The Book That Should Never Have Been Written.
“Dylan and I are not Tucker Carlson level thinkers, and we won’t pretend to be, but we are smart enough to know and see how the complete lack of regard to the truth negatively affects our country.” - Tyler Zed & Dylan Wheeler, 101 Facts That'll Convince Your Liberal Friends to Walk Away.
“Wow ppl are so dumb lol that's so embarrassing” - My friend after reading the above sentence.
[For transparency: this review is based on the ebook version of the book].
Recently while doing some research for another blog post, I decided to purchase a book written and self-published by two successful rightwing Twitter personalities. The book is called 101 Facts That'll Convince Your Liberal Friends to Walk Away, and at one point reached at least number 181 on the Amazon bestseller list. It has since fallen, but not before selling what we estimate to be somewhere in the region of 7,000-10,000 copies (although we’d be happy to be corrected on this point).
The book is by Tyler Zed (real name Desmond Tyler Janousek), and Dylan Wheeler. Wheeler is the owner of the Twitter account Educating Liberals (@education4libs), which he has been active on since January 2017. His tweets frequently praise Trump and attack Democrats using combative and unhelpful language. Janousek is a childhood friend of Wheeler’s and runs the Twitter account @realTylerZed which covers much the same material as Wheelers’.
As a brief aside when I showed the book to a couple friends of mine who aren’t part of the same twitter circles as Wheeler and they thought it was hilarious. For people who don’t know what the #WalkAway movement is, the title has a very different meaning.
Some Early Thoughts
I expected the book to challenge many of my deeply held beliefs, but what I got instead was a collection of facts that felt like they were copied directly from a thread of poorly researched Twitter memes.
The book is a mishmash of standard conservative talking points, loosely structured around a number of thematic chapters such as Gender, Guns, Identity Politics, and Poverty and Crime. Within, each chapter a page is devoted to simply stating every fact covered in the book. For example fact #3 is “From 2011-2015, men accounted for 92.5% of workplace fatalities”, (which we’ll return to in a moment). After the fact, on the next page there is a variable number of paragraphs accounting for around a page and a half of writing although sometimes decidedly less or more. This commentary breaks down the fact and makes an argument about why the left/Democrats are to blame for or hypocrites about the fact.
At the start and end of the book the authors make clear that “All of the facts in this book are irrefutable proof of the reality we live in today” and “The purpose of writing this book was to shed some light on just a few of the non-debatable, jaw-dropping facts that we’ve come across during the short time we have spent studying politics together.” This will matter later on, so keep it in mind.
While some of the facts are empirically true, and a smaller number are valid criticisms of the Democrat party (or left more broadly) the book is also filled with such a worryingly high number of misleading or downright wrong facts that I have to wonder if any fact checking was done at all. Of course, I know that some fact checking must have been done because the book helpfully gives a list of sources at the back. This is an unironically good thing. What isn’t so good is that the authors have at times somehow managed to misread or misunderstand very basic aspects of their own sources. At other times the sources don’t even contain the information they’re being used to prove. More generally though, it was actually difficult to decide how many fake or misleading facts I should explore in this blog post because there were so many of them. In the interests of my sanity and your time, I decided to go for around 20.
Not only are many of the facts wrong or misleading, but little to no case is made for actually joining the right or Republican Party. I don’t mean that the book didn’t provide a convincing enough case to join the Republicans, I mean it hardly provided a case at all. There were hardly any points where it was made clear how the Republican Party would handle a situation or fact better than the Democrats. But enough rambling, you’re all here for the fact break down.
Wait, is a fire the same as a firearm?
I have decided not to go through the book in a chronological order. Instead, I will begin with a fact that I would class as mostly technically correct but incredibly misleading, with a hint of completely misreading a table.
In the chapter, “On Guns, Crime and Police” the authors write:
“Fact #34 The worst school massacres in the history of mankind using firearms): [for the record the unclosed bracket is a proofreading error in the book]
2004-Russia 334 dead
2000-Indonesia 191 dead
1990-Sri Lanka 158 dead
2014-Pakistan 149 dead
2015-Kenya 148 dead
2001-Kenya 67 dead”
Their source for this Fact is a Wikipedia article called ‘List of School Massacres by Death Toll’ The numbers are mostly accurate, however this fact is more than a little misleading. When you think of a school massacre with a firearm, you’re probably imagining a bunch of students sitting in class and then tragically being gunned down. The massacres in this list don’t quite fit that category as I’ll show by going through each massacre.
The 2004 Russian massacre in which 334 people died is known as the Beslan school siege, which lasted three days and occurred after a group of Islamic militia numbering 34 people occupied a school and took over 1,100 people hostage. The response by the Russian military involved the use of “tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons.” Hardly a lone killer with a gun. Of the 334 people killed in the siege, 186 were children.
The 2000 Indonesian massacre in which 191 people were killed occurred when a Christian militia attacked a group of Muslim villages. 70 adult or adolescent males sought shelter in a school and were set upon and murdered there by the militia. The rest of the deaths didn’t even happen at the school.
The 1990 Sri Lankan massacre in which 158 were killed was actually the result of the arrest and later murder of refugees taking refuge in a university by the Sri Lankan army (allegedly). It is not exactly a school massacre, it is just a massacre that happened in a school (well university really).
The 2014 massacre that occurred in Pakistan leaving 149 people dead was an attack by six heavily armed Taliban terrorists. I guess this fits the description of school massacre with a firearm best so far.
The 2015 Kenyan massacre in which 148 were killed is another university attack in which 4 attackers from the Al-Qaeda offshoot, Al-Shabaab, took over 700 students hostage, freeing Muslims and killing those who identified as Christians.
Finally, the 2001 Kenyan “school massacre […] using a firearm” that left 67 dead people dead did not even include the use of a single firearm. It is known as the Kyanguli Fire Tragedy, and the clue is literally in the name. It was an arson attack and is clearly labelled as such on the Wikipedia page.
If the first five massacres could be argued to be classed as 'firearm involved school massacres,’ the last most definitely does not fit that category. It seems the authors of the book were so keen to “own the libs” that they forgot the libs could easily fact check them. That, or they got lazy and didn’t bother to check their sources in their greedy rush to separate conservatives from their cash. This fact demonstrates a broader point: despite the authors claiming that their facts were “non-debatable,” this fact is very debatable and in fact wrong in at least one aspect.
Perhaps the reason they decided to class an arson attack as a firearm attack is because the next most deadly massacre occurred in the US. In fact, of the 121 worst school massacres on the list, 47 (38.8%) of them happened in America. The country with the next highest number of worst massacres is China with only 18 (14.9%) of the massacres, none of which used a gun. Need I remind you that China has around 1 billion more citizens than the USA?
The authors conclude that fact by saying:
What we hear all the time is that school shootings are strictly a problem in the US “because of how many guns are in the US, because of the 2nd amendment and because of the gun culture.” Or at least that’s what the left preaches. Clearly, this is not just a US problem. The fact above actually indicates that it is a bigger problem in other countries.
I would humbly argue that if your country makes up 38.8% of the list of deadliest school massacres despite having only around 5% of the world's population, you might have a bit of a gun problem, especially if the country with the next highest number of school massacres doesn’t include even a single firearm massacre.
Why bother checking your facts if they agree with your feelings?
Fact #37 reads: “Out of the 27 worst mass shootings in US history, 26 of the shooters were raised without their biological fathers.”
Despite claiming “We purposely sought liberal's news sources for most of the facts, so there is no refuting the information being given” at the beginning of the book, the source for this fact is a Patheos article written by Mark Meckler, one of the co-founders of the Tea Party Patriots. Meckler's article actually goes on to cite an opinion piece on FoxNews for the source of the 26 out of 27 shooters claim. The Fox News article, in turn, goes on to cite a Federalist article as its source. Why Wheeler and Janousek didn’t just cite the original article making the claim is beyond me. It’s just so incredibly lazy and sloppy that it beggars belief. It really wouldn’t have been that hard to do it.
Anyway, when I decided to fact check the Federalist piece, it turns out it is wrong. So wrong, in fact, that it was a right-wing commentator/author who corrected the mistake. It turns out that while the number of worst mass shooters who were raised by their biological fathers is low, it is around 4-5 rather than 1 as Wheeler and Janousek claim.
Once again, this fact is not only debatable, it is also downright false.
Fuck Bill Clinton
Fact #86 reads “Bill Clinton put a cigar up a woman’s vagina in the oval office, literally and figuratively. “But Donald Trump supposedly had sex with a porn star years before ever running for office.” The hypocrisy is staggering. Bill Clinton has sex with an intern, while married, while the President and the left still praise him. That’s not even the beginning of his promiscuity.”
Having sex with a pornstar or being promiscuous is not the problem up for debate. The issue is Trump’s hypocrisy, but more importantly, it’s the fact that he directed his lawyer to pay off the pornstar through illegal means, something even the lawyer admits occurred. Oh, and also, fuck Bill Clinton! Don’t read anything in this section as supporting or downplaying his behaviour. He abused his position of authority and should be investigated for any other allegations.
Stop being mean
Fact #32 reads:
“Annual Death Rates from Mass shootings per MILLION people from 2009-2015:
Czech Republic 0.123
UNITED STATES 0.089
While the fact is technically correct, it completely ignores the fact that in every country listed other than the US, there were no mass shootings in at least five out of the past seven years covered in the time period. Meanwhile, the US had one every year. The authors reached their figures by using the mean to reach the average number of deaths from mass shootings per million people over all the years. However, if you use the median to reach an average, the number of shootings in each of the countries goes to zero for all the countries except the US. Of course, this is ridiculous, because there were deaths in at least one or two of the years for each country however it does prove a point.
The other countries are outlier cases, while America has attacks every year… oh also since 2015, the average number of deaths from a mass shooting has increased in America. For a more comprehensive explanation check out this article.
Jesu- I mean, Kevin M Kruse take the wheel!
Fact number #47 reads “A total of 21 Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, only 1 of them ever became a Republican.” This fact (and the accompanying text) is meant to lead us to believe that the big switch - when the Democrats and Republican switched voters and positions - didn’t occur. Facts #52, 53, 54 & 55 also all rely on the false premise that the big switch didn’t happen.
I am far from a historian, so I won’t even attempt to personally debunk the claim that the big switch didn’t occur. Luckily, the historian Kevin M. Kruse has done so on Twitter in response to some other history deniers. Because I’m in a friendly mood I’ll link the unrolled versions of some of his twitter threads here, here, here, and here, clearly showing that the big switch is not a big conspiracy and did actually occur. I’ll even quote from one thread more or less in its entirety. All credit, of course, goes to Professor Kruse:
“Every major civil rights law of the 1960s -- the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act -- was introduced by Democrats in Congress, passed by a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate and signed into law by a Democratic president.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964: proposed by JFK, passed by Democratic-led House (152 Dem votes for, 138 Rep votes for) and Democratic-led Senate (46 Dem votes for, 27 Rep votes for). LBJ signed it with MLK at his side
The Voting Rights Act of 1965: advanced by LBJ and passed by Democratic-led House (221 Dem votes for, 112 Rep votes for) and Democratic-led Senate (49 Dem votes for, 30 Rep votes for), LBJ signed it.
The Fair Housing Act of 1968: advanced by LBJ and passed by Democratic-led House (166 Dem votes for, 161 Rep votes for) and Democratic-led Senate (42 Dem votes for, 29 Rep votes for), and signed into law by LBJ.
Southern Democrats were opposed to these measures, yes.
But literally, every single piece of civil rights legislation in the 1960s was pushed through Democratic Congresses and signed by Democratic presidents.
I guess if we're being generous here, we can add in the Civil Rights Act of 1960.
Signed by the Republican Eisenhower, but once again, shepherded through Congress by Democratic sponsors, passed in a Dem-led House (179 Dem votes for, 132 Rep) and Dem-led Senate (42 Dem, 29 Rep).
For more, read Professor Kruse’s thread of threads.
Shockingly Bad Scholarship
Fact #50 reads: “Every Grand Wizard of the KKK was a Democrat, even David Duke at one point.”
The source for this claim is the Wikipedia page for “Grand Wizard,” which does not include a single reference to which political party any of the leaders belonged to. To link to a source that doesn’t even back up your claim isn’t just lazy, it is dishonest and an example of dreadful scholarship.
I decided to check each individual page of the Grand Wizards listed to see how intellectually lazy and dishonest the authors were. Of the six men listed, three have Wikipedia pages stating that they were members of/associated with the Democrats. Two of those were well before the big switch, and the third is David Duke who left the party in 1989, and is now a Republican. Of the other three, two don’t have their party membership listed, and the third (Don Black) only has “American Nazi Party” listed. The others may well have been Democrats (pre the big switch), but there is no evidence on Wikipedia (as of November 2nd 2018) to back this up.
In another moment of laziness and poor scholarship the authors don’t mention when they accessed any of their online sources. If they were writing a blog post or a tweet that wouldn’t be a major issue but in a published book it’s verging on unethical not to include such basic information.
My favourite two facts are #21 and #25 which read “The ‘AR’ in AR-15 stands for ArmaLite Rifle, not ‘assault rifle’” and “A gun cannot fire itself” respectively. With facts like these, who needs feelings? I mean how can you not want to buy this book?
Wtf I like regulation now.
Fact #3 reads: “From 2011-2015, men accounted for 92.5% of workplace fatalities.”
This is a sad fact. I wish we lived in a universe where there were no workplace deaths, but short of chucking some women into an industrial blender, the best way to reduce the relative percentage of male fatalities is through regulation. Regulation that Trump and the conservatives want to cut.
Democrats have an excellent record for improving workplace safety regulations. OSHA alone has saved countless lives and to quote directly from Wikipedia (one of Janousek and Wheeler’s favourite sources):
A 2012 study in Science found that OSHA's random workplace safety inspections caused a "9.4% decline in injury rates" and a "26% reduction in injury cost" for the inspected firms. The study found "no evidence that these improvements came at the expense of employment, sales, credit ratings, or firm survival.
The founding of OSHA could probably be a whole blog post in itself. However, I’ll provide a very condensed history. In 1968, a worker health and safety bill was introduced to Congress by (Democratic party) President Johnson but died in committee. During his term, Nixon introduced two watered down worker health and safety bills, however two Democratic Party Senators adopted a much firmer approach to regulation and “introduced a much stricter bill similar to the Johnson legislation of the year before.” Since then, Democrats have supported most existing regulations and brought in new ones to help save lives and prevent workplace fatalities.
Wait, whose side am I on?
Fact #4 reads: “Men are sentenced to 63% more prison time than women for the exact same crime.”
Interestingly their source for this claim is the Huffington Post, and the Huffington Post’s source is a research paper written by a registered Democrat who has said that the solution for the problem “is not necessarily to lock up a lot more women, but perhaps to reconsider the decision-making criteria that are applied to men. About one in every fifty American men is currently behind bars, and we could think about gender disparity as perhaps being a key dimension of that problem." In other words, she thinks the problem should be addressed to make it more fair.
Another likely Democrat legal scholar, Dan Markel and his co-authors wrote (as characterised by FiveThirtyEight) in a 2009 book that:
“family ties should be considered only with great caution to ensure equal treatment and to avoid continuing patriarchal norms or creating a “class of persons who are immune from incarceration” and therefore desirable hires for criminal outfits,”
Clearly Democrats think something should be done. What about Republicans? I couldn’t find any Republican politician running on a platform of giving men and women equal sentences. So, even if Democrats didn’t support fixing the sentencing gap, why would that be a reason to favour Republicans, since they aren’t doing anything about it either?
The authors of this book have a terrible habit of repeatedly doing this. They will state a fact that they see as bad for the left, but then don’t offer any reason as to why Republicans can offer a better solution to the problem. Probably because they don’t have better solutions, but that’s another matter entirely.
Do you reckon anyone will notice if we add a couple unproven rumours into our book?
Fact #49 reads: “The KKK donated $20,000 to Hillary’s campaign in 2016.” This claim was never conclusively proven and has been called “highly improbable” by fact checkers. As a result, the claim directly contradicts the authors’ assertion that “All of the facts in this book are irrefutable proof of the reality we live in today” and “The purpose of writing this book was to shed some light on just a few of the non-debatable, jaw-dropping facts that we’ve come across during the short time we have spent studying politics together.” Because, not only is the claim debatable, it is also very likely that it would be refutable if we had more information.
That damn free market
Facts number 7 and 8 read:
“1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. There are over 2,000 domestic violence shelters exclusively for women (most turn away men) and only 2 (TWO) exclusively for men.”
The authors comment on this fact is “In other words, 43% of domestic assault victims are men, but they have 1/1,000th the amount of support. Do I need to elaborate on the lack of equality here?”
That’s it. The rest of the page is blank, and this isn’t the only example where a page is almost entirely blank save one or two sentences.
This section is one of many massive unforced self-owns on behalf of the authors, as the implication is that Democrats or the left are the only people who care about domestic assault survivors. Male victims of domestic abuse definitely do require more help, but that's a societal issue rather than the fault of Democrats. In fact, the Democrats, specifically Barack Obama and Joe Biden, have actually addressed the issue.
All the way back in 2005, Joe Biden explained:
The bottom line is - violence is violence no matter what gender the victim. Because of that, the Violence Against Women Act applies to all victims of domestic violence, irrespective of their gender. Nothing in the act denies services, programs, funding or assistance to male victims of violence.
And in 2013, Barack Obama signed an amendment to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 that ensures that any agency that wants to receive Department of Justice funds provides comparable service to people of all genders. Here is the exact wording of the bill:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity (as defined in paragraph 249(c)(4) of title 18, United States Code), sexual orientation, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available under [VAWA], and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Office on Violence Against Women.
The VAWA nondiscrimination grant condition provides an exception to the prohibition on sex discrimination in certain instances:
If sex segregation or sex-specific programming is necessary to the essential operation of a program, nothing in this paragraph shall prevent any such program or activity from consideration of an individual’s sex. In such circumstances, grantees may meet the requirements of this paragraph by providing comparable services to individuals who cannot be provided with the sex-segregated or sex-specific programming.
So, as you see, the Democrats have ensured that the shelters it funds provide housing to both men and women. There should definitely be more male-only shelters, but they would all have to come from the private industry (or offer females accommodation too). The authors are essentially arguing that more privately run shelters should open to help men, however enforcing that would be going against their hallowed free market.
Wait…it is the Democrats who are fighting for fewer people to have health care, isn’t it?
With a lot of the facts, it's not entirely clear why Democrats or the left is to blame. They’re just asserted with the assumption that the left is guilty.
This applies to facts #5 and #6 which read:
“Nearly 4 out of 5 suicides are men.”
“Prostate Cancer has a 17.9% mortality rate, Breast Cancer has a 15.4% mortality rate.”
To address fact #5 first, mental health spending isn’t a partisan issue. In the past Democrats, have increased mental health funding and continue to be strong advocates for mental health spending and funding (as are some Republicans). Democrats don’t just care about men's mental health they care about all mental health. More must be done, but it’s not clear how the Democrats are responsible for male suicides.
I’ll also add that some sources note:
There is a strong correlation between the suicide rate and the Republican share of the vote in the presidential election. Solidly Democratic east-coast states like New York and Massachusetts have some of the lowest rates—a phenomenon that long predates Donald Trump’s election.
The authors add some commentary about fact #6 saying:
The point of this statistic: while the left preaches equality for all, where are they on the issue that strikes men nearly as much as breast cancer strikes women?
This is one of the most stupid sentences I’ve read. Breast cancer has had some very effective awareness advocates, and the fact that more attention isn’t paid to prostate cancer isn’t because feminists hate men, it’s because its advocacy groups haven’t been effective enough in entering the mainstream. This is a problem, but it is not a Democrat or left-wing problem. It is a bipartisan problem. Republicans haven’t exactly made prostate cancer awareness part of their core election strategy either. In fact, more people in the United States die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. This is true for both men and women. Is it because neither Democrats nor Republican care about lung cancer, or is it because not enough advocacy work and research has been done?
In conclusion, to address both the points, it is the Democrats who have been championing health care for all and arguing that it should be a right, not the Republicans. The best way to reduce cancer and suicide deaths is to make treatment affordable and to invest in research. These are both things Democrats have been fighting for.
See, the Republicans were the real progressives (100 years ago)!
Facts #56 and #57 read: “The first black Republican Senator was elected in 1870, Hiram Rhodes Revels. [and] The first black Democratic Senator was elected in 1992, Carol Moseley Braun.”
The authors follow this up with “More Big Switch issues. Why, if the Big Switch occurred during the 50’s and 60’s, did the Democrats wait nearly 40 years to elect a black Senator? I’m just asking questions here,” and then leave the rest of the page blank.
This is another of their dumber points. As professor Kruse points out: in the 1860’s “in general, the Republican Party of the 1860s significantly expanded the federal government, created the IRS, fought corporate power, funded a huge system of public colleges, and called for reparations for slavery. It also, um, impeached an incompetent and corrupt president.”
That is the party Hiram Rhodes Revels was running for and got elected to represent. If you think that sounds anything like the current Republican Party, then I’d like to know what you’re smoking. Need I even mention that the literal Karl Marx sent Abraham Lincoln a letter congratulating him on re-election and received a thankful reply.
As we have established big switch did actually occur. Therefore, the black senators from the 1800’s should either be chalked up for the Democrats or be left moot. The third black senator was also a Republican named Edward Brooke who was elected in the blue state of Massachusetts in 1967. His Wikipedia page informs us that:
In the Senate, Brooke aligned with the liberal faction of Republicans. He co-wrote the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which prohibits housing discrimination. Brooke became a prominent critic of President Richard Nixon and was the first Senate Republican to call for Nixon's resignation in light of the Watergate scandal.
During his election campaign, Brooke courted labor unions and visited labor union headquarters in each of the cities he campaigned in. He was twice endorsed by the Communist Party (although they made a point to endorse minority candidates and he rejected their endorsement) however he was happy to be endorsed by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union and in his 2007 biography wrote:
In the Senate I fought to protect a woman’s right to choose—in accordance with the Supreme Court’s historic Roe v. Wade decision— and yet today that right continues to be imperiled by antiabortion activists and politicians who pander to them. We can go right down the line, on issue after issue—women’s rights, gay rights, medical care, safe and affordable housing, education, employment security, the minimum wage—and find that the political battles I fought are still the burning issues facing America and the world.
He also believed that we should achieve “protection of our planet with stronger laws and immediate action to prevent irreparable harm caused by man-made global warming” (my emphasis) and “a built-in cost-of-living increase in the minimum wage” among much else.
So, although he won as a Republican and held many Republican positions, I’m not entirely sure he would be at home in the current party and he holds some positions that the authors of the book have been vocal in their opposition to.
That leaves us with the problem that the Democrats didn’t elect a black senator until 1992, and I agree that it is a problem. The Democrats should have done better, and they deserve some criticism for that, but it is stupid to act as if the Republicans were better on race issues during the time period from Brooke leaving office until 1992. From 1992 to 2018, the Democrats have elected six black senators while the Republicans have only elected one (in 2013). That leaves us with a final tally of six firmly Democratic black senators and four (or arguably only two) Republican senators. If the Republicans were really the party of civil rights why haven’t they had more black senators since 1967?
I will also raise the fact that between 1929 and 2018, the Democrats have had the overwhelming majority (94% if my math is correct) of black representatives in Congress.
Also, if the Republicans are so progressive today, then why are the vast majority of the Nazis and white supremacists currently running and voting for them? As the professor Kruse once remarked:
If you have to go back to the 1860s or even the 1960s to claim the "party of civil rights" mantle -- while ignoring legislative votes and executive actions taken in *this* decade -- you're clearly grasping at straws.
We don’t need no treaties when we have Trump
Fact 97 reads: “After pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, the US led the world in decreasing carbon emissions.”
Well, actually the data suggests that while the US carbon emissions are continuing to fall under Trump, they are falling slower than under Obama, and experts question whether the continued decline has anything to do with Trump's policies. When evaluating this claim, Politifact concluded:
Whatever decline has occurred on Trump’s watch is unlikely to stem from his own policies. Changes to emissions levels tend to come either from changing economic incentives, government policy over the long term, and factors beyond human control, such as the weather.
So while this fact is technically correct, it is also misleading and commits the post hoc fallacy.
Finally, fact #92 reads: “NYC spends over $24,109 a year per public school student, yet 72% aren’t proficient at reading, and 72% aren’t proficient at math.”
Meanwhile, Minnesota spends over $11,949 a year per public school student, yet it is my opinion that Dylan and Desmond aren’t proficient at reading comprehension and basic fact-checking.
In conclusion, the book is a mixture of true facts, misleading facts, and outright falsehoods. Some of the points I have debunked are unclear, but others are indisputable, and I expect retractions from the authors. The first draft of this post included several more fake or misleading facts, I’ve had to leave them out for time.
All in all, the book has not convinced me to #WalkAway from the Democratic Party, and even if it had, no alternative case is made. The Republican Party is hardly mentioned. No convincing argument has been made for joining the right.
Oh, and as the authors of the book wrote in their own conclusion: “be kind to each other, focus on some of the positives, and keep spreading the truth to those who are willing to listen.”