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Opening Arguments

Haters gotta hate

So, there are three kinds of political hate. There is, based on the kind of anger that has you yelling at the TV screen. And there is :cool hate," based on contempt, whose adherents express disgust for another person through sarcasm, dismissal or mockery. Finally, there is anonymous hate:

Political discourse has always had a shadowy component, all the way back to Thomas Paine’s pamphleteering in favor of American independence. But nothing has empowered casual vitriol in the Internet age like the pressure on news organizations to publish any and all anonymous feedback. This has scaled up our ability to express political hate with astonishing efficiency.

Before you dismiss this as harmless chatter, consider a 2014 article in the academic journal Personality and Individual Differences, titled “Trolls Just Want to Have Fun.” Three Canadian psychologists found that habitual Internet commenting is strongly correlated with hateful personality pathologies. The total amount of time spent posting comments online correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. And this held especially true for those who relished “trolling,” the anonymous posting of negative and destructive comments. The 5 percent of participants who listed trolling as their favorite activity earned the highest scores on those unsavory psychological measures.

God, I love that story. All you trolls out there (you know who you are) aren't just annoying. You're actually deranged. I don't have hot hate for you, though, he sneered.