Hi guys and gals! Welcome to the Great Orange Satan, and try the pootie diaries, they are very relaxing and fun.
And now, humor off. Let me be serious for a minute.
I find that the following is true: a person can be
- Just as smart as I am
- Just as well informed as I am
- Just as well intentioned and "good" as I am
and STILL disagree with me. I have it happen in real life; I have it happen here on Daily Kos.
I'm not unique. It happens to all of us, does it not?
And that's why it's really a big colossal waste of valuable energy to care about paid NSA shills. Because item (3) above really doesn't matter. If some Kossack is in fact a paid shill, but they are marshaling relevant facts into a cogent argument, their motivations do not matter. You need to be able to respond to their argument politely with a cogent fact-based argument of your own.
In fact, worrying about shills is actually dangerous - because it allows one dismiss someone as "not good" and therefore their arguments are not worth engaging with. That's an ad hominem argument, which means if I allow myself to think that way - and I confess to the temptation - I'm really just lying to myself rather than deal with what someone has said.
So if we do have paid NSA shills - treat 'em with respect just like any other Kossack. They are, after all, just ordinary people with a job to do, and may in fact be people of good will. That's right - working for the NSA does not automatically make you a bad person. Which means that even if they ARE a paid NSA shill, they may still be
- As smart as you are
- As well informed as you are
- As good and well-intentioned as you are
and disagreeing with you on topics relating to the NSA.
Maybe we have shills. Maybe we don't.
Maybe these hypothetical shills are still worth listening to and engaging as credible intellectual foes.
Could a shill have a point?
UPDATE: Two commentators have pointed out that a paid shill not disclosing their affiliation would be in violation of site rules. I agree, and that would definitely undercut their moral standing as re: (3). Further, if I caught 'em, I'd report 'em.
The danger remains of just slotting everyone who disagrees with you into the "shill" bucket. Because some non-shills may still disagree with you.