Idiocracy Ascending: Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is A Troll
In the Idiocracy Ascending series we will take a look at phenomena in American and online culture that is contributing to a rapid decline in human intelligence.
When I first began using the internet in 1998 it was fair to say that I was a troll. I was in my early twenties, and full of piss and vinegar, and relished in messing with people for nothing but my own amusement. As I have grown I have come to value authenticity, and no longer find toying with people for sport to be enjoyable or even really acceptable. The very same authenticity that led me here also inspires me to question everything. I accept no narrative without question, no matter how much doing so would be rewarded with validation and affirmation. I would simply rather be disliked than dishonest.
This often lands me in areas of perspective where very few ever tread. It makes me an outsider, a dissenter and a subversive — all of which I am happy to be. Change comes from those who fight back against norms, not those who conform for their own ease of living and self-gratification. By the time a majority of people come to accept some idea or position, it is already obsolete, since radical thinkers are inventing paradigms that will not become widely accepted until years later. Simply put, the majority positions are pretty much always wrong. This puts me at odds with just about everyone, from every prefabricated identity construct of mainstream culture. And so whenever I speak my mind, and introduce and argue for unpopular perspectives, I get labeled a troll.
Being called a troll shouldn’t be such a big deal, but it is. In a public forum, if one or two people decide to create this perception, it generally sticks. This is the grotesque power of conformity. On some level we all want to be liked, affirmed and validated. The easiest way to do so is to conform to the majority. So it only takes a few people assigning the label ‘troll’ to a dissenter to dehumanize and silence them.
Worse, the term is not even being applied appropriately. My intent is always genuine — to shift people’s perspectives so we can learn and grow. To call me a troll is to make a zero-effort level to dismiss me, and by extension, to dismiss any dissent from normative narratives. It is a punitive measure that discourages non-conformity, thus silencing what we need most, which are new perspectives and the mavericks who seek to create and spread them.
Dismissing everyone who disagrees with you by labeling them a troll is an act of aggression. It is aggression against new ideas and perspectives, and those who have and share them. This act of aggression is therefore hostile to change and growth. It is a regressive slope which invites stagnation and intolerance.
Stop using the term troll inappropriately. All it does is marginalizes the thing humanity needs most, which are authentic individuals and ideas which can help us move forward. And from an aesthetic standpoint it makes you look like a pitchfork holding fundamentalist screaming BLASPHEMER — which is something you should probably try to avoid for the sake of your own honor and dignity, even if you don’t care about intelligence or progress.