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U. Texas Critical Race Training Showdown Looming

U. Texas Critical Race Training Showdown Looming

With a special legislative session on the horizon, UT’s days of simply ignoring critics and disgusted alumni may be numbered.

As I previously reported, earlier this year, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) went off the deep end of all things “woke” and politically correct.

Despite warnings from alumni, faculty, and organizations like the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the National Association of Scholars, UT quietly adopted a “Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity” that is genuinely chilling. Among other questionable practices, this plan institutionalizes the Critical Race Theory version of “equity” (equality of results, as opposed to equal opportunity, nondiscrimination, and meritocracy) as the paramount driver of decisions on hiring, promotion, tenure, leadership positions, and even teaching awards and endowed chairs at UT. It also creates a bureaucracy of diversity commissars in each college to enforce the new orthodoxy and mandates re-education of virtually all faculty in the new catechism.

UT insiders tell me this plan was the brainchild and pet project of UT Vice Provost Edmund Gordona pronounced CRT advocate. UT’s adoption of this extraordinarily ill-considered plan was the last straw for me (and, based on responses I have received to my article, apparently many other UT alumni as well). UT President Jay Hartzell’s response to this criticism has been to ignore it, which seems to be his preferred modus operandi. President Hartzell’s calculus appears to be that, with the Texas legislature now safely adjourned from its biennial session. UT can continue on its merry way, unmolested by the unenlightened peasantry.

He may be in for a rude awakening.

The visceral public backlash against CRT in education is emerging as one of the hottest political issues of recent times, cutting across just about all demographic lines. Indeed, even advocates of CRT now apparently recognize it is politically radioactive. Their new go-to defense is not to defend the CRT principles they have loudly espoused and demanded be implemented in curricula and administration, but instead to assert that CRT is not being taught or institutionalized at all.

Politicians across the country have felt this prevailing political wind and are acting accordingly. Texas politicians have also sensed the rising public anger, and late in the 2021 session, added and quickly passed HB 3979, which bans the teaching of certain CRT concepts in public K-12 schools.

But what of Texas’ flagship public educational institution, the University of Texas at Austin, that is much farther down the CRT road than any K-12 school in the state? Like his predecessor Greg Fenves, President Hartzell is quite happy to adopt CRT principles as official UT policy, either because he agrees with them or because he is afraid of or unwilling to stand up to campus activists. The Board of Regents remains, as it, unfortunately, has been for many years, too cowardly to exercise any meaningful oversight or control over what goes on at UT. Will Texas public officials step up and address what is happening at UT, like their counterparts in Idaho recently did regarding comparable “diversity” practices at the University of Idaho?

It appears that they may. In researching this article, I requested comments from Texas Governor Abbott’s office and the campaign of former Texas State Senator Don Huffines (a conservative critic of Gov. Abbott who is challenging him for the GOP nomination) regarding their thoughts on the situation at UT.

Senator Huffines issued the following statement:

CRT has been slowly seeping into our education system over the last 40 years. Greg Abbott has allowed public institutions like my alma mater, The University of Texas, to implement CRT openly and proudly. CRT eradicates freedom and diversity of thought. It is a harmful indoctrination being forced on our children, and I will not tolerate it. As governor, I will ban CRT at all levels of education, including colleges and universities. Any public school that does not comply will lose their state funding. All state agencies and contractors will additionally be banned from implementing CRT. In my administration, this Marxist drivel won’t receive even a penny of taxpayer money.

Regarding Gov. Abbott’s role in UT’s decline, Senator Huffines makes a fair point. For quite some time now, every member of the UT Board of Regents has been appointed by Gov. Abbott. Yet, his appointees have done absolutely nothing to arrest UT’s long march toward wokeness over scholarship, “equity” over equal opportunity and meritocracy, and political correctness over free speech and free inquiry. Indeed, noted commentator and UT critic Mark Pulliamindicates that he met with a senior advisor to Gov. Abbott three years ago and raised precisely these issues—but Gov. Abbott’s adviser dismissed Mark’s concerns, and nothing was done.

Gov. Abbott’s office, in turn, referred me to his signing statement on HB 3979:

House Bill 3979 is a solid move to abolish critical race theory in Texas, but more must be done. The issue will be added to a special session agenda.

Whether in response to critics like Senator Huffines or his own belated recognition of the problem and public sentiment, Gov. Abbott may finally be willing to take concrete action. Suppose he follows through and takes the extraordinary step of including CRT in higher education in the agenda for the special session scheduled for later this summer. In that case, UT could find itself with a serious problem.

Unlike a regular session of the Texas Legislature, where thousands of bills compete for time and attention on a very short clock (140 days every other year), bills introduced in special sessions tend to sail through. With the GOP in firm control of both houses of the Legislature and with red-hot public anger over CRT sweeping through public education, the stars may be aligning for some long-overdue legislative oversight of UT.

What should the Texas Legislature do? For starters, President Hartzell, Board of Regents Chairman Eltife, and especially Vice Provost Gordon should all be called to testify under oath regarding what is going on at the Forty Acres, and in particular to address the hard questions about the “Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity”that UT has studiously avoided answering. In advance of the hearing, legislative committee staffers should also obtain and release for public review Dr. Gordon’s (and President Hartzell’s) communications regarding the development of the DEI plan, as UT would undoubtedly invoke the “deliberative process” privilege to block any efforts by the public to obtain them via Texas Public Information Act requests. (As I learned from my investigation of activities at UT Law School, sweeping invocation of “deliberative process” is apparently UT’s standard technique to frustrate TPIA inquiries into questionable activities. However, if the Legislature demands these documents, the “deliberative process” privilege in the TPIA does not exist, and it would be exceedingly foolish and counterproductive for UT to try and resist legislative oversight efforts on that basis.)

The simplest legislative action would be to immediately cut UT’s budget for the amounts it intends to spend on its institutionalization of CRT principles (including its “Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity”), with provisions for automatic future cuts if UT responds by reallocating other resources to cover those cuts, and to redistribute such funds to other Texas higher education institutions. (If other public universities in Texas see that even UT is not immune from legislative oversight, I suspect they will be dissuaded from following in its footsteps.)

Other suggestions for curative legislation that the Texas Legislature should consider:

  • Confirm and reiterate that the use of race, sex, or other identity characteristics in hiring, promotion, tenure, or other employment practices in higher education (with exceptions for narrowly tailored programs designed to redress demonstrable past discrimination) is illegal under Texas law. This would cauterize the immediate symptom: UT’s institutionalization of the CRT concept of “equity” over equality of opportunity and nondiscrimination.Texas law—specifically, Chapter 21 of Texas Labor Code (Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA))—already makes it illegal to discriminate in employment matters on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex (including sexual orientation), national origin, or age (if against someone over 40). This Texas law prohibits favoring or disfavoring an individual in employment matters based on such classifications and is fully applicable to public institutions such as UT.As suggested by Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson, the Texas Legislature could pass a bill that includes a laundry list of suspect practices (such as many of those contained in UT’s “Strategic Plan for Faculty Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity”) and making legislative findings that such practices do violate the TCHRA. Such legislative findings would eliminate any possible doubt that UT’s stated intent to discriminate in the name of “equity” is illegal under Texas law, and would check the likely reluctance of elected Democrat judges in Austin to interpret TCHRA in this fashion.
  • Ban requiring or encouraging support of a particular political or philosophical position in hiring, promotion, tenure, or other employment practices in higher education. This similarly cauterizes the practice of requiring the affirmative support of a particular political agenda (e.g., “social justice” or “diversity, equity, and inclusivity”) as a requirement for employment or promotion, or of otherwise disfavoring those who are deemed insufficiently “woke.”
  • For public colleges, prohibit requiring, favoring, or disfavoring a particular political or philosophical position to gain admission, to pass required courses, or to receive a degree or certificate.
  • For public colleges, require adoption of the Chicago Statement as official policy.
  • Create a private right of action for violations of any of the foregoing, with no personal immunity for state employees or officials who participate in such violations. (As the situation in California public universities aptly demonstrates, without teeth such as this, prohibitions of “woke” discrimination become meaningless, as public university officials and employees can (and do) brazenly ignore the law without consequence.)
  • Regarding UT, begin to seriously evaluate whether Texas public higher education funds (especially distributions from the $30 billion Permanent University Fund) could be better spent on hard science research and education, and on regional or distance learning schools that focus on educating more Texans at a lower cost, rather than on funding an Austin citadel of woke indoctrination and “social justice.”

One thing I would encourage the legislature to avoid: purport to ban the teaching of CRT in public universities entirely. Unlike K-12 public education, where schools have a captive audience of children who are compelled by law to attend, I view the teaching of CRT in higher education the same way I view the teaching of Marxism, Lamarckism, eugenics, or astrology: I have no issue with adult students choosing to learn about these subjects if they want. (Making CRT courses mandatory, adopting CRT principles as official university policy, or spending large amounts of state funding on CRT courses are different matters.) Unlike much of the UT administration and faculty (such as “Larry and Friends” at the UT Law School, and a certain dean in the School of Business), I do not demand a monopoly of acceptable ideas or expressions, or believe that university students must be shielded from words and ideas that they dislike: both are anathema to the fundamental basis of higher education. Frankly, students who are unwilling or unable to deal with opposing viewpoints or the people holding them lack the maturity required for higher education in the first place, particularly in graduate programs at what is supposed to be an elite university.

As I have with past NAS articles about UT, I requested an interview of President Hartzell or someone else at UT for this article. Once again, UT’s press office confirms that it declines to respond.

With a special session on the horizon, however, UT’s days of simply ignoring critics and disgusted alumni may be numbered. To paraphrase Joe Louis, UT can run but it cannot hide.

Louis K. Bonham is an intellectual property litigator. He is a graduate of the University of Texas (BA ’83, JD ’86), was an Articles Editor on the Texas Law Review, and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Edith H. Jones of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. This article previously was published by the National Association of Scholars and is cross-posted with permission.


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So when will someone recognize that these classes of black inferiority and incompetence are racist?

    Robin in reply to puhiawa. | July 8, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Well we have the self-proclaimed progressive legal society American Constitution Society today calling for a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Commission in the US. Apparently the first two are merely pretexts, like CRT and DEI mandates, for wholesale political, economic, and social reconstruction at a structural level.

    Also, tomorrow the National Center for Human and Civil Rights in Atlanta is hosting a noon discussion calling for reparations. Funny how all this is dovetailing into precisely what Obama meant when he saw his election as instigating the fundamental transformation of this country.

    There’s a tremendous hurry to all this, isn’t there?

I like every aspect of your plan. However, I wonder if UT and the government of Texas is prepared for the rioting which will occur if it is adopted. The city government of Austin will obstruct in any way it can.

Abbott is a Rino

Regarding Gov. Abbott’s role in UT’s decline, Senator Huffines makes a fair point. For quite some time now, every member of the UT Board of Regents has been appointed by Gov. Abbott. Yet, his appointees have done absolutely nothing to arrest UT’s long march toward wokeness over scholarship, “equity” over equal opportunity and meritocracy, and political correctness over free speech and free inquiry.

There is a very good chance that if Governor Lockdown wins the GOP nod again next year he could lose the general election – and that is without accounting for the gargantuan cheating in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin that is a 100% certainty. Abbott has squandered an enormous amount of goodwill.

    Some fools will always believe the lie. It just makes me very mad. Born and raised and lived in Texas and in the past 70 plus years, 60 of them eligible to vote and there has never been a voting irregularity with the exception of the individuals trying to vote multiple times, 16 this last time, all for Trump.

    The whole list of conservative Republicans are not concerned with governing, but they sure are worried that somebody is going to do something they don’t like or object to so their time in the legislature is spent passing laws that do nothing for the citizens of Texas beyond disenfranchise them.

    The Governor (aka the Western Pope) in one of his election commercials looked into the camera and said “Don’t let anybody tell you election fraud doesn’t exist because it does . I know. Well Governor, formerly Attorney General, if you know, why haven’t you done something about it. If voting fraud exist, why as AG didn’t you do something about it. You were the most powerful law officer in the State.

    He’s either lying or was a completely incompetent AG and now Governor. Voting Fraud you say? Where the hell is it at and why haven’t the authorities done something about it.

    CRT is the same animal in a different skin. The only thing heard or seen from conservative Republicans has been claims it’s Marxist BS, reverse racism, whites are born oppressors, blacks are born oppressed and much more dealing with systemic racism.

    None of that stuff is true, it’s made up, Have you seen lesson plans and aids for teaching racism. It’s not hard to turn an age appropriate discussion into a zoo when telling someone else about it. I’ve seen some lesson plans and there is nothing like that

    Finally, it’s not to be taught but to introduce race as a societal hot button and the forms it appears in. It’s not to promote any bad feelings, but to introduce it to students at levels they become aware of the subject.

    Forty years to do something about it and now all of a sudden, with lot’s of pot stirring by agents and activists for conservative Republicans, it’s a problem. Parents don’t want their kids exposed to it because of what they have been told on TV and internet. They haven’t seen lesson plans or watched a class.

    The BS fed to the world by conservative Republicans is starting to wash off.

Senator Huffines issued the following statement:
[…] As governor, I will ban CRT at all levels of education, including colleges and universities. Any public school that does not comply will lose their state funding.

Either Senator Huffines is knowingly huffing and puffing to no effect, or he is ignorant of the first amendment. The government can ban the implementation of CRT principles, e.g. in hiring, admissions, etc., but it cannot ban the teaching of those principles, and it cannot make funding depend on whether they are taught. Government doesn’t have to fund speech in the first place, but when it does it may not discriminate based on that speech’s content. It also may not cut anyone’s funding as punishment for exercising a constitutional right.

That’s why the legislation ought to do all the things Mr Bonham recommends, but not dictate what is to be taught at the university level.

K-12 is different, not only because students are required to attend, but also because the supreme court has repeatedly found that K-12 students can’t be expected to be sophisticated enough to understand that what a teacher says is merely his/her own opinion, and not the school’s opinion, whereas university students are expected to understand that.

    Ironclaw in reply to Milhouse. | July 7, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Then they should ban the IMPLEMENTATION of them as curriculum. Nobody should be teaching blatant racism.

      Milhouse in reply to Ironclaw. | July 7, 2021 at 11:50 pm

      Sorry, “implementation as curriculum” is teaching, which is constitutionally protected. The government cannot interfere with what a professor teaches. And academic freedom means the university cannot interfere either. All it can do is remind people that the professor speaks only for himself.

      But the first amendment only protects the expression of ideas, not acting on them. A person has every right to advocate murder, or robbery, or any other crime, but if he acts on his own advice he can be arrested and the first amendment won’t help him. So Texas absolutely should ban state universities from acting on the principles of CRT, just as it bans them from acting on the principles of the nazi party.

        Ironclaw in reply to Milhouse. | July 8, 2021 at 8:48 am

        Let’s put it this way. If I were to find someone abusing my children by teaching them that garbage, I would IMPLEMENT a beating on them they’d never forget.

        Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | July 8, 2021 at 9:07 pm

        Teachers do not have a First Amendment right to teach whatever they want. In public institutions the state sets the curriculum. Teachers at all levels either stick to the curriculum or find another job.

        Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | July 8, 2021 at 9:31 pm

        A math instructor does not have a constitutional right to not teach the subject for which they were hired. A teacher who teaches that two plus two equals four reeks of white supremacy, and therefore per CRT theory they will teach “ethnomath.” “BIPOC” students can claim two plus two can equal five or three if they wish isn’t teaching math. The employer has a perfect right fire an employee who refuses to do the job and hire someone who will do the job.

        Why limit yourself to teachers? If a Hispanic individual goes to the DMV to get a state ID, does the #BLM activist/CRT proponent working for the state agency have the right to ask why? And the Hispanic individual says she wants it so she can vote, does the state employee behind the counter have the First Amendment right to lecture the individual that only racists would require BIPOC people to get state issued photo IDs to vote and that is really voter suppression. If the Hispanic individual insists on getting the photo ID, does the state worker have the First Amendment right to give the individual the wrong information so the Hispanic individual won’t get the ID they want?

        If you’re insisting that the state worker who happens to be an instructor at a state individual has the First Amendment right to adhere to CRT and teach that it’s just as valid that two plus two equals five, which is wrong but then critical race theorists who teach math maintain that it’s only my white supremacism that leads me to insist two plus two equals four and that my belief that getting the right answer is evidence of my inherent racism, then why shouldn’t my insistence that giving the Hispanic individual the correct information is also evidence of my white supremacism and racism. And that the state worker who isn’t an instructor at a state university but a state worker at the customer service counter at the DMV also can give out whatever information they wish.

        Why would a one state worker have a First Amendment right to deal in false information at one state entity but not another? And if the DMV worker can be fired, why shouldn’t the instructor?

        Arminius in reply to Milhouse. | July 9, 2021 at 12:33 pm

        For the benefit of MIlhouse, and for the benefit of anyone who might be tempted to believe his ignorant, ridiculous BS about how an employee somehow has a First Amendment right to go rogue and say whatever they want while on the clock, here’s a good article on the subject.

        “In recent decades, the Court has eliminated the “right-privilege” distinction with respect to public employees’ free speech rights. Application of that distinction to the public employment context was epitomized in the famous sentence of Justice Holmes’: “The petitioner may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman.”788 The Supreme Court embraced this application in the early 1950s, first affirming a lower court decision by an evenly divided vote,789 and soon after applying the distinction itself. Upholding a prohibition on employment as teachers of persons who advocated the desirability of overthrowing the government, the Court declared that “[i]t is clear that such persons have the right under our law to assemble, speak, think and believe as they will. . . . It is equally clear that they have no right to work for the state in the school system on their own terms. They may work for the school system under reasonable terms laid down by the proper authorities of New York. If they do not choose to work on such terms, they are at liberty to retain their beliefs and associations and go elsewhere. Has the State thus deprived them of any right to free speech or assembly? We think not.”790″

        Since the ultimate aim of CRT is, like classical Marxist CT, is to delegitimize the norms, values, and institutions as oppressive and advocate revolution against it (by putting it in terms of a race war instead of a class war) then the government can and damn well should ban CRT in the classroom. But the bottom line is that no teacher has the right to work for the school system under their own terms. If someone wants to indoctrinate students in their ideology that the U.S. has racism in it’s DNA and that our founding documents were written by white supremacists who wrote them to uphold a system of white supremacy, hence systemic racism, and that anybody who supports the constitutional order is therefor a racist, the taxpayers don’t have to put up with it. Consequently, neither does the state of Texas.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Milhouse. | July 7, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    When I was dealing with an adversary, and looking for wayan issue where we have to prevail.s to make them sorry, I would bounce questions off one or more attorneys regarding how I might approach the problem. In the end, I usually figured out a way to extract a few pounds of flesh.

    CRT is an issue where we must prevail, and destroy those promoting it.

      Milhouse in reply to JusticeDelivered. | July 8, 2021 at 1:29 am

      We can prevail by legislating as Mr Bonham suggests. We can’t stop them teaching this crap, but we can stop them acting on it, which includes preventing them from requiring all professors to teach it, and from refusing to hire those who won’t teach it. It needs vigilance, but it can be done, if the legislature wants to.

      For instance the legislature can appoint an inspector to scrutinize all hiring decisions and ensure that willingness to teach this crap was not a factor. I mean, that’s what trustees are for, but they’re evidently not doing their job, so the legislature can provide for a super-trustee to do it. Or it can simply hold its own regular hearings into this matter, and let the university know that it’s going to have to justify all of its decisions to a hostile committee, under oath.

Antifundamentalist | July 7, 2021 at 9:32 pm

Equity of outcome forces everyone to the lowest common denominator. Eventually, those capable of more will revolt.

But maybe that is the goal? Then they can feel righteous when the communists take over for realsies and force everyone to conform under force of arms.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Antifundamentalist. | July 7, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    “Equity of outcome forces everyone to the lowest common denominator.”

    Just like communism. Both suck the will out of people to achieve their best.

Old joke…send ’em a Whitman Sampler!

They now lie to parents about CRT.

If people who I trust with my kid are lying about what they are teaching my kid – I have to assume the worst. The problem is that parent are required – BY LAW – to entrust their kid with the state during K thru 12, unless they are home schooled or go to private school.

So many parents in the past 10 years have wondered what happened to their sweet wonderful kid after a few year of “education”. The anwer is they are taught to hate themselves, hate their country, hate their parents and feel inferior (as victims – if they’re a black) or ashamed (if they’re white).

In NYC the teachers unions are untouchable. The board of education is a political organization (with the Chancellor appointed by the Mayor).

Honestly – we are all to blame. This has been worsening over the last 25 years and only just metastasized in the last 2 years. Our political leaders at all levels let us down.

Now it is time to fight back – HARD. We have to make sure this NEVER happens again. These looney teachers and administrators should never be allowed near kids.

I say bring back tar and feathers.

    jb4 in reply to Ben Kent. | July 7, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    IMO the correct and fair solution is for the dollars to follow every single child. Competition would also significantly improve the quality of education – especially in the inner cities – and reduce its cost. But, it is above my pay grade to see it as anything but an impossible dream.

      Ben Kent in reply to jb4. | July 7, 2021 at 10:47 pm

      JB – I agree 100%.

      Some are also calling for recording class room instruction so that it can be replayed if a kid tells their parent that the Teacher was pushing the CRT bullshit. I agree with that as well. We must restore ACOUNTABILITY. God knows the administrators have proven they are incapable of holding teachers accountable.

      Hey, teachers – if you EVER find yourself lying to a parent – you may as well just walk out of the school and NEVER come back. Because then you are no longer a teacher – you are an advocate for an agenda.

        Mimi in reply to Ben Kent. | July 9, 2021 at 3:07 pm

        Absolutely agree that this is the solution – esp for K-12. And this needs to be a state priority where GOP is in charge. Those unwilling to pass ed-freedom should be primaried and replaced with those who will.
        Uni-level is a different story, of course, which is why the above article (detailing concrete plans to oppose uni-indoctrination) is sorely needed.

      Milhouse in reply to jb4. | July 7, 2021 at 11:56 pm

      In other words, vouchers. And yes.

      Personally, in order to create an incentive for school boards to go along with it, I would require them to issue all parents in the district whose child is not attending public school with a voucher for 80% of what it would cost the board to educate that child (taking into account the child’s disabilities, etc.) That way if everyone took the vouchers the school board would have 20% of its budget left to do whatever it likes with. And since not-for-profit private schools are usually cheaper than public school, the vouchers should be enough to send the children to one of them, or if the parents want to send them somewhere more expensive they can make up the difference.

        Ironclaw in reply to Milhouse. | July 8, 2021 at 8:47 am

        Not 80%. 100%. If the school is of such inferior quality then the parents should not be force to donate anything.

          Mimi in reply to Ironclaw. | July 9, 2021 at 3:09 pm

          No. Ed-freedom doesn’t mean vouchers for particular parents. It means that all education is on a parental-choice basis. Send kid where you want, choose the educational model that you want. Your ed-tax dollars are yours by default.

The legislature should withhold d all fund ing from the U Texas-Austin until the firing of President Jay Hartzell and Vice Provost Edmund Gordon.


CNN is reporting that right-wingers are just manufacturing an issue out of CRT. Like gosh, golly no-one even knows what this is. (see below)
Obviously – they know VERY WELL what it is and what the controversy is about. They are just trying to create a smoke screen for those mushrooms in the Progressive bubble who (mushrooms because they are kept in the dark and fed a lot of shit).

This is typical tactic of the left. When caught – either – (1) pretend you know what they’re talking about (CRT and Hillary Clinton with “wipe the hard-drive – you mean like with a sponge”); or, (2) attack the other side (such as Rep. Nadler “Antifa doesn’t exist – it is a right wing myth” or McAuliffe who is running for VA governor “CRT is just a right wing talking point” – see below)

This was a great article – very detailed and practical regarding actual strategic approaches. Other states can take a lesson from it as well.
As with all Leftist issues, never forget that it’s a power-game, not an idea-game, and fight it accordingly.