DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!

Don't feed the trolls sign, near Fløyen, Bergen, Norway.
Don’t feed the trolls sign, near Fløyen, Bergen, Norway. (from here)

This post is a sequel to CHRISTMAS AND THE GIFT OF A CIVIL SOCIETY and another post I wrote years ago, THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY. Actually, James Madison wrote most of THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY. That is, I quoted him. And the best material in CHRISTMAS AND THE GIFT OF A CIVIL SOCIETY came from the Bible. So you could say that to find my best material I troll the writings of others. However, that is not the kind of trolling we will talk about here.

The Problem With Trolls

“Don’t feed the trolls.” Don’t we all know what that means? Isn’t it a cute expression? It makes us think about feeding the wildlife, and until the wildlife starts biting and clawing, that’s fun.

Here is an example. I once had a friend with a cat who liked being petted. That sounds innocuous, and until I decided to withdraw my hand, the cat was quite friendly. Then the cat made it known that she was not yet done with being petted. My friend should have had that savage little beast declawed.

We are all like that cat. We are all trolls. We are all part of the wildlife, and we can all turn vicious. We don’t even have to be fed. We just have to be petted.

A Proper Troll? (from here)
A Proper Troll? (from here)

How does that relate to a republic? To maintain a republic, we must maintain a civil society. Can you imagine a civil troll? Therein lies the problem with a republic.

To have a civil society, we must obey the Golden Rule. On our own we cannot do that. Being what we are, we cannot even be honest about the meaning of the Golden Rule. We will bend it to suit the occasion. Somehow, someway we will make doing unto others all about what we want to do unto others, not treating others the way we want to be treated. We will hunt for nuances, craft exceptions, and most “useful” of all, use the ends to justify the means. We will lie to ourselves and to others and do what we want.

It is not that we do not know better. We create laws. We write them down. We try to fix their meaning, but laws are just words on paper. Because we lack integrity with a bit of sophistry we can make our laws say whatever we want them to say. We don’t even have to amend what is written on paper. That is why few nations have ever come close to achieving a civil society, and that is why few republics have lasted very long. Sigh.

So What Is The Point Of A Republic?

In a nation with millions of trolls, no troll by himself or herself can be a grave danger to the peace of the nation. As James Madison observed in The Federalist, Paper # 10, (see THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY) the problem resides in our ability to form gangs of trolls, that is, factions. Hence, as Madison observed, we have a choice.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests. (from here)

Since Madison could envision no method of curing the mischiefs of faction that were not worst than the disease, he argued for controlling its effects. Madison advocated a constitutional republic, a limited government designed with checks and balances to check the passions we associate with factional politics.

Even so, we remain trolls. Of what use is a constitution for trolls? Unless we each have the personal integrity to obey a law as those who wrote it meant it to be obeyed, how can the rule of law provide a solid foundation for our government? Is it not like building a house upon shifting sand?

Because most men cannot control their trollish character, most societies opt to control the passions of factions by using tyrannical force to stamp it out. To maintain their own power — their own faction — powerful, tyrannical leaders insist that every citizen voice the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

Because we are what we are, we have no personal integrity of our own. So what else can we do? How can we avoid joining a faction and abusing the rights of our neighbors? How can we avoid the necessity of condemning our family, friends and neighbors to an ironfisted tyranny? Where can we each find a rock upon which to build a foundation for our character? A proper foundation for our government?

Long ago Jesus spoke to us, and the fathers and the mothers of this nation listened.

Matthew 7:24-27 English Standard Version (ESV)

Build Your House on the Rock

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Jesus is the rock upon which they built.

8 thoughts on “DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!

  1. In a Zoo, you see signs, “:Do not feed the animals. ”

    On certain fishing lakes you see signs, “No trolling allowed”.

    In the USA, we have millions of laws (signs) a Constitution, and one combination that makes most trolls look the other way from the warning signs.

    Politician’s Bribes

    Proverbs 15:27 – He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

    House – USA

    Live? – How much longer depends on when the basket is emptied. As of today it stands at minus twenty trillion dollars..

    Regards and goodwill blogging

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What is the primary affect of that huge debt?

      The Debt obviously contributes to inflation, effectively serving as a huge tax. When the politicians spend more money than they collect in taxes, they spend that money at today’s value, but we all lose value with respect to our holdings.

      As the debt accumulates, we loose confidence that the Federal Government will be able to meet its obligations. Hence, for example, we have millions of people paying huge sums for Social Security and Medicare, but they have no confidence the program will be there for them when they must retire. All they know for certain is that they have been robbed to pay for something they could easily have provided for themselves.

      We have a crumbling infrastructure. In particular, our roads are a mess. When we started replacing toll roads with “freeways,” politicians started building roads for developers and other such well-financed interest groups. So even though we have spent plenty on asphalt and concrete, our roads fail to serve the people who use them.

      We have diverted funds from higher priorities. When government spends and spends and spends, it does so at the expense of private investment. Taxes, regulations, and even ill-considered “tax incentives” all serve to increase the cost of doing the business that truly needs to be done. Thus, while we are building palatial homes — because the real estate agents, bankers, and developers think its a wonderful idea — we fail to upgrade our factories. We send jobs overseas, instead.

      So what is the primary effect of that huge debt? I don’t know. I just think we are in a hole, and it is time we stopped digging and digging and digging……

      Liked by 1 person

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