see the Crafty Sheriff craftily rolling from “vaccine passports” straight into white supremacist calls for voter suppression of Voters of Color in the most unequal communities in the nation, who have great difficulty (which White Freedom Fighters don’t have) in securing their spot at the voting booths on election day. Well Done, Sheriff !