As far back as the days of Usenet internet libertarians swamped and dominated every internet forum they encountered, out of all proportion to their representation in the population. This was true, for instance, in the old thomhartmann.org forums, so much so that moderators and Thom himself had to point it out. The methodology hasn't changed since the 80s and 90s, arguably since the 70s. They post prolifically, almost daily. they post long tendentious arguments and get "bumped" when they collect replies. Purely on a reward/effort basis you won't get ANYTHING by replying to them. The 0.01% that are amenable to persuasion at all, even on a single point, won't make up for the free advertising - for something that, after all, has a good supply of funds we should help dry up by making them pay for it.

The "how" part is pretty simple. Instead of replying to a member blog or forum post, collect generic bad arguments, pick a couple, organize your take in an offline document, shorten your response to something readable, post it. You gain all the views and hits and you don't have to reference the bad claim-maker by nickname.

This is pragmatic advice, based on experience.

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      lifesize's picture
      lifesize 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #1

      agree it's useless to engage them; best is to point out to undecided others how chikdish it is to assume that unregulated peoplewon't behave in anti-social, destructive ways, how impunity is an invitation to disaster, how seeking a "freedom" that doesn't include social responsibility is the tactic of two year olds.

      libertarians are clueless idiots high on fountainhead fumes.

      lifesize's picture
      lifesize 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #2

      my earlier comment agreed with you. just want to point out that libertarians are not conservatives, but reckless radicals who'd unravel centuries of gradual civilizing to make it ok to act out antisocially, and call it expressing your "freedom." they are toddlers on a tantrum, masking their brattiness in a bogus "philosophy" of liberty (doing what you want, and to hell with everyone else - the opposite of the golden rule).

      the other so-called conservatives are mostly purveyors of xenophobia and economic trickery, dedicated to maintaining ignorance and powerlessness among the majority of citizens. they are meaner, and less clueless, than libertarians.

      Sacramento Dave's picture
      Sacramento Dave 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #3
      Quote lifesize:

      ... libertarians are not conservatives, but reckless radicals who'd unravel centuries of gradual civilizing to make it ok to act out antisocially, and call it expressing your "freedom." they are toddlers on a tantrum, masking their brattiness in a bogus "philosophy" of liberty (doing what you want, and to hell with everyone else - the opposite of the golden rule).

      the other so-called conservatives are mostly purveyors of xenophobia and economic trickery, dedicated to maintaining ignorance and powerlessness among the majority of citizens. they are meaner, and less clueless, than libertarians.

      I like this analysis much better than your previous description. It's much more convincing. I tend to get a little turned off when, instead of making a logical point that might convince someone whose opinion is teetering on the line, progressive thinkers let their posts degenerate into insults and name calling. The result can only be more polarization.

      douglaslee's picture
      douglaslee 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #4

      You are right. One thing about the golden rule, sociopaths and psychopaths have no empathy, they also tend to congregate in executive offices. A sadist could be a masochist following the golden rule. A recent survey of business students destined for wallstreet showed a huge number thinking fraud is alright because it is expected. The hearings before congress showed the same thing when Goldman Sachs testified. "Our customers are so sophisticated that they understood the risk" was their explanation. Compliment your mark before you take them, that's the American way.

      integrate's picture
      integrate 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #5

      My xperience on USENET was that a noticable proportion of the libertarians in the groups where I was active were also single fathers whose hatred for state power was especially directed at the power of a family court (and the feminists who, in their view, corrupted the entire process).

      lifesize's picture
      lifesize 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #6

      hey, maye we're in danger of having a civil exchange; how rare is that? i, too, get turned off by arguments based on ideological belief rather than critical thinking.

      lifesize's picture
      lifesize 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #7

      other generalizations about libertarians: most are guys, with mechanistic (deterministic) views of reality. that is, they believe all can be known, a delusion. most feel lost among a mob of ignorant liberals and old rightistswho don't "get it." most crave validation, attention (and prove it by being pretentiously intellectual, usually stumbling over their LACK of true sophistication and knowledge. embracing the position of ayn rand makes them feel part of a movement, an unrecognized cadre of superior people denied power by the mediocrity and subservience of others. pretty much not very bright eagle scouts, whose anger about their lives is turned into rants about lack of freedom, as if things were ever otherwise, as if freedom would solve their problems. their beliefs are as wrong and clueless as "build it, and they will come" and "you can do anything you set your mind to," delusions that crumble on examination.

      Robindell's picture
      Robindell 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #8

      The above are all excellent points that greatly needed to be made on this particular site. On one news program, there was a segment when the views of two or more people were being presented, and the correspondent on the piece, after a libertarian was interviewed/allowed to comment, said, "That view might be extreme." He was being polite; it was extreme. People of this ilk come across to me as having been brainwashed or hypnotized. This is really a kind of cult. Lying is par for the course, which is unethical. The desire to go back to an earlier time reminds me of the Amish, who do not contribute to the burning of fossil fuels through their use of the horse and buggy and wood stoves. While the exaggerations, distortions, and out-and-out lies of these political extremists are not acceptable, it is sort of understandable that they might want to return to an earlier age where there were some desirable qualities which have diminished, such as less pollution, and a more close-knit, patient, somewhat less impersonal society. The problem in part I think is what the sociologist William Ogburn called social lag and technological lead. Despite the rise of the "information age" and all kinds of handy computers, mobile devices, the Internet, sophisticated diagnostic medical tests, corrective medical devices, effective and necessary pharmaceuticals, and endless software to run it all, civilization has gone backward instead of forward in the social arena, involving government and economics. In religion, religious institutions in Western societies have lost membership while in other places, there has been increased participation and the rise of violent fundamentalism.

      lifesize's picture
      lifesize 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #9

      i don't think libertarians are liars; they are true believers, deluded. the scariest thing about ayn rand followers, for instance, is the sincerity of their delusion. like all ideologs, they have traded thinking for belief. strudies have shown that most people prefer appealing spin over facts. which is why the information age is an optomistic misnomer; facts have lost out to sound bites and charisma, and will until the word sapiens truly applies, which i doubt it will any time soon.

      Legend 4 years 20 weeks ago
      #10

      I participate on this board a little. Certainly not as much as some that must live on it. I find some good info and some real wack jobs. Occasionally, when I read an article on Yahoo News and then read some of the comments, It is practically all wack jobs. I cannot read more than a few. A normal article can have several thousand posts. An article on Gun Control (or lack of it) is unbelievable. At least to me. One article about wealth inequality had me thinking that the Koch Brothers must be writing all of the comments. Fox News has really brainwashed this country.

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