What is a Freeper? NEXT: THE DIVA DIVULGES HER DEVIANCE!
Freepers are a group of Americans, mostly male, mostly young, below thirty, in the service of the Very Far Right Republicans (VFRR). Many of them also work in day jobs that keep them behind computers and enrolled in the Free Republic site on the Internet.
They are dedicated little foot soldiers of the VFRR and they love to Freep, or menace people on message boards or with websites who are at all the left of them. They feed at the trough of hate. Their cocktails are mixed with hate. Their bread is buttered with hate.
The marching orders for Freepers right now are to go out on the message boards and chat lines and tell anyone who complains that the winner did not get to become president to "Get Over It." It is their mantra. They may be getting paid for each posting of this mantra, or they may get paid by the hour. We are not sure.
Many of the Freepers are on line eighteen hours a day. They are word terrorists. Although they can be very unpleasant, it is important to remember that they are human, and even if they exhibit some serious symptoms of very poor mental hygiene, they are probably not sociopaths. Only one percent of the population is sociopathic. The Freeper rate of sociopathy may be slightly higher, but still a small percentage. That is very important to realize, otherwise there would be no point in trying to have fun with them.
They blast their enemies with abusive, aggressive and irrational scorn "You sound like a communist. Anyone who sticks up for Klinton is deranged." Schoolyard bully redux. I am aware, after working in psychiatric hospitals for years, that it is a fact that almost all negative behavior comes from very low self-esteem. Think of the Freeper as an irksome little brother.
Do not stoop to the level of the Freeper. Tell him that you want him to rise to civility. Give him some ground rules for civil discourse. Make the rules simple. Agree to follow them yourself:
1) Do not name call.
2) Respect the language.
3) Avoid sophism. (If the sophism definition can be agreed upon, then there is a chance you might have fun interacting with a Freeper.)
4) Remember that communication is both sending and receiving, and tell the Freeper that if he puts it on BLAST, you are going elsewhere for your fun.
Engage them with questions. Often Freepers do not have much human contact and probably very few of them have had many people genuinely interested in them. Find out where they are from. Ask them if the area is overwhelmingly conservative and if they feel trapped geographically. A lot of people have been expressing this recently. Ask the Freeper if hate talk dominates their daily discussion and would they want a break from it.
Sometimes they will melt like butter with just the slightest gesture of kindness, which should tell you something. Ask them what music they like. Ask them what is beautiful to them. Ask them what their dreams are. They may never have never even realized that they have choices in their lives. If there is something, anything, to compliment the Freeper on, do it. Believe me people with low self-esteem have rarely received compliments.
Freepers are very experienced on the Internet and love to search. Find a Plato dialogue and ask them to discuss it with you. Send them to poetry sites. Freepers are inexperienced with the joys of the mind but they are not dumb. Pleasant communication may be something they have never experienced. I read John Derbyshire's column over at the National Review one day last week, and it was truly awful to expose my brain to those mental bristles that he plants inside his otherwise well-phrased prose. I had nightmares that night, something that rarely happens to me. I realized how very dreadful it must be for people who regularly rake their cerebrums with these combs of rusty hate needles.
It becomes easier to tolerate Freepers if one is aware of the mental abuse they afflict on themselves by feeding only at the trough of the cult of hate. They might suffer from paralyzing despair.
Freepers, as I have said, for the most part are young. They love adolescent humor. What are you going to do? Beat up my cyber butt? Are you going to reach through cyberspace and smack my virtual face? Adolescent humor often is fun. There can be something very fresh about it.
Do not take it personally if the cyber mind you have engaged is without hope of enlightenment. Remember it is very easy to disengage in this interactive medium and do not hesitate to do that if it becomes clear you are staring madness in its virtue face.
Maybe it is unrealistic and hopelessly naive of me to believe that a Freeper mind has any hope of its darkness being pierced with light, but we may as well try. I agree with the Dalai Lama when he says, "Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way."