Free Republic Commenters: Really That Crazy, or Just Trolls?By Dan Seitz
A useful law to be aware of is Poe’s Law, which states that any attempt to satirize an extreme viewpoint will inevitably be mistaken by somebody as actually representing that viewpoint. It makes figuring out satire on the Internet difficult, and taking insane sites seriously nearly impossible.
And, of course, nowhere else other than the internet can you find more blisteringly insane opinions about politics. One particularly infamous political hotbed is Free Republic, a news aggregation site so conservative it’s currently the only thing that can arouse Ann Coulter.
The history of Free Republic brings new meaning to the word “tortured”. It’s had more purges than the brutal Communist dictatorship of Buliemia. As users have expressed intolerable, vile beliefs, like thinking Rudy Guliani would make a good president, they’ve been booted from the site, because nothing is more American than making people you don’t like go away to never be seen again.
Over time, it has, in theory, become a hotbed of the most extreme conservatives on the Internet, the kind of people who cry and masturbate to Glenn Beck crying and surreptitiously masturbating on air.
Or is it? The more you read the statements of Freepers (nickname of the denizens of FreeRepublic) the more you’ve got to wonder if they haven’t realized they had a huge audience of liberals engaging in some internet atrocity tourism, and are just playing to the crowds.
I went through some recent comments on some of Free Republic’s articles — three of them, to be exact — and I pulled four comments from each of them. After much analyzation, I’m pretty sure Free Republic is the greatest prank ever played on the internet. For example (and I assure you, every single quote here is real):
On the subject of the Congressional Budget Office suggesting that taxing citizens based on the number of miles they drive is “a practical option for revenue enhancement”:
“Now, I’m no Constitutional scholar like Our Dark Overlord, but that sounds to me like it might just infringe upon the 4th Amendment…” – DoctorBulldog
Obviously fake. Blatant racism in the first comment? Really? Not even YouTube videos get that retarded in the comments section that fast, and on Youtube you have to fail a basic IQ test to just to mention
“Wicked bastards! The leviathan never stops inventing ways to confiscate our money.” – KoRn
Give me a break. This site is frequented almost entirely by guys like your racist grandpa , Harold, who casts a shifty eye upon the “Zipper Heads” down the street whenever he hears them speaking their “gooky goboldy-gook” language. They don’t listen to Korn. Serious troll fail.
“But this is to tax the selfish Prius drivers who dodge the gas taxes but still use the roads we pay for. Start calling it a Prius tax, and it will die a well-deserved death (I’d call it a Volt tax, but the new GM will never sell enough of those dinosaurs for anyone to care).” -Pollster1
I’m calling this one legit; if this were a troll, he’d have made a South Park reference to “smug” or something and bagged on George Clooney to look good. Poor Pollster1; he doesn’t know what he’s gotten into.
“This mileage tax sounds unconstitutional. Taxing someone on their movement around the county in a car, restricts my freedom of movement. If can’t affort the tax, I can’t move freely about the county. Something about “life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Next thing they will tax us for how much air we breath, the “O2” tax, and then you need the CO2 discharge tax, which is higher for athletes who give off more CO2!” – kgrif_Salinas
This whole “gasoline is equivalent to air” thing comes up a lot in this thread, which makes me wonder how much these guys drive, anyway. This one I’m leaning towards legit solely because the guy is actually fumbling towards a somewhat reasonable legal argument.
Score: 2-2 even
On “How Much Firepower Do You Need”, a blog post about banning high-capacity clips in handguns.
“gun for hunting or a pistol to give you some sense of protection at home”
They always blow it in the first few sentences where they feign empathy. The Constitution does not mention hunting or home only and nor do our lifestyles.” – doodad
I’m pegging this one as legit just because it absolutely makes no sense. Empathy? For what? Is gun owning a disease? I know lots of gun owners, they all seem OK. Was I supposed to be bringing them a casserole every time they got a new deer rifle?
“We need larger magazines more then the police.Afterall we’re more likely to be the victim of a violent assault.The police only get involved after the victim has been seriously injured or killed.
The majority of the time a police officer does’nt even draw his weapon.” – puppypusher
Faaaaaaake. If he can look up that most officers never draw their weapon in the line of duty, he probably saw that violent crime has been sinking in the United States for years and that most crime is in urban centers. Even Wikipedia knows that. Nice try, hippie.
“The Constitution discusses Letters of Marque. What that means, as I understand it, is that Congress can authorize me to use my private warship (a 5000 ton destroyer) to go to Somalia and fight pirates on behalf of the US government.
Under the Second Amendment, I can own a first-rate naval vessel, a tank, a fighter jet, artillery, or even a large-capacity magazine for my personal defense weapon.
Do not infringe.” – ClearCase_guy
This guy totally posted this on his iPad at Starbucks waiting for his free-range mechanic to fix his Prius. That, or this one man was the inspiration for every G.I. Joe vehicle released in the 80s.
“Whenever a lefty asks,
“Why do you want magazines that hold more than 10 rounds?”
1) Shouldn’t a homosexual like Mathew Shepard be able to protect themselves from a ‘hate crime’ about to be committed by 15 angry gay bashers??
2) Shouldn’t a ‘person of color’ in the south be able to protect themselves from ‘rednecks’ about to tie the person of color to a truck bumper and drag them to their death like in Jasper Texas??
3) Shouldn’t a woman preparing to exercise her “reproductive rights” be able to fend off 20 Christian Taliban members led By Sarah Palin who are going to bomb a Planned Parenthood Clinic or commit violence??” – Le Chien Rouge
You know, this one was almost convincing. This really sounds like the kind of lunatic idiocy you expect from a grown man gluing a teabag to his hat and running around complaining about those evil Democrats insisting that guns are the solution and we shouldn’t address the underlying social problems that create terrible things like domestic terrorism. All undone by his username: real conservative nutbags hate everything French since they didn’t agree with us on bombing Iraq instead of getting Bin Laden.
Score: 5-3 in favor of their messing with us.
“Why college replaced the corprate testing of candidates. Now to prove you can read and write you have to go to college when most jobs only require a HS diploma.” – central_va
Speaking as someone born in a DC and living in Arlington for the first decade of my life, and hence (technically) a Virginian…yeah, this is legit. If I were from Central Virginia, I’d be desperately clinging to this belief too.
“This talk explains a LOT of things.”
“It explains why the college grads that apply for jobs at your company seem so uneducated (because they are). It explains why going to a “name” school is a horrendous waste of money. He explains why the schools really do tilt WAY to the left. He also offers solutions. And how students can get the most out of their education.” – DaisyJane69
I’m torn. For one thing, that username seems like a trolling. On the other hand, the belief that “all college graduates are stupid because they’re liberals because they’re stupid” is the kind of circular logic you usually run into from people who didn’t start getting angry about runaway government spending and rampant corruption until a Democrat got elected to office. So it’s either a skilled troll, or an epic dimwit. So I’m awarding points to both sides.
“The tax eaters need tax payers, hence the need for professionals that do REAL work….The “social” or helping people notwithstanding…” – Nat Turner
I’d love to believe this wasn’t legit, but unfortunately, I can believe some entitled white douchebag using the name of the leader of a slave rebellion to complain about people doing social work all too easy. Ten bucks says somebody told him Turner rebelled against the government without mentioning he was black and fighting slaveowners.
“Bottom line: Americans forgot the distinction between an education and a vocation …. long time ago. These things are absolutely different and Universities capitalize on the stupidity of Americans who have bought the hype about a ‘college degree’.” -SMARTY
I think this one is legit too. After all, these aren’t the kind of people who look up employment statistics, because if he were a fact-checker he’d know the unemployment rate for college graduates is sitting pretty at 5%. Of course, the link I just supplied you with came from NPR, and NPR can’t be right about things, because they leech off taxpayers and convert your hard-earned cash in to decorative tote bags, episodes of Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! , and feed Garrison Keillor’s whore addiction.
Final Score: 6-7 in favor of them really being like this.
But, of course, there’s no way this is the mainstream of conservatism. Conservatives who are actually in office wouldn’t do things like bash public education in Iowa, or pass laws taking food money away from the poor if they were ever caught with weed, right?