Thursday, 4 July 2013

Purkayastha's Four Laws of Modern Internet Debate

Isaac Newton had his Three Laws of Motion. Arthur C Clarke had his Three Laws of Technological Progress. The other Isaac, Asimov, had his – fictional and already disproved, but still – Three Laws of Robotics. Well, in the footsteps of these great thinkers, and of course desiring to go one better, let me now propound for your delectation Purkayastha’s Four Laws of Modern Internet Debate:

Purkayastha’s First Law (also known as the Law of Racist Trollery):

(Cf. Godwin’s Law, which states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches.”)

In any internet discussion involving Barack Obama, the probability of any dissenting person being labelled an ignorant racist troll by True Believers increases exponentially the less the True Believers know about the dissenting person.

Corollary: If the dissenter is known to the True Believer, the reaction will centre round the proposition that the Nobel Peace Prizident is doing the best he can in the face of extreme and unprincipled opposition from the rival party, which is stifling all his initiatives. If the dissenter then asks why the Prizident, if so crippled, doesn’t resign his post, or why he appoints advisors who are known to be complicit in the crimes of his inglorious predecessor, the questions shall be ignored.

[Obviously, I have a long history of being labelled an ignorant racist troll and conservative right-wing Tea Partier by Obama religionists whom I have asked about the Peace Prizident’s war crimes. Apparently, they’re so hard-wired to respond in only one set of terms to all dissent that they can’t bring their minds round to formulate a new set of abuse to fit the circumstances.

[The most extreme – and pre-emptive – version of Purkayastha’s First Law I’ve yet come across was in November 2008, when Obama religionist and former Multiply member auntb93also declared – on the occasion of the Prizident’s first election – words to this effect: “(Obama is) ... a black man so superior that any criticism of him can only stem from racism”. Auntie B deserves full credit for inspiring the First Law, and I gratefully acknowledge her contribution.]

Purkayastha’s Second Law (also known as the Whistleblower Smearing Law):

The probability of any self-styled “left liberal” commentator launching a smear campaign against a whistleblower increases in direct relation to the distance said whistleblower’s personal lifestyle or political beliefs are from those of said commentator.

Apparently, to these people, in order to be acceptable, a whistleblower must be exactly like them - must have the exact same viewpoint on everything. Otherwise, he must be a fraud of some kind, and he is the Main Enemy; what he said can be ignored.

[I’m, of course, not talking about right-wingers in this because their response to any and all whistleblowing is predictable. But the “left-liberal” – by which term I mean the American kind of left, which is not left, and the Hollywood kind of liberal, which is not liberal – commentators who are making a daily routine of smearing Edward Snowden are a perfect example of this breed. When they can’t find anything new to smear Snowden with, they smear those who defend him. For example, when Snowden claims his life is under threat, they mock that assertion. And when the plane of the Bolivian President is forced down and searched on the allegation that Snowden might be aboard – and thus directly vindicating said claim – they frantically look for new targets to smear.]      

Purkayastha’s Third Law (also known as the Anti-Semitic/Kapo Law):

In any internet discussion involving the actions of the so-called state of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinian people, defenders of the Zionist entity will invariably reflexively label all opponents as Jew-hating anti-Semites. If the opponent then cites the many Jewish organisations which are openly and strongly opposed to the Zionist entity, the defenders will immediately call those Jews traitors and Kapos.

(Kapos being Jewish or other prisoners who acted as trustees in the concentration camps, ruling over their fellow inmates in return for better living conditions and food.)

[I once had occasion to point out on one such forum the fact that any Jew who therefore arrogates the right to speak for all Jews, and to decide who’s a “traitor”, is displaying the essence of fascism. That didn’t go down well with the forum members, who added “jihadist” and “pig” to the “Jew-hating anti-Semite” tag they threw at me. It wasn’t a very intelligent forum.]

Corollary: In any internet discussion involving the actions of the so-called state of Israel and its treatment of the Palestinian people, in a forum with an anti-Zionist majority, there will be a commentator who will blame its crimes on all Jews and will go on to deny the Holocaust happened. If one then cites the many Jewish organisations which are openly and strongly opposed to the Zionist entity, said person will claim that those Jews are merely providing a smokescreen for the crimes of the Jews as a group.

Purkayastha’s Fourth Law (also known as the Revolutionary Law):

The likelihood of a “popular revolution” being nothing of the kind increases in direct proportion to laudatory internet commentary praising it. Conversely, the more sceptical one is about such “revolutions”, the less likely one is to be surprised about the eventual outcome. Also, the more sceptical one is, the more likely one is to be at the receiving end of criticism or abuse from “revolution” supporters.

[The obvious example is the so-called Libyan Revolution. Remember all the talk of Gaddafi ordering his planes to bomb civilian protestors and the alleged impending massacres in Benghazi? Remember the “brave rebels” praised by Hollywood Liberals like Sean Penn? Well, we all know how the (so-called, Western-backed) Libyan “revolution” turned out, don’t we? And we all know how the so-called Arab Spring, so widely praised online, has morphed with extreme speed into a fresh Arab Winter, with the people now rising against the governments which came to power during those protests two years ago.

[I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this to some extent. I was always sceptical of the Libyan Revolution, but I was initially taken in by the anti-Hosni Mubarak First Egyptian Revolution, though I recovered fairly quickly from that delusion, I’m glad to say.]    

I'm sure these black Libyans are just feeling SO free

Other Laws will probably be added as and when I think of them. In the meantime I invite you to add your own.


  1. This just reminds me how badly I need to working on ending my tendency to engage in debate online.

    Thousands of hours I will never get back.

  2. I am ashamed to say I voted for Obama in 08 and even 12. The USA is to the Right of any putatively civilized country and the rightwing is more virulent and toxic every day. I don't know if we have any true leftists in this country, maybe Katy and some guy out in Oregon. I don't think Obama is doing the best he can or even what he promised to do in 08. I certainly don't think all criticism of him is racist. (A lot of it on the Right is.) But many people are correctly pointing out his many flaws and broken promises and I cannot tell you how it galls me to agree with some of the rednecks on other sites who are not making racist judgements but simply asking for consistency and a lack of hypocrisy. Where AM I going?

    Probably I voted my fears.

    You're right about everything else as well. Too many people read too much Anne Frank. Oy, the suffering of the Jews. Snowden (who is a hottie) did what needed to be done, but he embarrassed Obama so the Left, such as it is, castigates him.

    Keep writing, you keep people informed.

  3. Thank you, Bill. I'm sure there are other laws to follow...

  4. I believed in Obama before he was elected, just goes to show how wrong I was. I seem to remember saying (back on Multiply) that of America didn't want Obama we would have him. I'm so glad that glib remark never came to fruition. Why Americans call him a socialist I have no idea, he is about as far removed from a socialist as its possible to get. And yes.............Snowden did us all a favour, although many people already knew what was going on its good to get it confirmed from one who knows, poor lad looks terrified now. As far as I'm concerned any whistle blower is a good whistle blower.
    Keep on writing, I may not always comment but I usually read. :-)

    1. Americans call him a socialist because they wouldn't know a socialist if one came up and bit them on the arse.


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