Don't give holy things to depraved men. Don't give pearls to swine! They will trample the pearls and attack you.
I've felt like this person many times before. When I first started blogging I came to understand for myself that a particularly notable site was packed full of metaphorical swine. Many of you, I'm sure, got burned there yourselves in the beginning before you learned better. The point of this post is not to further criticize those lost souls but rather to encourage fellow bloggers to learn how to pick their battles both in their internet lives and in their face to face lives with others. I love my regular readers and also those whose unique and worthy viewpoints I so value that I keep them on my blogroll and on my Google Reader feed. Our conduct towards each other is almost always civil, respectable, and calm.
Part of my persistence to enlighten those who clearly are misinformed is an result of an optimistic belief I carry that if one summarily writes people off without trying to help them, this implies that no one can reform his or her conduct and change his or her attitude for the better. Many people hold this belief out of a desire to protect themselves but doing so leaves no room for forgiveness later if it is deserved. To me, this is a particularly petty and unfair stance to hold. Still, one manner of conducting oneself does not fit all when it comes down to human beings or internet personalities. On certain boards and on certain sites, I've learned the hard way that it is futile to try to teach certain concepts to people who don't want to listen and will only tear apart what I have to say. That doesn't mean I shouldn't correct those who will be receptive, but I should be wise and above all, discerning in that which I teach to whom so that I won't be wasting my time.
It's tempting to play the victim a bit when writing a post on this subject. Certain bloggers I have observed have taken a somewhat condescending, patronizing, self-righteous tone when they write about their hate mail. It takes something of a thick skin to put strong opinions out here where they can be easily read by anyone with an internet connection. I fully admit that I have been unprepared for the viciousness, the anger, and the churlishness that often stifles rational discourse. We must resist the temptation, however, to see others in absolutes. If we go along with the popular opinion at all times we will be blown back and forth by the prevailing currents and meander without a rudder. I'd rather not postulate as to why the internet seems like a haven for people stuck in a perpetual state of arrested development, but rather encourage us to recognize who we need to avoid and who might have enough of an open mind to actually listen. It's amazing what you can learn about someone when you actually listen to them.