One of my more shameful hobbies is debating trolls on liberal comment lines. One of the most persistent and most annoying of these is someone who calls himself “Al” (claiming that that is his real name.) He argues stubbornly, never concedes a point, brazenly denies or ignores inconvenient facts, and heaps scorn on his enemies. He purports to be a conservative Republican, but I’ve found evidence that he might be something entirely different.
On Kevin Drum’s site, I asked people what the objections were to George Soros — a successful self-made businessman who had a hand in the fall of Communism. “Al” responded as follows:
“Soros earned his money
Yeah – he earned it by bankrupting proverty-stricken countries.Soros takes from the extreme poor and gives to himself. Sounds like every limosine liberal I’ve ever heard of.
Posted by: Al on August 23, 2004 at 8:48 PM PERMALINK ”
Now, that isn’t a conservative Republican answer. To free-marketers, international finance and currency trading are normal business activities. People who talk about shadowy bloodsucking speculators are normally leftists, semi-fascist nationalists, Muslim fanatics, LaRouchies, and so on. (There are, in fact, serious criticisms to be made of the way international finance is organized, and Soros has acknowledged some of these criticisms. But they aren’t conservative criticisms, and Al wasn’t talking about that anyway. He was just trying to figure out a way to discredit Soros.)
So I’m wondering whether Al isn’t really a desperate leftist or LaRouchie whose real views slipped out in the heat of the moment. There’s a lot of speculation that blog trolls are paid operatives anyway (if they’re not bots), and a demoralized Communist hard up for cash might well put his sophisticated debating skills to work for the Republican dollar.
Al’s style is dump and run, and as soon as things started getting sticky he signed off: