Libertarians, Stop Feeding the Troll

In the past few days, I’ve seen an unusual amount of criticism directed at Milo Yuanwhateveris from libertarians, so I assume that Milo recently said something negative about libertarians. I’ve seen one such post, where he called libertarians “selfish,” but there was no time-stamp on it, so I don’t know if it was recent or not. Whatever spurred the recent insults toward Milo, I want to explain why this is a bad idea. No, scratch that. I want to help other libertarians figure out for themselves why this is a bad idea. So let’s sit back and run an experiment.

Step 1: Start a YouTube Channel

For the sake of this experiment, we’re going to create a Video Game Let’s Play! channel. So we’re going to record ourselves talking and playing video games, like PewDiePie or Markiplier or that Irish dude my nephew likes. Then, of course, we’re going to upload these videos onto YouTube.

Step 2: Find a Much Larger Channel, and Comment Its Videos With Insults

So now that we have our YouTube channel created and have a few videos on it, the obvious next step is to go to Markiplier’s and PewDiePie’s channels, load several of their videos, and then leave numerous comments attacking them, saying their videos are poor, their commentary is weak, and their expressed opinions are wrong. Perhaps we can even demonstrate that we are correct–maybe Markiplier hates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NES because it’s “a piece of shit LJN game,” and we leave a comment about how he’s wrong because it’s not an LJN game–his conclusion can’t be correct because the basis upon which it is built is incorrect. In this comment, we’re going to make it clear that we have our own Let’s Play channel, where we get our facts right.

Step 3: Count Your Subscribers

Now that we’ve done Step 2 for a few days, let’s go and look at our Subscriber count. This is multiple choice, so choose the most appropriate:

  1. YouTube deleted my channel for harassment.
  2. I gained zero subscribers, and all of my comments were ripped apart by Markiplier and PewDiePie fans who said that I was just attacking someone more popular in the hopes of leeching subscribers.
  3. Apparently YouTube’s subscriber count is an unsigned integer, and I lost so many subscribers from this crap that it caused an underflow glitch and left me with 231 − 1 subscribers, although none of them are actual people, so they probably don’t count.

Step 4: Apply This Lesson

Milo is insanely popular, and so is the alt-right. For all intents and purposes, they just won the election, so it’s fair to say that the alt-right is popular enough to make someone president (even though obviously not all Trump supporters were alt-right, in the end, the alt-right played a key role in his victory in the Republican Primary), while libertarians… managed to get a debate aired on Fox Business. I don’t mean to undercut that accomplishment, because it truly was awesome, but if we’re talking popularity comparisons, Milo could run for President and easily beat the numbers that Gary Johnson got. Milo’s books are selling better than ever, while the only libertarian selling books en masse today is Ron Paul, and his aren’t selling these days.

It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong, not in the court of widespread public opinion. Whoever is most popular is right and wins the argument; whoever is least popular loses and is likely going to be written off as some butthurt crybaby who is being a hater because someone is more popular. It doesn’t matter if that’s true or not in the court of widespread public opinion. Once an allegation is made and starts spreading, very few people look into it enough to find out who is right or wrong; they’ll just retweet and share with no research. The things spreading will be Milo’s evisceration of libertarianism, not the libertarian response. The libertarian response will spread only among other libertarians.

Step 5: Don’t Feed the Troll

Just ignore him. We’re not going to win anyone over to libertarianism by attacking Milo, or even by defending ourselves against his wild criticisms. This is why Jill Stein’s attacks against Gary Johnson came off as so contrived and weak–it seemed that she was desperately seeking validation and recognition by someone more popular, trying to bait a more successful candidate into acknowledging the existence of her campaign and treating her like a serious player. However, we know that we don’t need validation from the alt-right, or even from Republicans; the fact that they’re attacking us makes it clear that we’re a threat.

So ignore it. Otherwise you’re giving the troll exactly what the troll wants. It’s what trolls do–they bait people for reactions. Milo took Internet Trolling and brought it into the real world. Or, perhaps, it was already in the real world and Milo simply removed the mask. Regardless, we’ve all been on the Internet long enough to know how this works, and long enough to know how to deal with trolls.

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