Honing our arguments
This morning, I asked a question about the sexual innuendo behind the word “teabagging” (since other bloggers have noticed a sneering, locker room quality to MSM reports on the Tea Parties). To date, there have been 94 comments on that post. The first few dealt with the question itself. Then, a liberal came to visit, and the comments exploded as he cast nasturtiums at us for failing to recognize Obama’s greatness, and trotted out all the usual anti-Bush, anti-capitalism, anti-war, anti-etc. conclusions one finds at liberal websites. My dear readers responded vigorously, but he always came back with more conclusions, although few, if any facts.
One of my readers even suggested that he might be a troll. His response was interesting. Nope, he said. I’ve got a name and a day job. But trolls can have day jobs. The nature of a troll is simply to take over a blog’s comment site, and essentially exhaust and then drive away the readers. This doesn’t have to be a full time job. You can do this as a hobby.
Anyway, the troll almost succeeded with one of my favorite commenters, who wrote me a despairing letter about the frustration of dealing with trolls, and his sense that trolls reflect the futility of all political discourse and of our entire political system. Even though just yesterday I was complaining, and I’m still ready to complain today, about an information overload that’s making blogging difficult for me, I don’t despair as much as my friend does. Instead, believe it or not, I’ve found this troll experience somewhat heartening, and that’s because of the quality of my regular readers.
Much like my friend, I don’t have the energy for the individual trolls and I usually ignore them. I find them useful though, because they’re a microcosm of the ideas we need to challenge — not at my blog, but in the true public forum: the media, the schools and the public square. Thus, while no argument we make will ever change or even stop a troll not all liberals are trolls.
I speak with voice of experience when I say that most liberals just don’t think. They accept the labels assigned by the Leftist media and education system, and go rolling along, constantly trying to adjust themselves to the disconnect between reality and the party line. These are the people who are open to our arguments. We practice them on the trolls, knowing we’ll lose, and then we use them, politely, kindly, and with a relentless factual and moral logic, on those in the real world.
And as to some of them, we’ll change their minds. That was how it worked with me. I was a lifelong, unthinking, Bay Area liberal. What changed me were books, conversations with smart conservative friends, and world events that could not be explained away by liberal tropes. Over the years, all of these things came together into a blinding epiphany, when I recognized that my political party was no longer my political party. Forty years after Reagan drew the same conclusion, I realized entirely on my own (since I was unaware of the Reagan quotation) that I hadn’t left the Democratic party, it had left me.
Don’t give up the faith. As long as we have that, as Churchill knew in the darkest days of WWII, we can still win:
We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Trolls, irritating though they may be, are good for us. They’re practice, and when we leave their irritating orbit, we take our polished, clear, factually supported, logical arguments out to the masses and, with luck, we change some minds.
Cross-posted at Bookworm Room