Trolling is Now Considered Political Discourse

One of the things that we’ve been talking
about is how the political discourse has coarsened under Donald Trump, but the roots of this
actually predate Trump by quite a bit. Yeah. Trump is the anti intellectual president. He’s coalesced one of the least, uh, least
educated and most uninformed elements of the electorate. For his benefit, but that was already starting
to happen under George W. Bush decrying education as liberal indoctrination has gone back for
a while. Republicans have known for a long time that
when people learn critical thinking and epistemology, they are way less likely to vote Republican. So they’ve rooted out those subjects from
public school curricula in many States where they’ve taken control of the boards of education. But there is an element of this that goes
beyond simply anti intellectual realism, which is that trolling has become considered legitimate
political discourse. Yes, xenophobic talking points are considered
political discourse under Trump. Yes. The stuff that people like Ben Shapiro and
Charley cork do it. College is considered political discourse
now, but straight up trolling is also considered political discourse now. So trolling, just so we can define it, trolling
is deliberately posting or saying the most inflammatory, extraneous or off topic thing
that you can in a discussion. So rather than participating in the discussion
in good faith, you’re effectively derailing the conversation, sowing discord, trying to
cause disagreements or arguments or even just getting people to give up, participating in
the conversation altogether. And there’s a really good piece in wired by
Jonathan Albright who says, trolling is now considered mainstream political discourse. The Overton window of acceptable behavior
in political conversations and discourse has been widened to include as if it were legitimate
over trolling. There’s a really good study of social media
messages which finds that over time, more and more the message is posted about political
issues and about candidates are messages that are sort of a mix of hate speech, harassment,
amplifying unproven rumors and conspiracies, spreading fake news, swarming and dog piling
people and just direct attacks, character assassinations and insults. The number of comments about politics that
are meant to inspire action like voting or activism, contacting elected officials, those
are diminishing more and more. Now, this is true on the left and right. We don’t have to argue in what proportion
the right is much more a purveyor of fake news, much more a purveyor of conspiracy theories. There’s no question about that. The trolling is mixed, but we don’t have to
debate who does it more because it hurts the left more. That’s the reality. The right winds, when fewer people vote, the
right winds, when fewer people are engaged, if more and more of the discussion is the
type that makes people like voting is pointless, like their voices are relevant, that they
become frustrated and they bail out the right winds. When the algorithms and the filter bubbles
keep people in their own circles except for vicious attacks and hate speech and insults
so that people do nothing instead of be active. So they watch Netflix instead of be politically
active. The oligarchs and the billionaire class get
their way because others are bailing out. That’s why I say we’re at a disadvantage. We want to do things and they want to keep
things the same. We want to do things. They want no one to get involved so that they
can basically maintain the status quo while perpetuating the inequality cycles that we’ve
been seeing by creating gridlock and despair and apathy. They win. So we have to overcome that and we have to
do stuff. And this is one of the ways, one of the ways
in which the Trump era will have destructive effects well beyond his presidency, however
long it ends up lasting earlier we dealt with some of the other ways, uh, that Donald Trump
is going to have a destructive effect on the United States, well beyond his presidency. This is one of those ways and it is that trolling
and all sorts of other horrible stuff are actually considered political discourse and
a way to discuss political issues and figure out who we want to vote for that is extraordinarily
destructive and one of the great insulators against this there, there, there are many,
but one of the great insulators against this is a more educated population of population
who understands critical thinking and epistemology. As we talked about yesterday and that segment
interviewing a group of uneducated white swing state female voters. Go back and check that one out if you missed

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