Why the trolls booed at Donald Trump Jr's event

Fuentes is trying to provoke and exploit a dynamic Kirk has used to great effect. Either his supporters will be heard or attempts will be made to shut them up, which is even better, because they can cast themselves as victims of a sanctimonious establishment––victims who’d prevail if only they could speak freely.

Kirk and Don Jr. are hardly alone in facing a troll problem. All of us face a troll problem. Trolls seize on that which people rightly value and turn those very values against them in a way that is hard to combat without losing the greater good. Civil libertarians understand that favoring free speech, the presumption of innocence, the right against self-incrimination, the provision of an attorney, universal suffrage, or anything else worth fighting for means that the most deplorable bigots invariably benefit along with everyone else.

Yet Kirk and Don Jr. are more vulnerable than most to trolls––because their coalitions rely more than most on the continuing support of trolls and on trolling; because theirs is a trolly culture-war coalition masquerading as small-government conservatism; because they denounce the left not only for initiating censorious excesses, but also for overreacting to Trumpist trolls who bait them; because Trump deploys rhetoric as conspiratorial as any alt-right troll; and because one cannot be a Trumpist and (with a straight face) discredit others as too rude.

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