Ad Hominen. A Latin phrase meaning, roughly, attack the person, not his idea.
I've been getting firsthand experience with this ever since I started writing a column for Newtown Patch (newtown.patch.com)
Most of my pieces are fairly innocuous but from time to time, as most recently, I touch upon political issues.
That's when the loons squirm out of the woodwork and play their games.
Rather than stick to analyzing the logic of my position, they proceed to tear me apart personally.
When this happens, I know I've won the argument.
So, who are these people? Sad to say, the overwhelming majority are those whose political persuasion is anchored firmly on the far right--or what I've come to identify as the lunatic fringe.
It's not bad enough that they're abusive. The problem is they're also loud--very loud.
Sad to say, Congress is also full of these types. They're known largely as Tea Party Republicans. But let's face it, the left has their share too. Witness Al Sharpton.
Nothing can be done about the 'fringe' on the national level. They have the right to voice their opinion. But what about the people in my own town who comment on my Patch pieces? What's the appropriate response to them?
Silence. That's what. Rule number one: Never, EVER, engage the fringe. It's a no-win endeavor. It just encourages them. It's like jacking up the volume on a Bose speaker.
Eventually they'll go away. They have to sleep sometime.