ReTrolligans—how the GOP risks all, miming ‘trollish’ gate-crashing, lying, bullying & chaos

With a daring experiment, the scheming, conspiracy-riven Republicans are testing whether morphing into a party of boorish trolls works.

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Next step for bad faith grifters—the stupider-than-thou party of trolls

Puzzler du jour: which came first: the chicken-hawk, rightwing derangement party—or the eggless, yolkless folly of online trolls? As a veteran, I am more amused than annoyed at the torrent of petty trolls who surface, bluster inanely, then vaporize into vacuity. Some exceptions persist, so drawn to the boldness of my arguments, they seem out to prove why the universe created small fry: to make us normal folks appear intellectual giants.

I myself gain a dozen IQ points when pressed to display to saplings who slept through high school (if not before) how critical thinking and higher education really do help explain the world. For the record, this ex-teacher is not perturbed when trolls, permanent backside barnacles, brush aside my wisdom. If not truth, then facts, logic and reason cannot dislodge the truly fixated.

I am renowned now and again to expose the most dastardly modern menace after climate change and nuclear Armageddon—right-wing vampires who fatten their wallets by sucking the life (and funds) from vulnerable folks. Then it hit me: pay scale and status aside, GOP predators are more like internet trolls than any other known species. True, unpaid online trolls are doubly suckered—getting pommeled, often humiliated, and all for naught. Being a troll must be misery itself, with taunting their only visible pleasure—unless you count losing every debate. If trolls were baseball players, they’d have a negative batting average, making more outs than at-bats.

Second point: for years, the left figured that winning Republican connivers were magicians, forever seizing victories from the jaws of defeat. They have forfeited all national majorities, whether on presidential, House or Senate vote totals. And yet ReTrolligans control more state houses, echoing that old segregation cry: minority rule today, tomorrow and forever. How do distasteful operatives keep noxious commercial regulations, if not fair taxes at bay—of course by owning, then misusing the judiciary, certainly not by popular support?

Left-wing delusions fall hard

Through dispiriting decades, the left assumed the most ruthless were more agile politicians than better informed, generally better-intentioned Democrats. But then Trumpster the chaos king gave the game away, exposing years of media brainwashing and failed Democratic governance. Unlike smarter partisans who had kept the secret, Trump exposed the insatiable, money-grubbing core, shamelessly attacking the “elite” as if he were joe sixpack. Some joke. Before Trump, the predators displayed more subtlety and intelligence than online trolls. Not any more: Trump and enablers have now turned a winning party into growing losers, dumbing down leadership commentary into the clueless, ham-fisted, anti-knowledge mode called trollery.

With a daring experiment, the scheming, paranoid, conspiracy-riven ReTrolligans are testing whether morphing into a party of boorish trolls works. As with trolls, no folly escapes their rants, unified by rage, then badly defended with what passes for laughable rightwing discourse. Does Moscow Mitch make any sense on the debt ceiling? Does marrying white supremacy with QAnon insanity and election madness deliver a winning blueprint? Is trying to surpass the unbelievably bizarre lies of last year with even more obnoxious lies the path to regaining power? Instead of regrouping, ReTrolligans have been infected with the failed pandemic of online trollery. Fantasizing that recounting the same voter data, for example, doesn’t change the outcome unless you cheat, corrupt or destroy the evidence. Next attack – on the unspeakable Democratic conspiracy that favors grade school adding and subtracting – even formulas.

The trollization of the right

So who can confirm which came first: the idiocy of know-nothing trolls or the idiocy of a national party becoming ReTrolligans. Whether on vaccines, elections, voting procedures or debt limits, the questions overlap: Do you live in the same universe? Were you never schooled on that tricky term, “reality”? Do you understand the basics of logical sequence, let alone how language works? Are you blind to distinctions between wrong statements, gross distortions and out and out lies? Do you exist simply to mark the rapid descent of orderly civilization into mayhem and disorder?

Here’s the latest nonsense: a vaccine shot eviscerates “personal freedom”—all because “no one ever tells me what to do”? Well, that curiosity lies somewhere between derangement and juvenile delinquency. Fact: nearly everyone in authority can and does tell us what to do all the time—and gets paid for it. What are parents at times if not autocrats “telling us what to do”? What about doctors who “prescribe” (not suggest) life-saving treatments, like the antibiotics we all take? Try asserting your “freedom” when police or fire fighters forbid entrance to your burning house. Remember every teacher, every principal, hell, every janitor or street corner guard, controlling your movement? “Freedom” is the great rarity in life, not the automatic license that determines our every action.

How much personal “freedom” do clergyman tolerate before tossing you and your heresy out the door? To believe in any system (even science) or join any club is to forego some freedom. What coach in high school sports is not a virtual dictator? How much freedom does a master sergeant grant newbies? How much freedom do you have after failing your driver’s test? Take any “required” course and the professor rules, determining focus, grade, even whether you graduate. Worst of all is your first boss who hires or fires, controlling your time and tasks—unless you invoke the “freedom” of quitting. All in all, the freedom wherein “no one tells you what to do” constitutes a minuscule fraction of our waking consciousness. Like which movies to see or which take-out food you get . Oh yeah, let’s not forget the tyranny of language, spelling, grammar and computer logic—without which we’d still live in caves on roots and berries.

Getting vaccinated, except for hermits, is a social responsibility, not a mere personal choice. If you spread a fatal disease, you are a public menace, thus the term PUBLIC health. Similarly, when anyone endangers your life, purposely or not, law officers (and government) interfere. No one has the “personal freedom” to make someone else sick or cause needless injury. No one has the “freedom” to steal someone’s else’s freedom—without violating the basis for civilized society.

No freedom to take another’s

Further, all opinions are not equal. If a certified expert (like a certified election) declares a necessary truth (like mammals spread contagions), it is irresponsible, and without defense, to confuse your right to choose with someone else’s right not to be needlessly sickened. In fact, as with free speech, there are always checks on personal freedom (though less in individualistic America than elsewhere).

Thus, defying debt limits, shredding abortion laws and banning voters as “less equal”—let alone sabotaging election results—is not a legitimate personal freedom but an assault on the consensus necessary for any democratic government. If ReTrolligans don’t want democracy or majority rule, let alone a functional consensus, they have one final “freedom” rather than insurrections: find another place and test whether absolute “personal freedom” works as a first commandment.

Try radical individualism and get back to us. Brace for the random, arbitrary “law of the jungle,” which exists by the way in no balanced jungle. Brace for perpetual insurrections of the aggrieved. Go for it, but stop ruining a majority rule system that has worked, with qualifications, for 250 years—and which in my view a majority still favors.

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Robert S. Becker
For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.

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