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June 22, 2003

With apologies to the intelligent conservatives who stop by, I have to say I figured this would happen. Others are discussing it intelligently but I, as always, have my own opinions.

I have to say that most of the conservatives I've gotten into discussions with on-line are just like those freepers. They're...well, they're trollish. They think spamming a discussion with irrational, biased insults is a legitimate debate technique. They use suspect numbers and unreliable sources when (as so frequently happens), they don't have facts to back up their assertions. They're confused about the line between reality and on-line bullying.

But this is more than just a rant against the loudest and least intelligent of the conservatives online. After all, I link to the intelligent conservatives whose blogs I can find and am always willing to link to more. I'd like to encourage the intelligent members of both parties to not only think about and share their thoughts, but to discuss them with each other. Political process in this country is the process of compromise, after all.

No, this is about the new style of activism.

The group I've linked to above symbolizes most of what I dislike about on-line activism.

These guys, who just happen to be on the right, aren't interested in intelligent discussion of the future of this country. They're not even that interested in politics, okay? It's just a forum for them to troll around, causing trouble in. They're out to "win" some imaginary "war" against...well against no one but other web denizens.

I fully expect to see the left-wing version of the freepers band together, sign up at that forum, and start wars. And the sad thing is that almost none of the advocates of this behavior have any idea that they're not actually accomplishing anything.

(Okay, in that context, I hope the lefty version of the freepers does go start haunting the freeper boards. If we could isolate all of the nuts and keep them in one place, fighting smoke and mirror battles against each other, that might be a good thing, right?)

I doubt that most of these types would ever get out and physically do something to support their candidates or their beliefs (assuming they're able to formulate their beliefs in their own words, which I doubt) and they're misled into thinking that organizing a trolling campaign to derail someone else's efforts is actually what is meant by "political activism."

There are people like this on the left as well, okay? Let's not pretend there aren't.

It used to be said that Democrats were the "intelligent" party and what I've seen of mixed discussions on line, discussions that feature both conservatives and liberals, supports that theory.

There are those on "our side" whose support rather embarrasses me. I've participated in discussions where those on the left were quoting sources even I knew were biased and skewed. I've heard of those on the left who troll conservative blogs purely for the pleasure of the disruption they can cause.

The scary thing is that these are, for better or for worse, a vocal percentage of those today willing to actually think about and spend time (even if it's just online time) on politics. These are the people who are going to be in charge of who our next candidates are if the rest of us can't each recruit one, two, or three friends, online or off, to actually invest a little (real) time and money in the political process.

This does not bode well for the future of this country. I don't have a slam-bang conclusion. I just hate getting up in the morning, surfing around to see what's happening, and finding the nuts trying to take over the asylum.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:21 AM