In responding to a comment below, I was reminded of this story: Why the Right's 'Astroturfing' Propaganda Is Textbook Psychopathic.
Perhaps that might make the following make more sense. It's not "crazy" to disagree about political differences. It IS crazy to lie, cheat and threaten people, particularly in ways that show that you are completely unable to foresee the possibility of being caught, or what that will do to your cause.
Here's a quick test, a sort of free-association game: What do egocentrism, deceitfulness and aggressive criminality have in common?
If you guessed that they are characteristics of disturbed behavior, you're half right. They are in fact features of the Psychopathy Checklist Revised, a template for diagnosing psychopaths, designed by Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare.
But what's more interesting about this triumvirate is the fact that it's being employed in the recent slew of corporate-backed, faux grassroots outbursts (also known as "astroturfing" campaigns) across the country.
Now, when you are confronted with a crazy person, realize that you simply cannot deal with them as if you were dealing with a rational, predictable person with a sense of right and wrong. At the same time, you cannot simply crotchpunch them. I know, it seems wrong to me too, but there it is; for some reason, only the police get to crotchpunch disagreeable people.
But you have absolutely no reason to treat them with the respect, consideration and forbearance due rational people. Keep an eye on them and wait for them to do something foolish enough to take them out of play. For they will, surely they will. But there's no reason for YOU to be the victim of their hard-earned karma!
The thing about us cosmopolitan elitists is that we have learned that taking crazy people seriously can make you crazy. They USED to teach people in Journo 101 that you don't give credence to the incredible.
It is fun at times to ridicule the ridiculous - but some things are so fucking INHERENTLY ridiculous that pointing it out amounts to insulting the intelligence of any audience worth having.
Rick Perlstein -- Birthers, Health Care Hecklers and the Rise of Right-Wing Rage - washingtonpost.com: "So the birthers, the anti-tax tea-partiers, the town hall hecklers -- these are 'either' the genuine grass roots or evil conspirators staging scenes for YouTube? The quiver on the lips of the man pushing the wheelchair, the crazed risk of carrying a pistol around a president -- too heartfelt to be an act. The lockstep strangeness of the mad lies on the protesters' signs -- too uniform to be spontaneous. They are both. If you don't understand that any moment of genuine political change always produces both, you can't understand America, where the crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy, and where elites exploit the crazy for their own narrow interests."
Never mind watering the Tree of Liberty. Stop pissing on the Crazy Bush!
That's how you deal with crazy people. You firmly tell them that the shit in their heads is their shit, and they have to own it.
At the very least, before inviting others into the private regions of your head, you should pick up the trash and do the laundry. There's a perfect example of that right here.
People who behave like that in public should be treated in the same way as a five year old who has yet to learn that public masturbation is inappropriate.
Renegade Evolution quotes the crazy in full, and mistakenly attempts to respond to the crazy as if she were talking to a rational person who was attacking her for sane, if malicious reasons. A mistake, I fear. I have a stock t-shirt for just such occasions.
While it may have worth citing as a textbook example of disastrously flawed rhetoric or to feature as an example of what happens when you roll a double zero on your critical thinking skill table, one only had to read three paragraphs down to realize that any deeper consideration would be entirely misplaced.
The signers of the letter say they are “members of the academic community.” The media quickly converted that into “50 professors.” In fact, quite a few are not full-time professors or administrators at these institutions; rather, some are adjunct faculty, graduate students, or retired. At least one signer seems to be an undergraduate.You see, the nutball letter states that these persons who claim to be "members of the academic community" are, indeed, members of the academic community, precisely as they claimed. Citing that media has failed to correctly cite their credentials is not a valid criticism of the credentials they claim, if anything, it more firmly establishes their proper credentials - as representing the entire range of the academic community, that is to say, people who's primary qualification is to think about stuff and derive useful insights that may advise others who may, though no fault of their own, have less time to devote to such matters.
Such as, Margaret Brooks and Donna M. Huges of Citizens Against Trafficking the co-authors of the above paragraph.
See, having established that they cannot think, one may cease to be concerned with what they think regarding any appareant mutual concerns, because any response amounts to Pissing on the Crazy Bush.
Any discussion of any topic of any importance (say, human trafficing and slavery) will be degraded into incoherence by dealing with the sort of people who insist on their right to be heard because of what the insects in their heads tell them is Too Important To Be Ignored.
This advice does not merely apply to such people speaking out against you. It's far more humiliating to have such people thinking they have a place in your "posse."
It's like hearing "Chemtrails" in conversation - it's a signal to switch to meaningless small talk. Trust me, they will not notice the difference, and you won't feel the need to crotch-punch them, so it's a win-win.
Some things are so awesomely, majestically, comprehensively stupid as to be worthy of standing alone in all their awful majesty. I understand why Ren takes this nasty little screed personally, but she's mistaken in doing so.
It's not that I'm saying that she should "understand" their position. She shouldn't even try. You don't encourage people to rationalize a phobic response. You either accept it or you do not, and that reaction depends entirely upon whether the irrational spasms pose any danger.
Likewise, as a responsible person, you cope with your phobia or you do not, and arrange your life accordingly. A phobic has no reasonable expectation that people should accommodate their irrational fears, much less enable them in oppressing the people they are phobic about.
"Well, then, stop DOING that!"
I may squish a spider in order to keep my wife's brains from leaking out of her head. I will not harm a person because she reacts to them in the same way; I'll take her to the mental health clinic. We both understand that distinction, and she would do the same for/to me. There is a limit to which reasonable people expect their irrationality to be accommodated.
Sane public policy cannot possibly accommodate all irrational fears and phobias, nor may it advantage personality disorders over civility and long persist. Government, along with every other human activity, cannot sacrifice outcome in the name of process.
Bring facts, bring reason, bring a coherent argument with, you know, facts and stuff, or stay home.
From this elitist bastard's perspective, you may just as well. I'm not going to waste precious, publicly funded photons on arguing with crazy.
(Should I forget, do feel free to remind me.)