Matt Yglesias has just closed down his comments section due to an influx of imbecile trolls sent by Matt’s conservative employer, Hugh Hewitt. Kevin Drum is thinking about doing the same.
Before doing my customary rant, I will make one of my rare constructive suggestions. Kevin and Matt should deputize a few of their regulars to delete trolls. Not me, obviously, but someone nice and moderate who still has a vestige of a backbone.
Now the rant part: Matt and Kevin have always wanted to maintain a dialogue with the opposition, even though they have been given good reason to understand that the opposition is made up of angry, misinformed, dishonest people who hate us and want to destroy us by whatever means necessary. Sabotaging liberal comment boards, thus disrupting liberal communications and damaging liberal morale, is just one of their dirty tricks. There always have been trolls and wreckers on Matt and Kevin’s comment boards, but they have refused to do anything about it.
This calls to mind Robert Frost’s old quip that liberals are so open-minded that they won’t even take their own side in a fight. Closing down the comments means that the terrorists win. Something of value was given up to the opposition because it was really too much of a nuisance to do anything to protect it from saboteurs.
Matt and Kevin’s trolls often praise them for their open-mindedness, which they contrast favorably to other, small-minded “liberal echo chambers”. And they reward Matt and Kevin by peeing on them. Trolls express their love and respect rather disgustingly.
Matt and Kevin, unlike me, are moderates who believe that the Democrats have to move to the center and generally accomodate themselves to the country’s move to the right. But they have missed an important point. Dukakis didn’t lose because he was too liberal. He lost because he responded feebly when the Republicans talked about raping his wife. He was a wimp.
Republicans admire predators and prey on what they see as weakness — for example, openmindedness and fairness. They worship private property, but if you let them do so they will squat on your property and laugh in your face. And they really enjoy making bullshit arguments about free speech when you threaten to delete them — not because they believe what they’re saying, but because they think that it’s funny when they use liberal ideas against liberals.
Matt and Kevin, of course, have been blessed by the print establishment, and both have stated that the blogosphere is really no big deal. And certainly, comments section aren’t anything very important. So it’s quite possible that pretty soon Kevin’s comments will close down too, and one more common good will fall to the attacks of the angry, starved ghouls.
29% of Americans believes that France is an enemy of the U.S., like al Qaeda. We’re really dealing with a vicious mob. Dealing reasonably with them is stupid. Banning trolls to keep the comment lines open is a small step in the direction of winning the election and defeating terrorism, but it’s a necessary one, and you can’t make the big steps if you won’t take the small steps first.