the intellectual integrity of trolls

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We, trolls, define intellectual integrity as follows:


A pair of persons have integrity if their thoughts, speech, and their actions with respect to each other are all in alignment. An individual who is so aligned with his or her ecological surroundings, and perhaps has an overwhelming majority of their interactions with others being of integrity, can be said to be a person of integrity. It is a very simple concept that is very difficult to implement. See ecological footprint and vegan for two ideological definitions of individual integrity.

The benefits of integrity are well known: such people can be trusted by their peers, and are dangerous only to their avowed enemies: they keep promises when promises to them are kept (and go to great lengths to cover when they are left hanging), they are mindful of their reputation with others of integrity (though may sometimes be unconcerned with reputation with those who lack it - to please your enemies is to fail), act with honour, and are in general worth dealing with even if they are difficult, because they mean what they say, and say what they perceive to be real.

intellect and hypocrisy

Intellectual Integrity is a refinement of the concept as it applies to thought - maintaing a set of principles or beleifs that are truly reflexive or self consistent is quite rare in individuals and neigh impossible to achieve in a political organiztion. Fortunately, achieving intellectual integrity is not a question of total sucess or total failure, it is a wandering path in which you can gradually ascend higher or slip lower, learning as you go and allowing others to challenge your thinking and help you avoid being a hypocrite - at least not on all thing at once. It is hypocritical to attempt to avoid hypocrisy always:

Hypocrisy is a basic part of social life: etiquette, diplomacy and peacemaking all absolutely require hypocrisy - which is justified when it actually maintains and teaches an ideal to which some other may aspire, even if the current proponent fails or is a bad example. For instance, an alcoholic can speak to the value of sobriety, and this is hypocrisy, but, certainly, then, any flaws of the alcoholic on display do in fact contribute to the advancement of sobriety. So for the social function of hypocrisy to work, requires extraordinary honesty and admission. For instance, those who will permit themselves to offend to make the point faster or deeper will often call themselves "trolls".

In The Diamond Age, author Neal Stephenson has his characters who lead the clique called the "New Victorians" espouse hypocrisy itself as a value, as it is proof that one's moral aspirations are higher than one's capabilities to resist temptation. To despise hypocrisy is to them the ultimate proof of the decadence of a civilization: one that has ceased to assert or aspire to any values greater than they can personally now embody.


Valid wisdom, including ecological wisdom, comes merely from asking questions unburdened by prejudices. There are questions that should not be asked, that is, that are ill-formed, but, these can be unasked. Traditional philosophy and theology consist of pre-conceived notions based on pre-existing loyalty, often to the dead - undead social capital. They do not always respect an ethical calculus devoted to raising value of life, value of Earth. Accordingly, some notions lower those.

Only by shedding those pre-conceived notions can we achieve the clarity of undistorted knowledge, however unpleasant it may be. To be a troll is to accept Crockers Rules and no longer to expect anything in the universe to please you, merely, to enlighten, to dispel ignorance. To use intelligence only to enable, never inhibit, learning - to abandon stupidity as a comfortable self-defense.

makes you unpopular

Expressing this will make you unpopular. There is no form of integrity that will make you liked, or well-paid. It may be integral to integrity that it reduces one's glamour:

The politics of strong symbolic confrontation and challenge (best embodied by known trolls ) is usually and reliably met by the usual unprincipled challenge: accusations of all forms of madness, autistic or overly caustic methods, paranoia and lunacy. All the usual methods by which such integrity was prevented from developing in the first place, boiling down to use of violent force to restrain those whose challenge to prevailing views was felt too deeply. See psychiatry.

gets you ignored

The politics of social exclusion and dismissal, which are motivated by the same psychiatry and ignorant confidence that anyone confronting you with the ugly truth "can be ignored" (which itself results in ignorance) leads to the labelling of people, often as "cranks" or as curmudgeonly, misanthropic or (worst) "trolls"!

We, trolls, wear this last and finest label with pride, as the overwhelming majority of such dismissals come from frauds, thieves, liars, pompous pedants, perjurors, and people fearful of change. Some are revealed quickly, some never:

Semi-principled "academics" accuse rival academics, trolls, demagogues and rival ethicists of mere seduction, "whoring" persuasion skills, denial, laziness or other means to avoid the consequences of their avowed positions. Sometimes this is true, and part of intellectual integrity is to admit that. Every argument must be subjected to proper filters:

defer, refer, infer

We, trolls filter those most contentious and dangerous arguments for three types of integrity: to defer, refer and infer are different things, and irreconcilably different things. A proper argument is composed only of one of these link types. Confusing or crossing them is itself the definition of corruption.

Such separation of authoritative, investigative and definitive modes lets each be audited in a quite different way - any argument is contained in one 'silo' only:

life of truth

Only by combining all of these in a personal lifeway can one shed cognitive biases and re/cognize "integrity". This is the way of the troll - to speak truth to power, only.

On such integrity a worthwhile dialectic and semi-stable tensegrity can begin to evolve: Proposals for change marshal arguments from two silos, to reform only the third... only when required, and only for some fixed sampling length in similar circumstances so that results can be compared. 'Scientific method' is extended into daily life... Politics sheds ideology - shuffling roughly off via the political virtues to a relational ethic, then, even more slowly, to moral order and The Green Ethic.

open moral code

The role language must play in ethics and the symbols that represent alternative paths of decision, e.g. "economic" aor "mathematic", become simpler, as options "without integrity" fall away, "wise mobs" form to enforce... "defend"... a common purpose. This is coordinated most easily in trollish since the trollish verbs are carefully vetted not to confuse or corrupt.

As one masters it, slowly it becomes possible to apply moral reasoning and moral development theory to groups and collectives that they form in common, especially those that interpret ethical codes and freeze them to moral codes, e.g. Government Open Code Collaborative.

The open party remains the primary such moral vehicle.


Certain that every statement has a measurable and bettable followthrough - even life-betting, a new ethics of code,ecological economics of contract, and commitment-driven languages can begin to emerge.

We, trolls shall lead the way. And you SHALL follow, because the alternative, apocalypso, is not much fun.

A commitment each of us makes is to our Hemlock Lecture.