Confederate flag

Civil War Games and Apps Return Online

Anti-Confederate flag push led to some absurd outcomes that are being rolled back.

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And it didn't even have a flag on the box anyway!
Mercury Games

The mass purge of Confederate flag merchandise by online vendors seems to be finding some sense. We noted last week that the decision by people like Amazon and Apple to stop selling or permitting Confederate flag memorabilia had led to some absurd outcomes: Strategy games that used the civil war setting were getting booted because they included representations of the Confederate flag. The flags were included because they were historically accurate—not because the game publishers were pro-confederacy or pro-slavery.

After blogging about that purge, I was also contacted by a representative from Vinyard Studios, a company that makes a bunch of historical apps that allow the user to read through actual news stories from the Civil War, curated in such a way that readers would have the experience of following the events of the war as they unfolded. He discovered that several of his apps were no longer available for purchase on Amazon because of the appearance of the Confederate flag on app images. Mind you: This wasn't even a game. It was an app providing access to actual news stories from the time.

But now it looks like all these decisions have been reversed. Ultimate General: Gettysburg is now available again at the Apple store. Guns of Gettysburg and Battle Cry, two Civil War-themed board games, are available again from Amazon. And Vinyard's apps are back at Amazon as well.

In the end, the same sort of cultural pressure that prompted companies to remove Confederate flag merchandise also applied cultural pressure to reverse absurd outcomes. It was stupid for Amazon and Apple to have stomped all these products out without more careful evaluation, but at least it was more easily fixed, compared to any sort of government intervention or regulation.

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  1. A return to rationality?

    1. Not really; the companies sent out the message that they care and got that achieved, so now rolling back is fine because no one is paying attention any more.

      1. I can see that being the case.

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      2. Yeah, pretty much this.

      3. There’s caring, and then there’s making money.

        I always try to err on the side of caring about making money.

  2. I find all of this really frightening. It’s like a prequel to Fahrenheit 451.

    1. As long as the Internet remains free we’ll be just fine. . . . .never mind

    2. Yeah prequels never really work out.

      1. I found the character of Har Har Clinks in Fahrenheit 451: The Beginning to be superfluous and offensive.

        1. Yes, but he was the pivotal vote leading to the destruction of the Republic.

        2. Meeeeesa thinks we burn allllllll the bad books!

    3. It’s even more frightening in the speed with which it happened.

      I think it was on Popehat where they pointed out that the government doesn’t need to really revoke the 1st Amendment if a culture of censorship already exists.

      Even the very easy history behind the flag (it’s a battle flag) did not change the onrush to censor.

      I agree – pretty frightening.

  3. Can’t the developers change the Confederate flag to some kind of rainbow flag? No, wait, that would send the wrong message too. How about they leave it historically accurate but make it so this time the south loses the war.

    1. I believe there are many alternative history novels out there that can supply that need for you.

      1. It’s weird, but I could’ve sworn the South lost the war. Perhaps I woke up in the wrong reality again.

        I think a rainbow-hued Confederate battle flag is a lovely thought. Someone should design one and fly it from their capitol.

        1. I think a rainbow-hued Confederate battle flag is a lovely thought.

          I live this idea. Crossing the streams like this could well rip a hole in the space-time continuum.

          Must Google.

          [Googles Rainbow Rebel Flag]

          Oh, hell, yeah. But, none for sale (yet).

          1. It’s got to fly, man.

      2. An alternate timeline where the Confederates were fighting for gay rights? Because that’s what I was going for.

        I mean, come on, people who going around saying “I do declare” and do Designing Women? The alternate history practically writes itself.

        1. I’m pretty sure that’s what Fritz Leiber’s The Big Time is about.

        2. Someone mentioned Oscar Wilde meeting Jefferson Davis. What if it turned out they were gay lovers and that Davis secretly planned to legalize homosexuality and gay marriage if the CSA had won? How would the left/SJW community handle that?

          1. Did not Davis dress up in womens clothing?*

            *As a disguise to escape cspture.

            1. It’s just possible that this whole line of reasoning is arguably true.

            2. Unfortunately not, just a popular myth. He possibly wore his wife’s overcoat, but the fact that he wore a man’s hat (and everything else) seems to counter the drag-as-disguise myth.

              1. No, a study proved that he was gay and planned to make the flag rainbow-colored and to give full rights to all gays in the South. That was the real reason the Civil War was fought.

                1. Well that settles it.

                  Perhaps Lincoln, also gay, just didn’t like cross-dressers.

                  1. No, Lincoln was a self-hating gay who wanted to stomp out gayness to prevent him from being tempted into any gay sex acts. If he were the only gay, he would be safe from himself.

                    1. A true Republican.

          2. “Why, Ashley, I do declare, all this talk of whips and chains has me all hot and bothered!”

            From Fifty Shades of Confederate Gray

      3. I prefer school textbooks for my alternative histories. I just finished reading how the U.S. government saved German children from near-certain starvation in Dresden at the end of WWII.

        1. Don’t forget to note how the Western Allies failed to destroy Auschwitz even though they knew exactly what was going on there for years and had bombers operating constantly inthe area. They decided to firebomb German cities instead,that had no military significance.

          1. Yeah, I’m not sure how fire bombing Auschwitz would have been the logical method to prevent Germany from gassing and then incinerating millions of Jews.

            1. Well, it would have prevented the Germans from doing it, but I’m doubtful the end results would have been better from the Jewish victim point of view. And as to stopping the camps before additional Jews were sent in, it’s very probably that the Germans would have merely machined gunned more train loads of Jews to death in the forest than what they did historically.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumbula_massacre

            2. Probably could’ve disrupted the rail lines a bit more though. But that had an actual strategic benefit, considering that every train moving Jews to Auschwitz was one that wasn’t moving German troops around.

        2. Maybe, the the writing isn’t as good.

    2. or you can only play as the north and it’s impossible to lose and the enemy is all retarded.

      1. There are times I wonder whether it wouldn’t have been better if the South had won right at the outset, like it almost did. Slavery was doomed, anyway, and the long war had a lot of unpleasant repercussions for just about everyone. Impossible to know until we have trade with alternative universes, in any case.

        1. How do you route and army and not take the capital? That’s war 101. Also, I was thinking about that today, was slavery really more profitable than hiring workers? You had to purchase the slave, feed them, cloth them, house them, train them, provide medical care.

          1. Both sides had some lovely examples of government mismanagement. I think the difference in objectives had a lot to do with it–the South just wanted to win sufficiently to get the North to recognize the secession; the North wanted to conquer and reintegrate the rebellious states.

            1. So I tried to google slave labor vs wage labor and all I get is articles about wage slaves. *sigh*

              1. In university I did some work in regards to Roman slavery vs. wage labour in agriculture in the late Republic period. It’s obviously different historically (lack of industrialization for one) but my research mostly found that Roman slavery plantations were only really efficient on a large scale. So lots of land, lots of slaves. Smaller farms actually often had problems with their Roman owners buying too many slaves for what the land generated and often had to resell them or face bankruptcy (of course there was a lot of other problems that influenced Roman land management, especially Senatorial schemes and military service). Of course, classical slavery was also different than chattel slavery.

                1. Didn’t they also use slaves for some other purposes, like mining? I recall something about Greek slaves dying in droves because of the bad conditions they had in mining various ores.

                  1. Yep, Sicily’s mines were pretty much the worst place you could end up as a Roman slave, you were expected to go into the mine and never come out. Mine slaves however were ‘special slaves’, i.e. they had legal restrictions that other slaves didn’t (they couldn’t be freed or sold for example). Often times it was an extreme punishment for convicts or former enemy combatants. I remember reading some historians who placed their life expectancy in the mines at something like 8 to 12 months.

                    Also manumission was really, really popular in Roman society, to the point where the later Imperial state had to actually severely restrict it. A lot of Romans would free their slaves in their will and their other dependents would have to buy new ones to fill the gap.

                    1. A very interesting fact about the kind of slavery the Greeks and Romans (and others) had was that it started out and was often justified as being better than the old practice, which was simply slaughtering the enemies you captured.

                    2. Roman slavery in general is really interesting because it opened up a path to citizenship for foreigners. You have a lot of examples of well-educated Greeks selling themselves into slavery and working as scribes or ‘slave bureaucrats’ in the hopes of being freed and having an opportunity for their children and grandchildren to become Roman citizens.

                    3. Manumitted slaves (freedmen) were rather notoriously powerful in Claudius’ government.

          2. “How do you route and army and not take the capital? That’s war 101”

            Early on they went out of their way to make it clear they were fighting a defensive war, it’s easy to say they should have taken DC in hindsight.

          3. And the first steam powered harvester that picked cotton faster would have replaced field slaves.

          4. Also, I was thinking about that today, was slavery really more profitable than hiring workers? You had to purchase the slave, feed them, cloth them, house them, train them, provide medical care.

            By the time of the Civil War, I think slavery only remained profitable because it was so heavily propped up by the state and to a lesser extent federal governments. The northern states had already proven that slavery was unnecessary for industrial development, and the history of the two regions into the early twentieth century pretty clearly shows that static social orders, with or without slavery, are anathema to economic development.

        2. Totally agree. It’s easy to see that slavery had become economically disadvantageous for the vast majority of Southern plantations – during the 1850s Virginia was actually a net loser of slaves and, despite Northern propaganda, Southern slave owners felt victimized as much as anything else and Robert E Lee , one who had no love for the institution of slavery, once remarked that none of the planatation owners he knew liked the institution.He certainly didn’t join his native state to save slavery. In fact, discriminatory taxation of the majority North of the minority South had been going on back before the age of Jackson,when the issue nearly came to secession, totally unconnected with the issue of slavery. Lincoln had promised to push thru the proposed Constitutional amendment just passed by Congress which guaranteed the continued existence of slavery in the Old SOuth “forever,” . The manner in which the slaves became free, coupled witht he dispicable behavior of Yankee carpetbaggers and military , guaranteed the worst possible situation for the Southern Blacks when the Yankee armies were withdrawn . 100 years of hatred for the Yankees and Blacks followed.If the Confederates had prevented their subjugation, slavery would have died a natural death and that eventually the two sections reunited into a new Union. Things could not possibly end up worse than they did. It was the American holocaust with no redeeming features.

          1. Somebody was still benefiting from slavery or else it would have been abolished sooner. It’s possible that the more pragmatic Southerners recognized that emancipating all the slaves all at once would be disastrous for social order and simply held off on being too vocal about it. Yet the fact of the matter is that, regardless of what may have happened after 1860, nothing was yet in motion in the South to abolish or even phase out slavery as a legal institution, and many Southerners were quite keen on defending it using very explicitly racial justifications.

            1. The government usually lags behind reality. I bet slavery would have died due to industrialization, then slavery would have been made illegal.

              1. FM,

                In this case it wasn’t just about the government. Southern society was very pro-slavery in 1860, for moral and social, as well as economic reasons. It’s not clear whether industrialization would have killed slavery in the South, or even if it would, whether the South was industrializing fast enough for it to happen in a timely manner. Libertarians at times over simplify abolition generally to being purely a reaction to economic change. While it certainly was a factor, changes in moral standards were a very crucial component and cannot be discounted. Slavery was ended in various Latin American countries where the Industrial Revolution was virtually nonexistent. Many Northern states banned it before the Industrial Revolution even started in the US, or at least was big enough to be a factor (though in those cases, the preexisting lack of economic dependence on slavery due to the nature of agriculture there was certainly a huge factor. However, that wasn’t the case in many of the Latin American countries I referred to earlier). I’m not saying I find it likely that slavery would have continued to the present day, but it’s very unlikely that it would have ended within a decade or two as a lot of people seem to think. And of course, it’s entirely possible that widespread slave revolt could have broken out, which probably would have been bloodier than the Civil War. And a war with the Union was still entirely possible, potentially over land disputes in the West.

              2. Regardless, as I elaborated on below, there is absolutely no reason to think abolition in this context would have meant any degree of social or legal equality for the black population. People who think Jim Crow was just a reaction to the Civil War and Reconstruction are very wrong. Slavery may have ended at some point, but there is absolutely no way the South was going to do it while granting freedom and political equality to black people. The preexisting antebellum racial attitudes make this very clear.

                1. Cali,

                  I was thinking about the institution of slavery, I hadn’t put too much thought into the social ramifications. Thank you for giving me some things to think about.

            2. Indeed. Arthur can say what he wants, but the fact is that the Confederates were explicitly dedicated to preserving the institution of slavery and made it clear that it was the fundamental primary reason why they were seceding. Lee may not have described the institution in very positive terms, but he also made it explicitly clear that he thought it should only end through divine providence, and that any attempt by abolitionists to end it, peaceful or not, was immoral. And one thing that many people simply don’t get is that slavery was not just an economic system in the antebellum south. It was the fundamental foundation of Southern society – people believed that black people being slaves to white people was the only natural and moral way for the two races to coexist. Even the poorest, lowliest white person could take pride in the fact that there would always be a class of people beneath them. Southerners were terrified at what the prospect of abolition meant in a social and political sense.

            3. Absent the Civil War, the South most likely would have abolished slavery at some point, though it was not by any means imminent as some people make it out to be. In any case, there is absolutely no reason to think that free black people would have had anything approaching legal equality, and it’s entirely possible that would have continued to this day. South Africa maintained apartheid until 20 years ago, and that was in a country where white people were a much smaller % of the population than they were in the CSA, and a country far less powerful than the CSA would have been (not to mention the fact that legal segregation in this country lasted until about 50 years ago, and that was with the South being dragged into ending it kicking and screaming the entire way).. The Civil War was not responsible for the creation of the concepts of white supremacy or racial animus against black people.

              1. The Civil War was not responsible for the creation of the concepts of white supremacy or racial animus against black people.

                Indeed, but it is also worth noting that the South of today is not the South of yesteryear. People change (sometimes only by dying off). It is entirely possible that the South would have had its apartheid-style system killed off in the 1920s or 1960s, presuming it ever adopted one in the first place (note: I’m taking it for granted that slavery is worse than apartheid).

                All counterfactual arguments are ultimately futile, of course, but I do think extra scrutiny is warranted in matters of war, even when (indeed, especially when) the matter is complicated by ideological and moral issues ancillary to the war itself.

                1. “Indeed, but it is also worth noting that the South of today is not the South of yesteryear. People change (sometimes only by dying off). It is entirely possible that the South would have had its apartheid-style system killed off in the 1920s or 1960s, presuming it ever adopted one in the first place (note: I’m taking it for granted that slavery is worse than apartheid).”

                  This is true. Obviously none of us know what actually would have happened. That said, while the South is obviously very different than it was in the past, it was also dragged kicking and screaming into changing by the rest of the country. Perhaps in an alternate universe where they gained independence, they independently come to these realizations at the same time or sooner than in real life, but that doesn’t strike me as very likely. I really don’t see any scenario where the South doesn’t adopt an apartheid system. Perhaps if black people were a small portion of the population, they would have, but they were 40% of the population and a majority in some states. Granting them full political equality meant a massive loss of power for the white population, in some states ceding political control to the black population. I just don’t see any way of going from slavery one day to full legal equality the next in this environment, and certainly not without widespread dissent and probable violence.

                2. And while you can always say it’s possible that thing’s would have turned out better than expected, you can equally make the opposite point: things could have turned out worse than expected. It’s entirely possible there would have been a widespread slave revolt (or potentially post-abolition by black people revolting against an apartheid or segregation system) ending in genocide (possibly/probably on both sides). A scenario I find more likely, to be honest, than full legal equality of the races in the 1920s. I also find the prospect of a future USA-CSA war fairly likely, given how much the South valued spreading slavery in the West, and many Southerners also wanted to bring various places in Latin America and the Caribbean into a new slave empire. Again, I do agree with you that we ultimately can never know what would have happened. But that’s much more of a problem for the people who think things would have definitely been better absent the Civil War, which at least to one person here was apparently equivalent to the Holocaust.

                3. It is entirely possible that the South would have had its apartheid-style system killed off in the 1920s or 1960s

                  The turning point would have been WWII. The South would have (and did) couched their racism in eugenics. The South would have been at a crossroads when all of the scientific and moral underpinnings for their racism collapsed in on itself due to Hitler. The beginning of the end of Jim Crow was when eugenics collapsed after WWII, and it’s reasonable to think that it wouldn’t have had a similar effect on an apartheid South.

                  1. I’m not so sure about that. It didn’t shift the attitudes of the Southern white population in real life. Jim Crow was ended through activism by black Southerners who gradually gained the support of the rest of the country. White Southerners certainly did not give up the system willingly, and I don’t see why they would have had they been independent since the Civil War. Heck, South Africa continued it for another 30 years after that, and that was a country weaker than the CSA would have been, where white people were a much smaller minority.

                    Of course, who knows what effect the CSA being independent has on world history. Not to mention the possibility of a revolt, either pre or post abolition, by the black population and how that would have affected race relations.

                  2. “The turning point would have been WWII. The South would have (and did) couched their racism in eugenics. The South would have been at a crossroads when all of the scientific and moral underpinnings for their racism collapsed in on itself due to Hitler. The beginning of the end of Jim Crow was when eugenics collapsed after WWII, and it’s reasonable to think that it wouldn’t have had a similar effect on an apartheid South.”

                    You’re assuming WWII would have happened. As some historians have speculated; if the South victoriously seceded they would have quickly aided the UK in WWI leading to a quick Allied victory. Thus there’s no Treaty of Versailles and therefore no resentment to fuel Hitler’s rise.

                    Of course, alternatively, these changes could have led to the rise of some sort of Super Hitler too.

                  3. Ah, but in your alternate history, the US would have been much weaker, due to it’s smaller size. Further, it’s entirely possible that the CSA would have supported the Axis.
                    If the Axis won, wouldn’t that have been used as proof that the German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese races really were superior?

                    1. “Ah, but in your alternate history, the US would have been much weaker, due to it’s smaller size.”

                      The US did little for the Allies until the very *end* of the war, so it being weaker isn’t of much concern.

                      “Further, it’s entirely possible that the CSA would have supported the Axis.”

                      Well, there wasn’t an Axis in WWI, and the connection between the South and Great Britian was incredibly strong. Stronger than that of the rest of the US, for the most part. (Also, a much lower percentage of ethnic Germans live in the South) So, while it – and anything – is possible, it doesn’t seem nearly as likely.

                      “If the Axis won, wouldn’t that have been used as proof that the German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese races really were superior?”

                      Besides that there wasn’t an Axis to win, Japan and Italy were on the Allies side. (Spain didn’t participate.)

              2. Even if the Confederacy/the South had kept institutionalized slavery after not having/winning the Civil War this was the beginning of Britain’s anti-slavery foreign policy push. Britain was also the number one foreign consumer of southern goods and they likely would have used economic pressure to force an end. But Calidissident is absolutely right that the outcome would not have been equality for blacks. The South had a pretty clear moral and cultural argument that blacks were inferior to whites.

                1. John,

                  You do bring up a good point, and that it largely why I do think it would have ended at some point. I just don’t think that would have been nearly as quick as some people seem to think it was. Slavery held on till 1888 in Brazil, a country where it was much less important economically and socially, and where slaveowners had much less power than they did in the federal and state governments of the CSA. Obviously we’ll never know, but I think expecting it to end any time before the 1890s (unless due to slave revolt) is really overly-optimistic. If all of these factors were as obviously imminent as some think they were (and John, I’m not accusing you personally of this), there is no way the South would have seceded and gone to war to preserve the institution. I do see we are in agreement on what post-abolition Southern society would have almost certainly been like.

          2. A new union seems dubious to me. Southerners had quarrels with even entering a union with New England in the first place. I think a more likely alternative would have seen Western and Mid-Atlantic Confederacies popping up shortly after. (They had all expressed the same disdain and fear of the religious fanaticism of New England as the South)

            This is all entirely speculative, of course.

            1. There were some among the Brits who were hoping for the states to fracture off from one another so that they could be reabsorbed into the empire. That too would have killed slavery off, although likely at the expense of our stronger protections of rights like speech and guns.

              1. Tough call, half a million+ dead or be more like Canada.

                1. I’m not sure if the British really would have tried to reannex the US and its breakaway states, but if they did, I really don’t think that would have happened peacefully.

                  1. “I’m not sure if the British really would have tried to reannex the US and its breakaway states, but if they did, I really don’t think that would have happened peacefully.”

                    I sincerely doubt it, but it’s possible, (and a fun time-waster) further they could exert “influence” without full annexation due to the strong economic ties and the fear the CSA might have had of their northern neighbors.

    3. Yes to rainbow Confederate flag. Just change the tag line to, “They could never leave their buddies behind.”

  4. OT: This weekend I finally had that pesky chipmunk in my sights, but was thwarted by Rule #4. Better than being thwarted by Rule #34.

  5. Has Dukes of Hazzard been scrubbed from TV Land yet? Or maybe they’re driving the General Grant now? We have the technology to superimpose the Stars and Stripes on the roof now, I assume. “Welcome to Hazzard County, Pennsylvania.”

      1. This Little Light of Mine.

      2. Dixie

      3. Marching through Georgia

      4. Yankee Doodle

    1. New rooftop flag: http://national.suntimes.com/n…..-marriage/

    2. Since the Dukes are not a “historical representation or reenactment”, they will still probly be banned for displaying and/or glorifying a racist symbol.

      SOMEone has to decide what is offensive. I doubt that it will be the market that decides. It was certainly not the market that decided to pull any/all references of the Confederate flag from retailers.

  6. Just put Obama on the confederate flag.

    That’ll make everybody happy!

    1. Just replace the start with lollipops. That should work.

  7. Would this be a good time to kickstart a WhitePower app? /asking for a friend

    1. You mean crowdfund. In all seriousness projects have been suspended and terms have changed to ban shit because of offensive / scary stuff on Kickstarter.

  8. In the end, the same sort of cultural pressure irrational bullying that prompted companies to remove Confederate flag merchandise also applied was reversed by sanity cultural pressure to reverse absurd outcomes.

    FTFY.

  9. Last week I joked about the Iconacastic riots, where protestant mobs rampaged and destroyed catholic images.
    And then I read that the National Cathedral, noticing they had a nasty stars-n-bars flag in their Civil War window – begins discussion on literally smashing a stain glass window in a Cathedral.
    http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/…..cathedral/

    Who’s up for a little book burning?
    That’l teach those anti-intellectual rednecks.

  10. I is confuzed….

    How exactly does this prevent another crazy fucker from shooting people in the future?

    1. Crazy racist asshole shoots black people in church.
    2. ????
    3. Purge anything with confederate flag.

    Can’t really use ‘profit!’ in this case since banning merchandise doesn’t align with that.

    1. Your answer to profits is provided by Rodney. Thanks Rodney!

    2. Can’t really use ‘profit!’ in this case since banning merchandise doesn’t align with that.

      I’m sure the SPLC will see an increase in contributions for awhile.

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    1. Can’t you just do that for me and send me a check?

  12. As an historian, I find it mildly amusing that, not 10 days ago, most people could not even tell you when the Civil War took place, let alone what the Confederate battle flag actually stood for (it’s based on the U.S. flag). But, then the SJWs showed up and made a bunch emotional feelz-based arguments, and flags started coming down off of poles and shelves in a bout of knee-jerk reactions. Oh well, at least the second amendment was left alone this time.

    1. And the same people who claim to be appalled by ISIS tearing down pagan statues and art are perfectly happy to tear down statues and art related to the confederacy. Somehow destroying art and symbols of the past they find objectionable is okay when they do it.

      1. A fair point. Let’s not destroy art or history just because it offends our timid sensibilities.

      2. On the other hand, I say it was a good thing to tear down Lenin statues all over former Soviet bloc. And now Russians are supposedly looking at restoring Derzhinsky’s statue in front of the old Cheka/KGB/FSB HQ.

    2. Sure, take away the flag and drive racists underground where they can’t be confronted. Why do “we” always resort to banning and hiding things rather than getting them out in the open where superior arguments can win?

      1. It’s the sad myth that you can make something go away by not acknowledging it. That only works when a child is doing something to get your attention. Racists aren’t just trying to get your attention. Communists aren’t either. Hell, I want to have every chance possible to identify idiots. That way I can avoid the moron with the swastika in his business’ window.

  13. Glad to see a major overreaction being corrected.

  14. It’s always nice to see the professionally outraged forced to back down, if only the moment. But they’ll be back for the rest later.

  15. It’s always nice to see the professionally outraged forced to back down, if only the moment. But they’ll be back for the rest later.

  16. See? The market works.

    SJW get their 5 minutes of banning civil war games.

    Then, they come back online, since that’s stupid.

    Everyone wins.

    Beat that with your “Ban everything I don’t like blah blah blah” bullshit.

  17. They did, however, remove all references to Woodchipper’s from the games. Can’t allow that….

  18. Flag must have rainbow colors.

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