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There’s a reason popular culture matters. It’s because it is not what politicians say that changes minds. The opinions of your fellow human beings are formed through their interactions with technology. From the moment you first get your news from Twitter to the hours you while away looking at shared opinions and entertainment on Facebook, from the stories that are carefully selected for your television news to the radio commercials you listen to, from the pop-up “surveys” you see on your monitor to the lyrics in the pop songs you play on Pandora, your default opinions are formed in this background noise, this wash of attitudes and presumptions that comprise your laundry list of assumptions about life.

The left understands just how powerful is this technological lever when moving society’s opinion. To this end, the libs, the leftists, the “progressives,” employ – figuratively if not literally – an army of trolls. Their mission is to scream more loudly, to squawk more belligerently, to rail more vociferously against any voice they dislike. Any statement of conservative or libertarian opinion must be shouted down through online comments and rebuttal, because to permit conservatives free speech is to concede that there might be two sides to an argument. It is to admit that a right-wing voice might be as legitimate, as socially acceptable, as a left-wing voice.

This was the reason for the urgency behind last week’s column. Liberals are trying very hard to relegate all conservative opinion to the realm of the socially illegitimate. When an employee of software nonprofit Mozilla was singled out for attack because he once contributed to a defense-of-marriage campaign, the libs called for an innovative vendor boycott. They asked Mozilla’s customers not to use its products in accessing the agitators’ Web content. The wider implication was and is that ANY right-of-center position can be used, retroactively, to smear conservatives as illegitimate, as people whose opinions alone make them unworthy of a place at the table in social discourse and commerce.

Remember that Mozilla’s CEO lost his job because he once held an opinion that is considered by liberals to be politically incorrect. His position had nothing to do with his job and, more significantly, the company for which he worked took no position, donated no funds, for or against gay marriage. This is a slippery slope because liberals already feel quite free to threaten conservatives with death. They particularly enjoy threatening conservative women with rape. And now that there are liberal voices calling for the imprisonment of those who “deny” man-made climate change, does it really take a leap of logic to see where this leads society? If the demonization, marginalization and persecution of conservative opinion does not stop, we’re one short chute away from a world in which liberals might actually screw up the courage to murder the conservatives they hate so much.

This opinion, once voiced, cannot be left alone. It must be shouted down, and on the Internet, the army of liberal trolls devoted to doing so includes an obscure little fellow named Michael Ross. Mr. Ross blogs for the Examiner, a top-100 website whose “freelancers” use the site as a “platform to share their knowledge and expertise.” What Examiner is, really, is a third-party site whose users’ content is not reviewed or edited by the site owner. Examiner disclaims heavily any liability for what its “examiners” post, and if they are paid at all, it is a pittance.

One such “examiner,” one such liberal troll in the left’s loosely confederated army of online flying monkeys, is Ross, a 30-something, painfully unfunny aspiring comic who maintains memberships to multiplefurry” affiliated sites and who contributes regularly at a forum devoted to lycanthropy (whose members are cautioned, under threat of being banned, NOT to claim they can physically transform into werewolves).

“I think it would be pretty funny watching that maniac Fred Phelps blame San Francisco college students for a lightning strike,” Ross intones, holding a microphone and staring dead-eyed into the camera. His political commentary is roughly as insightful as his stand-up – and oh boy, does he love telling people they’re “crazy” if they disagree with him. According to Ross, Obama’s political enemies are not “normal” and are merely seeking to “ruin” the president. Erik Rush is a “spoiled child.” Jay Sekulow is “perfectly comfortable flat out lying” because Ross disagrees with him. Pamela Geller is a “conspiracy theorist.” Michele Bachmann is “Senator Crazy-Eyes” (even though the Minnesota lawmaker is a U.S. representative, not a senator). Conservatives in general are, to Ross, “the American Taliban,” a phrase he is so desperate to coin that he bleats it with the regularity of an animatronic bass.

Any opinion Mr. Ross encounters that he cannot abide is automatically a temper tantrum, a conspiracy theory and a lie. “And why,” he sniffs, deliberately ignoring the obvious answer – research – in favor of slandering Beck with imaginary racism, “does Glenn Beck have anti-Jewish Nazi literature in his personal collection anyway?” There is no argument Ross cannot ignore in order to misinterpret its thrust; there is no quote Ross cannot selectively reproduce in order to side-step the actual arguments made by the people he so hates. Without irony, Ross calls what he does “nonpartisan,” though rarely do liberals ever end up the target of his poorly written screeds. To a lib, true impartiality is found only when everyone agrees on progressive talking points.

So why does any unpaid blogger, name-calling his betters from the comfort of a giant squirrel suit while sitting at a lap desk in his parents’ basement, matter? Individually, he doesn’t – but then, we do not fear the presence of a single cockroach. We fear a swarm of cockroaches. That is what Ross and his ilk are. They are vermin, but they are loud vermin, and if conservatives are to exercise their freedom of speech online, they must do so while shouting past and through the liberal trolls’ noisome tidal wave of hate.

Media wishing to interview Phil Elmore, please contact media@wnd.com.

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