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Hate Mail of the Day: Understanding the Crypto-Religious Mentality of the Left

October 1, 2009

It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten hate mail. And, oh, how I’ve missed it.

Five years ago when I was a leftist op/ed columnist for my college paper the hate mail would come in regularly as I delivered a new radical assault against the Iraq War, the Bush administration, and the Conservative Movement each week.

Now that I write exclusively online — there’s no longer a printed page with an email at the bottom — most of the time hateful responses just show up in the comments section. But is it ever a delight when I get a hostile, insulting email.

This one did not come as the result of a piece I’d written but as something I’d done. After weeks of putting up with “Pbrauer,” one of NewsReal’s leftist trolls, I finally decided to ban him. The previous day I’d given him a warning and he’d decided to ignore it. He unleashed one final ad hominem attack on my old friends and now colleagues Tim and Alissa Birkel. Instead of thoughtfully rebutting their argument,  he decided to make fun of them. And that was it. He sent me an angry email in response to his banishment. It was every bit as ad hominem as his comments:


Your response was not at all unexpected, frankly I am surprised that I lasted this long at David Horowitz’ blog. He wouldn’t know the truth if it was staring him in the face. Or maybe he would, but would not admit because it didn’t fit his agenda.

You as young man at the tender age of 25, idolize this creep? He is on the fringe, you are on the fringe, of reality that is. Horowitz was once on the radical left, now he is on the radical right. The term “Koolaid Drinking” comes from the fact that the followers of Jim Jones drank Koolaid laced with cyanide. While I wouldn’t equate Horowitz exactly with Jim Jones, I would say your dedication to a man so distructive is not far off.

When I said you had an unfortunate surname, I meant no harm. Most normal people would have responded with “Yeah, Tell me about it.” But you chose demonize me and tell me I am horrible human being , that told me more about you and your radical agenda than you know.

Please tell Tim and Alissa Birkel, that it my plan to email Rachel Maddow to call them out and publicly invite them on the show. I will provide links to their posts critical to her. Maybe she will and maybe she won’t. I think it’s worth a try.

Rachel Maddow and Media Matters are targets because they are so effective in getting out the truth.

Pete S,

[Emphasis added – DS]

(Incidentally I’ve counted three attempts in which Pbrauer has tried to make comments on NewsReal. They’ve all been immediately spammed.)

What struck me most about Pete AKA Pbrauer’s hate mail was what I’ve emphasized above. Look at the way he uses the term “the truth.” In his opening paragraph he notes that Horowitz cannot see “the truth.” He concludes by noting that Media Matters and Rachel Maddow are great at getting out “the truth.”

This is the way religious fundamentalists talk. (And note I’m not referring here to the many friendly Christians who comment at NewsReal.) Without even realizing it, Pbrauer affirmed the validity of the central thesis of my favorite Horowitz text, The Politics of Bad Faith. (He’s not the first leftist I’ve encountered who has done this.) For much of the Left they do not have political ideas or opinions. They have political Truth. The Left is a political religion.

And leftists’ behavior reflects that. There is a connection between Pbrauer’s political religion and the behavior he exhibited at NewsReal that caused him to be banned. He never really engaged us in dialogue. His objective was always to sabotage with ad hominem attacks. And the reason is simple: why be in dialogue with someone when they’re pushing a lie? With Pbrauer — and others like him — it is NEVER an exchange of ideas. That’s not what interests them. They have all the correct ideas — The Truth — and we’re just the unsaved heathens who need to hear the leftist gospel.

Now there are certainly conservatives that talk and think this way too. I cringe every time I get an email in which a conservative supporter emails me talking about their political opinions as though they were “the Truth.” And I wince when conservatives refuse to consider ideas from the Left or even to have leftist friends. Adopting such an approach perverts conservatism into a Political Faith instead of a coherent, intellectual approach.

That main point made I’ll respond to Pbrauer’s other points for the amusement of

  1. I don’t “idolize” Horowitz. He’s my friend and now my boss. We certainly don’t agree on everything. I support him and the Freedom Center because America and the American Idea need to be defended from those who seek to destroy them.
  2. The paragraph about my name is referring to an exchange in a comment thread where, out of the blue, Pbrauer mentioned at the end of his point, “you have an unfortunate last name.” This told me everything I needed to know about him. Just a few days prior I’d written a post explaining how the great thing about my last name (and other “unfortunate” names) is that as soon as someone makes a comment about it I know they’re an insensitive, thoughtless jerk. It’s not that the comment hurt my feelings or that I was offended. (Pbrauer didn’t get this point then and he doesn’t get it now.)

    Don't feed the troll

    Perhaps with this post I'm breaking this guideline. But can one feed a troll if they cannot comment back?

  3. It would be delightful if Maddow commented on the Birkels’ “Spoonful of Saccharine” series. I’ve been meaning to email Maddow’s producers about it. So if Pbrauer wants to do my work for me then he’ll be making himself far more useful than he ever did as one of NewsReal’s trolls. In fact if he wants to email every leftist we criticize to let them know then I’d certainly be thrilled. (In fact if any of our other readers would like to email out links of our commentaries then that would be very much appreciated.)
  4. As Horowitz pointed out to me when I showed him the email: Jim Jones was an icon of the Left. Pbrauer probably doesn’t know that — just as he knows next to nothing about me, Horowitz, and the nature of his own “progressive” faith.
When I mentioned to Horowitz that I’d banned Pbrauer, he was curious why. I responded:
It’s been a long time coming. And I’ve resisted it for weeks, often arguing against the idea of banning him when some of our regulars email me his comments to complain. His comments are always ad hominem attempts to discredit, never thoughtful critiques of arguments.He exhibits classic internet troll behavior — constantly baiting and provoking other commenters to try and get emotional reactions. (Sometimes he’s successful.) He basically violates points 1, 5, and 11 of our commenting guidelines on a regular basis.

When he mocked Tim and Alissa for their degrees in creative writing (actually Alissa’s is in literature) I’d had enough.

I don’t ban at the drop of a hat. And I don’t like doing it. But if someone is not going to be a respectful guest in our house and contribute to a healthy discussion and they refuse to change when instructed otherwise… Then they’re out.
NewsReal welcomes the comments from open-minded leftists who want to engage in dialogue. (Not long ago I fell into this category.) But “progressives” who just want to come to preach, insult, and sabotage will not get to be guests in the NewsReal house for very long.
  1. October 1, 2009 12:38 pm

    But David, you’re a dude, which means that unlike mine, your hate mail doesn’t go: “You’re fat and ugly and need to get raped.”

    Always sent by leftist men, too!

    • SabbyWrt permalink
      October 1, 2009 12:44 pm

      or “raped have your throat slit and left in a ditch to die then I will go find your mother”. Now that is one of my all time personal favorites at my YT page no less. It always sucks when someone gets banned. But what other course could you take? I would have never thought about your last name ….. people are down right weird.

      • October 1, 2009 5:59 pm

        “I would have never thought about your last name”

        Perhaps because you’re not an evil person with a soul black as coal? 😉

    • Louie723 permalink
      October 1, 2009 10:52 pm

      Always sent by leftist men
      “You’re fat and ugly”

      That’s another problem with the left, they don’t know pretty when they see it.
      Now if you had visible tattoos and piercings…

  2. October 1, 2009 12:44 pm

    I remember when he ignored my long response to him, but I think he did stop calling Tea Party people “tea-baggers.” My internet time is too short for me to keep track of everything, I guess.

  3. Linda Liben permalink
    October 1, 2009 1:05 pm

    I probably need to read this article again because I am a little perplexed. I consider myself a Christian fundamentalist and the term fundamentalist in this regard simply means believing the bible to be true. (Nothing to do with ‘being nice’, though we ought to be).

    Christian fundamentalism really has nothing to do with politics at all. The bible does tell us that we should pray for those who have authority over us and He puts in place the powers that be, and that’s about it.


    • October 1, 2009 6:00 pm

      My use of the term is not directed toward your faith.

  4. ElanaSe permalink
    October 1, 2009 1:11 pm

    You’re right, David. Religious and ideological fanatics (and fanatic Atheists as well) have similar behavior. They don’t discuss – they preach and demean you. They are deaf from the moment you open your mouth and blind to every evidence which doesn’t serve their cause.
    This Pbrauer dude seems to be an attention whore as well if he keeps writing even after he was banned.

    “NewsReal welcomes the comments from open-minded leftists who want to engage in dialogue.”
    few days ago I browsed through G. Beck’s new book review section at Amazon and actually found a valid, live discussion between a lefty who ACTUALLY have read the book and a conservative. Despite the fact that it was the only review of that quality, it was the first refreshing time I’ve met this kind of discussion.
    Oh, and I was lefty too – till my first child was born…

  5. In the know permalink
    October 1, 2009 1:14 pm

    He forgot to add the post scrip:

    And I’m gonna tell your mom you were mean to me!!!


  6. jbtrevor permalink
    October 1, 2009 1:14 pm

    I have regular email conversations with a woman* “on the other side”…we used to opine in the comments section of the local paper but we both agreed the vitriol spewed at both of us wasn’t conducive to learning anything about each other’s views.
    Even though I usually disagree with her she is respectful, inquisitive and articulate…something Pbrauer was not.
    Thank you for removing him.
    PS – *I often invite her to join us here at Newsreal…maybe one day she will.

  7. Ryan in Tucson permalink
    October 1, 2009 2:00 pm

    Would you consider having your artist re-draw the “Don’t Feed The Troll” logo so the critter is less cute and adorable? He looks like a hedgehog straight out of Beatrix Potter or *The Wind in the Willows*, about to say grace over the bowl of food he’s being given. This is not the lesson you’re trying to impart. I’m a cartoonist and a big believer in cute anthropomorphized animals — not “Hello Kitty” cute, but Walt (Pogo) Kelly cute — but this is overdoing it. Re-read (or watch) *The Fellowship of the Ring*: THOSE are trolls.

    • October 1, 2009 6:03 pm

      You’re right. I should probably make my own version of that image with one of the “Fellowship of the Rings” trolls instead.

      • jbtrevor permalink
        October 1, 2009 6:12 pm

        Or use Michael Moore’s picture, same effect.

        • Nash permalink
          October 2, 2009 6:47 am

          I thought the same thing by the way. The troll was too adorable :-).

          And LOL on the Michael Moore comment!

  8. Mark permalink
    October 1, 2009 2:10 pm

    David, although you and I discussed PBrauer previously, I think it’s worth repeating for the benefit of the rest of our community that you came to your decision to ban him reluctantly, after much consideration and only after giving him multiple warnings and the opportunity to correct his behavior. He ignored you and sealed his fate.

    I don’t believe any of us here at Newsreal like the idea of banning someone from the forum, but certain behavior is simply unproductive and should not be tolerated beyond a reasonable point. Like a proper steward of this forum, you conducted yourself in eminently reasonable and dignified fashion, and I fully support your decision.

    The situation is analagous to a boss who repeatedly warns an employee that he is violating workplace standards of conduct, but is ultimately forced to terminate that employee because he refuses to correct his behavior.

    Pbrauer brought it on himself.

    • October 1, 2009 6:01 pm

      “that you came to your decision to ban him reluctantly, after much consideration and only after giving him multiple warnings and the opportunity to correct his behavior.”

      In other words I acted in a “conservative” fashion? 😉

  9. October 1, 2009 3:58 pm


    As a point of trivia, I think grape flavoraide was used in the Jonestown cyanide laced drink, but “drinking the kool aid” is a common phrase and we’re stuck with it.

    • October 1, 2009 6:02 pm

      I was mainly just glad to have an excuse to use the Kool Aid man as a graphic. He always makes me smile.

  10. October 1, 2009 5:00 pm

    It was impossible to take Pbrauer seriously. He always came off as an adolescent trying to pick up girls at a Star Wars convention. When his rhetoric went from amusing to pathetic I never had the heart to engage him. Hope he’s found a better place–somewhere he can wear his Starfleet uniform with dignity.

    • October 1, 2009 6:03 pm

      He’s still reading NewsReal. He emailed me about this post today.

  11. Judy permalink
    October 2, 2009 2:53 am

    David, with pbrauer no longer the Newsreal putz, what is he going to do with the rest of his life? Despite his love affair with Rachael Maddow, I don’t see her inviting him to join her “I hate all right-wing tea-baggers” party.

    • October 2, 2009 7:31 am

      Now he’s been trolling my email, sending me insults. I’m going to ban him from that too.

  12. October 2, 2009 3:47 am

    Since I began reading NewsReal, there have been many times my cerebrum was overwhelmed by the heady level of discourse in the posts and comments. Whew! Who am I to venture into such rocky terrain, ill-equipped as I am? Just read and enjoy. But for the most part, it’s been entertaining, sometimes testy, but always engaging and passionate. Keep it up, peeps, it’s all good to me.

    An observation: The absence of four-letter invectives speaks highly of NewsReal’s standards. Maybe I haven’t drilled deeply into NR”s archives for examples, but why bother? There are plenty of political weblogs whose principle, or only, ordnance is foul and obscene language. Worst example I’ve found is “Blaque’s Blog of Horrors”, a rabidly left-tilting rant-site totally incapable of posting without scatological exclamations and references to select anatomical features and sexual proclivities. Mentioning the site is nearly akin to promoting it, something I’m loathe to do, but NewsReal’s readers might be curious to learn how deep and vile is the pool of bile, toxin and vomit aimed at them from the other trenches. Ecchh!

    • jbtrevor permalink
      October 2, 2009 5:04 am

      Jim Walter,
      I agree. There are many assets to the technical aspects of this site, it’s very easy to use, read, etc. but the willingness of the editor(s) to engage/challenge the people who show up in the comments section is one I am very pleased with.

      • October 2, 2009 7:38 am

        I’m glad you appreciate our efforts. 🙂

    • October 2, 2009 9:13 am

      Thanks Jim. Keeping the comments section clean has often been a discouraging task. I wish I could say that it’s only leftists that leave nasty comments but that’s clearly not the case. Many mornings I’ve woken up and been shocked by the disgusting stuff that people will sometimes post. Ill-manners run across the political spectrum.

  13. Evergreen78 permalink
    October 2, 2009 6:46 am

    Re the word “truth”: Maybe they’re using a different dictionary from the rest of us. You know. . . like how they think “fair” means “equal” & stuff like that?

  14. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 2, 2009 6:52 am

    I am living proof that David Swindle does not ban hastely and that it takes a lot to get him to do it.

  15. Jack Hampton permalink
    October 2, 2009 6:54 am

    I forgot to check the box sorry.

  16. Kyle permalink
    October 2, 2009 7:18 am

    I’m always amazed and very pleased when I stumble across something by accident that then gives me the insight I need to address an issue I’m dealing with. That is exactly what has happened as I read this post and the responses. Just wanted to say thank-you. You guys are the best!

    • October 2, 2009 7:39 am

      Thanks. Read “The Politics of Bad Faith” to understand this issue better.

  17. gatekeeper96740 permalink
    October 2, 2009 8:46 am

    I read NewsReal everyday and enjoy it immensely.I did not like the trolls snarky remarks that added nothing to the discussion.He seemed just to goad people. I kept thinking how old is this guy?
    I have read all of David H.’s books.His book Radical Son was one of the best.It along with my own personal experiences turned me from the left to right.
    How are the book sales on Shadow party? Ihave reread that several times and recomended it to friends.
    Talk about turning the lights on in a room full of roaches.

  18. Judy permalink
    October 2, 2009 12:17 pm

    Gatekeeper, I too was deeply changed from a S.D.S. member and hyper-liberal by David’s book and insight into my soul. I have always wanted to thank him for the gift. Thank you David,you actually did have an impact on those that you never met. It is true that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  19. Andrew Benjamin permalink
    October 2, 2009 5:10 pm

    We all need to read Jay Gaskill’s “Political Liberalism as Secular Religion”

    Pajama Media’s The Tyranny of Political Correctness

    and Evan Sayet at The Heritage Foundation “How Liberals Think”

    • jbtrevor permalink
      October 2, 2009 7:24 pm

      thank you for the links to those videos, I watched them both. Evan Sayet was at Restoration weekend a few years ago.
      for those of you that see the 47 min time on the video, his talk is actually 30 min then 15 min for questions.

  20. October 3, 2009 10:44 pm

    Davids writing and this man Yuri Bezmenov opened my eyes to the extent of subversion in the US.

    • October 3, 2009 11:05 pm

      A Soviet born, KGB trained subverter tells about the four stages of communist takeovers during a 1984 interview by G. Edward Griffin. Want to know how the KGB did its dirty work in foreign countries? This video gives a good overview of the process.

      It goes in 4 stages
      1. demoralization
      4. normalization under new government


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