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Trolls Rule
Published on July 11, 2010 By Phil Osborn In Living in Cyberspace

Here's something that I've been noticing: 

Preface: Remember how, in the '60's, every major highway crossing or freeway entrance ramp would be home to a cluster of kids with signs "San Francisco or busted," "NY/NY", etc.  Then the killings started, of which the Hillside Strangler was only the best known.  According to a police beat reporter who I used to see at a local bar in Long Beach in the late '70's, every week they were finding kid's bodies up in the hills.  Hitch hiking became illegal almost everywhere in response.  (One has to wonder how long the "couch-surfers" will last, based on this model.) 

(The same thing had happened in a foreshortened cycle in the Haight in the late '60's, where the hippy movement became inundated with black thugs from Oakland, who cashed in on their propertyless life style, pretending to hold their values, and took what they wanted, raping many of the hippie women and killing off the hippy lifestyle in the process.)

Increasingly, over the past several years, I've been running into a similar phenomenon on-line, especially in connection with the MeetUp style meetings, but also at various blog sites.  It appears that anyone with anything real to say immediately becomes a target.

When I was first published, in Sam Konkin's New Libertarian Weekly, in a series of articles on children's rights and then a review of the "Future of Freedom Conference," in the late '70's, I noticed right away that I was getting a flood of hate mail, most of which barely even referenced what I had actually written.  Born-again pro-lifers were jumping in to defend the religious position, even though I had never mentioned them.  One reader - at least I presume that she read my article, although there was no evidence to that effect - replied to my conference review with a scathing string of invectives, and not a single fact. 

I stopped writing for several years - at least for public consumption.  Then, a couple of times, years later, someone out of the blue would approach me at a conference and tell me how much they enjoyed my articles and how much they had gotten from them.  Too bad they didn't think to write at the time, but that was a lesson worth learning.

My next encounter with this came at a non-LP libertarian convention, where I had made a speech lampooning the Libertarian Party, especially the group of libertarians who had been suckered into the "Libertarian Life" fallacy, which says basically that it isn't important to try to "save the world," but rather that, as an individual, you are morally obligated to live as though you were in a libertarian society, by such means as not having a driver's license or paying taxes or accepting Social Security benefits, etc., no matter how much this costs you...  And so there were effectively contests among the true believers as to how little state they could live with.

I discussed the "Loony Party," founded by people who thought that the moon was the real utopia.  So, they piled rocks on rocks to get closer to the moon, and they formulated what a lunatic would wear and how they would act, and then tried to emulate this ideal in their daily lives.  Of course, the loonies never got any closer to the moon, and probably slowed down the technology that ultimately did get us there.  In this case, a couple of LP people were assigned by someone to keep me out of circulation.  So, they simply told me that they so wanted to hear my ideas, wouldn't I please let them buy me lunch. 

At a point in the lunch, one of them pointedly looked at her watch, and then they both got up without a word and marched away, never even glancing back.  We never got to the point of even discussing my ideas, of course, but they succeeded in blocked me from attending whatever unknown function of the convention that they had been assigned to handle. 

Meanwhile, the late Samual Edward Konkin, the 3rd  (SEK3), a local libertarian anarchist, for over a decade ran a whole nationwide crew of like-minded anarcho-capitalists ("New Libertarians") whose commitment it was to infiltrate and sabotage the LP - or any other group seen as ideologically heretical - locally at every opportunity.


These sorts of tactics can work, in terms of shutting down dialog or shutting up individuals who easily become discouraged at the seeming impossibility of getting anything done or any significant project off the ground.  Unfortunately, in engendering a climate of paranoia and hostility, the possibility of ever resolving the conflicts rationally is seriously compromised.  I note that the LP and the anti-LP have both pretty much disappeared.

Later, in the early '90's, I hosted and organized a panel discussion on Virtual Reality at one of the generally excellent LOSCON sf conferences.  I put a lot of work into my presentation, bringing an Amiga computer to do the show and tell (not realizing that by tradition panelists are supposed to wait until the panel actually starts before thinking about it).  At my presentation, out of the blue, a group of middle-aged women staged a deliberate disruption of my panel.  Afterwards, I discovered that they were members of the "MZB Mafia," a name given to a covert organization of women who were fans of Marian Zimmer Bradley, a radical feminist fantasy author.  Their message to me was essentially: We can screw you up.  Better play ball.

Instead, I told that story far and wide, putting me well up there on the radical feminist hit lists.

When I published my blog, "On Morals," summing up several decades of thought and research, a few years ago, I was invited to present my thesis at two different and unrelated meetings.  One, a skeptics group, had just started up.  I printed copies of my thesis and showed up prepared to spend an hour discussing it, with plenty of Q & A.  Instead, the host kept adding items to the agenda, pushing the talk further and further back, until some people started leaving.  Finally, I was told that I had 20 minutes, as the restaurant would be closing. 

One of the attendees was a woman who I had thankfully not seen since the early '90's.  She was an outspoken feminist and had - in my opinion - destroyed a couple of prominent libertarian organizations, moving in, volunteering for everything, ultimately being given charge of the organization and then quickly running it into the ground.  When I saw her there, I assumed the fix was in, so I was not surprised at being cut and cut off without any discussion. 


At the second group, a philosophy meetup a couple months later, I got slammed twice.  First, a group of "Christian Apologetics" showed up, ready to challenge any "ungodly" position.  I knew them all personally, having successfully debated them in their sacred lairs over this very issue on several occasions, and was not worried.  They had clearly been keeping an eye on me via my internet postings and discovered the MeetUp posting of my intended talk.  However, a woman who seemed familiar, but who I couldn't place, also showed up.

She arrived late, had not read my blog on-line and immediately took over the meeting.  It was, I discovered, also her first attending of this meetup on philosophy.  She started simply walking all over anything I said, as though I were not even in the room.  Anyone else in the room was allowed to talk, but if I, the supposed presenter, attempted to say anything, she immediately started talking over me.  When the moderator attempted to shut her up, she would allow me one statement and then jump right back in on her own chosen thread of the instant, completely ignoring what I had just said. 

Then the Christian Apologetics started in with their presentation of a Proof of the Existence of God, which rests upon the apparent contradiction between free will, claims to knowledge and atomistic determinism.  Their aim, I already knew, would be to try to undercut my thesis with a generic challenge to my having knowledge of anything, on the basis that knowledge requires free-will, which is supposedly impossible in a non-spiritual mechanistic universe.  I.e., I could have been saying "E=MC2," or "The Sky is Blue," and their argument would have been equally applicable.  On the internet, we call this "hijacking the thread."  They could have cared less about my thesis.  They just wanted a bully pulpit to shout out their gospel.

I don't think that they had planned to completely forestall my presentation, but the opportunity was there, and the woman, who I AM certain came to the meetup specifically to stop me from speaking, suddenly found a huge interest in their esoteric Augustinian logic.  They raved on and on, with much sound and fury, signifying nothing, of course.   

The woman became a regular from that point on, and I left the meetup, since I was not allowed to participate, but I finally ID'd her at the next LOSCON.  I had actually been seeing her for years at the LOSCON sf conference, but there she always wore either some 18th Century court costume, or a florid pirate costume.  I am LOUSY at facial recognition, having Aspergers Syndrome.  But, eventually, I do recognize that it was the same person I had seen ten times before.  I'm a big fan of LOSCON, BTW, but I have also been very critical when they screw up - because I think that they are an important and valuable influence on the world.  So, I jumped to the conclusion that perhaps some group of my enemies, possibly somehow connected to LOSCON, which is famous, BTW, for all kinds of feuds and infighting, sent the woman to destroy my presentation.  Or maybe it was her own idea from the start...  One in thirty people is a sociopath...

So, now we have this ongoing debate between the Luddite believers in the young earth and the defenders of evolution, right here on my blog.  See my article on why the dinosaurs died.  The young earthers have plenty of sites of their own, but they are determined to prevent anyone from saying anything serious about evolution, using what is, in effect, a denial of service attack.  Like the famous Turkish bot that jumped into every discussion of the Armenian genocide, they no doubt feel that they are well-intentioned and are spreading the truth among the heathen non-believers, but the effect is simply to make serious discussion impossible, as the reader has to wade through this garbage.

How about this, young earthers?  Since I appreciate that you probably actually believe your nonsense, and you are probably not really stupid (just seriously brainwashed), I will do a separate blog dedicated purely and simply to demonstrating the incontrovertible logical impossibility of there NOT being evolution, a trivial matter.  Are you drooling yet in anticipation?  Then we will both be happy, as perhaps then someone will discuss the meat of my blog instead of hijacking the thread or attacking the hijackers, while you will get to rave on about Genesis or the Inca stones or whatever.  Fair enough? 

Otherwise, you risk discrediting yourselves and your cause and thereby angering GOD!!!

Let me know if this is acceptable... 

Trying to think of how to get signatures in blood over the net...


on Jul 12, 2010

IN the early 70s, the only way to and from school (HS) was Hitch Hiking.  But yes, that has changed.

The suppression of radical or new ideas is not new.  People want the comfort of a static environment (even though that does not exist).  You are shaking them up, and they will stop at nothing to stop you.  Which will only delay the inevitable.  But then I have found most people have no concept of the the future, constantly striving to live in the present.