As an observer of the human species, I believe I have discovered a new type. I call them "paid internet protesters," or "PIPs" in internet-speak, who are all armchair culture warriors.
The logo of social networking website 'Twitter' is displayed on a computer screen in London on September 11, 2013. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Dr. Rachel Lu, a senior contributor at The Federalist, wrote an article called, “The LGBT Movement Will Self-Destruct.” My response was titled, “The LGBT Movement Will Not Self-Destruct.”
Dr. Lu and I agree on one basic point: The ideology driving so much of today’s demands for radical social change is incoherent. We disagree on exactly what to conclude from this fact.
Plenty of fodder here for a pretty interesting discussion, don’t you think?
But, no. After a day or two, the site was swarming with people making rude, off-topic comments from accounts that disguised their identity with psydonyms.
Most importantly, they didn't discuss anything. They called names and changed the subject. The subject is no longer the coherence or incoherence of the sexual revolution. The subject now is bigotry, my religion, my personal history and my appearance. Seriously.
Likewise, Lu’s original article has received more than 8,500 comments, few of which have anything to do with her point.
These people are commonly called “trolls.” I have an idea why they appear so regularly. And, I have an idea what to do about them.
The sexual revolution is built on an intellectual house of cards. It cannot withstand close scrutiny. Therefore, sexual revolutionaries cannot afford to discuss ideas, reasons and evidence. Instead they spend their time making noise that appears to be pointless.
But the noise has a very definite point. The Revolutionaries want to change the subject away from them and their illogically. Incidentally, thinking people want to leave the room, just to get away from the god-awful racket.
I suspect some of these perpetual commenters are paid by advocacy organizations. I believe this because:
- Too many of them just happen to appear at the same time and place
- They all say approximately the same thing
- They post far more than most normal people with real jobs would have time for
That is why I suggest we call them paid internet protestors, or PIPs.
They are the online intellectual equivalent of the paid street protestors who show up at Trump rallies and other places. Not physically destructive, obviously, but intellectually, they are every bit as destructive. They want you and your ideas to go away. They want you to be afraid.
Can I prove all of this in a court of law? No. Am I convinced enough to act as if it is true? Absolutely. I think it would be highly imprudent to do otherwise.
So, how should we respond when PIPs appear in an otherwise good conversation? Here are my suggestions:
- Do not engage with them directly! This is the food they crave. Starve the PIPs by giving them as little attention as possible. Yes, it is very much like ignoring a spoiled child demanding attention. (Honestly, I had no idea that my years dealing with emotionally disturbed children would be so useful in politics.)
- Repeat the important ideas of the article. Praise its original point. Quote some additional facts that support it. Say other nice things about the author. Give a thumbs up to every positive comment you can find. In the case of my conversation with Lu, you might say something like, “Dr. Lu and Dr. Morse agree that the LGBT ideology is irrational. They disagree about what to conclude from that. What I think is….” Above all: Do not leave the conversation! That is exactly what the PIPs are hoping: to get thoughtful people to silence themselves.
- Ask a friend or two to come over to the site and do the same thing.
In short, give tons of energy and attention to the points you agree with, not the knuckleheads who are purposely changing the subject.
Don’t feed the PIPs! It just encourages them!
Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown. Visit on-lineor on Facebook.
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Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D. is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a global non-profit organization, dedicated to creating a Christ-like solution to family breakdown.Visit at www.ruthinstitute.org or facebook.com/TheRuthInstitute/