It’s election season again, and the attacks are in full swing, both among the political professionals and their devoted followers on social media. However, I’ve noticed a few people on Facebook engaging in posts and comments that are simply unacceptable for the current political and cultural environment. Now, I realize there is a certain freedom in the online world that’s lacking in real life, however there are rules which must be followed if one is going to successfully destroy all hope for intelligent debate and informed citizenry.
Rule #1: Ignorance is Power. If you don’t know all the facts, then they can’t trouble you. You already know everything you need to know about everything, because you read something someone posted about it once. As long as you can loosely paraphrase a soundbite that supports your position, you have all the information you need. It’s a waste of time to research actual statistics, read actual reports, or listen to actual speeches given by the person you don’t want to vote for. As long as you avoid actual facts, no one can contradict you.
Rule #2: Choose Your Sources Carefully. Obviously not everyone is an expert on everything (only a few brilliant souls like myself can claim that). Therefore you must sometimes find reliable information elsewhere. Online is best, because if it’s on the web then it must be true (unless it was planted there by the ignorant followers of the other party). Be sure to seek out bloggers who share your opinions or paid political organizations that specialize in masquerading as grass-roots organizations. Their newsletters can always be trusted to be completely factual and accurate. After bloggers and hired guns, entertaining talk show hosts are good sources. Conservatives should go to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh for information, and liberals should get their news from Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. If you must rely on an actual news organization, be sure to choose one with an obvious bias towards your opinions. Fox News is best for conservatives, and MSNBC is best for liberals, though liberals have more choices due to the liberal bias of the entire mainstream media. However the more outside sources you consult (liberal or conservative), the more different interpretations you’ll be exposed to. Pick one or two sources and stick with them exclusively.
Rule #3: Limit the Debate. Only one issue matters: the one you care about. Dismiss any arguments against your preferred candidate that try to change the subject, and drive home the importance of your facts by stating your strongest opinions and then using the words, “END OF DISCUSSION.” (All caps is very important here—see rule #4.)
Rule #4: USE ALL CAPS WITH ABANDON. A generally accepted understanding of online etiquette is that using all capital letters is equivalent to yelling. Since we’re trying to drown out all opposing opinions, we want to be as loud as possible. Use all caps to ridicule or deride an argument or the individual who made it (it doesn’t matter which—see rule #5), or to emphasize that you won’t be swayed from your opinion NO MATTER WHAT!!! (Extra exclamation points also help to increase the volume of your online rant, so feel free to use them excessively, as well.)
Rule #5: There is No Difference Between a Person and Their Position. Since a person is completely defined by their political beliefs, we are free to judge people based on their political postings. If you think someone’s opinion is stupid, then they are stupid, too. If you think someone’s opinion is immoral, then clearly they are immoral, as well, and you have a moral responsibility to inform the entire online community of their depravity. Do not humanize people who think differently than you; they’re nothing more than faulty opinions that need to be shot down and made to go away.
Rule #6: Go Negative. Anyone with any common sense at all already knows why the person you want to vote for is the only reasonable choice. Therefore it’s a waste of time to extol the positive attributes of your candidate, and you should only focus on what’s wrong/immoral/evil about the other candidate, his or her entire party, and everyone who supports them.
Rule #7: Sweeping Generalizations are Always Accurate and Appropriate. If one person holds any given position, that person’s entire political party and all other supporters must hold that same position. You are free to assign whatever motives you wish to why they hold that position (the more nefarious the motivation, the easier it is to ridicule it and the person as well—see Rule #5).
Rule #8: If You’re Losing an Argument, Switch to Another Topic and Pretend You Didn’t. Sometimes a really annoying online adversary will somehow be able to defend his or her (wrong) position while poking very real holes in your (obviously right) position. When this happens, change the focus of the debate to something you can win, and pretend it’s the same debate. This allows you to completely disregard the minor victory your opponent thinks they may have won, and also has the added bonus of annoying your opponent so much that frequently they’ll just shut up and go away. That means you’ve won.
Rule #9: Disregard All Information From Sources You Don’t Use Yourself. This is related to Rule #2, but applies more specifically to any sources cited by someone you’re debating. Any data or information they bring up from a source that doesn’t align with your
bias completely factual and unbiased source is irrelevant and can be
dismissed. Unless they can use your own
preferred sources for their information, it’s not worth discussing the matter
with them. (If they can use information from your own sources against you, then you need to
tell them how they’ve twisted and misinterpreted the data, are too stupid to
understand it, or else change the focus of the argument, as detailed in Rule
Rule #10: There are No Human Consequences. Issues like war, hunger, poverty, health care, mental illness, unemployment, and family values are ideologies to be enforced, and real people aren’t affected by the consequences of these ideologies. Therefore you should make light of these issues and the people who claim to be harmed by your view of them, because mockery strengthens your argument. People who disagree with you aren’t really human anyway, and should be mocked, insulted, and demeaned (see Rule #5).
By following these rules, you can help silence those who are seeking intelligent debate. More and more people will become disillusioned with the political process and simply disengage, leaving the decisions to be made by the loudest and most obnoxious extremists out there. We’re well on our way down that path already; please do your part to accomplish this important goal.