Frederick Nietzsche had wise and enduring counsel for prosecutors, witch hunters, and grand inquisitors of all political, moral, and moralistic stripes.
“Beware of hunting monsters, lest you become one,” Nietzsche warned. “And when you stare too long into the abyss, don’t be surprised if the abyss stares back at you.”
The insight is especially pertinent for the anti-Trump “Resistance,” which is evolving into something just a little bit less high-minded and idealistic than its leadership originally intended.
Although the Resistance was born in the spirit of principled opposition to what it contended was a man and a movement that were political monstrosities, it has become a kind of ogre in its own right. Over the almost two years of the Trump presidency, that Resistance—aided and abetted by its enablers in the media and in academia—has come to mirror many of the same vulgar, violent, and authoritarian impulses it condemned Trump for representing and—worse—for “normalizing.”
It’s unclear if we are on the edge of a political abyss. But the left does seem like it has come to embody many of the same things it has insisted are evidence of Trump’s various pathologies. It’s as if it’s refracting its own tactics, rhetoric, and strategies through a glass darkly, with the Resistance taking on the same deranged, malevolent tendencies that it so loathes in the president. In effect, it’s reproducing many of the things it’s trying to thwart, practicing what they’re supposed to be preaching against.
Writing in The New York Times just after the inauguration, columnist Ross Douthat saw the pattern emerging early on, and understood its implications:
“The danger for the established press is the same danger facing other institutions in our republic: that while believing themselves to be nobly resisting Trump, they end up imitating him.
“This mirroring is a broad danger, applying to more institutions than the press. Trump comes to power as a destroyer of norms, a flouter of conventions, and everyone will be tempted to join the carnival—to escalate when he escalates, to radicalize whenever he turns authoritarian.”
Such a dynamic, Douthat insisted, “is more likely to polarize than to persuade, which means it does a demagogue’s work for him.”
As the midterms approach, instead of merely “knowing one’s enemy” as warriors are taught, the Resistance has become its enemy, breaching all sorts of political and democratic norms even as it hops up and down with its hair on fire about the norms that Trump has breached.
Flashback to June 2015: Almost as soon as Trump finished declaring his candidacy in the lobby of Trump Tower in the summer of 2015, the media branded him as a fearmongering demagogue, a stalking horse for white resentment and status anxiety who would bring on anti-democratic disaster.
According to most mainstream media analysts and elite pundits, Trump’s supporters were downscale whites, at odds with the ascendance of a new coalition of non-white minorities and immigrants who represented the future to a Democratic Party that no longer needed, and had little to offer, a white working class suffering world-historic economic disruption. These people were racist, nativist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic “deplorables,” whose dedication to “Make America Great Again” was nostalgic desperation.
Even if Trump was catching a sense of much of the nation’s hollowed-out economic prospects and the dissolution brought on by dysfunctional border and immigration policies, he did lay it on a bit thick. Washington Post opinion blogger Paul Waldman argued that “there may never have been a candidate who sees America as such a dystopic nightmare of gloom and despair.”
Still, in calling Trump a fearmonger, the Resistance countered with fearmongering of its own that was even more over the top. The economic disruption and social-class resentments were reminiscent of Weimar Germany. Trump was Hitler in the offing, it was argued, and not just in broad strokes, but in specific historical granularity. “It can happen here!” his attackers declared, echoing the Sinclair Lewis novel from the 1930s.
Another favorite literary reference was Philip Roth’s “The Plot Against America,” the counterfactual novel that played on Charles Lindbergh’s “America First” movement, whose banner Trump had embraced as a campaign mantra. Prominent Jewish organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) advised that pundits—many of them Jewish—stop with the Hitler analogies. But those analogies continued thick and fast. Hitler. Hitler Hitler. And if not Hitler, then Mussolini, or some other fascist figure from the past.
After the close of the Republican Convention in Cleveland in July, Times columnist Timothy Egan said that “fear had won the hall[, and] we should fear—for the republic, for a democracy facing its gravest peril since the Civil War.”
Feeling the same vibe, New Yorker editor David Remnick said the convention was “full of fearmongering, demagoguery, xenophobia, third-rate showbiz, pandering, and raw anger.”
In his eventual endorsement of Hillary Clinton, Remnick said that “the American demagogues from the past century who most closely resemble him—Father Coughlin and Senator Joseph McCarthy among them—were dangers to the republic, but they never captured the presidential nomination of a major political party.
“The prospect of such a president—erratic, empty, cruel, intolerant, and corrupt—represents a form of national emergency.”
Another New Yorker editorial the day after the election said, “This is surely the way fascism can begin.”
Russian Jewish immigrant Masha Gessen set the tone for the Resistance with a manifesto in the New York Review of Books called “Autocracy: Rules for Survival.” She followed up with a piece in Harper’s Magazine, which predicted that Trump would turn any major terrorist event into his own version of the Reichstag fire of 1933 in order to seize total power.
Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann wrote a GQ magazine column warning of a “bottomless pit” of fascism. An MSNBC commentator invoked Kristallnacht and Pearl Harbor.
It was hard to figure out where fearmongering ended and clinical paranoia began, on both sides. Trump had started contending that Hillary Clinton was the puppet of “big business, elite media, and major donors” who had “rigged” the system. It was very much a dark appeal that commentators correctly pointed out was straight out of Richard Hofstadter’s “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.”
But anti-Trumpers were seeing “Fright Night II,” as well. “The most dangerous candidate for the White House in generations is hoping to win on a platform of paranoia,” warned The New Yorker. “We hear sirens in the night.”
The mirroring pattern holds in the accusations of “authoritarianism” against Trump and against his authoritarian-minded supporters. The Resistance points fingers at Trump, not always without evidence. But then, it turns around and acts in its own intolerant, tyrannical ways reflecting its own authoritarian psychology. “Liberal fascism,” it’s been called.
The election of Donald Trump, noted N.Y. Times’s Thomas Edsall, in yet another column on the unattractive psychology of Trump supporters, “has created an authoritarian moment” that had brought sharp psychological cleavages into view. The academics that Edsall cited saw Trump opponents as open-minded and valuing independence and novelty, while his supporters were close-minded, obsessed about security, averse to change, and in need of a strong father figure to offset their own lack of inner development.
Former National Security Council aide Michael Anton, who wrote during the 2016 campaign under the nom de plume of Publius Decius Mus, caught the self-stroking hypocrisy in a recent Claremont Review of Books article headlined “Will the Real Authoritarians Please Stand Up?” Reviewing some of the “new exposés on the threats to democracy,” Anton wrote:
“Their purpose … [is] to make Trump’s legion of haters feel more high-minded about their rage, but mostly to misuse ‘science’ to categorize Trump as ‘authoritarian.’ The finding being ‘scientific,’ it is therefore irrefutable and not subject to debate. ‘Authoritarianism’ being beyond the pale, thus so is Trump and all he represents.”
Citing one of the books under review, Anton said that an authoritarian “1) rejects, in words or action, the democratic rules of the game, 2) denies the legitimacy of opponents, 3) tolerates or encourages violence, or 4) indicates a willingness to curtail the civil liberties of opponents, including the media.”
Anton argued that the shoe is really on the other foot in all of these categories. True, Trump could have been seen as encouraging violence at his rallies by saying that he would pay the legal fees of a rally-goer who had punched an anti-Trump heckler in the face and was arrested. “Yet during his rallies,” Anton noted, “when things got out of hand, far more often than not it was anti-Trump ‘protesters’ who initiated or provoked violence.”
“And that’s to say nothing of the rallies that were not able to take place because protesters prevented them through violence or threats of violence. It’s also to say nothing of the many instances of anti-speech violence on campuses around the country, all of it initiated by the Left. Try as the Southern Poverty Law Center might to find brown shirts around every corner, there is no conservative equivalent of Antifa.
“Meanwhile, the Left openly argues against, and sometimes actively disrupts, their opponents’ right to assemble. Which side argues openly for curtailing the right to freedom of speech—but only for their opponents? Which side is allied with mega-monopolies that use or threaten to use their outsize media power to restrict their adversaries’ discourse?”
Anton saw classic Freudian projection: “an unconscious defense mechanism that protects the ego from guilt or anxiety,” as he defined it. The Resistance, of course, was “resistant” to this insight. Social scientists have long been “quite oblivious to authoritarianism on the political left, and so set a precedent for studying authoritarianism without need for unpleasant self-examination,” as Harvard University professor Nathan Glazer said of his own colleagues in the 1960s, according to Anton.
During the campaign, as during the Trump administration, Resistance figures have insisted that Trump’s authoritarian bearings represented a nightmare for the American tradition of free speech, First Amendment protections, and the independence of the Fourth Estate.
Trump, of course, did contribute something to that view. The media was full of “horrible people” who lie about public figures without accountability, and generated little more than “fake news.” Some of his supporters in the alt-right picked up on the accusation, referring to the media as the lügenpresse, an old Nazi-era canard.
Eventually, Trump would start calling the media the “enemy of the people,” which was what Stalin called his political opponents—usually before arranging their imprisonments or executions. He made a passing threat to suspend NBC’s broadcast license, which in fact he wouldn’t as president have the power to do. He also hinted that he might block the proposed merger between CNN and AT&T.
In fact, though, the pressure on free speech has come from the other side.
“President Trump has said some ill-advised things on this score,” Anton explains. “But … he hasn’t actually acted on any of it.” The willingness to curtail the civil liberties of opponents and free speech comes almost entirely from the left.
During the 2016 campaign, mainstream media made a big deal out of some of the more radical elements in the alt-right who had taken to “doxing” its opponents and critics by posting their addresses, phone numbers, and other private information to the web. But some in the media started doxing in response.
Michael Hirsh of Politico, for example, made a Facebook post identifying the address of his alt-right neighbor Richard Spencer, as well as pleas to his Facebook friends that they should bust up an alt-right meeting with baseball bats in the same way Hirsh’s forebears did against Nazis back in the day.
The Resistance has used its power over social-media giants to restrict the ability of conservatives—and not just alt-right—to communicate on various digital platforms. “No platform for fascists,” as they say. In some cases, these companies, which have grown so large that they are very accurately referred to as mega-monopolies, have de-platformed certain individuals and certain groups, permanently banning their accounts in order to sideline their views.
In other cases, the companies have operated passive-aggressively, manipulating algorithms to reduce or deny advertising revenue or to rig the results of search functions.
Social-media giants are taking cues from allegedly liberal-progressive organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ADL, which are operating in a McCarthyesque vein, pointing an accusatory finger against online “hate” in the same way that McCarthy denounced communist subversion.
The American Civil Liberties Union has been of no help, putting the pieties of progressive activism ahead of its former commitments to the right of Americans to say anything they want, as loud as they want, as long as it isn’t “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
Google has actually produced an internal report called “The Good Censor,” which calls on the big tech behemoth to bring online standards for “hate speech” more in line with European rules, which it openly acknowledges transgresses on American free-speech traditions and the original libertarian ethos of Silicon Valley.
What makes this latest development most scary is that some of the consultants on this Google effort were prominent liberal journalists like The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer.
And even as the media raises various Big Brother scenarios about Trump, there have been disturbing utterances from mainstream journalists challenging traditional norms of journalistic objectivity and questioning longstanding journalistic taboos against censorship. In the face of Trump, such notions needed to be rethought, as N.Y. Times’ Jim Rutenberg said in August 2016 in the wake of Trump winning the GOP nomination:
“If you view a Trump presidency as something that’s potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you’ve ever been to being oppositional. That’s uncomfortable and uncharted territory for every mainstream, non-opinion journalist I’ve ever known, and by normal standards, untenable.
“But the question that everyone is grappling with is: Do normal standards apply? And if they don’t, what should take their place?”
The Columbia Journalism Review said the American media was facing its [Edward R.] “Murrow Moment” and needed to confront Trump in the same way Murrow had faced down McCarthy:
“After months of holding back, modern-day journalists are acting a lot like Murrow, pushing explicitly against Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. … But we nonetheless are witnessing a change from the existing practice of steadfast detachment, and the context in which journalists are reacting is not unlike that of Murrow: The candidate’s comments fall outside acceptable societal norms, and critical journalists are not alone in speaking up.”
Quite early in the campaign, even before the primaries, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, who now has a prominent position at Facebook, said that the networks should put a week-long embargo on coverage of Trump, especially his rallies and speeches, which she said were undesirably raising his hateful profile.
“Let’s stop being complicit in promoting his hateful and harmful demagoguery. Just for one week,” she pleaded.
Recently in the Washington Post, paid CNN contributor Ruth Ben-Ghiat, who is also a professor of history at New York University, with a specialty in the history of European fascism, said: “It is time to push back against this propaganda machine, using the lessons of authoritarian states past and present. Too many of us are unwittingly helping the adversary to meet his goals of delegitimizing American democracy.”
Although she was very careful to say, “This is not an invitation to censorship,” that was exactly what Ben-Ghiat was calling for to offset what she claimed was White House “fabrications and dissimulations.” She said that “dangerous subversives” such as Steve Bannon and manipulative liars such as Kellyanne Conway should be effectively banned from the air and from news analyses.
Media neutrality “creates more space for right-wing points of view,” Ben-Ghiat declared. “No one who has lived in an authoritarian state has looked back and wished its propagandists had gotten more media coverage during the crucial window of transition from liberal democracy to something else—which is potentially our situation right now.”
Right around that time, New Yorker editor David Remnick had invited Bannon to be interviewed in front of an audience at the New Yorker literary festival, but then disinvited him after protest from his own largely liberal-progressive staff of writers and journalists.
Liberal intolerance for free speech is most ironic on university campuses. In March 2017, an audience of thuggish Middlebury undergraduates at Middlebury College shouted down conservative scholar Charles Murray.
Stephen L. Carter, a law professor at Yale, a campus that had become a flashpoint for academic intolerance, declared that such intimidation was a reminder that “the true harbinger of an authoritarian future lives not in the White House, but in the groves of academe.”
University of Oregon president Michael Schill wrote an op-ed piece describing how one student who stormed the stage during one of his talks told the media to “expect resistance to anyone who opposes us.” Schill noted this was “awfully close to the language and practices of those the students say they vehemently oppose. … Fascist regimes rose to power by attacking free speech, threatening violence against those who opposed them, and using fear and the threat of retaliation to intimidate dissenters.”
Nullify the Vote
The Resistance has signaled other authoritarian tendencies in its efforts to nullify the 2016 election result. The worst part of Trump, Remnick insisted, was that he did “not accept the authority of constitutional republicanism—its norms, its faiths and practices, its explicit rules and implicit understandings.” In fact, Trump did suggest that he might not accept the election result, saying quite directly that the vote was rigged against him.
This was likened to the “stab in the back” canard flung at Jews by Hitler and set off alarms throughout the media about what would follow: a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and, perhaps, political violence. In sum, the end of democracy as we know in a final death spasm of the American “paranoid style” that historian Richard Hofstadter had warned about.
But Trump did finally declare that he would accept the election result. And after his victory, it was the Resistance that flouted democratic norms and understandings, by seeking to both morally delegitimize the votes of Trump supporters and to actually nullify the outcome through various constitutional measures that were themselves of dubious legitimacy.
“Progressives have, in succession, tried to sue to overturn Trump’s victory using several different approaches,” author and scholar Victor Davis Hanson wrote in American Greatness:
“First on the bogus claim of fraudulent voting machines. Then they sought to subvert the Electoral College by bullying electors into renouncing their respective states’ votes.
“Massive protests and boycotts marked the inauguration. Then there were articles of impeachment introduced in the House. Some sued to remove Trump on a warped interpretation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. Others brought in psychiatrists to testify that Trump was ill, disabled, or insane and should be removed, in accordance with the 25th Amendment. The former FBI director, CIA director, and director of the Office of National Intelligence have variously smeared the president as a coward, a traitor, and a Russian mole.”
The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart is a very proud liberal whose concern for Trump’s anti-democratic character was uppermost in his opposition. He’s also usually quite fair and reasonable. But Beinart was more than ready to nullify the election through maverick action in the Electoral College.
“Go ahead and call me an elitist; Donald Trump has changed the way I view American government,” said Beinart, admitting that the framers who’d engineered the Electoral College were prescient and that he was naïve. “Eighteen months ago, I could never have imagined President Donald Trump. Now I’m grateful that, 227 years ago, they did.”
The irony of calling for Trump’s impeachment, which might become reality should he lose, was rich, especially the part of the case against him that was purely political, like the one that billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer was making and underwriting.
By asserting a president should be removed from office over policy differences, Steyer has done more than trivialize impeachment, Karl Rove pointed out: “He helps move America closer to the [banana republic-style] tyranny Mr. Trump is accused of having brought about.”
Still another manifestation of hypocritical turnabout on the part of the Resistance was the way it insisted that Trump was a bullying vulgar celebrity who would coarsen the fabric of civic life but then turned around and used their own pop cult celebrity to protest against him in an even more crude and vulgar idiom.
As Hanson put it in his American Greatness piece, “There is no respite from the war against Trump.”
“Not the Super Bowl, not the Emmys, not the Grammys, not the Oscars. Almost every aspect of American culture has been weaponized to delegitimize Trump. … The NFL, the NBA, late-night comedy shows, cable news, sitcoms, Hollywood movies, books, and music have all found ways to turn their genres into anti-Trump theater.”
Trump did have a propensity to use demeaning stereotypes and say offensive things, such as the remark comparing Megyn Kelly’s anger to menstrual blood. But the celebrity class has more than matched him in vulgarity and crudeness.
Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a vulgar expletive and was cheered on by The New Yorker for doing so; Politico magazine’s Julia Ioffe, now at The Atlantic, tweeted something suggesting that the president and his daughter had engaged in incest.
At the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, comedienne Michelle Wolf cracked jokes about fetuses and body-shamed Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, himself a product of the café society and celebrity culture in the form of his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, said that Trump enthusiast Jeffrey Lord would defend Trump even if he “took a dump” on his desk.
Madonna fantasized about blowing up the White House. Kathy Griffin posted a photograph with her holding a likeness of Trump’s bloody severed head. Robert De Niro came out on stage at the Tony Awards and proudly denounced Trump using a four-letter word, which starry-eyed pundits such as the Los Angeles Times’ Virginia Heffernan cheered.
During the campaign and during the entirety of his presidency, the Resistance has insisted that the Trump phenomenon was based on little else but white ethnic nationalism, white racial privilege, and white demographic anxiety over the browning of America. There were countless denunciations of him for “otherizing” minority groups.
Dean of the Resistance Remnick said Trump’s victory would “strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other.”
But the only idea the Resistance seems to counter that with is an obsessive anti-white racism that “otherizes” the white majority, especially the white working class, as an almost inherently and irredeemably pathological force in American politics.
We’re awash in media that is obsessed with bashing white people, or more accurately in bashing “whiteness.” This is especially so in opinion journalism, and news analysis masquerading as such, where the racial postmodernism of academia has translated into demonstrating a preoccupation with white privilege, white fragility, and white supremacy, as well as a disturbing double standard in indulgence of anti-white racism.
There’s also a very unhealthy quotient of what has been called the “defensive inversion of bigotry,” which used to be called “reverse racism.” During the campaign, the media crucified Trump for the slightest connections to white racists, including retweeting people who may have, at one time or other, used racially charged language or what were considered racist memes, like Pepe the Frog.
But after the election, the Times hired Asian-American internet sensation Sarah Jeong, whose Twitter account bubbled over with years’ worth of anti-white broadsides of the most heinous kind: #cancel white people. Meanwhile, journalists of the Resistance aggressively defended her, or maintained strategic silence.
Some parts of the Trump movement, small ones, however, were indeed ethno-nationalist, responding to anxiety or paranoia about diminishing white demographic advantage. But after the Trump win, practically the entire Resistance began celebrating white demographic diminishment, affirming tropes about white ethno-nationalist “replacement,” when only months before it said such things were figments of Trump supporters’ fevered imaginations and bigotry.
“Only Mass Deportations Can Save America” wrote N.Y. Times’ Bret Stephens in a column that wasn’t entirely satirical.
“So-called real Americans are screwing up America. Maybe they should leave, so that we can replace them with new and better ones: newcomers who are more appreciative of what the United States has to offer, more ambitious for themselves and their children, and more willing to sacrifice for the future. In other words, just the kind of people we used to be—when ‘we’ had just come off the boat.”
Echoing Stephens, David Brooks said in all seriousness that the anti-immigrant white working class were the “East Germans of the 21st century,” left behind by a dysfunctional “monocultural” system. Their nativism was a “defensive animosity to the immigrants who out-hustle and out-build them,” Brooks maintained. “You’d react negatively, too, if confronted with people who are better versions of what you wish you were yourself.”
Trump’s white racial nationalism was anathema, but anti-white multicultural nationalism seemed to be fine. Some of the rhetoric you’d hear on public radio or read on the opinion pages had the ring of the kind of post-colonialist discourse you’d hear in the Global South. Some of it even had the ring of race war, or of racialized political struggles in the post-Independence world, like the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya or the conflict between white farmers and blacks in what used to be Rhodesia.
It was the allegedly monstrous racial rhetoric of the right being answered in just as, or even more, monstrous tones from the left, which was, of course, supposed to be better than that. “When they go low, we go high,” Michelle Obama had said.
The place where the Resistance’s moral compass has spun most wildly—and recklessly—is in its embrace of public shaming, confrontation, and aggressive incivility toward its political opponents in Washington, which has led to mob violence and arrests.
Media figures quailed at the occasional Trump rally-goer who got in their faces, and very rightly held Trump to account for offering support for the rally-goers who attacked hecklers. But the resistance has made face-to-face vitriol a standard instrument of its anti-Trump activism, and a lot of media figures have either shrugged or cheered.
It began during the crisis over family separation policies at the southern border, when Trump’s press secretary Sanders was asked to leave the Ren Hen Restaurant in rural Virginia. The restaurant’s progressive staff found her presence, and that of the guests at her table, objectionable.
Resistance protesters also challenged Homeland Security’s Kirstjen Nielsen, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and White House immigration policy director Stephen Miller.
“Confront Trump officials wherever they are,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) approvingly told her Democratic supporters. “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up, and if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”
N.Y. Times pundit Michelle Goldberg thought the new liberal incivility was just fine, and in fact, overdue. Calling Trump a “professional racist,” Goldberg said that “treating members of Donald Trump’s administration as ordinary public officials rather than pariahs does more to normalize bigotry” than the moment warranted.
“Whether or not you think public shaming should be happening, it’s important to understand why it’s happening. It’s less a result of a breakdown in civility than a breakdown of democracy. Though it’s tiresome to repeat it, Donald Trump eked out his minority victory with help from a hostile foreign power. He has ruled exclusively for his vengeful supporters, who love the way he terrifies, outrages and humiliates their fellow citizens.”
The distemper hit a fever pitch during the Kavanaugh hearings. The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan described the “destructive theatrics” that were “gripping parts of the Democratic Party.“
According to Noonan, “the howling and screeching that interrupted the hearings and the voting, the people who clawed on the door of the court, the ones who chased senators through the halls and screamed at them in elevators, who surrounded and harassed one at dinner with his wife, who disrupted and brought an air of chaos, who attempted to thwart democratic processes so that the people could not listen and make their judgments” were demonic—“like the shrieking in the background of an old audiotape of an exorcism.”
The Washington Post’s Michael Gerson, who is no friend of Trump’s combative style and baleful rhetoric, wrote that “one measure of the effectiveness of a political movement is how it changes its opposition. And President Trump is in the process of driving portions of his Democratic opposition insane.”
William McGowan is the author of several books, including “Gray Lady Down: What the Decline and Fall of The New York Times Means for America” and “Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism,” for which he won a National Press Club award in 2002.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.