Monday, March 11, 2013

No time for it

I have a life, and it’s quite full and busy, thank you. So, even if I wanted to, I simply don’t have time to go around looking for people who are wrong on the Internet, even about things I care about very deeply.

Our adversaries apparently have different priorities.

Every day, I see things on the Internet from political adversaries. Sometimes they make me angry or disgusted, even outraged. Sometimes they make me laugh at how pathetic or absurd they are. Sometimes I may even pity them. But the vast majority of the time, I also ignore them.

I’m far too busy to respond to everything they say or do, no matter how whack it may be, but even when I have the time, there are far more important—and interesting—things for me to do. This is why I often don’t blog about the latest antics from someone on the far right.

There’s another reason I usually don’t bother: The folks on the far right feed off of our outrage. They say something that riles us up, people on our side respond, then the far right uses that response as a further weapon against us. This is particularly true when someone on our side uses intemperate language—even though their side can smear and defame us as much as they want (their side of the divide and debate applies far different standards to itself).

None of which is to suggest that our side shouldn’t respond—we have a duty to speak facts and truth in the face of deliberate lies and distortions from our adversaries. That includes calling on them on their tactic of playing their “victim card” whenever anyone dares to stand up to them.

However, most times are not those times, and most antics don’t require a direct response. After all, there are sites that do nothing but monitor and debunk our adversaries, so it’s not like our adversaries are getting away with being dicks.

Internet wars—trolling, even—is learned behaviour. People become unreasonably passionate in such exchanges as a matter of choice, and they can also choose to be more dispassionate, more detached. This has taken me years to work out, and sometimes even now I stumble (you should see my folder of angry blog posts that I never published!). Still, it’s because my life is full and busy that I’ve been able to gain some detachment. My life is far more interesting than engaging in Internet wars could ever be.

Busy or not, of course I’m aware that sometimes someone somewhere will be wrong on the Internet. One stark difference between my adversaries and me is this: I don’t care. They should try it. If they did, they might not be so negative and angry all the time. I certainly don’t expect to see that happen, of course, but I don’t really care: I simply have no time for it.

The well-known cartoon at the top of this post, "Duty Calls," is by cartoonist xkcd. Publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

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