Never be afraid to be offensive:
Though take care to watch your vocabulary: writing “Obama has no moral center” is perfectly acceptable. The use of a racist slur or terms like “libtard” and “knuckle dragger” is lazy and more importantly a crime and blight on the English language. Do not be afraid, however, to use ‘foul’ language. Martin Amis’ “Money”, as his father Kingsley writes, fills the pages with fucks and other four letter words and that detracts little from its blatant and striking attack on the Reagan and Thatcher administrations.
Show no fear of confrontation:
Conflict is valuable, indeed, even essential for its own sake. Zola’s J’Accuse is a prime example of an argument doing something right. George Orwell said that the prime responsibility of one’s argument lay in being able to tell people what they did not wish to hear. Never be afraid to argue for argument’s sake, and never shy away from titles like “elitist” or “arrogant”, it usually means you are doing something right and have earned such names.
Do not mind petty critique:
If your antagonist aims to lower you by bestowing a less than preferable title upon your name, you can raise your flag in moral victory. That person has little to add or even detract from your position. However, as Christopher Hitchens wrote, the noble title of “dissident” must be earned rather than claimed. It connotes sacrifice and risk rather than mere disagreement. Many courageous men and women have lost more than their own livelihood in the battle against tyranny.
Do not stray too far “out of the box”:
As I wrote earlier, a moral dissident may claim president Obama has no moral center, a fanatic may claim he is a Communist Muslim with ties to the Illuminati and Reptilian race. There is certainly a tipping point in terms of writing polemic essays and writing conspiracy drivel. A polemic must wear his rationality and skepticism proudly and beware of lunacy and fanaticism. In my experience, as a socialist I am against many of Obama’s decidedly right-wing positions and have written quite a bit against his administration. This has brought me to the attention of the small-town Conservative wind-bags who would like to see me as an ally. A small reminder of my socialist ties however brings joy to my heart in that awkward step they take back.
A note on the oppositionist:
I use the word oppositionist here instead of dissenter for a reason, namely it’s religious connotations. Martin Luther was a dissenter, but certainly no oppositionist. I hope the distinction is clear and would be better left at that. An oppositionist is one who takes to heart a responsibility against tyranny. Emile Zola was an oppositionist, J’Accuse was written to spit in the face of France’s anti-Semitism.
A bit of an afterword here, I had abandoned an idea to write this as a sort of “Letters To…” series in favour of a list of tips on this particular style of writing. I hope to avoid presumption that this will be read with any degree of seriousness, should it come to that however, would the former style be preferable to this admittedly dryer prose?