This very question has led to my banishment from about two Traditional Catholic forums.
The question of winning the online social spaces was hotly debated for a very short time in a sub-folder on Fisheaters, titled the "Take Back the Net" forum. Of course, we Catholics would not be taking back the Net at all if we succeeded. The Internet was never "ours" to begin with. But still, I would argue that dominating the Internet is a noble goal that Catholics should collectively strive for.
Winning the social spaces basically involves a war between our side and their side. Such a war is, of course, a culture war. And as with any war, there are universal principles that can be applied to win skirmishes and battles. Tactics and strategies should be carefully chosen in order to win any field of territory.
Unfortunately, Catholics need to first realize that there is a war in the first place, and that this war should be fought as though it really and truly is a war. Most Catholics that I have encountered, however, have a distaste for this kind of engagement. It makes them look mean, harsh, and "uncharitable." Although, ultimately one of the greatest acts of mercy is to instruct the ignorant, is it not?
Now, Tracy, the moderator of Fisheaters, argued that we should be kind and informative with everyone we encounter in comment boxes. It often has seemed as though she wants Catholics to attempt to convert anyone we are confronting in a comment box. I have likened such attempts to the idea of someone going to a nightclub and attempting to convert people there.
My opinion of "taking back the Net" is different from many Fisheaters'--and perhaps, many Catholics'--opinions.
Non-confrontational Catholic: "Oh, we have to engage the other side in order to convert the individual we are debating with."
Laramie Hirsch: "No. We must shame the opponent, win the social space, and plant a flag for our side."
Non-confrontational Catholic: "But oh! Laramie! How could you be so smug and not demonstrate any love for your online opponent if you go about it that way?"
Now, on Catholics forums for the past year or two, I have done my best to explain the rationale behind a more robust confrontation against godless liberal internet social justice warriors. And to explain this, I have taken heavily from the writings of Vox Day. Most of what I have stated to Tracy took place in a thread that was titled, "Strategies in Taking Back the Net." Tracy has since erased this conversation.
I began by drawing upon Vox Day's writings directly, who went on to cite John Wright.
"The only power the Social Justice Whores have over you is the power you give them. There is no reason to give them even the slightest ground; doing so only inflames and encourages them. So don't do it. Root them out wherever they have infested, slap down all their attempts to invade and influence, and resolutely ignore them when they are safely on the outside. John C. Wright explains how they, and a panoply of other evils, will be defeated:
'I submit that victory shall be ours by using the same methods we used to overthrow the Roman Empire and replace paganism with Christianity.
First, we must pray. We must live differently from the pagans around us, according to standards of higher discipline, displaying more fidelity in marriage, eschewing divorce, assisting the poor and downtrodden, and living lives so holy that even the devils are amazed.
Second, by being willing to suffer public scorn, loss of prestige, position, and fortune for Christ.
Third, by being open, vocal, coordinated, and relentless in our efforts. Fourth, by staying on message and never giving an inch.
Fifth and last, by showing the imagination of man that no one can live in the craven airless cesspool of the mental environment of political correctness, but that men flourish and grow strong and brave, not to mention more sexually appealing, in the walled gardens of the Church and the battlefields of life.'
Stay on message. Never give an inch. Stop trying to play moderate in the hopes that you'll escape the heat. Stop trying to win them over by telling them that you're not opposed to them when, in fact, you are. You cannot reason with the willfully insane."
I suppose it could be said that I've definitely met the second criteria. The idea of rooting out hostile atheists and liberal Catholics seems like a foreign concept to many of my, now inaccessible, colleagues. Scorn, loss of prestige and position are just the order of the day for a Toxic Trad such as yours truly.
"[G]ive them an inch and they will not only take a mile, but will insult you in the process. Second, there is absolutely no reasoning with these people. They are an implacable enemy and no quarter should be shown to them even when they wave the white flag and start talking about negotiating a settled peace.
Eventually we have to fight them. How can this not register for my former colleagues? You know, often in these online Traditional Catholic communities, I read others pining for the spirit of the Vendee or the Christeros--groups who gathered together to militantly fight back with arms against their persecuting authorities. These Catholics sometimes almost wish for the day to arrive in which we are called to resist godless persecutors with our rifles. And yet, two forums and counting have gotten rid of yours truly for daring to be so mean to those poor ignorant faithless SJWs.As Churchill once said of the Hun, he is either at your feet or at your throat. We can't leave them alone because they won't leave us alone. We can't tolerate them because they will not tolerate us. So, root them out of your lives, stop supporting them, stop enabling them, and stop funding their assault on your beliefs, your family, and your faith. There are no fences upon which moderates can safely sit in a cultural war. … One cannot reason with totalitarians. One can only refuse to submit to them. And sooner or later, one must fight them."
"[The] SJW side is not reasonable and is never going to be convinced by sweet reason. They have no interest in it and little capacity for it.At Fisheaters, there was instant revulsion from Tracy about the idea of a Catholic "shock troop" when it comes to winning a social space. Driving out such people was reprehensible in our debate. Yet, what are we to do with Proverbs 22:10?
This is the same divide between dialectic and rhetoric that I keep pointing out to everyone. You do NOT fight a rhetorical battle with dialectic; in a rhetorical battle the only use for dialectic is in a rhetorical manner; it can be used to explode pseudo-dialectic poses, but that is the extent of its effectiveness. It is an intrinsically defensive weapon on the rhetorical level. This means you cannot win with it.
The primary difference between the Left and the Right is that the Left instinctively defends its extremists and the Right instinctively runs from them and leaves them out to dry. The latter is an appeasement strategy, and it works about as well as the infamous failures of appeasement we all know from history.
All appeasement does is signal to the SJW what buttons he needs to push in order to force an opponent to retreat. When you dutifully point out that 'you don't agree with everything X says' or 'don’t include the sexists, the woman haters and those who argue in bad faith,' what you are accomplishing is not the inoculation of your argument from their extremist taint, you are telling the SJW exactly how he can rhetorically defeat you by painting you as the very sort of extremist you disavow. And remember, rhetorical victory is the entirety of their objective!
Embrace the extremists [on your side]. Defend them. Refuse to permit them to be cut off and isolated. Allow them to play their role as the intellectual shock troops they are. That is how you win. Because if they're not taking the incoming fire, you are. And the shock troops are much better equipped psychologically to take it and survive than the average self-styled moderate."
"Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease."
It seems to me that, in past centuries, Christian communities would drive out the filthy and conniving individuals who, today, constantly barrage us with demoralizing insults and thick lies. This was done with shaming and ostracization. Today, however, it appears that the Christian communities reserve banishment for those who dare to even talk about driving out scoffers.
If we are to adhere to the old model of driving out scoffers, then how is this done? The modern godless internet SJW is a twisted, narcissistic fiend who is typically incapable of learning. (Yes, there are exceptions. But we are not talking about that, and exceptions are rare.) Reasoning--dialectic--will get you nowhere with the SJW. They spew forth emotion. They spew forth rhetoric. And rhetoric/emotion is all that they will understand.
Being the higher creature that you are, you should therefore apply rhetoric mixed with dialectic. Most of your oppenent's statements are molotov cocktails. Many times, they will engage you in a back and forth that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand, and this is because they love to utilize red herring tactics. They wish to pretend that they are fully equal to you.
Therefore, speak to the Saul-Alinski-trained SJW as an 'equal,' so to speak, and with the same amount of casualness that you would any flaming jerk who runs recklessly through a crowd that does not welcome him. If they want to pretend that objective morality is on their side, let them know that objective morality disagrees with them. Do it with a smile on your face, and as much insensitivity to their feelings as possible. Be kind at first, but if that option is out the window, do not fear to be robust. More often than not, they are a lost cause, and standing up to the likes of them heartens the spectators on your side who have been beaten down by such careless, incendiary error.
When you confront these people on the field, perhaps you will ask yourself: Am I being led down into a dark alley? Am I being drawn down into their level?
No, you are not. If anything, you will be drawing the SJW out. Sometimes that is all that you can do. Sometimes, there is no other "victory" when a person is being obstinate. You draw the person out, and the crowd twenty feet away from you is able to visualize what the entire monster looks like. You don't convert your opponent, but then that was never a realistic possibility in the first place. In such circumstances, goals become redefined. The Catholics in the crowd become reaffirmed that, yes, the individual is unreasonable and uncivil, and they become heartened that someone had the patience to do endure a "long game." The faithless in the crowd, meanwhile, recoil at you and bad talk you as a horrible villain. And if there are any people on the fence, they will see the demonstration you've made with your debate, and they will make their own decisions.
Vox Day continues to explain these vital tactics of the culture war:
"...[Y]ou do not defend ordered liberty, constrained government, and rational argument over insanity with unconstrained liberty, government inaction, and talk. You defend it with force, and you defend it successfully with force that exceeds that of your opponent at the point of conflict.
The Romans did not become the Britons by defeating them with superior force. The USA did not become Nazi Germany by invading Normandy (although it may as a result of the 1965 Immigration Act). The Soviets did not become the Afghans and the Coalition of the Willing has not become the global jihad. Batman would not become the Joker even if he snapped the Joker's neck, but he would certainly save the lives of all of those who would have been killed by the Joker in the future.
What frustrates me about the noble defeatists is that they are like a football team who refuses to accept those newfangled rules that permit the forward pass. They play the game in the outmoded way they believe to be the right way, run the ball every down against a defense with 11 stacked in the box the entire game, and inevitably lose when the other team passes for ten touchdowns and wins 70-0.
The problem is a conceptual one. Even those whose devotion to free expression is unquestioned ... fail to understand that their efforts are doomed to failure so long as they confuse the objective with the method used to defend it. This is not a "by any means" argument, it is a straightforward argument for deterrence.
The best defense for free expression is not to permit the other side to freely libel and slander and calumniate and defame and lie while responding with few feeble protests that what they're saying just ain't so. The reason poison gas has made very few appearances on the battlefield since WWI is not because the French, English, and Americans set the Germans a good example, but because they promptly responded by manufacturing and using even more gas than the Germans could. The only reason the USA has not dropped an atomic bomb since 1945 is because the Soviet Union obtained their own in 1949.
Has the assault on free speech gotten stronger or weaker since Belgium introduced hate speech laws in 1981? The high-minded non-deterrent approach has failed, continuously failed, for the last three decades. The SJWs find speech-policing to be a useful weapon for marginalizing, disqualifying, and destroying their enemies and they are not going to give it up until they find themselves suffering from it to a greater extent than the free speech advocates do.
If you seek to defend free expression, you can do no better than to follow the lead of Lieutenant General Sir Charles Ferguson, who said of poison gas, which he deplored as a "cowardly" and un-English form of warfare:
"We cannot win this war unless we kill or incapacitate more of our enemies than they do of us, and if this can only be done by our copying the enemy in his choice of weapons, we must not refuse to do so."
This does not mean we must blindly imitate the other side, particularly not in their instinctual resort to stupid and petty lies, transparent psychological projection, and a foolish insistence on defending the indefensible. Nor should we seek to be as blindly ignorant of them as they are of us. What it means is that we should adopt their more effective tactics, and, as the Allies did with gas in WWI, make even more effective and extensive use of those tactics than they do until they agree to give them up."
But oh! How do we do all of the above? I was asked this on two forums. I tried to explain how this could be done--and have been kicked off of the reservation for it. It seems that discussion forums are not for discussing. Discussion forums are for agreeing.
How do we "drive out the scoffers?" If the above was not enough, then let me list some particular points:
1. Should we personalize the argument? Absolutely. Nothing is more personal than The Faith, and everything boils down to whether or not you have The Faith. Liberals have been using deconstructive criticism for the better part of a century to tear apart at their conservative enemies. Watch them howl in terror and rage when you turn the tables on them, deconstruct them, and expose their black hearts for all the world to see. Their asperger-like emotional state is their weakness and our strength. Use it to your advantage.
2. Should we characterize or mischaracterize them? Characterize them? Absolutely. People are dense. These days, people no longer have a clear conception of good versus evil. They see a villain, and they want to get to understand him. But saturate an audience with imagery of just what exactly the person is, and they might get it. For example, people just love sodomites these days. Sodomy is now politically correct; the men feign delicate emotion when they talk about themselves, and women just love having gay orbiters to feed their narcissism. But let's put a few movie posters up in various public spaces of a sweaty Jim Carrey screwing his pal in the butt from his movie: "I Love You Philip Morris." Or, we could arrange to have some cut scenes from Behind the Candelabra pasted into evening prime time television. Do these things, and it is likely that more of the population will resist this kind of cultural change. Mischaracterizing our opponents? We do not have to. They are already ridiculous.
3. Sassiness? Glibness, smugness? Taunting? Why is it that Christians have allowed the other side to own these rhetorical tools for so long? Even biblical heroes have confronted their enemies with a raised chin and a smirk on their face. As Elijah waited on the Baal worshippers to summon their "god" during a contest, he mocked them. "Cry louder for him! Maybe he went to the bathroom!"
4. Should we focus on winning, rather than teaching and converting? Why not? If you focus on anything else, you will lose. You might feel good about yourself for taking the high road, but you'll lose. You are not going to convert any hostile opponent in an internet comment box. Only if the opponent closes off the rhetoric (he won't) and opens himself up to dialectic (it's rare) will he listen to everything you have to say. And that's if he doesn't try to drag a red herring across the road to divert what you are trying to state. What about teaching your opponent? You will teach everyone by confronting and exposing the other side. You will even teach yourself how to get better at it.
5. Are you failing to be charitable if you take such a strong stance against your enemies? Charity to your neighbor is a commandment after all. The answer? No. You are not being uncharitable. Instructing the ignorant is an act of mercy. Our opponents are ignorant. The people on the sidelines are ignorant--about how to deal with the hostile people on the other team. Instruct them. Lead them. Show them how to stand up.
These things are all helpful, and these things and more are necessary in order to fulfill our objectives. How do we win back the social sphere as a Christian Western society? By not being nice. Christians have been nice for 60 years, and we've done nothing but lose ground. Emotion should not play into any of this--particularly on the Internet. After all, the Internet renders our thoughts into faceless type-written text messages.
One may ask: "How could you be so smug and not demonstrate any love for your online opponent if you go about it in such a way?" After all, love comes from God, and it is the very purpose of our being.
The answer is that love more than just an emotion. In other languages, there are many different kinds of love, and unfortunately, our Western society uses the generic term "love" to encompass far too much. Let us just say, for now, that ultimately love is an action. Instructing the ignorant is an act of mercy. By standing up to our enemies, we potentially instruct them, we instruct our fans on how to deal with them, and we instruct the people on the fence that our side is not comprised of weaklings. Our very act of asserting ourselves in the manner that I have outlined is nothing less than an act of love. By exercising our civic duty, we demonstrate our concern for others in particular and society as a whole.
Tracy of Fisheaters stated that if you can't reason with SJWs, then debating them on the Internet is pointless. However, the lurkers will always be there to observe the arguments. On this, we both agree. To take it further, the lurkers already agree with you, if not intellectually, then they at least sense your cause. But I would say that even if you were debating an SJW without any observers, it serves as training for you. There's no harm in it. I'll even go further and say that "debating" the enemy on their own turf--with a horde of enemies surrounding you--will educate you on the different ways to deal with your opponent, and it'll also teach you on what to avoid in the future.
If Catholics are to gain any kind of ground, then this trend of appeasement to the other side must stop. As Vox Day stated earlier: "All appeasement does is signal to the SJW what buttons he needs to push in order to force an opponent to retreat."
Appeasement is blood in the water. Your online opponents are not interested in finding common ground with you. They are interested in you agreeing with them completely. They are interested in mischaracterizing you. They will give you attitude. The other side is not interested in finding an ecumenical "common ground" with us. They are interested in winning. For the past century, we've been interested in "live and let live." They're interested in destroying you.
Drive out the scoffers. Shame them. Shame them so that they recoil, and are slow to return to the arena. Expose them to the populace so that they are outed and discovered. Shame them, and encourage others on our side to stand up to them when once they were quiet.
Their side seems to think they are in the right and justified to shame our side with oppressive political correctness. This is completely backwards. The dyscivic acts and behaviors that we observe today would not be tolerated over a century ago, and we have it coming if we are going to be the kind of civilization that allows good people to become villainized.
Once more, I'm going to draw upon what Vox Day has to say on the matter.
SJWs have dominated public discourse for almost two decades by targeting, attacking, and disqualifying people in public. The successful adoption and utilization of their own methods will lead us to learning an important lesson about achieving victory.
"We can beat them. We will beat them. The only way that we will fail is if we fail to emancipate ourselves from the limitations of outdated methods to which those who have been attacking us for over a decade do not subscribe."Perhaps we have deplored the hive mindset or other Internet mob tactics. However, "We are not a hive mind or a mob. We do not howl. We did not initiate the use of these mob tactics and we do not favor them as a first option. We prefer civil disagreement, dialectical discourse, and public debate."
They have left us literally no other choice except submitting to them, which will never happen. Refusing to take a side and trying to remain above it all will no more bring an end to dislikeable tactics than the League of Nations prevented World War II.
Honest debate is something that they will decline from. They must be forced to abandon their incivility and return to more civilized norms. Misbehaving bullies can only be stopped with superior force. To stop these mobs of people, we have to multiply our force. We can abandon the tactic when they do.
"But until the SJWs give up their rhetorical tactics of name-calling, marginalization, and disqualification, we will continue play by the Chicago Rules and exploit every mistake they make and every opening they give us."
We cannot out-argue our opponents. We cannot appeal to the dialectic in a rhetorical battle, where the greater part of those on the other side are not even capable of understanding that dialectic. To try to reason with these people ensures defeat.
Superior force in these confrontations is the proven way to win, which is historical and logical. We will lose if we continue feeling. Our side doesn't like feeling morally inferior to the other side--so much so, that we'd rather lose than give up that feeling of superiority in order to meet the enemy head-on. "When you cannot win by out-arguing, you must win by out-silencing, or you will be silenced."
Finally, as far as getting banned from Suscipe Domine and Fisheaters for even discussing this approach, consider this fictional dialogue from someone nicknamed "Bateful Higot":
Moderate: Okay, gentlemen... take 5 paces, then turn and shoot. SJW has won the coin toss and will shoot first. Understood?
SJW: turns and points pistol, hand trembling in terror
Moderate: looks at SJW scornfully Two...
SJW: CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE! shoots in Conservative's general direction... misses horribly
Conservative: What the deuce? Turns around. You bastard!
SJW: How dare you turn around! You're not a gentleman!
Moderate: Conservative! You must take three more paces before you may turn around!
Conservative: That coward shot at me after two!
Moderate: Do not lower yourself to his level! Death before dishonor!
Conservative: That doesn't mean what you think it does! aims at SJW
SJW: EEK! cowers
Moderate: How dare you! draws pistol on Conservative If you do not turn around this instant, I shall shoot you myself, you dishonorable cur!
Of the above, Vox asks:
"How can you identify a moderate? He is the man who only shoots at his own side, never the enemy. This isn't to say that moderates can't learn. I have known a few who have done so, gradually and over time, mostly by virtue of having their "friends" on the other side repay their steadfast good will with repeated betrayals and regular stabs in the back. Moderates merit civility, but no respect. And above all, do NOT permit them any input into strategy and tactics. They are worse than useless in that regard."In my case, the "moderate" who shot me was Suscipe Domine and Fisheaters. But that's moderators for you. Whether it is breaching topics that divide the faithful, discussing how to confront hostile atheists, or even daring to attempt to formulate strategies on how to deal with liberal "Saul Alinsky" social justice warriors, you will find that the moderate lacks the stomach for it.
Perhaps we need less moderators, but more generals and platoon leaders.
* This post is a summary of my statements from the deleted Fisheaters thread: Strategies in Taking Back the Net. Large portions of my explanations were derived from the writings of Vox Day, who can be read at either www.voxday.blogspot.com or www.alphagameplan.blogspot.com.
** Also, this Fall, be on the lookout for Vox Day's next book, which will cover this matter more thoroughly. It will be titled: SJWS ALWAYS LIE: How to Defend Yourself From the Thought Police.