By Wolfgangbeyer (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Have you ever wondered about those seemingly unassailable arguments that are ringed by a fence of obscurity– yet win every time? When you ask questions, try to probe what the underlying foundations or goals, you find… nothing. The ponderous pronouncements never become clear– but imply things that never get defined. It is as porous and adaptable to your questions and as inert as a noble gas. It always points to whatever the assumed audience wants to hear.  Yet the artist is highly skilled at dismantling the arguments of others.  You see this a lot.

Smarter people than me have come up with both a description and a name. One of those people, an innovator of exposing much modernist thought for what it is, is Pope Benedict the XVI. My source relies heavily on his theology, as well as philosophy from Edward Feser.   Simply put, it’s a well crafted sophistry that can grow any ideology you like, including for the very occasion of the discussion you happen to be having.

Created by Wolfgang Beyer 99seehorse)  with the program Ultra Fractal 3.

By Wolfgangbeyer (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Admittedly this is an old answer.  The first man to get irritated with this tendency was Socrates.  He started asking the right kind of questions to bring to light this chicanery of cleverness. It led the merry mind out of it’s safe circles, and the less disciplined to fury and frustration.  Alas, so many love to justify whatever behavior they are fond of, so, “for the good of Athens”, they killed him. That’s what “a cup of hemlock”. I understand, it’s an ugly way to die.

Sounds kind of familiar, doesn’t it?


The persons (and Persons) and antecedents are not comparable, but killing people who get in the way of pleasant untruths– who show off the folly we gleefully engage is a fairly common human thing.  We can’t call Socrates a patron saint, but perhaps the virtuous pagan of combox discipline?

This is what we mean when we say “The sleep of Reason produces monsters.”  We’ve been living in the twilight of reason for quite some time. And the monsters keep coming. The world and it’s leading lights get more decadent and reckless with each passing year. They seem to be enjoying the decline– so far.

How long before they realize they are playing with fire?  Will they see soon that fire burns and is dangerous? Or do they think that they will be shielded by hordes of People Who Don’t Matter indefinitely?  It really reminds me of those people who set fire to their own beards as some kind of prank.  Don’t they realize that the best case scenario are nasty painful scars? The worst case– and I’ve heard of a few– is death.

Yeah, apparently, if you soak your beard in some kind of flammable liquid, set it on fire, and… gasp, it’s dangerous! It’s stupid, too! The trouble is, these leading lights aren’t even setting fire to their own faces, but that guy next to them, figuring it can’t possibly come back on them.  But there’s all this flammable liquid sloshing around, and open, uncontrolled flame.  What do you think is going to happen?

What does that have to do with combox trolls, you ask?

One gets the impression that there is good to be had being one.

Ramon Casas i Carbó [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ramon Casas i Carbó [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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